Improving Disability Benefits
Since 2013 we have been raising issues about the claiming process for disability benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Allowance (PIP) and recommending radical changes in the system (see Recent Campaigns – Tackling problems with benefits provided by the Department of Work and Pensions). Now Citizens Advice is preparing a national campaign to improve disability benefits.
What are we doing to help?
We will contribute to this campaign by focusing on the experience of our clients who have disabilities or long term health conditions both when they claim Universal Credit (UC) and when they claim PIP. Key areas for our research will be:
- whether for UC the initial assessment of our clients’ capability for work accurately reflects the evidence presented
- whether for PIP the initial assessment of our clients’ eligibility accurately reflects the evidence presented about their care and mobility requirements
- whether for both UC and PIP the DWP re-examines thoroughly the evidence presented when asked to reconsider its original decision
- how long clients in our borough have to wait for an appeal to be heard by a tribunal at Sutton or Hatton Cross. In April 2019 the average waiting time for a UC appeal to be heard at Sutton was 26 weeks and 20 weeks at Hatton Cross. The average waiting time for a PIP appeal was 24 weeks at Sutton and 22 weeks at Hatton Cross
- whether the money that our disabled clients receive in UC and PIP is sufficient to meet their basic needs.
We aim to circulate a report on these issues, with recommendations for improvement, by the end of 2019.