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Thousands of PIP claims have been overturned

man in a wheelchair at a laptop next to a department for work and pensions sign
man in a wheelchair at a laptop next to a department for work and pensions sign Image credit: express.co.uk

An investigation has revealed around 80,000 claimants for Personal Independence Payment [PIP] were overturned last year after their benefits were incorrectly turned down by the government.

The study also highlighted the cost of the reviews had increased by 26% over the past two years despite a 23% drop in the number of reviews being carried out by the DWP.

In order to appeal a PIP decision the claimant must go through the initial process, known as mandatory reconsideration.

According to information obtained by freedom of information (FOI) laws the amount of appeals overturned has raised by 22% [46,580 of 236,720] in 2019 to 43% [78,390 of 182,880] in 2021.

This has cost the taxpayer £24.8m last year compared to £19.7m in 2018/19 and £13.7m in 2016/17.

Campaigners have accused the government “throwing disabled people’s lives into turmoil” by making them wait until they receive the right support and an “appalling waste” of taxpayers’ money.

Vicky Foxcroft MP, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, said the figures are “yet another example of the benefits system not working for disabled people” and urged the government to “get a grip and sort this problem once and for all”.

Foxcrift persists “Ministers have long spoken about fixing the system – these high levels of successful mandatory reconsiderations show otherwise.”

The DWP has no set time to complete any PIP claims, whilst a case is being investigated a claimant receives the payment they are entitled to, which could be nothing if their benefits were refused.

Phillip Anderson, head of policy at the MS Society, is aware how “stressful” the appeal process can be which puts a number of people off “for fear of losing what little support they already have”.

He said: “Pip should measure your need for support, not your willingness to battle a system setting you up to fail. We’re calling on the government to face the facts and fix this faulty system so that it works once and for all.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “For the majority of Pip claims, we get decisions right and all assessments are carried out by healthcare professionals trained to consider the impact of someone’s health condition or disability, but we are exploring what more we can do so the welfare system better meets the needs of disabled people through our health and disability green paper.”

You can claim for Personal Independence Payment via the Gov.uk website.