From Yorkshire Post, May 4th, 2018
Written by Arj Singh
The majority of appeals against disability benefit assessments successfully overturned the original decision last year in Yorkshire and Humber, prompting concerns that the process is flawed and is leaving the long-term ill and severely disabled wrongly out of pocket. There were 7,510 appeals against decisions made by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessors last year, of which 4,770 determinations were overturned, official figures obtained by Labour MP John Grogan through a parliamentary question showed. Mr Grogan told The Yorkshire Post he was worried that the figures meant ill and disabled people were being treated like the Windrush generation, who were wrongly denied benefits and threatened with deportation after getting caught up in efforts to remove illegal immigrants.
“The fact that the bulk of appeals are succeeding suggests that the initial decision making process is flawed,” he said.
“Some people are having to wait six months or more for an appeal date which can cause great distress and anxiety,” he said.
“I fear just as the Government has a ‘hostile environment policy’ when it comes to illegal immigration something similar is operating when it comes to Personal Independence Payments.
“The British people are fair minded and whilst they want a rigorous assessment system I feel sure they would support a bit more emphasis on making sure those who need and are entitled to Personal Independence Payments getting them in a timely fashion.”
A Department for Work Pensions spokesman said of 3.1m total PIP decisions, nine per cent have been appealed and four per cent overturned.
“Assessments work well for the vast majority of people, but one person’s poor experience is one too many,” they added.