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The Conservative government’s policy of denying Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefits to people who qualify for it is causing a meltdown at the tribunal service.
The ‘Senior President of Tribunals’ Annual Report’ has revealed that “the rapid rise in appeal numbers has outstripped our ability to recruit and train sufficient numbers of panel members to keep pace”.
Despite a cynical attempt by the Tories to stop appeals by introducing a “mandatory re-assessment” phase in 2014, numbers have risen steadily – to 238,000 in 2018.
In that year, 46 per cent of PIP claimants transferring from DLA saw their payments either downgraded or cancelled – that’s around 435,620 claimants.
So a significant number of genuine claimants have indeed been discouraged by the draconian system the Tories have imposed – benefit fraud is negligible.
But that number is falling, year-on-year as appeals rise and HM Courts and Tribunals Service struggles to cope.
The Tribunals Service has been recruiting more panel members to try to cope with the increase in demand, with 130 new judges, 225 medically qualified members and 125 disability qualified members appointed in the last year.
And a pilot for a new online resolution system is due to begin soon.
The logical solution would be to reform the system in order to give the benefit to people who need it, rather than attempting to deny it by pretending that people don’t have disabilities when they clearly do.
Consider this case.
And this one.
Pensioners are still being targeted for pointless reassessments, with a view to cancelling their payments.
There are many more examples.
Nearly 8,000 people are known to have died within six months of being denied the benefit.
And that’s the point. The expense and inconvenience to the Tribunals Service is of no interest to the Conservative government.
This is a programme of elimination. The Tories are getting rid of people they consider to be “useless eaters” (as the Nazis in Germany used to describe people with disabilities).
Denying them the financial resources to support themselves means they are more likely to die.
And the more disabled people die, the happier the Tories will be.
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