I recently questioned the Department for Work and Pensions on the success rate of PIP appeals in Wales. The data uncovered in the Government’s response showed that between April and September 2018 – the latest dates for which data is available – 1,570 of the 2,070 of PIP appeals launched in Wales (76%) were successful in overturning the original assessment decision. In Gwent, the appeal success rate rose to 77% over the same time period, and in the Newport East constituency it was as high as 80%.
This data shows that both the initial PIP assessment process run by Capita and the mandatory reconsideration process managed by the DWP are not fit for purpose.
The system is failing disabled people across the country, including here in Wales. The statistics themselves do not convey the misery, anxiety and uncertainty which is inflicted on each person forced through the unedifying process that ends in a tribunal, even when it is successful. Affected constituents have told me that the current system has left them feeling belittled and dehumanised, and have even likened the process to being put on trial for a crime.
We also know that there are many affected disabled people who will choose to avoid the stress and anxiety of the tribunal process altogether, meaning that they will continue to live with the financial and personal consequences of an incorrect assessment. It’s clear the assessment and decision making process is flawed and we can’t go on like this – the Government needs to review the way it assesses PIP claims and move towards a system that treats people with the dignity and respect they deserve.
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