Photo: Paula Peters

More than two-thirds of people who faced being denied social security benefits were found to be entitled to that support, prompting calls by the SNP for a fresh review of the DWP assessment and appeals process.

Official government figures show that 70% of people who faced the possibility of losing their entitlement, and took this decision to hearing, had their cases overturned.

Social Security and Child Support appeal disposals totalled 51,256 in the quarter up to December 2018 and 41,171 (80 per cent) were cleared at hearing. Of those cases cleared at hearing, 70 per cent were found in favour of the claimant (up from 65 per cent on the same period in 2017).

Photo Credit: Vince Laws

Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) have driven the overall increase in the overturn rate, rising five and four percentage points respectively on the rates for the October to December 2017 quarter.

SNP MSP Bob Doris said: “These figures are extremely concerning, and expose a system which should provide a safety net making too many mistakes.

“The UK government’s welfare system simply isn’t working.

“Appealing a decision can put undue stress on vulnerable people – who are in the meantime left out of pocket and potentially unable to afford basic essentials.

“For the DWP to get these cases so consistently wrong is appalling – it suggests systematic hostility and suspicion of people in need of help.

“It’s vital that these fundamental flaws in the current assessment and appeals process are addressed.

“Westminster’s punitive approach to welfare is needlessly withdrawing support from those who need it most.

“This highlights the difference in Scotland’s approach to developing a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect.”

Disclaimer: This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP).