To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions her Department has had with Asperger's and autism spectrum disorder organisations on (a) assessments for and (b) decisions on (i) personal independence payments and (ii) employment and support allowance claims.
I have regular discussions with a range of stakeholders, including those representing individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autistic Spectrum Disorders to discuss benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
For example, in regards to ESA, the Department has engaged with the National Autistic Society (NAS) on numerous occasions during the development of the Severe Conditions reassessment criteria. NAS are also a member of the Centre for Health and Disability Assessment’s (CHDA) Customer Relations Group and quality assures relevant training and guidance for CHDA’s Healthcare Professionals who undertake Work Capability Assessments.
With regards to PIP, we regularly engage with stakeholders and one of the main avenues is through the PIP Forum events. Autism Network Scotland were invited to the most recent PIP Forum event in Scotland and NAS have been invited to attend the forthcoming PIP Forum event in England.