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PIP refusal has forced me to go to food bank claims local man Paddy

ORDEAL: Paddy Teggart has been describing what PIP assessors are forcing people to go through – he says the process is ‘nonsense’ ORDEAL: Paddy Teggart has been describing what PIP assessors are forcing people to go through – he says the process is ‘nonsense’
By Staff Reporter

A SOUTH Belfast man who has been forced to use food banks after being refused disability benefits has said that PIP assessors are “getting away with murder”.
64-year-old Sandy Row man Paddy Teggart suffers from a range of health issues including severe rheumatoid arthritis, depression and type-1 diabetes.
Paddy had previously been on DLA, but has twice been turned down for PIP, most recently, following a disability assessment in January. Despite having a catheter fitted during one assessment, he received just two points out of a potential eight when being assessed for continence after his catheter leaked during the interview.
The private company CAPITA carries out the PIP on behalf of the Department for Communities. In January, the Public Service Ombudsman announced plans to investigate how the department handles PIP.
Mr Teggart has accused CAPITA of ignoring his medical history during his “extremely distressing” assessment.
Speaking to the South Belfast News, he said PIP assessors are “putting people below the breadline”.
“When you go into the assessment they are watching you the whole way through,” he said.
“If you came in a coffin it wouldn’t matter. They don’t know you from Adam, but they are basing everything on what you are doing in that half an hour. It’s complete nonsense. They want you to sit completely still. Every movement you make is noted. Everything you do is noted.
“It’s designed to get people off benefits, and they get a bonus every time they turn someone down. They are turning people down for money. They are there for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to turn you down.”
He continued: “Why are they letting people who are putting people who need benefits below the breadline? I can tell you for a fact that I have to go to the food bank to keep myself alive. CAPITA are getting away with murder.
“People are having to go to charities, like SVP, for help. You shouldn’t have to do that in this day in age.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Communities said: “The PIP assessment gathers factual information about a person’s functional capability which the Department for Communities reviews, alongside all other evidence submitted, to make a decision on eligibility to PIP. We do not seek to reach a medical diagnosis.
“All of our disability assessors are qualified healthcare professionals who undergo extensive training and whose work is consistently monitored for quality. We are focused on ensuring our people are equipped with the training, skills and knowledge to carry out assessments across Northern Ireland in a professional and empathetic manner.
“All PIP assessors in Northern Ireland are health professionals with specialist training in conducting functional assessments. They must go through the formal Department for Communities’ approval process to ensure they meet the Department’s experience, skills and competence requirements. Given the extensive training received by assessors, and the continual learning and auditing of the assessors, the Department considers them appropriately trained to carry out the PIP assessment.
“The Department notes the proposed investigation by the Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman into the way the department administers Personal Independence Payment.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in Northern Ireland is administered in accordance with the statutory framework set down under Part 5 of the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015 and the PIP Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016. It is administered no differently from the rest of the United Kingdom, with the exception that in Northern Ireland welfare supplementary payments are available for those who are adversely impacted by welfare changes. The Department is operating within the appropriate statutory mechanisms including the independent appeals process. Since June 2016 just over 166,000 PIP decisions have been made with around 10% of all decisions proceeding to appeal, with just over 2% being overturned .To date the Department has received 9 referrals from NIPSO relating to PIP.
“Decisions on individuals’ entitlement to PIP is made by the Department not by CAPITA. For the avoidance of doubt there are no incentives for award decisions. Every claim is considered on an individual basis, and decisions are made based on the available evidence and the relevant legislation.
“Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit intended to help with some of the extra costs if a person has a long term ill-health or disability unlike other benefits which provides financial support for people unable to work. PIP can also be paid to people in work. More people are being awarded PIP at the highest rate of benefit than under DLA. The most recently published information shows that 38% of PIP recipients are getting the highest level of benefit (£145.35 a week) compared to 15% of the working age DLA customers prior to its introduction. Looking specifically at mental health the data shows that 65% of PIP recipients with mental health conditions get the enhanced rate daily living component, compared with 30% who received the highest DLA care component. And 41% of PIP recipients with mental health conditions get the enhanced mobility rate, compared with just 11% of DLA recipients.”

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