PIP Breaches Human Rights
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I recently completed a course in Equality and Diversity and part of that course gives the student a major insight into the Human Rights Act.
Since completing the course I have realized the PIP Benefit breaches my Human Rights!
So, I want to say, the MUST be a disability benefit that is not means-tested. The reason for this is that it entices disabled people to work. Most people with disabilities must make a decision about what will work for them, working, or being on benefits. The reason for this is that when a disabled person works, from my own experience 50%-60% of the disposable income from the salary goes to doing things to keep them in work. Therefore, their ability to do basic things like getting new glasses, getting a haircut, buying new clothes becomes more an occasional extra rather than something that they can do on a regular basis. This is why a non-means-tested disability benefit is important. It would help reduce unemployment in the country and bring more money in taxes into the country.
Key fact for you to know about PIP, the Mail published an article in November 2020 which said 76% of appeals to decisions made by DWP are successful at court!
This is how this benefit system breaches my human rights and which articles the benefit system breaches;
- Article 3 “Freedom from torture and Inhumane and degrading treatment”. The way the benefit is set up especially the appeal process is degrading. You have to report seriously personal information into a form that you have random people reading instead of taking the medical evidence from the people who treat you. If you have to appeal you sit in a tribunal with a Judge, Medical Person, and a representative of the DWP. You have to prove why the assessment is wrong. My court case I had to talk to these 3 strangers and my solicitor and male DWP representative about my underwear. This is DEGRADING! You have to talk in open court which then becomes a public record about your toileting habits. AGAIN DEGRADING! This breaches my human rights.
- Article 6 “Right to a fair and public hearing”. Probably because so many people have to appeal their PIP decisions, you have to wait a LONG TIME to get a time in court. This again is not fair to people with disabilities. When I had to go to court, I had to wait 10 months for my court date. This is not fair and there is no support by the court system for disabled people. This is unfair especially when disabilities get worse. This is not fair!
- Article 8 “Respect for your private and family life”. Private life is defined in multiple ways but a key point to flag up is “This includes a right to participate in essential economic, social, cultural and leisure activities. In some circumstances, public authorities may need to help you enjoy your right to a private life, including your ability to participate in society.” If you go to court and get the extension the end of your claim is set instead of a renewal. You then have to go through the new claim process and lose your benefits. This benefit helps you to be able to do things like leisure activities, making friends and going out. It basically confines you to the house in my situation. In my case, it also means that after the pandemic I have to purchase items to help me to be able to go out again and because I now have to fight to get my benefits back once the pandemic is over I will be stuck inside and I will not be able to have a private life. This whole situation breaches my human rights.
- Article 14 “Protection from discrimination based on a protected characteristic”. This whole situation is discriminatory to people who are disabled. I am dyslexic and the large form you have to fill in, by hand, is difficult as my handwriting sucks, spelling and grammar is bad as well. Because I have shoulder issues filling this form is difficult because I have significant pain when I have to write a lot by hand. Because of my autism, I don’t always understand what is being asked of me because I am a literal person and there is no support for people in completing the form. The whole process is degrading and can affect my depression especially the rejection element. All the documents you get on this is written in legalese which is difficult for people with disabilities to comprehend and, the whole process ends up costing the disabled person money. The other fact is that if you ask for the assessment to be recorded, you can’t use the recordings from the assessment centers in court. This again links back to Article 6 and fair trial. This is key especially if part of what you claim in court is that your assessor was dismissive, how can you prove it if you are not allowed to use the recording. It is ridiculous and again discriminatory and breaches human rights.
Article 14 also means that this benefit breaches the Equalities Act 2010. The DWP needs to reform this benefit so that it no longer breaches people’s human rights.
I urge everyone, whether it is your first time applying for PIP or a renewal that has been denied, that you appeal and take it to court.
Stay safe and well out there people.