We don’t know how many people were wrongly declared ‘fit for work’ – DWP figures are meaningless

Thousands of disabled people were wrongly found fit to work [Image: PA].

Here’s another example of how the Department for Work and Pensions distorts the facts.

This organisation is saying the number of cases brought to appeal was only a small proportion of the overall caseload – but we know that the DWP has measures in place to ensure that many wronged claimants are unable to get as far as making an appeal.

The DWP’s claims – about the number of successful appeals – are meaningless.

Has everybody forgotten about ‘mandatory reconsideration’ – the “delaying tactic” aimed at reducing the number of sick and disabled people claiming benefits?

Since October 2013, claimants of ESA and other benefits who want to dispute a decision made on their claim have had to ask DWP to reconsider the decision – a “mandatory reconsideration” (MR) – before they are allowed to lodge an appeal with the independent benefits tribunal system. Mandatory reconsideration is not restricted to those who are found ‘fit for work’, though, and claimants can use it to request re-classification from the Work-Related Activity Group into the Support Group, for example.

When it was introduced, DWP civil servants were overturning 40 per cent of ESA decisions. Figures published in June this year showed that this had fallen and only 11 per cent of those who appealed through the MR process – 10,000 people per month – were successful.

Campaigners said this showed the MR stage is simply delaying the benefits process, and pushing disabled people already at risk of poverty into greater hardship.

So we simply don’t know how many people were wrongly defined as fit for work by the DWP.

How many people are pushed into such hardship that they have to give up and accept a false decision that they should claim Jobseekers’ Allowance instead, even though they are not fit to work? We don’t know.

But this skews the appeal results, so the DWP’s claim – that the number of cases brought to appeal is just a small proportion of the overall caseload – is meaningless.

It’s just more nonsense doublespeak, like the claim that claimant suicides have nothing to do with the way they are treated by DWP staff.

Here’s how The Independent reported this story:

“Around 2,000 disabled people were wrongly judged to be fit to work by the DWP over the latest three month period, Department for Work and Pensions figures show.

“Most appeals against disability benefit fit-to-work decisions were successful in the period June 2016, where show 58 per cent of appeals were upheld.

“The number of appeals is also rising compared to the previous quarter, up from 3,400 to 3,600 – despite a falling overall caseload from 145,200 to 96,300.

“The DWP said the number of cases brought to appeal was only a small proportion of the overall caseload, while disability charities warned the numbers were a signal that the tests were not working.”

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7 thoughts on “We don’t know how many people were wrongly declared ‘fit for work’ – DWP figures are meaningless

  1. Angus Gordon-Farleigh

    It is beyond time that this country raises a new Oliver Cromwell ~ a (wo)man to really shake up and shake down this pernicious puppet government and the ‘one percent’ pulling its strings. Bring back Roundheads say I!

  2. Ana

    Government policies are designed to take off as many off welfare. Claimants’s deaths are irrelevant to the government, seen as collateral dammage. Noted the sickest, physical and/or mental are the easiest to erase. The system was designed to do just that. The only way to reverse the culling, is for the whole population to fully understand there is no safety net, and they too will suffer the consequences. Insurance system being introduced in the near future, will be just as ruthless. I am a victim of the system, living on borrowed on time, whilst I see some, in receipt of full benefits, with minor illnesses, go on holidays, given housing, manipulate the system, well informed. Serious life threatening degenerating illnesses, including cardiac patients are dying…..whilst others with mild conditions continue to thrive.

  3. Barry Davies

    The DWP figures of those back in work include all the sanctioned and those refused the help they need, to consider that those who win their tribunals as being the only ones wrongly denied the help they desperately need is wrong, because the so called work capacity assessment is such a narrow definition of disability that the majority decreed fit for work are actually suffering from more debilitating conditions than some who get it.

  4. tom warner

    If they had not changed IB to esa i for one would satisfy the criteria without issues, and there will without doubt be many of us

    But the MR process is designed to inflict financial hardship upto those who have failed the farce WCA , and has become nothing more than a tick box exercise with around only 10% of claims being revised , when it was first introduced this success figure was a lot higher

    Even the tribunal service isn’t perfect they to can get it wrong

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