A CHARITY boss says that disabled people are being treated as ‘inhuman’ by assessors when claiming benefits.

The Department for Work and Pensions is currently in the process of transitioning from its previous disability living allowance system to the new personal independence payments.

But a number of severely disabled people have seen their benefits cut following mobility and independence assessments as part of the switch to PIP.

Warrington Disability Partnership co-founder and chief executive Dave Thompson has spoken out over the issue after a young volunteer with the charity, who has cerebral palsy, was told that the money she received would be cut following her assessment.

In an impassioned plea on Facebook, which attracted dozens of shares and comments, Mr Thompson said: “I know from first-hand experience that transitioning from DLA to PIP causes a great deal of stress and anxiety.

“During the past couple of years since the introduction of PIP, I have met with a number of disabled people who have had to endure an appeals process that is humiliating, dehumanising, frightening and mentally and emotionally damaging.

“My friend was born with a severe disability and they have fought hard to be independent – only using their wheelchair when it is really necessary, relying on two walking sticks, handrails or a friendly arm to link.

“Their mobility assessment consisted of them walking across their small living room with the aid of their two walking sticks – the outcome was that they have been assessed as able to walk 50m.

“How can the PIP assessor have judged that after watching them struggle across a few metres in their living room?

“It is clear that the process has already had a hugely damaging effect on their mental health and wellbeing – I felt so annoyed, so frustrated and so upset for them, I didn’t know whether to scream or cry.”

Mr Thompson has pledged to support his colleague through the appeals process, which involves a court hearing.

He told the Warrington Guardian: “When I went through the process and interview, it was traumatic – all the way through it you’re reminded of all the things that you can’t do and I came out of there emotionally drained.

“This young colleague of mine is severely disabled so for an assessor to ask her to walk across her living room as a mobility assessment is ridiculous, because if you were with her for five minutes you would see what her mobility is like.

“One woman told me that her husband had an epileptic seizure half way through the assessment because he was so stressed, and the assessor ignored it and carried on – it beggars belief.

“They actually hear the appeals in tribunal rooms in criminal courts, which makes you feel as if you’re a criminal – but when they do hear appeals more than 80 per cent are being overturned in favour of the claimant.

“It’s very sad and it’s as though the government is asking us to apologise for being disabled.”