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People needing help with PIP appeals nearly doubles in a year

Citizens Advice Cymru says the number of people who have requested appeals help has risen by 86%. Credit: PA

The number of people in Wales seeking help to challenge the outcome of their Personal Independence Payments (PIP) assessment last year has nearly doubled.

The charity Citizens Advice Cymru says the number of people who have requested help with their appeals has risen by 86%.

PIP is a benefit that helps people to meet the extra costs of being disabled or having a long term health condition.

PIP was the most common advice issue Citizens Advice Cymru helped with last year. Credit: PA

More than 3,800 people asked the charity for advice on how they might overturn their PIP assessment decision in the year ending March 2017.

That is up from 2,059 in the year to March 2016.

To receive PIP people must have an assessment to work out the level of assistance they need.

Citizens Advice Cymru says 'flaws' with the system can result in some people being wrongly assessed.

The charity says problems reported about PIP assessments include confusion over what evidence to submit in advance, being rushed for time during the assessment and the wrong information being recorded by assessors.

In some cases it’s possible to reverse a decision by asking for a reconsideration.

If this doesn’t work people’s next option is to appeal their case at tribunal.

PIP was the most common advice issue Citizens Advice Cymru helped with last year.

Problems with PIP assessments mean many disabled people are not getting the support they need to get on with everyday life.

The sharp rise in the number of people wanting help to appeal their PIP assessment decision shows the process isn’t capturing the challenges disabled people face on a daily basis, and action is needed to make the system more accurate.

It’s crucial to get assessments right first time so that people aren’t unnecessarily put through the appeals process.

Not only are people being denied immediate support they need, but making an appeal can also be costly and time consuming.

– Fran Targett, Director of Citizens Advice Cymru

The Department for Work and Pensions says that only a 'small proportion' of decisions are overturned.

Only a small proportion of all decisions are overturned at appeal — just 4% of PIP assessments.

In the vast majority of successful appeals, decisions are overturned because the claimant provides new evidence to support their claim which they initially did not provide.

– DWP spokesperson