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Over 260,000 disabled people waiting for DWP benefit assessments

11 May 2020

Figures published by the DWP in response to a parliamentary written question show that as of 27 April there were 166,630 PIP claimants with either an assessment scheduled or awaiting scheduling. As of 4 May, 101,910 people were waiting on ESA claims.

The shocking backlog has been caused by DWP disability benefit staff being transferred to deal with the upsurge in new Universal Credit claims in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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

“The backlog of PIP and ESA claims is very concerning. We must not return to the situation soon after PIP was introduced where claimants were waiting for well over a year for decisions on their claims.

The situation has been made worse by the Government making over 20% of DWP staff redundant since it rolled out Universal Credit.

But disabled people should not be disproportionately affected as a result of DWP staff reallocation.

Disabled people have extra costs as a result of their disability. Already, disabled adults are four times worse off financially than non-disabled adults.

The DWP needs to adequately staff disability benefit sections. It also needs to encourage decision makers to make more use of claimants own medical, written and oral evidence.

Decisions should not be delayed by waiting for discredited medical assessments by privatised companies, three quarters of which are then overturned on appeal.”

For more information see Coronavirus: Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants facing delays as DWP staff diverted due to pandemic available from indepedent.co.uk.

See also DR UK says sign the petition to increase disability benefits.