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New report says PIP process 'not fit for purpose'

Arthritis Today Winter 2017 Issue 174A man looking at paperworkThe problems experienced by many people with arthritis when trying to access Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are highlighted in Supporting Those Who Need It Most?, a hard-hitting report from the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) – a group of more than 80 national organisations, including Arthritis Research UK.

PIP is a source of financial support designed to help people manage the extra costs they may face when living with a disability or long-term condition. It provides a lifeline to many people with arthritis. However, this new report exposes a PIP system not fit for purpose in its current form, with many describing a stressful and complex process which fails to recognise the often invisible and fluctuating nature of arthritis.

More than 1500 people with arthritis shared their experiences in the DBC survey which informed the final report. Every story told gives people with arthritis a louder voice, ensuring decision makers understand more about the realities of the current benefits system. Debs, an Arthritis Research UK campaigner, is in her 40s and has had arthritis since childhood. She features in the report: "When I wake up I'm in pain instantly. I try to stay active, but use a walking stick all the time now. When I got to the stage where I couldn’t get low enough to get into my car I became housebound for two years.

"I applied for PIP in 2014 and was assessed as being eligible for the Motability scheme, which meant I could lease an adapted car. This gave me back my independence. It was groundbreaking for me."I was told I no longer qualified for my Motability Car. The decision wasn’t logical or fair."Debs, an Arthritis research UK campaigner

"However, after an early reassessment I was told I no longer qualified for my Motability Car. The decision wasn’t logical or fair, as I’d got significantly worse since my first assessment. I was given hardly any time to work out whether I could come up with thousands of pounds to buy the car outright, or give it back and be left with no transport.

"I decided to appeal the decision, and months later found out I’d won. But the whole process was incredibly distressing. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this, which is why I shared my story in the report. It’s important decision makers know what is, and isn’t, working."

A new inquiry

Just weeks after the report was published, the Work and Pensions Committee launched a new inquiry into the application, assessment and appeals processes for PIP and Employment Support Allowance (ESA). We hope this marks a positive step towards improving the benefits system for people with arthritis, and we are committed to working closely with the government to make this happen.

We’re also calling for your continued support to keep this issue at the forefront of policy-makers’ minds. You can get behind this campaign by sending the report to your MP, asking them to make it easier for people with arthritis who need it to access PIP.

Want to campaign? Join our network and call for change

Campaigning brings people together to call for change. Whether you live with arthritis every day, love someone who has arthritis, or simply feel strongly about these issues, you can get involved.

We want to put the needs of people with arthritis at the heart of the government’s plans, leading to real policy change that improves quality of life for everyone affected by arthritis. Whether you email your MP, sign a petition, answer a survey, attend an event or share your story, your actions can help us make a difference.

Sign up to our campaigner network today and we’ll keep you up to date with what we’re doing and how you can get involved or contact our campaigns team at to find out more.

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