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A record 72% of disabled claimants challenging their benefit health assessment are now successful at tribunal stage. The latest figures released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) today will send groans through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The data released shows that of the 20,133 claimants who appealed to the Tribunal over their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) award, 14,581 were successful in having the DWP’s decision overturned.
The Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) figures paint a similar picture.
13,508 claimants challenged their original ESA award and the Tribunal found in favour of 9,684 of them.
The latest figures are for Tribunals held between July and September 2018 but they paint a similar picture to previous reports.
Assessments must change
The number of people appealing their original decision and winning will reinforce calls that the assessment system changes.
Currently the face to face stage is carried out by a private contractor such as CAPITA or Atos. The information they gather is then passed to a DWP decision maker, with no medical background, for them to decide the claimants award.
I myself have experienced an assessment by Atos. Despite suffering from Neurological and Mental Nealth conditions, an Occupational Therapist was sent to assess me.
They had no idea what my neurological condition entailed and their final assessment report was a piece of fiction.
I appealed and just before the Tribunal was due, the DWP backed down admitting the decision would have caused
“damage to your mental and physical health.”
Shadow Minister for Disabled People, Marsha De Cordova MP issued this response to the statistics;
“The cruel Work Capability Assessment is not fit for purpose.
“More than two thirds of fit for work decisions are overturned at appeal, revealing the shocking inaccuracy of assessments that have a huge impact on the lives of disabled people. This Government is forcing disabled people through traumatic appeals processes to access vital social security they need.
“Labour in government will scrap this punitive assessment and introduce a tailored and personalised framework that treats disabled people with dignity.”
Despite the PIP assessment not being called a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), I have clarified with Labour that the MP was also including this when stating Labour will scrap the assessment.
The DWP responded to my request for comment by saying;
“Since PIP was introduced 3.7 million decisions have been made but just 5% have been overturned.”
They did not address my question on the effectiveness of Work Capability Assessments (WCA)s.
Amber Rudd must act
Unless Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd wants to end up with a legacy like her predecessor, she will have to take action and resolve the broken system.
I’m not optimistic to be honest. Rudd has already shown that even when confronted with damning evidence, she just shoots it down with the usual rhetoric.
Before I go
Before I go I like to ask if you could visit the Welfare Rebellion website. Too many people are suffering and we need to do something about it. Regional groups have already been established a d high profile backers are in place.
Visit it at: https://www.welfarerebellion.org
On twitter at @WelfareRebelHQ
This is a peaceful movement who don’t care about your political beliefs just your humanity.