Carole called us in a state of panic and confusion when her disability benefit (Personal Independence Payment or ‘PIP’) was cut. She had been for a review and had been assessed as a person whose disabilities did not affect her daily activities. What’s more, Carole had received a letter saying that her entitlement to another disability benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), also needed to be reassessed as according to the data she might be fit for work. Carole couldn’t understand why this had happened, as she needed a zimmer frame to walk and required help with basic daily activities such as preparing food, dressing and showering. The cut to her ‘PIP’ benefit meant that she could no longer pay a care worker to assist her with these tasks.
Carole was assigned a Personal Adviser from our Homeless Prevention Service, who explained to her that the PIP benefit review process was not as straightforward as she had thought — the PIP assessment was based on a points system and to qualify she needed to score enough points either for daily living activities or mobility activities. Carole had attended the PIP assessment on her own as she’d thought that since her health problems were so obvious she wouldn’t need a specialist to attend with her.
We submitted a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ for Carole, asking the Department of Work and Pensions to re-examine their decision to cut Carole’s benefits. While waiting for a decision we supported Carole with an emergency food pack and grants for paying for a care worker to help her with daily living activities. Finally, after two months of waiting, Carole was awarded PIP again – with an enhanced rate for daily living and an enhanced rate for mobility. And, because she was awarded PIP, Carole’s entitlement to ESA benefit was no longer called into question.