Munira Wilson, MP for Twickenham, brought together local people with disabilities, their advocates, and Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson, so that he could hear about their experience of accessing the benefits system first-hand.
The roundtable event was an opportunity for charities, that support people with disabilities to access the benefits system, to directly challenge the Minister over its failings.
Advisors and trustees from Richmond Aid, Richmond Mencap and RUILS all gave examples of how the current system fails some of the most vulnerable. These local charities work tirelessly to support people to live independent lives and their expertise is vital in improving the system.
Following the meeting, Munira Wilson said:
“It was upsetting to hear how the current system forces people to continually justify their need for support, even when they have long term and severe disabilities.
“The requirement to repeatedly produce medical evidence, which GPs often charge to provide, is costly, time consuming, and upsetting for many people. The application forms are excessively complicated and put great stress on often vulnerable people, or their families.
“It is so important to hear directly from service users about their experiences. Following events like this, the Government must listen and improve the PIP application process. I will continue to be an advocate for people with disabilities in Parliament and hold the Government to account as the Health and Disability Green Paper progresses.”
Philip Moshi, Trustee from Richmond Mencap commented:
“The social security system must provide people with stability and long-term security and not force them to undergo continual reassessment.”
Esther Mmbago Advice Manager at Richmond AID said:
“We are pleased that we had the opportunity to express and share the concerns and experiences of our disabled clients, with the Minister. Our hope is that voluntary organisations like ourselves will be recognised as vital in shaping the upcoming Green Paper. We look forward to continued opportunities to share our valuable front-line experience”