The PM attacked the Welsh Government as shameful. What is her view on the unnecessary anxiety she has imposed on my constituent and many thousands of others in similar positions.
The story of Steven Evans has once again cast a stark light upon the cruel welfare system. Steven from Newport lives with cerebral palsy so severe that he could not open the letters sent to him by the DWP, he also struggled to communicate with them over the telephone.
last year he was sent notice of an assessment for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) three times by post. Steven unable to open the letters missed his assessment and his payments were stopped. In order to not miss any subsequent information, he asked for his correspondence to be sent via a local charity, the wonderful Disability Advice Project.
Unfortunately for Steven, he came up against the incredible rigidity of the DWP system as it refused to accept that he could have an address that he lived in and an address to which he would want correspondence sent. The computer system now realising that Steven had two addresses on file then stopped his payments for his Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). During the period between his payments stopping and being re-instated, Steven racked up debts into the thousands.
Fortunately for Steven, he had support and the advice of experts at the Disability Advice Project. Many others are not so fortunate. Figures from the charity Scope reveal that 75% of all PIP appeals in Wales and the South West are granted, you can only imagine how high the figure could be if more applicants were aware of their rights. The Government must take urgent action to rectify their flawed Welfare procedures, with outsourced companies rewarding staff for the number of assessments that can be done in a day, not for the quality of those assessments.
It is a system designed to force you to appeal, to jump through hoops. Designed to wear down claimants until they no longer have the strength to fight. Designed to cut costs to the detriment of the weakest in our society. It is a system in dire need of reassessment.