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DWP has 80% targets for refusing benefit reconsiderations

16 May 2017

A DWP response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that it has a target to refuse 80% of mandatory reconsideration requests as a Key Performance indicator.

 View DWP FOI response

In addition, the DWP’s performance measures for April 2016 to March 2017 show that nearly nine out of 10 reconsideration requests (87.5%) are refused.

Ken Butler, DR UK’s Welfare Benefit Adviser said:

“That the DWP has an actual target for refusing benefit decision reconsideration requests is bad enough, but that it has set and exceeded a figure of 80% is appalling. 

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.

That the DWP is exceeding its reconsideration target to the extent that nine out of 10 decisions are upheld indicates the system is broken.

Disabled people should not have a delayed access to justice of sometimes several months in order to first pursue an often futile mandatory reconsideration request to the DWP.

Instead they should be able to request an immediate appeal to an independent tribunal to dispute a refusal of benefit.

We would urge all disabled people who are rejected at the mandatory reconsideration stage to seek advice about making an appeal to an independent tribunal.”

Mandatory reconsiderations and appeals

By the end of January 2017, 85% of new ESA claims reconsiderations resulted in no change to the award.

In addition, the figures show that there were 17,000 mandatory reconsideration decisions registered in January 2017 of which 2,100 were revised (12%) although of fit for work decisions, only 6 per cent resulted in a revision.

Social security tribunal receipts have increased by 47% compared to the same period last year, according to recent statistics from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)

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

More information from DR UK