DWP’s enormous court costs are a FRACTION of what it spends pushing the disabled off benefits

The vast majority of appeals were lost by the Government last year and early indications now show the problem is becoming even worse in 2017.

The figures quoted below – and in the source article for which there is a link at the bottom – represent only a part of what the Department for Work and Pensions is spending on pushing as many people as possible (not just the sick and disabled) off of social security benefits.

Yes, the costs quoted here are bad enough, but what about the amount spent hiring private companies to run sickness and disability benefit assessments? It has long been established that they are expected to refuse a high percentage of applications, whether the claimant deserves the payments or not.

And what about the latest version of Workfare? What is it called now?

Add it all up and you’ll find the total cost comes to far more than £40 million, I reckon.

Ministers have spent almost £40m in an “appalling” attempt to stop sick and disabled people receiving the financial help they are entitled to.

Freedom of Information requests have exposed how taxpayers’ money has been spent on futile legal battles to prevent vulnerable people receiving help.

The hit to the public purse could also be far higher than the new data suggests because it is still unclear how much more the state spends running courts where sanctions are challenged.

The vast majority of appeals were lost by the Government last year, making the expense appear unnecessary. Early indications now show the problem is becoming even worse in 2017, with a 77 per cent rise in money spent trying to stop people from getting Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) payments.

New figures show that in 2016 the Government spent £22m processing claimants’ initial appeals against sanctions – a stage most people must pass through before they reach a tribunal.

It emerged earlier this year that government officials are given targets to reject four out of five initial appeals – known as mandatory reconsiderations – for some disability benefits.

Further data obtained by The Independent under Freedom of Information law shows the Government then spent a further £17m fighting cases in the courts that were not settled at the initial appeal stage, bringing the total appeals process cost to £39m last year.

In the same period the Government lost 62 per cent of the tribunal cases in which it was attempting to sanction a claimant’s ESA – which supports people when impairments prevent them working.

They also lost 65 per cent of the cases in the latter half of 2016, the most recent period for which figures are available, relating to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), a longer-term benefit.

But the defeats suffered by government lawyers are not persuading ministers of the need to change tack, with the figures actually pointing to a more costly appeals process in 2017.

Read more: DWP spends £39m defending decisions to strip benefits from sick and disabled people

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6 thoughts on “DWP’s enormous court costs are a FRACTION of what it spends pushing the disabled off benefits

  1. Dez

    I guess these twits believe that every so called expensive “win” means an additional number of potential claimants are prevented from legally claiming their rights both now and in the future.. I guess it is their belief that their interpretation is totally correct and there can be no other interpretation especially if it means paying out more benefits to the plebs from their very own benefits pots ….ie the Governments own personal fund pot has nothing to do with claimants and their benefits. Arrogant bunch of reptiles.

  2. Pension60Now

    It might help Labour to revise their Manifesto by ending the Jobcentre altogether, on top of ending Sanctions and Work Capability Assessments and the private assessment firms. Getting specialist charity help, once the Labour Manifesto end of the gagging laws, as direct employed by Labour government, like a CAB to help, not deny?

    Labour Manifesto has variable works pension age for those falling out of work in their 50s, manual workers. But the low and basic waged won’t have much works pension and so need the state pension money as well.

    Better to make men and women pensioners from 60, least chance of a new job and most likely to be still out of work 12 months later. Can claim state pension and remain in work or get another part time one, if health permits. Helps to do a low income little self employed job. And gets the vital pensioner vote for Labour, that will get the help of Labour’s Manifesto for all ages by Labour getting into government.
    Please could you sign, and share with your trade union to share in their newsletters, as they also win by a Labour government by repeal of the Tory trade union bill. Thanks.

    1. diabolicalme

      Lancet Psychiatry to be published this month :


      Proposals to officially record in psychiatric clinical notes the psychosocial factors contributing to mental illness/distress. A specific mention is made of the link between disability benefits reassessments (the WCA) and increase in suicide rates and mental health problems.

      I know at this stage it is only a proposal, but it’s something to be putting in print in a professional psychiatric journal, the link between disability reassessments and increase in suicide rates/mental ill health. Thank you Peter Kinderman.

      (Sorry not directly relevant to this particular article but didn’t know how else to get this info to you.)

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