Protesters against disability benefit cuts hold banners near parliament [Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP].

We have been here before.

The Commons Work and Pensions Committee has heard about flaws in the benefit assessment process many times – whether it be for ESA or PIP.

Has it made a blind bit of difference to Tory policy? No.

All that has happened is the Tories have responded to complaints by finding more ways of isolating and victimising the sick and disabled, rather than giving them the help they need.

No doubt they will turn on the W&P committee and say the number of appeals has fallen rapidly since they introduced the mandatory reconsideration process – a delaying tactic that means claimants must wait without benefits, possibly for months at a time, while DWP decision-makers decide whether an initial decision was wrong.

If benefit is still refused at the end of mandatory reassessment, the starving claimant, who may also have been evicted (or in danger of eviction), must then decide whether to go through a possibly-lengthy appeal process – again, with no cash to live on – or find alternative income.

Some might commit suicide through desperation and/or despair.

Whatever the outcome, the Tories will blithely claim that none of it is their government’s fault.

And you see, with the government controlling the nature of the information recorded about benefit assessments and claimants, it can ensure that no evidence to the contrary is available.

Twisted? Certainly. Corrupt? Definitely. And it seems the W&P committee can do nothing to change it.

As many as four out of five cases where a claimant has been denied disability benefits are overturned on appeal because of systemic failures in the initial assessment process, MPs have heard.

Frontline welfare advisers told the work and pensions select committee that the personal independence payment (PIP) process was “inherently flawed”, resulting in thousands of wrong decisions and causing widespread harm and distress to claimants.
In some cases, a decision not to award a PIP was overturned by a tribunal after it had taken account of medical evidence from doctors about the claimant’s condition that had been ignored by officials during the initial assessment.

Source: Disability benefits process is ‘inherently flawed’, MPs told | Society | The Guardian

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