The Government’s assessment system for long-term disability benefit claimants is having a “devastating” financial and social impact on people with multiple sclerosis, new research has found.
The research by the MS Society found that one particular rule used in assessments for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), whereby those who can walk at least 20 metres are not eligible for higher level support, is causing people with MS to lose support at an alarming scale.
Previously the measure was 50 metres and experts say the change is “senseless and unfounded”.
Benefit cuts to people with the chronic, neurodegenerative condition are also costing the NHS at least an additional £7.7 million a year in GP and A&E services, according to the charity’s new report, PIP: A Step Too Far.
Many people with MS rely on benefits to help with the extra costs involved with living with the condition. PIP has been gradually replacing the old disability living allowance (DLA) for the last five years, but the new assessment system has been called an ordeal by those trying to navigate it.