The DWP can’t be trusted to get benefit decisions right – so let’s speed up the appeal process

Department for Work and Pensions: Not to be trusted to judge benefit claims?

There are two sides to this question.

On one, as “some researchers” mentioned in the Disability News Service article – quoted below – make clear, DWP decision-makers are said to be upholding too many of the recommendations by discredited government contractors Atos and Capita.

But on the other, we are faced with the possibility of DWP decision-makers deciding cases on a political basis, under orders from the Conservative government – and we know that those orders would be to fail a high percentage of claims.

From This Writer’s point of view, it seems the appeal process is vital; it is its slowness that should be questioned.

Claimants have to go through a process called Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) before they can even start an appeal against a wrong decision, and this can leave them penniless and struggling to survive for months at a time.

This is highly prejudicial against innocent people who have made their benefit claims in good faith, and whose health may suffer in the time they are forced to wait.

I would call for MR to be scrapped and the appeal process to be sped up, for the sake of claimants’ health.

New figures show that Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants are questioning only a tiny proportion of the benefit assessment reports written by discredited government contractors Atos and Capita.

Campaigners have been trying for months to secure evidence that would explain why such a high proportion of personal independence payment (PIP) claims that are taken to appeal are successful.

Figures from social security tribunals show the proportion of claimants who won their PIP appeals rose by seven percentage points in a year, from 64 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 to 71 per cent in the same period of 2017-18.

The new figures, secured by Disability News Service (DNS) through a freedom of information request, may help to explain why so many appeals are successful.

Source: DWP figures provide fresh evidence to explain PIP claim rejections

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8 thoughts on “The DWP can’t be trusted to get benefit decisions right – so let’s speed up the appeal process

  1. the ramblings of a deluded mind

    Just as a side note here .. The official figures may only be counted for the Citizens Advice Bureau wins. However if it is true for all appeals, I wonder how the advice centre I am involved with skew’s the numbers. I am a member of F.A.C.E (Fight Challenge Appeal Everything. it is based in Liverpool and this year has a 100% win rate and, since it has been in existence, it has a 99% record of wins. the last 1% were returned to the Gestapo (DWP) for a review and proper assessment and decision. how many of those returned and won is unknown but, i think they were awarded in the claimants favour second go round.

  2. Dan

    I’ve long had an idea that these things should be decided by a panel instead of an individual. The panel would, for argument’s sake, be made up of one DWP decision maker and two or more long term claimants, the final decision to be carried by majority vote. Thoughts?

  3. Wanda Lozinska

    Previously, people would be placed on JCA whilst they awaited their appeal, so they would at least have some money coming in.

  4. Wanda Lozinska

    I know of someone who is too ill to attend her assessment. The DWP told her it will take time to arrange a home visit and that her benefits will be stopped until then.
    The Tories’ idea is that this system will encourage people to get a job! However it has the opposite effect as the stress and lack of money with which to buy food and heat homes (in the winter) makes people even more ill and delays their recovery. Just plain cruel.

  5. Jeffrey davies

    Hmm don’t forget those 180 dwp people who be at the tribunal trying to sway the tribunal their way how quaint is that all part of their aktion t4 stopping benefits

  6. Terminator

    Decision Makers are nothing of the sort the nurse who assessed me said I would get an award and I did. Enhanced on both parts, but she also said she hadn’t ever heard of my condition. How do you assess a condition you have never heard about?

  7. Carol Fraser

    It’s highly likely that the people employed to do this work are not up to the job. That applies to the immigaration department in the Home Office so it’s probably the the in the DWP

  8. Jackie

    No, the appeal process does not need to be faster. The companies that manage this process should be terminated and the process put back into fully accountable public ownership. I worked for DHSS in the 70s and 80s and our decisions were rarely appealed – we had no targets to refuse payment and our office culture was generally about supporting claimants. The Job Centre next door was about helping people find work. We weren’t perfect, I was there when Thatcher took away the earnings-related supplement and our claimants must have suffered when we went on strike to try to preserve it, but we bloody-well tried hard. People could phone us and call into the office for help and we had visiting officers. We had faces and names and accountability. It’s not the appeal process that’s at fault, it’s the core process.

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