Despite the friendly below from a Government website it often feels like the Tory Government put every obstacle possible in the way of disabled people trying to get the support they are entitled to from the benefit system. Personal Independence Payments, which replace Disability Living Allowance at a less generous rate and with higher thresholds of eligibility is a case in point.
I recently asked two Parliamentary Questions to get to the bottom of what is going wrong, one about the number of PIP appeals and one specifically about children. In answer to my first question I have been told that the number of successful appeals against decisions in Liverpool are still going up – from 39.5% in 2015 to 42% in 2016 and a massive 44.5% in 2017. In 2017/18 that was 1,435 Liverpudlians who had their PIP restored after having it wrongly stopped.
Almost half of those who appeal against their PIP decision in Liverpool get it overturned eventually and get some of the help they need, though typically it takes months to get the appeals heard.
Nationally, 9% of people who apply for PIP appeal the decision and almost half of them win that appeal. So if you think the decision in your case is wrong, it is definitely worth appealing against it.
I’ve also heard of many families whose disabled children have their Disability Living Allowance stopped and then have to wait months without benefits for a tribunal hearing to appeal the decision.
In answer to my question about this, the Ministry of Justice tells me that these waits should be reduced by them recruiting new judges, medics and disability qualified members to deal more quickly with the appeals. I have asked a further question to ascertain how much they expect these measures will cut the waits for Tribunal hearings.
My constituents who do appeal frequently win and get the DLA reinstated but not before they have spent months without the money their children are entitled to. This creates unacceptable hardship for families with disabled children.
It is clear the the Tories plan to move all claiments over to PIP and make it harder for people to claim the benefit is failing. Instead of reducing the small number of false claims it is making life almost impossible for people with disabilities. This heartless policy must be reconsidered or at the very least slowed until the Government get a grip on what is going wrong.