DWP owed man £10,000 reveals Money Buddies CEO
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More than a million disabled people have been wrongly turned away when trying to seek financial support. As well as causing distress and poverty, it is costing the Government a fortune in fighting unsuccessful appeals.
Express.co.uk recently highlighted how claimants say they have been turned down by the DWP, despite suffering from cancer, triple heart attacks, brain tumours, strokes and other debilitating illnesses.
We also exposed how the money people receive for PIP is set to crash in real terms, by as much as £67 a month as inflation rockets.
Now disabled charities have condemned the DWP for taking a hard-line approach to claimants, and all too often getting it wrong.
Personal Independence Payment is aimed at people who need help with daily activities or getting around because of a long-term illness or disability, and almost three million claim it.
There are two types of PIP. The daily living part for those who need help with everyday tasks, pays a lower rate of £61.85 a week and a higher rate of £92.40.
The mobility part, for those who need help getting around, pays either £24.45 or £64.50 a week. PIP is not means tested.
More than 1.2 million PIP decisions made between 2013 and 2021 turned out to be wrong and were overturned, according to research from disability equality charity Scope.
The DWP spent a staggering £443.5 million fighting disabled people with genuine claims for PIP and another benefit, Employment Support Allowance.
Of that, Scope calculates that £200million has been spent fixing wrong decisions.
Director of strategy James Taylor said: “Amid the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation, we’ve exposed that the government has spent hundreds of millions of pounds fixing wrong decisions.
“Our flawed benefits system means far too many disabled people have to fight for support, facing agonising delays while bills keep flooding in and prices rise.”
Taylor said life costs more if you’re disabled, and disability benefits are meant to help address these costs. “But wrong benefits decisions throw disabled people’s lives into turmoil.”
Taylor added that far too many disabled people have to endure degrading and stressful benefits assessments with assessors who don’t understand their condition.
“They then have to spend months battling through the appeals system to get the decision they should have got in the first place.”
Disabled people must be able to get disability benefits without the fight, Taylor said. “They should also have the right to an assessor who understands the true impact of their condition and how it might fluctuate.”
PIP assessments are not fit for purpose and assessors lack understanding, said Vicki Nash, associate director at mental health charity Mind.
“That is why a huge number of appeals against PIP decisions are successful – 72 percent in the first quarter of this year.”
Unfair rejection is costly both for those who urgently need support and the DWP, Nash said. “We frequently hear that PIP assessors often start from a place of not believing the person being assessed, and lack sympathy or understanding of the impacts of a mental health problem.”
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People with mental health problems are often asked to speak about sensitive topics and traumatic events with a complete stranger and without the proper support available, she said.
“They are also asked to be assessed over and over again, which only compounds the many problems the assessment system already causes.”
Nash added: “Getting the wrong outcome is costly not just to those who need the support – particularly during a cost-of-living crisis – but also the DWP which faces associated appeals costs.”
She called on the DWP to fix PIP assessments by giving assessors better training and tackling prejudice and misconceptions, especially about mental health.
“The DWP can help by reducing the frequency of assessments, which will save money and make sure people aren’t going through a needlessly stressful process.”
A DWP spokesperson said it helps millions of PIP claimants with a supportive and compassionate service, with only 9 percent of unsuccessful claimants appeal against its decisions.
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