Benefits and Work has obtained a training pack issued to personal independence payment (PIP) health professionals, part of which presents a depressingly tabloid view of sick and disabled claimants.
One section of the pack explains what evidence should be gathered about a claimant’s ‘Social and occupational history’
There are just 283 words in this section. Yet 160 of those words focus on exploring the claimant’s use of alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs and their possible gambling habits.
The pack explains that:
‘Good evidence can be obtained during this part of the assessment for justifying descriptors 7, 8 and 10, so explore claimant responses as far as possible, i.e. if claimant likes to bet on the horses or football, he is likely to have skills in working out odds, read and interpret results, follow race/match on radio/TV/Internet (this all relates to activities 8 and 10). if he places bets by phone this could relate to activity 7.’
Activities 7, 8 and 10 are:
7. Communicating verbally.
8. Reading and understanding signs, symbols and words.
10. Making budgeting decisions.
We don’t know if the training material was created by Capita or provided for them by the DWP.
But what we are certain of, is that if this had been a pack about assessing the health of say teachers or doctors, the first example of a social activity that would have sprung to the writers mind would almost certainly not have been betting on the horses.