By Mik Scarlet in HUFFPOST.
On April 2013 the government introduced the Personal Independence Payment, a new so called “disability benefit” which would replace Disability Living Allowance. DLA itself was introduced in 1992, when the existing Mobility Allowance, which helped disabled people with the financial cost of getting around, and Attendance Allowance, designed to assist with the extra costs of day to day living and care disabled people face, were combined.
The government claimed that PIP would be a fairer benefit which would help more disabled people and assist in the fight against fraud. From the outset however, disabled people raised their voices in concern, and ever since there has been a growing clamour of stories from people who have been failed by the new PIP assessment process. These anecdotal stories are slowly being backed up by statistical evidence, proving that the PIP system is failing the very people it is claiming to help.
This week the DWP released it’s own official statics for PIP, which explains that nearly 3 million claims for the benefit have been registered between April 2013 and July 2017. It claims that the waiting times for people applying for PIP have dropped by two thirds from where they were in July 2014. Hooray you might cry, but let’s delve a little deeper. In July 2014 the waiting time was up to 40 weeks, from registration to DWP decision, and it is now 16 weeks. So nearly 10 months, to nearly 4, but this is only to an original decision. The Ministry of Justice statistics, released earlier this year highlighted that over 65% of all cases that take that original decision to appeal win against the DWP, and are awarded a higher level of benefit.
This appeal process occurs after a Mandatory Reconsideration of the award, which at July 2017 over 600,000 claimants had applied for. One 5th of these won at reconsideration. What this means is, if you feel your assessment was incorrect, you can add many more months of uncertainty to your life as you wait to hear the outcome of the MR, and then, if you go to appeal yet you live more of your time in limbo unsure of what will happen. At the end of this period you will most likely win, but you are still left uncertain during the whole time.
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