DWP crashes to another court defeat over sickness benefits

The High Court has just ruled that a rule allowing the Department for Work and Pensions to force some benefit claimants to wait – unpaid – for a mandatory reconsideration before they can appeal against refusal is unlawful. The system previously demanded that, if a claim for income-related Employment and Support Allowance was refused, claimants would have to wait for a “mandatory reconsideration” of their case to take place before they could appeal. This could take weeks, and has often taken months, in which the claimant – who is claiming…

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

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…

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UK benefit policy is to ‘save money by ensuring people die waiting for claims to be processed’

The Conservative Government has been challenged to let experts analyse the effects of its policies on benefit claimants, following the publication of – extremely limited – mortality figures in August. Disability studies specialist and disability activist Samuel Miller has written to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, and employment minister Priti Patel, asking whether they would co-operate if epidemiologists – experts in studying the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations such as benefit claimants – requested permission to conduct a thorough investigation of…

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The increasing death toll due to the loss of benefits

The following article is set to appear as an update to the latest petition on Change.org by This Writer, Maggie Zolobajluk and Gill Thompson, for the government to implement the recommendations put to it, ensuring that no benefit claimants are left unable to support themselves due to withdrawal of payments, and that a broad, independent review of the system should be enacted. In support of the petition, Maggie has written the following: The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) published guidance to job centre officials who decide whether claimants should…

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Successful ‘fit for work’ appeals add to evidence against ‘work capability assessment’ system

How long will the Conservative Government continue to resist calls to scrap its nonsense ‘work capability assessment’, while publishing evidence that shows it should go? This week, the DWP published statistical evidence showing that the number of Employment and Support Allowance claimants who won an appeal against a ‘fit for work’ decision hit its highest-ever rate between April and June last year – the last three months for which the numbers were available. The DWP has argued that the actual number of appeals has plummeted, but the fact is that this happened after…

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Remember the ESA deaths when you are voting

The Disability News Service has reported Vox Political‘s victory over the DWP, whose officers have less than a month to report the total number of deaths involving people claiming Employment and Support Allowance between November 2011 and May 2014. The article quotes John McArdle, co-founder of campaigning organisation Black Triangle, who said the updated statistics would be vital: “When the truth comes out about the devastation that this has caused, the whole of society will be absolutely appalled.” Rick Burgess, co-founder of New Approach, which campaigns to scrap the fitness for…

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Benefit deaths: IDS lies while DWP evades

The Department for Work and Pensions has commented on this blog’s success in forcing it to reveal the number of Employment and Support Allowance claimants who have died between November 2011 and May 2014. Readers of this blog will recall that the DWP had refused a Freedom of Information request, made in May last year, but the Information Commissioner’s Office upheld an appeal that used its own rules to demonstrate that the Department had been wrong in law. The comment appeared in an excellent article by Ros Wynne-Jones of the…

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Rachel Reeves’ weak speech has little to offer but social insecurity

Was anyone else underwhelmed by Rachel Reeves’ speech in this years Labour conference? Not by the promise to take the Bedroom Tax off the statute books, obviously. That has been a settled part of Labour policy since, well, since it landed on the statute books back in 2012. We should not take it for granted, though – and we must always remember that the Bedroom Tax won’t be going anywhere if the Blue Meanies manage to hang on to control after May next year. But is anybody really convinced by her…

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DWP Figures Reveal Shocking Delays In Sickness Benefit Decisions – Welfare News Service

Following on from the article Over 90% fall in JSA & ESA appeals as process made more difficult – Benefits and Work comes the following from the Welfare News Service: Only 19% of sick and disabled people have received an outcome on their sickness benefit claims they made last year, damning new figures reveal. Government figures released today [Thursday] show that 40% of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claims between October 2013 and December 2013 were still undergoing assessment – no final decision has yet been made. This instantly raised…

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Over 90% fall in JSA & ESA appeals as process made more difficult – Benefits and Work

The DWP’s attempts to make it as difficult as possible to appeal a benefits decision appear to be succeeding, according to the latest tribunal statistics released today, according to the Benefits and Work blog. There has been a drop of 92% in employment and support allowance (ESA) appeals and 93% in Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) appeals in April to June 2014 compared to the same period last year. A new system of mandatory reconsiderations before appeals was introduced by the DWP for ESA and JSA on 28 October 2013. Some of…

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