10 February 2020
North Down DUP MLA Gordon Dunne has welcomed a commitment from the Communities Minister to improve the process for those applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The MLA added
‘I welcome the commitment from the Communities Minister that a number of key recommendations from the first Personal Independence Payment review have been implemented to improve the process for those applying for PIP. The application process for those applying for PIP can be a difficult and stressful time and the independent review carried out by Walter Rader in 2018 proposed a number of recommendations to improve the process. As someone who took part in the review consultation process along with a number of local community groups I appreciate the genuine desire for the process to be improved. I am pleased that the Communities Minister has now confirmed that a number of these recommendations have been implemented, including the introduction of audio recording of the PIP assessments, as well as the introduction of Sign Language to assist the deaf and those with hearing difficulties through the process.
There has also been some work done by the Department (DfC) in improving access for those with mobility needs and more flexibility around the appointment process. I am also pleased to note that awareness sessions have taken place across Northern Ireland in conjunction with Capita, Advice NI, The Law Centre and the Department. It is important that the PIP process is fair and accessible for those who genuinely need it and I believe it is essential that the process is kept under review and enhanced where possible for all concerned.’