A report by the Work and Pensions Committee, to which Headway contributed as part of its Right First Time campaign, found failings in the process for assessing Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claims had contributed to a ‘pervasive lack of trust’ in the system with ‘untenable human costs’ to claimants, as well as financial costs to the public purse.
In a disappointing response published this week, the government played down the committee’s findings and recommendations, choosing to focus on making minor adjustments rather than fundamental changes to a flawed system previously labelled as ‘not fit for purpose’ by Headway.
Luke Griggs, Director of Communications at Headway, said: “It is incomprehensible that the government has ignored the overwhelming body of evidence provided by the thousands of disability benefits claimants who submitted evidence.
“Yet again, the government has failed to address fundamental issues such as brain injury survivors being assessed by people with little or no understanding of their condition.
“Another key concern of brain injury survivors who responded to our Right First Time campaign was that third party evidence is not routinely taken into account. The government’s attempts to reassure claimants that such evidence is collected by assessors will do nothing to ease claimant’s concerns.
“Our recommendations, as well as the stark findings of the parliamentary committee’s report, should have been seized upon by the government if they seriously want to improve this clearly broken system.
“The government seems to think that disability benefit assessments simply need some minor tweaks and adjustments.
"The reality, however, is until the major failings in the system are addressed, many brain injury survivors will continue to suffer without the support to which they are entitled.”Back