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Personal Independence Payments: Applications

Volume 615: debated on Monday 17 October 2016

5. What support is available for people who require assistance to complete personal independence payment application forms. (906581)

Department for Work and Pensions visiting officers can assist people with the completion of their PIP forms in their own homes, as can family and friends. Claimants can also authorise another person or organisation to help them handle their PIP claim.

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer, but completing the forms can be a particularly difficult experience for those with mental health conditions. I was pleased to hear what the Secretary of State said earlier about reassessments, but what specific help and support is provided to that particular group of applicants?

We want to help people with the form as much as possible. That is why we give them up to a month to complete the return form, as well as additional time if they require it. We provide guidance online so that friends and family can look at it and go on to assist the person with the completion of the form. We also allow them to use their own words to describe their condition and to provide as much detail as they would like, or as much as their condition allows.

22. As chair of the all-party parliamentary groups on Parkinson’s and on motor neurone disease, I met the Minister’s predecessor, the hon. Member for North Swindon (Justin Tomlinson), many times. The problems of people with motor neurone disease and Parkinson’s are such that, often, by the time the form is in, their condition has progressed excessively. Will the Minister meet me and the charities associated with those conditions to discuss the issue? (906598)

There are opportunities in the Green Paper for exactly that sort of information to be fed back, and my hon. Friend the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work will be delighted to provide as much support as is needed.

My constituent John Mullen had been working abroad for two years when he fell ill earlier this year with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. When he came back to this country, he was told that he would not qualify for personal independence payments until January 2018. Given what the Secretary of State has said about relaxing the cuts in welfare payments, will the Minister look at his case personally and make sure that my constituent has the money that he needs right now?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, we cannot intervene in individual cases, but if he sends the detail of the specific problem with regard to those who have lived abroad and moved back, my hon. Friend the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work will be delighted to look at it.