report back from DPAc member who went along to see what Mike Penning the minister for disabled people had to say to the select parliamentary committee on ILF, PIP and WCA.
Anne Begg, said, can you please tell us what you are going to decide with the future of the ILF, as 22,000 severely disabled people do not know what the future holds for this fund, and the future is so uncertain for them, in light of the appeal that the claimaints won, has the minister made a decision on the future of the fund, if to close it in 2015 or re design it?
Mike Penning said, I have read the decision from the courts and I will not be appealing the decision, I totally accept it. I have not read the submission report as it has not been delivered to me, therefore i cannot make a decision when I have not have the report delivered to me. When a decision has been made all 22,000 claimaints in receipt of ILF will be communicated to (his words) and there is the money to let them know what the outcome of my decision will be.
He was told by Anne Begg, you are causing high anxiety and stress to some of the most severely disabled in society, surely you can tell them something to put their minds at rest? He said no, I cant and I wont as I have not read the report and as there is a court case around this, I do not want another court case on top, when the decision has been made on the ILF, all claimants will be notified.
It then went to PIP, Jason Feeney the operations director for PIP was also present as a witness, the PIP stats for new claimants will be released tomorrow. So far, 30,000 new claimants have been through PIP, and 15,000 claims were turned down, 1 in 7 claimants were denied PIP denial rate is at 50 per cent. He plans to release in Jan/Feb 2014 the next regions to see the roll out of PIP, this will be done in stages. The mandatory re assessment is set for October 2015 to finish in October 2017. They plan to assess 155,000 a quarter, will be on budget and on time.
Penning plans to introduce the PIP form in PDF format over time, but is worried about security issues around this at the moment.
With the Atos contract for PIP in the areas where Atos have PIP there are financial clauses in the contract where PIP do not meet there contract targets, He said, Atos are in it to make money “well, we all knew that didnt we?” The HCP are still receiving training to make sure the system works well, and understand there are delays with claimants, (we are now called “customers”) are experiencing at present, hence the staged roll out as they want to get it right.
Mr Penning, said, if claimants submitted enough supported evidence 17 per cent of people will not need a face to face assessment, and people with visual, hearing, and communication impairments can have an appointee speak on the phone to the PIP office on their behalf. He said, in regards to the questionnaire where there is a four week turn around to get it back to the assessment centre, it can be extended to four weeks, but, then the claim will end.
In regards terminal conditions, they are working setting up in each region and benefit office a terminal office department so that people who have a terminal illness will have their claims done and completed with in 7 days.
October 2015 for mandatory re assessments stays for current DLA recipients, there will be no more delays.
With regards Dr Paul Litchfield, his fourth wca review will be published tomorrow thursday 12the dec, along with the new claimant pip stats.
There was not the time to discuss the WCA and Mr Penning has been asked to come back to the commitee in the new year, and bring Dr Pritchard along as a witness to discuss the 4th review.
Anne Begg said she would e mail when the date of the call back for the W.C.A is.
The WCA will be heard on 19th feb, so well done to wow.
Martin and me represented dpac for this today, and the two of us faced three armed police at gun point in the corridor outside the committee room, at the end of the meeting Mike Penning was surrounded by armed police and taken up the corridor while we were watched carefully. Don’t know what they thought we were going to do.
I think we are rattling them big time, and the security level for all buildings has been raised to substantial as well.