Disability Discrimination Text On Typewriter Paper. Image Credit: PhotoFunia.com

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) system, while intended to provide essential support to individuals with disabilities, has faced criticism for perpetuating discrimination and violating human rights. The assessment process, often rigid and inflexible, fails to adequately account for the diverse needs and experiences of disabled individuals, leading to unjust denials and insufficient support. This systemic failure exacerbates existing inequalities and undermines the fundamental principles of equality and dignity enshrined in human rights frameworks. Discrimination within the PIP system not only deprives individuals of their rightful entitlements but also perpetuates stigma and marginalization, further entrenching barriers to full participation in society. Addressing these issues is not only a matter of legal obligation but also a moral imperative to uphold the inherent dignity and worth of every individual, regardless of their disability.

The denial of disability benefits in the UK has sparked outrage and concern. The refusal of essential financial assistance to individuals battling cancer, arthritis, and coping with limb amputations paints a troubling picture of the challenges faced by some of the most vulnerable members of society.

A recent analysis of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) disability benefit data for England and Wales has shed light on the alarming reality that nearly 40% of applicants are being denied the support they desperately require. Among these applicants are individuals struggling with life-altering conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and the aftermath of amputations, whose needs for financial assistance are undeniably pressing.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has come under intense scrutiny following the revelation that thousands of deserving applicants have been turned down for PIP between August 2023 and January 2024. This period has highlighted a concerning trend wherein individuals with debilitating illnesses like cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and emphysema are being denied the support they need to navigate their daily lives with dignity and security.

The denial of disability benefits to those battling cancer is particularly distressing. Cancer patients often face a myriad of physical and emotional challenges, including debilitating symptoms, extensive treatments, and financial strain. For many, the PIP serves as a lifeline, offering crucial financial assistance to alleviate the burdens associated with their illness. However, the DWP’s refusal to extend this support to cancer patients reflects a callous disregard for their plight and underscores systemic flaws within the benefits assessment process.

Similarly, individuals struggling with arthritis, a chronic condition characterized by joint inflammation and pain, find themselves unjustly denied the support they need to manage their condition and maintain their independence. Arthritis can severely impact mobility and daily functioning, making financial assistance through PIP essential for accessing aids and adaptations that enable individuals to lead fulfilling lives despite their condition.

Moreover, the denial of disability benefits to amputees highlights the inadequacies of the current system in recognizing the challenges faced by individuals adjusting to life with limb loss. Amputation is a life-altering experience that requires significant adaptation and support, both physical and emotional.

Pip Assessment Exposes Struggles of Those with Fluctuating Conditions Amid Government Cutbacks

The PIP assessment, a crucial component of the disability benefits system, is designed to evaluate applicants’ ability to perform specific activities related to daily living and mobility. However, recent figures have shed light on the challenges encountered by individuals with fluctuating conditions, whose ability to carry out these activities may vary significantly over time. This inconsistency in functioning poses a unique barrier for these individuals during the assessment process, often leading to unjust denials or inadequate support.

The government’s decision to focus on curbing spending on PIP comes amidst a backdrop of rising claims related to mental health conditions such as anxiety, autism, and ADHD. While these conditions are undoubtedly deserving of recognition and support, the government’s approach risks overlooking the needs of individuals with fluctuating physical conditions, whose challenges may be equally debilitating but less visible.

In light of these developments, it is crucial to recognize the myriad ways in which a disability can impact an individual’s ability to carry out daily activities independently. For individuals with conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS), the challenges can be particularly profound, affecting various aspects of their daily lives.

Here are 20 things a person may struggle to do themselves if they have a disability:

  1. Walk long distances without assistance
  2. Stand for extended periods
  3. Climb stairs without support
  4. Lift heavy objects
  5. Maintain balance while performing tasks
  6. Drive a car safely
  7. Prepare meals independently
  8. Bathe or shower without assistance
  9. Dress themselves without difficulty
  10. Use the restroom without assistance
  11. Write legibly
  12. Use fine motor skills for tasks like buttoning clothes or tying shoelaces
  13. Maintain concentration for extended periods
  14. Remember important information or appointments
  15. Sleep without disturbances due to pain or discomfort
  16. Engage in physical activities such as sports or exercise
  17. Travel independently on public transportation
  18. Shop for groceries or household items without assistance
  19. Manage finances and bills effectively
  20. Socialize and participate in community events without barriers.

For individuals with MS and other fluctuating conditions, the ability to perform these tasks can vary significantly from day to day, making it challenging to accurately assess their needs through a one-time evaluation. As such, a more flexible and nuanced approach to the PIP assessment process is essential to ensure that individuals with fluctuating conditions receive the support they require to live with dignity and independence.

The recent spotlight on the struggles faced by individuals with fluctuating conditions during the PIP assessment process underscores the need for a more inclusive and responsive approach to disability benefits in the UK. As the government moves to address concerns over rising claims, it must not lose sight of the diverse needs of individuals with disabilities, including those with fluctuating conditions like multiple sclerosis. Only by recognizing and addressing these challenges can we build a welfare system that truly serves all members of society, regardless of their health status or condition.

The ramifications of the denial of disability benefits extend far beyond the individuals directly affected, reverberating throughout their families and communities. Financial insecurity can exacerbate stress and exacerbate health conditions, creating a vicious cycle of decline that undermines the well-being of those affected and places additional strain on already stretched healthcare services.

Addressing this crisis requires urgent action from policymakers and the DWP to overhaul the benefits assessment process, ensuring that it is fair, transparent, and sensitive to the needs of vulnerable individuals. Additionally, greater investment in support services and resources for those with disabilities is essential to provide holistic support and empower individuals to live with dignity and independence.


The denial of disability benefits to individuals battling cancer, arthritis, and coping with limb amputations is a grave injustice that demands immediate attention. By failing to provide essential support to those in need, the DWP is perpetuating hardship and undermining the principles of compassion and solidarity upon which the welfare state is founded. It is imperative that steps are taken to rectify this situation and ensure that all individuals, regardless of their health status, are able to access the support they require to live full and meaningful lives.

The contradiction within the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) system becomes evident in its conflicting messaging regarding the purpose of the benefit. On one hand, PIP asserts that eligibility is determined based on what individuals are able to do, assessing their ability to perform specific activities related to daily living and mobility. However, this emphasis on functionality is contradicted by the insistence that PIP payments are intended to cover the costs associated with disability, such as aids, adaptations, and additional living expenses. This duality raises questions about the true criteria for receiving PIP support—whether it is contingent on an individual’s abilities or the financial impact of their disability. By failing to reconcile these conflicting narratives, the PIP system undermines its own coherence and leaves applicants uncertain about the basis on which their entitlements are assessed.

Citation: Revealed: people with cancer, arthritis and amputations among 40% denied disability benefits