People with disabilities in Stroud are losing their benefits - and then waiting NINE MONTHS for their appeal.
I wrote to Amber Rudd this week to outline the inhumane situation faced by people in Stroud who are desperately ill, or are living with conditions chronic or degenerative conditions.
I told her about one constituent, who I will call James (not his real name) and his experience of claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
James has multiple sclerosis and is one of many of people with health conditions who are seeing their benefits reduced, or stopped, when transferring from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to the newer Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
In Stroud, 22% of people are losing their benefit when they were transferred to PIP.
After reassessment, James, who can barely walk, had his mobility benefit reduced and is no longer entitled to a Motability vehicle, which he had relied upon.
Now James has to take his case to a benefits tribunal in Gloucester to appeal the decision, with a nine month wait, far longer than similar cases in Cardiff or Bristol.
This delay is particularly unjustifiable as almost 70% of claimants will have their entitlements reinstated at tribunal, having endured months of financial and emotional hardship.
This miserable, chaotic and wasteful system, run by ATOS, clearly isn't fit for purpose.
James is one of many PIP cases referred to my office and I have urged Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to review this system urgently.
I also asked her to explain why her department reduces or removes the entitlement of people with progressive or degenerative illnesses which, by definition, worsen over time.
Her department has an optimism about many conditions which sadly the medical profession do not share. So, I asked her to also explain why applicants who will not recover from their illness are continually reassessed for their PIP claims. We should not inflict this inhumanity and indignity on people in their greatest time of need and I await her reply.