If you were the UK Government, what would you spend £3 million pounds on? Lots of new nurses? New hospital equipment? Or would you waste it reassessing people with Parkinson's for disability benefits they've had for years?
It's hard to believe, but this is the reality for people with Parkinson's, who are losing long-term support under Personal Independence Payment (PIP) despite having a severe condition that will only get worse. And each time someone with Parkinson's is forced through an unnecessary reassessment to retain this financial lifeline, it costs the taxpayer £182.
PIP was supposed to help people manage the extra costs associated with Parkinson's and other conditions. This can include energy bills, taxis, special diets and equipment. For people with Parkinson's, these costs can amount to over £16,000 or more per year.
But in too many cases, PIP is failing those who need it most. Around a quarter of people with Parkinson's that have been reassessed from its predecessor Disability Living Allowance (DLA) have lost some or all of their support under PIP - with devastating consequences for their health, wellbeing, independence and financial situation.
Parkinson's UK is inundated with calls from people heartbroken at losing support, despite having had it for years under DLA. People have been forced to return specially adapted cars, and in some cases, risk having to give up work altogether, because they're no-longer able to get around.
Around two in three rejected claims for PIP taken to tribunals are overturned in favour of the person claiming - and we continue to hear stories of people with Parkinson's that have gone from being assessed as not eligible for support, to receiving the very highest rates of PIP following an appeal.
It's clear that PIP is failing people with Parkinson's at every turn.
That's why we're asking the DWP to do the common sense thing and protect people with Parkinson's from these stressful and unnecessary PIP assessments, if they previously received the highest rates of DLA, or permanent awards.
It's time for the Government to get a grip on PIP and stop throwing money at a system that isn't fit for purpose.
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