Belfast Telegraph

New system is failing to comprehend conditions, claims Parkinson's charity

By Staff Reporter

Parkinson's UK has hit out at the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment, claiming the people it helps are being "forced through a broken assessment process that fails to understand their condition".

The charity's NI Campaigns officer, Caroline McEvoy, said people living with the condition are going through stressful assessments, only to be turned down and then being successful at an appeal.

Local woman Wilma Johnston, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2014 at the age of 53, has described how she felt "humiliated and embarrassed" when she was turned down.

Wilma officially retired in November 2015 on the grounds of ill-health.

"I needed to use a walking stick and my fine motor skills deteriorated so that I found it difficult to dress myself, to prepare food, lift pots, wash my hair, pack my shopping bag, and get money out of my purse," she said.

"On the day of my interview for PIP I answered the questions using the information contained in my application form. I was then asked to complete some simple exercises, but was told I could hold on to the table to help with my balance. I was turned down - my score was 0 points."

However, the decision was reversed on appeal.

"Although I was unhappy about having to go through the process again, I knew that in principle it was the right thing to do as I have a degenerative condition.

"I was surprised to receive a letter a few weeks later confirming that I had been awarded both the daily living and mobility parts of the payment."

Belfast Telegraph

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