By Tim Rawlinson
The ‘managing the budget at a lower level’ disability benefits reform mantra designed to boot disabled people off benefits to meet targets, has exposed further this week as reports have emerged that more than 16,000 claimants saw their appeals successfully reverse a Personal Independence Payment decision within the first three months of 2019, which is 74% overturn rate of cases going to a tribunal.
The average wait for an (often disabled) claimant to reach the appeal hearing stage is 31 weeks, often leaving them without the money they are entitled too for the entire time. As well as this, the Government previously admitted that the cost of managing appeals costs more money than it saves, clocking it at £199 million of tax payers money being spent by the DWP challenging appeals against the system. The FOR PROFIT limited companies that run the assessments based on DWP guidance have also recently had their contracts extended by £600 million.
James Taylor of disability charity Scope, said: “Yet again, success rates for both PIP and ESA appeals are at a record high, despite continuous warnings that the system is not fit for purpose.
“The publication of these appeal statistics is becoming like Groundhog Day.
“Disabled people who rely on these financial lifelines to live independently and be part of their community are being failed by the system.
“The assessments for PIP and ESA must be overhauled to iron out the mistrust, lack of transparency and routine inaccuracies which disabled people report on a weekly basis.”
Despite all the claims from the DWP that they have changed the system for the better, the long waits and stress piled on the most vulnerable in society still exists and people experiencing the system continue to be subjected to the most inhumane process inflicted on them by a system that claims to be for them, but the odds are stacked up against them.