THE DARK SIDE OF PIP
Declan, 26, from County Down in Ireland has been “buried alive” by Locked-in syndrome – but faced ‘ignorant questioning’ in a recent PIP assessment
The dad of one of “one of the most disabled people in Northern Ireland” has hit out at a controversial benefit scheme.
John McMullan, 50, said he was shocked by the scores in a recent PIP assessment for his son Declan, 26, who is “unable to move, talk, see or eat”.
Claiming he faced “ignorant questioning”, he said he feared what other disabled people might face during their assessments for the benefit, which is replacing Disability Living Allowance.
Belfast Live reports that are neurological condition that means he is unable to control his movements despite being fully aware.
He requires 24-hour care for the condition, which was triggered when his brain was starved from oxygen during an eight-minute cardiac arrest when he was 19.
When John recently received a letter informing him Declan must be reassessed for the new payment, he expected the change would be made without question.
He explained: “The form was very easy to fill in because Declan can’t do anything other than blink. He is unable to move, talk, see or eat.
“Doctors told us to imagine being buried alive – that is what Locked-in syndrome is.
“But three weeks later, I received a phone call from an assessor to ask questions.”
John claimed the assessor, who wanted to see Declan face-to-face, displayed a “total ignorance” of his condition.
He said: “In my opinion, I supplied ample evidence of Declan’s disability but I doubt they actually understood what is on that paper.
“I don’t think the people assessing are fit to be doing it.”
Declan achieved the full payment but John said he was shocked to see that he did not achieve full points for his daily living needs.
He said: “Declan cannot eat and is PEG fed yet the assessor only gave him 6 points out of 10 for the level of assistance he needs with eating and drinking.
“He cannot move at all, only blink, yet the assessor gave him just two out of eight points on whether he needs supervision or assistance managing his therapies.
“He got 2/8 for needing assistance making budgeting decisions and just 4/8 for needing support in social situations.
“If a GP is telling the government somebody is sick, who is an assessor to question the doctor’s judgement?
“How can a PIP assessor be properly qualified to override those doctors?
“Declan’s team include occupational therapists, social workers, nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and psychiatrists. A PIP assessor can’t be all of that.
“I knew Declan was never going to be turned down for PIP. It was just the stupidity of the process and the fact even he did not get full points.