New figures published today reveal 69% of appeals against the disability benefit PIP are overturned at appeal – more than two in every three the MOST significant issue is that only 8 in every 100 disabled claimants do appeal their adverse disability benefit decisions
This shows without any ambiguity that the disability assessment process is not fit for purpose.Yet only 8% of disabled applicants appeal and that is the real issue and the one that the public and politicians do not get and I briefly explain below why this happens.
An article today in the Mirror that is doing the rounds on social media reveals the latest and highest ever 69% overturn rate. At the end of that article from which the picture and two short sentences follow and after the usual and correct concern over how disabled people are being shafted we find the ubiquitous and anonymous DWP spokesperson comment. This is what it says:
A DWP spokeswoman said: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support they’re entitled to. Since PIP was introduced more than 2.9 million decisions have been made, and of these 8% have been appealed and 4% have been overturned.”
Only 8 in every 100 disabled persons appeal! Why is that as it is well-known that consistently appeals have seen 2 in every 3 appeals and now more successfully overturn the not fit for purpose assessment process for PIP.
WHY do only 8 in every 100 cases appeal? Because there is scant support for them to appeal with (a) no legal aid to pay for this; (b) because an appeal is a lengthy time-consuming process and linked with that (c) appeals are NOT routinely undertaken by welfare rights agencies such as the CAB.
Let me be absolutely clear that is not a question of my having a go at CABx or other welfare rights agencies and going back to the DWP quote reveals why. Almost 3 million PIP decisions would mean up to 3 million appeals that need to be taken by welfare rights agencies and PIP is just one of many social security benefits that can be appealed.
In short disabled persons and indeed every social security benefit claimant is left high and dry by this lack of support capacity to appeal … which the DWP know full well and which the general public and politicians assume in huge error that CABx and other welfare rights agencies do advice and support claimants to appeal.
It is this lack of capacity and lack of funding that enables the DWP to shaft disabled persons with the not fit for purpose assessment process.
Let’s be absolutely clear that the Tories have been very clear that they want to reduce the disability spend and theri published impact assessment from 2012 says, again very clearly, that the replacement of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or DLA to PIP policy was created and knowingly formulated to take benefit away from half a million disabled households!
Below is the relevant section of the official impact assessment which is paragraph 19:
- Therefore, we expect around 500,000 fewer individuals to be in receipt of Personal Independence Payment by 2015/16 compared to what would have happened under DLA.
No ambiguity there.
The DWP in 2012 and before (when the Minister for Disability was Esther McVey who is now the full-blown Secretary of State at DWP) deliberately engineered the DLA to PIP policy to remove benefit from half a million disabled households.
This was around the same time that David Cameron was saying the true test of civil and Big Society (remember that!) was how it treats those who are disabled and around that time too the Tories removed legal aid for benefit appeals which prior to that saw welfare rights officers in almost every high street solicitors.
In summary disabled persons can’t appeal because the system engineered by the Tories means there is nobody to support disabled persons in appealing.
Finally as a postscript I have seen and read literally scores of articles such as the one in the Mirror today which says 63%/64%/65% and now 69% of adverse disability decisions (whether ESA or DLA/PIP) are overturned on appeal. Yet I have never seen one that discusses WHY vulnerable and shafted disabled persons do not appeal. That is THE issue which needs huge awareness and urgent and immediate redress and which this very short post explains.