Vulnerable disabled people have taken the government to court over delays to disability benefits, it has been reported today.
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have launched a judicial review on the grounds that delays to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for disabled people, of over a year are ‘so unreasonable that they are unlawful’.
Irwin Mitchell has already helped seven disabled people secure decisions on applications for PIP.
Delays in assessing disabled people for PIP have left thousands waiting over 13 months without crucial support, while tens of thousands are still waiting for a decision 5 months after making a claim.
Around 16% of claimants are waiting over 30 weeks for their claims to be completed.
Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge described the delays in June 2014 as “nothing short of a fiasco”.
Disability benefit delays have forced some disabled people to turn to food banks, reports the BBC.
Despite the delays in processing claims, the DWP has committed to rolling out PIP to all 1.75 million recipients of DLA this October.
PIP helps to cover some of the additional costs associated with long-term illness or disability, such as mobility aids and travel costs.
Claimants can receive anything between £21.80 and £139.75 a week, dependent upon the severity of their disability and how it affects day-to-day living. PIP can be claimed by all sick and disabled people, regardless of employment status.
Irwin Mitchell Associate, Anne-Marie Irwin, said: “Too many people have been left in the lurch as a result of flaws in the system.
“We hope our legal challenge will force the DWP to reconsider its decision to continue with the roll out of PIP until flaws in the system are resolved, so that future applicants do not have to face such gross delays for this essential support.”
The courts ruling is expected in a few weeks.