Frank Field MP
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Wirral MPs raise concerns as 200,000 people 'face cuts to disability benefit'

20 April 2017
Wirral Globe

WIRRAL MPs have raised serious concerns as new figures show more than 200,000 people face being refused all or part of their disability benefit amid a "spike" of rejections.

The data has prompted fears over the accuracy of the assessments.

Frank Field (Birkenhead) and Angela Eagle (Wallasey) are among those warning the process for assessing personal independence payments claimants is not “up to scratch” and “pot luck.”

Figures released to Parliament show 134,000 people were awarded “zero scores” on their assessments in just six months from April to October 2016, suggesting the total 2016/17 figure will surpass 200,000.

Around one in seven people assessed are now thought to be awarded zero scores for both parts of the benefit.

Claimants recently awarded zero scores and denied PIP have told the Press Association of their difficulties with the system, stating decisions have been made after just 20 minutes and benefits withdrawn despite their conditions getting worse.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said suggestions of a renewed crackdown on those looking to claim were “completely unfounded” with more people awarded higher rates on PIP than the old system.

More than 160,000 people initially denied PIP have had this decision overturned since the benefit launched in 2013, according to DWP figures.

The Work and Pensions select committee has launched its own inquiry into PIP.

Committee chairman Frank Field said: “It begs the question of whether mandatory reconsideration really serves any purpose, is the initial assessment process up to scratch, and wouldn’t it be better to give more time for officers and better training, especially on conditions of mental health, before this is first decided.”

The most recent figures obtained through a written parliamentary question by Labour former work and pensions minister Angela Eagle, (above) show that between April and October, 83,000 people were given zero scores in their assessments for both components of PIP.

A further 51,000 were given zero scores for either part of the benefit.

A DWP spokeswoman said suggestions that the increase in zero scores was deliberate were “completely unfounded”, adding: “In fact, 27% of claimants are now receiving the highest rate of support under PIP, compared to just 15% under the outdated DLA.

“Assessments are carried out by qualified health professionals and decisions are made based on information provided by the claimant and their GP.”


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