Petition wants the controversial system to be halted to be replaced with the old one
Personal Independence Payments (PIP) should be scraped and Disability Living Allowance reintroduced, according to an online campaign.
The 38 Degree petition has nearly 5,500 signatures backing the call which also demands an “end to discrimination in Disability Benefit Assessments especially where invisible disabilities are the main or only presenting issue.”
Siobhan Winter-Smith, who created the petition, said: "PIP assessments are not fit for purpose.
“They are especially unfit where non-physical disability predominates. The result is that people who used to qualify under DLA, and whose condition may actually have deteriorated, are suddenly found not to fit the PIP 'criteria.'”
The petition follows a Channel 4 dispatches documentary showing the extent of the problems faced by disabled people in claiming benefits. The programme showed how people with "invisible disabilities" such as mental health issues, faced particular problems when assessed.
Winter-Smith added: “There is clear bias in these assessments and that constitutes discrimination against people with "invisible disabilities."
One who signed the petition wrote: “The government is smarting as a result of losing two Court cases re PIP last year. It seems it retaliated with plans to further tighten the eligibility criteria! That is nothing short of utterly despicable.
“We want a future real government to recognize the financial needs of all people with disabilities, don't we? We will want them to scrap PIP (and DLA for that matter ~ we don't care what it's called!) and do the right thing.”
And Franks S commented: “PIP is not being used to help people, it is being used to victmise them instead.”
It comes as MPs and patient groups this week called for an end to the repeated assessments that people with progressive diseases must undergo in order to qualify for disability benefits.
Thousands of people with rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and other conditions will be retested this year to decide whether they are still eligible for PIP because of their disabilities.
But MPs and patient charities argue that repeated testing makes little sense for people with incurable diseases that are known to get progressively worse. According to the most recent figures from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), 3,500 people with progressive conditions were reassessed for PIP between April and October last year.
Carol Monaghan, the MP for Glasgow North West, said she was challenging four cases where patients with multiple sclerosis had been called in for reassessment despite their illness getting worse.
“MS is a progressive condition. They’re never going to be any better than they are at the moment, so they should never be asked to go for a reassessment,” she said.
“Some of these people are still able to walk to a certain extent, so they get themselves in, just about, and then they’re being told, ‘You look fine,’” she added.