One of the benefits targeted at those suffering from disabilities is the personal independent payments – PIP. This is designed for people with mobility issue to be able to receive financial help in getting around. This includes people with not just the obvious problems of mobility, but also those less obvious, for example people suffering from epilepsy.

Those who receive PIP are currently going through a re-evaluation of their needs to see if anything has changed and if they still need it or qualify for it. People are being asked to visit an assessment and they are scored according to various needs and skills and depending on their score, receive PIP or not.

This isn’t convenient to people and I have sympathy with those being asked to travel to the assessments. People are given the chance to appeal their scores and if they lose the appeal, they lose their PIP.

Constituents come to visit me in my surgery on a frequent basis and the problems are wide ranging. But recently, I have noticed an unusual number of people seeing me, or contacting my office, about the PIP reassessment process. It would be expected to get one or two people disputing their scores, or challenging a lost appeal, and I would normally help them to challenge again the process. But this recent pick up in complaints has, to me, signalled that things are not what they should be. I am in contact with the local Citizens Advice Bureau and they too have seen an unusual number of PIP complaints.

Earlier this week, I raised my concerns with the Work and Pensions Secretary, Damian Green. I’ve chatted about this with various colleagues and they were surprised that there were so many complaints in Wyre Forest. So was Damian Green. There is always several mistakes in assessments and this comes down to human errors or poor judgement by assessors, and the large number of assessments going on. These errors are, in the vast majority of cases, resolved by the appeals process. But the Wyre Forest cluster of complaints may be signalling that there is a more systemic problem here in Wyre Forest.

Damian has agreed that this is something that should be looked into and his department will be undertaking a review of the processes that affect residents here in Wyre Forest. It may be a statistical anomaly, but until we have some clear answers, I will keep fighting for those who need PIP.