By John Pring in Disability News Service.
New figures show that Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants are questioning only a tiny proportion of the benefit assessment reports written by discredited government contractors Atos and Capita.
Campaigners have been trying for months to secure evidence that would explain why such a high proportion of personal independence payment (PIP) claims that are taken to appeal are successful.
Figures from social security tribunals show the proportion of claimants who won their PIP appeals rose by seven percentage points in a year, from 64 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 to 71 per cent in the same period of 2017-18.
The new figures, secured by Disability News Service (DNS) through a freedom of information request, may help to explain why so many appeals are successful.
Some researchers have suggested that DWP decision-makers are accepting too many PIP assessment reports prepared by Atos and Capita without subjecting them to proper scrutiny, despite increasing evidence of incompetence and dishonesty by the Atos and Capita healthcare professionals who write them.
DNS has previously spoken to a DWP civil servant working on the PIP “frontline”, who has said that DWP case managers have strict targets for the number of PIP claims they need to process every day and are quizzed by their superiors if they miss their weekly targets.
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