North Down DUP MLA Gordon Dunne with local Community Representatives with Mr Walter Rader who is carrying out the PIP Review. Pictured L-R is: Les Nelson, Louise Little, Marilyn Toogood, Isabelle Hamilton, Walter Rader and seated Vivien Blakely and Heather Mathews

North Down DUP MLA Gordon Dunne has joined with local Community Groups to have their say on the ongoing review of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Mr Dunne who attended the meeting alongside a number of local Community Groups at the North Down Community Network Centre in Bangor added:

‘I was pleased to join with a number of local Community Groups within North Down to meet with Mr Walter Rader who has been recently appointed by the Department for Communities, to carry out a review of the implementation of the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP.) This new benefit has created changes for many people locally who have had to adapt to a new benefit system under welfare reform and some of these changes can have a significant impact upon people’s lives. The meeting was a useful opportunity for those impacted by this new system to engage with Mr Rader directly and explain some of the concerns which they had and allowed them the chance to bring forward ideas for improvement.
Some of the changes which the PIP has brought about can often have a negative impact upon the lives of the most vulnerable and their families and therefore it is essential that the Department is fully aware of the experiences of those within our community who rely on support for their daily lives. I have spoken and worked with many local people from across North Down who have had concerns around the changes and the impact changes could have on their daily lives and am continuing to assist those in need, helping them with forms, appeals and queries. Changes to benefit structures and allowances can often be a worrying time for people and it is important that a suitable system is in place to support those in real need and our most vulnerable.’
The purpose of the independent statutory review of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment in Northern Ireland is to provide The Department for Communities with an independent report evaluating: 
  • The operation of the PIP assessment, including issues that the Department has been made aware of since implementation;
  • PIP claimants’ experience of taking part in the assessment;
  • Perceptions of health care professionals and other staff involved in carrying out the assessment; and
  • How effectively Further Evidence is being used to assist the correct claim decision, exploring the balance between how much, and the type of, evidence sourced and what the claimant is asked to provide. 

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