East Belfast Alliance Councillor, Peter McReynolds, has said that assessments for Personal Independence Payments have caused great hardship and distress to people living with multiple sclerosis.
Councillor McReynolds was commenting on a report released by the MS Society following a survey of nearly 900 people living in the UK with MS.
Councillor McReynolds said: “As someone who has been living with MS for over six years I appreciate the anxiety and distress having this condition can cause. Fortunately, my condition does not impact significantly on my day to day life, but I know in many cases it can be life changing.
“It is disturbing to read in this report that around 61% of those surveyed felt their assessment did not give an accurate reflection of how MS affects them, while 55% who had a face to face assessment don’t believe their assessor had a good understanding of MS.
“I believe the PIP assessment process is completely failing people with MS. It is clear that because of the fluctuating symptoms of MS, the assessors simply do not understand the condition and the devastating impacts it can have on people.
Last year, around 83% of people with MS who appealed their PIP decision won their appeal. This is a clear indictment of the flawed process. It needs to be urgently reviewed and made fit for purpose, to protect and support those living with the condition.”