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Delays in benefits causing distress to patients

Delays in benefits causing distress to patients
1 January 2015

A recent survey by Macmillan has revealed that 30% of their benefits advisors know of someone who died while waiting for their payments. 

Almost one in two (48%) have come across patients who cannot afford to feed themselves properly, and around three in five (59%) say delays have left people unable to heat their homes [2]. 

These figures emerge as the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) independent review released by the Government highlights flaws within the current benefits structure for those with disabilities. 

The review contains 14 recommendations to improve PIP, covering issues relating to claimant experience, gathering further evidence and the effectiveness of the assessment 

PIP started to replace Disability Living Allowance for working-age disabled people from 2013 and aims to help fund the extra costs associated with having a long term health condition. 

The review makes recommendations to improve the gathering of evidence to assess claimants, including the potential to share information already held about claimants to avoid unnecessary repetition.  

Juliet Bouverie, Director of Services and Influencing at Macmillan Cancer Support, says: 

“Today’s review acknowledges the need for improvement in a system that is currently riddled with delays. While we are pleased that more claims are being processed, it remains an absolute disgrace that thousands of people with cancer have been forced to wait six months or more just to find out whether they were even eligible for the disability benefit.  

“These delays are a further blow to cancer patients who have to prove that they have been affected by their disease for at least three months before the state will consider them as eligible for help. 

“What we are seeing is failure in the system that is having a very real and shattering impact on the lives of people with cancer. Under the old system, cancer patients only had to wait for 11 weeks at most before receiving their benefits.” 

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