Saturday, January 25, 2020

DWP under fire over ‘missing’ benefit forms

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The SNP has demanded action over “deeply troubling” delays in the DWP processing vital benefit claims – with claimants told forms submitted by trained advisors did not exist.

Glasgow MSP Bob Doris has revealed that claimants are facing lengthy waits over decisions as they battled a DWP work backlog and the apparent risk that submitted evidence was going missing.

The list of bungles includes:

• Clients of Glasgow North West Citizen’s Advice who were told their forms were not received by the DWP – weeks after they were submitted by an advisor using the DWP’s own pre-addressed envelope.
• In three of these cases when the claimant repeatedly phoned, the DWP suddenly “found the form” which they claimed “had just arrived.”
• The timescales for these cases differ depending on how frequently the claimant pursue the DWP, varying from 2.5 weeks to 3 months.
• One disabled claimant who faced a 5 month wait for a decision who was repeatedly told that their appeal had been lodged – but only received a decision after Citizen’s Advice intervened.
• In another case, a claimant faced a 6 month wait due to the delay in processing before the mail was “suddenly found”.

SNP MSP Bob Doris has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to demand that the DWP carry out an urgent review of staffing requirements, and target timescales, delays and errors.

Bob Doris said: “The cuts to welfare under the Tory government have been devastating – with experts and front-line services confirming that austerity has fuelled a boom in food banks, reduced household finances and led to increases in child poverty.

“Vulnerable people are having to wait almost six months for a decision on whether they will be able to get the benefits they are entitled to – it’s a disgrace.

“Claimants are having to repeatedly pursue a decision only to be fobbed off with excuses that their claims can’t be found months after submission – only for the forms to mysteriously turn up at the last minute.

“This backlog has a real human impact, and the Tories are guilty of indifference and incompetence – it’s deeply troubling they either don’t know or don’t care about the human impact of their system.

“Although the SNP has stepped in to protect people in Scotland and mitigate some of Westminster’s damage – with schemes such as the Child Welfare Payment – Tory policies are clearly still having a devastating impact on many people.”


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