The United Kingdom’s welfare state in practice: A case study of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

  • T Varshini


This paper is based on a volunteering experience at Merseyside Welfare Rights (MWR) from June 2015. It was possible to observe a range of procedures with regards to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) ranging from form filling, attendance of face-to-face assessments to observation of various tribunals. The hands on involvement indicated various difficulties faced by both advisors and claimants in obtaining access to PIP. As such, this research paper analyses if these challenges could be as a result of  differences that exist in theory and in practice in relation to the application process and accessing information for PIP, from the claimant’s point of view. Upon receiving ethics approval, primary research was obtained from four PIP claimants who were represented at their tribunal by MWR. Subsequently, empirical data were collated and these have indicated that there are indeed five key differences in theory and in practice with regards to the PIP. Namely that the PIP process is not as effective as it claims to be and that the application is not fit for its purpose. This paper also exemplifies how charities such as MWR have been used by claimants to bridge the gap that exists in theory and practice. With budget cuts reducing the funding of these bridges, it is clear that the coalition government needs to reform the PIP to ensure fairness and justice for its claimants.


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