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Minister says DWP practice of offering ‘take it or leave it’ decisions “is not something that should be happening”

16 March 2020

The Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson has said that the DWP's practice of offering 'take it or leave it' awards to some PIP and ESA claimants who are awaiting appeals 'is not something that should be happening'.

Responding to a Parliamentary question the Minister added:

"We have changed the mandatory reconsideration process so that we can try to support claimants who are challenging a decision to gather the additional written and oral evidence at that stage, rather than their having to wait for the lengthy independent appeal process.

"Stakeholders and charities are extremely supportive of that process, which is new and making a significant difference, but I am disappointed to hear that in some cases it has not been of the standard that it should be. We will review that."

The problem of some disabled people being pressurised to accept PIP or ESA mandatory decision offers over the telephone by DWP Decision Makers was recently highlighted by the Guardian.

DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser Ken Butler said:

"It is of real concern that on DR UK raising the 'take it or leave it' problem at two recent meetings with the DWP senior officials they were unaware of the issue.

"So the Minister’s agreement that this practice is wrong and must end is welcome.

"On the Minister’s statement, DR UK has now written to the DWP to recommend that:

  • Guidance is issued to Decision Makers on how telephone contact with claimants regarding a mandatory reconsideration request should be conducted
  • Any new ‘positive’ decision should only be given in writing with the claimant’s right to appeal further to an independent tribunal being made clear
  • Any new guidance be published and be made publicly available on the gov.uk website.

"Disabled people lack trust in the DWP. This pressuring of some disabled people on the telephone only reinforces and adds to that lack of trust.

"The DWP needs to show it will quickly end this problem and make public how expects its Decision Makers to behave."

For more detailed information on this issue see the CPAG article An offer you can’t refuse?