For years I have suspected that civil servants were on some kind of instruction, directive or incentive to knock back as many applications, of what used to be called Incapacity Benefit, which changed to ESA, and other disability benefits such as DLA to PIP.
When one is refused an award following Mandatory Review, there is the option to appeal at a tribunal, which is a separate system from the DWP. The appeals /tribunal system is the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice which administers a fair & open system of a panel of experienced people one of whom happens to be a Judge.
The Government of the UK has been in consultation about reconstructing the whole Appeals system, but as usual ever more obfuscation and published papers following that consultation in November 2016 is not yet clear. For those who are maybe more able to follow this tangled web of legalese go here.
In this article, shared on our Facebook Page and which was not widely reproduced except on disability blogs, it would seem that when one appeals firstly to the DWP regarding an unjust decision made by them, then 80% of Mandatory Reconsiderations will be rejected.
This is what Disability Rights UK say about this situation.
“It’s unsurprising that a key conclusion of the recently published second independent review of PIP was that “public trust in the fairness and consistency of PIP decisions is not currently being achieved, with high levels of disputed award decisions, many of them overturned at appeal” [Note there are no actual KPI targets for PIP, as yet, but refusals of PIP reconsiderations are high].
Many disabled people are having their right to a disability benefit withheld due to poor face to face assessments and the further evidence then supplied effectively ignored by the DWP in favour of Atos and Capita medical reports.
There is little doubt now that such behaviour is officially sanctioned DWP policy.”
I have referred in this blog before to suspected bonus & incentives by assessors, , but now the DWP are admitting that staff are “directed” to reject 8 out of ten applications for Mandatory Reconsideration.
However, rather dry figures quoted at Disability Right UK, further state:
The MoJ highlights that, in the quarter to December 2016, 60,600 social security and child support appeals were received.
The increase on the same quarter in the previous year was driven, the MoJ says, by an increase in the number of personal independence payment (PIP) appeals and employment and support allowance (ESA) appeals (up 71% and 58% respectively), which now comprise 85% of the total number of receipts.
The MoJ figures also show that, of the 39,696 appeals cleared at hearing, 63% were overturned (found in favour of the claimant). Broken down by benefit type:
- 65% of PIP appeals were overturned
- 68 % of ESA appeals were overturned
- 56% of disability living allowance appeals were overturned
I could find very good ways to describe the conniving, harsh and disingenuous attitude of the DWP in their dealings with disabled people.
On this occasion, I will leave the figures to speak for themselves, and hope that our readers know and understand that unless they appeal to the Tribunal System about what they feel is an unjust Mandatory Review decision, then their chances of getting any award is greatly reduced.
This is why our experienced volunteers and staff will help complete those vital forms for appeal, to maximise the odds of allowing an appeal.
Disability Rights give an overview of what the Appeals system is here.