Judith Cochrane MLA said: “Alliance have raised concerns about many aspects of the Welfare Reform Bill, both in the Assembly and Westminster. When scrutinising the proposed changes it is clear that there is a limited amount that we can amend due to the constraints of parity, but where we can make changes we must to help protect the most vulnerable.
“One of the main concerns I have with the Personal Independent Payment assessment process is the extra pressure it will put on people. I welcome the fact that the assessments will be carried out by healthcare professionals but would urge Capita, the company that will run the assessments, to ensure that, similar to Central England and Wales that they will carry out home assessments where necessary. This could make a real difference to those who find the new process particularly stressful.
“While we may not be able to change vast amounts of the Welfare Reform Bill, I do hope that the PIP assessment of a person’s ability to live independently, can be delivered in as flexible a manner as possible to make it a smooth, independent and fair process for claimants.”