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Shocking and insensitive treatment is routinely used as a way to cut the number of welfare benefits claims by people with disabilities or chronic ill health in Brighton and Hove.
The finding comes after a local watchdog – Healthwatch Brighton and Hove – responded to mounting evidence of claims being assessed by people who appeared to be ignorant or cynical.
Assessors seem to be more concerned with catching people out so that their benefits claim can be turned down than in carrying out a genuine and fair assessment.
Healthwatch said: “Healthwatch Brighton and Hove has found that vulnerable people applying for PIP (Personal Independence Payments) and ESA (Employment Support Allowance) have their applications routinely declined.”
Healthwatch Brighton and Hove’ chief officer David Liley said: “There is concern in Parliament over the way vulnerable people are treated by the benefits assessment system.
“Here in the streets of Brighton and Hove we see the reality – decent people trying to live a good life but challenged by chronic ill health treated in a shocking and insensitive way.
“One local organisation helping people with high level autism and Asperger’s syndrome took 17 cases to appeal and not one appeal was declined.
“Why should people who clearly need help be forced routinely to appeal their first assessment decisions?
“The cynical conclusion is that some folks will not have the capacity, ability or motivation to appeal and claimant numbers will fall.”
Healthwatch Brighton and Hove said that it was challenging those who provided the assessments to show that they treated local people with respect, that they were not using underhand techniques in assessments and to explain why almost everyone who appeals wins.
Read more at: http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2018/02/16/shocking-and-insensitive-treatment-of-disabled-people-by-benefit-claims-assessors-found-by-brighton-health-watchdog/