Sinn Féin Local Government Candidate Leanne Peacock has welcomed confirmation that the Public Services Ombudsman is to launch an investigation into the handling of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefits.
Miss Peacock was commenting after the Ombudsman Marie Anderson announced that her office would use new powers to probe how the Department of Communities has been processing the benefit which replaced the Disability Living Allowance.
Miss Peacock said, “A series of recent cases have exposed the cruel and arbitrary nature of the PIP assessments being carried out by Capita on behalf of the Department for Communities. However, these serious issues are coming up day in, day out in my work in our North Antrim Constituency Office and are having a severe impact on the most vulnerable individuals in our local community and across the north.”
I do not believe that there is any possible justification for the cruel way in which many of these assessments are being conducted.
“The inexplicable scoring of severely disabled people has also caused considerable and understandable public anger.
“A Sinn Féin delegation met with the Ombudsman in December to ask for an investigation into the way the assessments are being carried out.
“It is our view that the department and Capita are failing in their duty of care to vulnerable people.
“I very much welcome thiss announcement by the Ombudsman because it is absolutely clear that the roll-out of PIP assessments needs to be probed and these cruel and unnecessary checks brought to an end.”