DWP 'rejecting' PIP claimants because they 'smile during assessment'

A woman says she was rejected for Personal Independent Payment (PIP) because she had a degree and smiled during her assessment. The woman has hit out at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after being denied PIP.

Kate, who suffers from anxiety, depression and PTSD, as well as having autism, and attempted suicide twice was rejected for personal independent payment (PIP) following a review for “having a university degree” and smiling during the assessment.

She told i: “Their reasons for rejecting my PIP were that I had a university degree and that I had been smiling during the assessment – which I don’t actually remember doing at all. I laughed politely at the end of the assessment because the assessor made a joke about my T-shirt.

READ MORE UK braced for 'first' 30C heatwave of year and it will last 72 hours

“They tried to say that my anxiety had clearly diminished by the end of the assessment. But even if I did smile or laugh, are they saying people with anxiety and depression can’t ever smile or laugh?” She spoke out to shed light on the "fearful" PIP scheme.

“There is this rhetoric that people on PIP are lazy, workshy, greedy individuals who want to extort the state and sit on their backsides all day watching television or messing around on social media,” she said. “But this couldn’t be further from the truth and the PIP system instills fear into people.”

Kate eventually had the PIP tribunal in January 2017 and was given enhanced PIP for one element of it. If the DWP didn’t change their decision when you asked them to look at it again, you can appeal to an independent panel, called a tribunal.

The tribunal looks at the evidence from both sides, then makes a final decision. The tribunal is part of the court system - it’s not part of the DWP.