Claiming PIP and ESA: “Horrific and inhumane”


A Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into disability benefits has heard from more than 3,000 people despondent with the system.

The inquiry into PIP and ESA has revealed countless experiences of severely disabled and ill individuals being stripped of their disability benefits.

Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: “We expected to get about 100 letters and we have had over 3,000 and they are still coming in. We’ve never had a tidal wave like this.”

Turn2us submitted case studies, comments and recommendations relating to disability benefits to the Work and Pensions Committee inquiry.

Here is what some people told us:

  • “My assessment report was totally made up, made me feel like a fool”
  • “My mum is disabled and [the assessor] put down that her condition has improved when in fact it is worse; she is incontinent and awaiting another operation on her spine, she can’t move around her house without crutches and has had two falls, breaking her wrist and nose.”
  • “The majority of assessors are cold and compassionless as well as unfit for purpose”
  • “Horrific, inhumane, physically and psychologically massively damaging”
  • “It made me ill just filling in the form, it made me worse. I am thinking, should I even bother? I could sell something like my kidney, it would be far easier”
  • “I have Bipolar Affective Disorder and was denied PIP in 2016… I understand the next stage is the appeal stage. I do not feel I can do this independently and am looking for support”
  • “Tribunal was appalling and made me ill for months”
  • “No one seems to give you any information at all”
  • “I think the people who come out to do a face-to-face are there to get their big bonus at the end of the month for getting as many people off PIP as they can”.

From this evidence that we received, we made six key points:

  • The assessors have insufficient experience
  • There are major problems with being frequently reassessed
  • The forms are too complex
  • The appealing process is too complex
  • Individuals are made to wait too long throughout the claiming process
  • There is a significant lack of trust in the process.

Additionally, we made five key recommendations:

  • Better training of assessors
  • Taper payments for those who lose money after being reassessed
  • Improve communication channels
  • Restructure the appeal process
  • Introduce clearer transparency in the decision-making process.

Read our guide to claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Read our guide to claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)