Record numbers of sick and disabled people are winning appeals against cruel decisions to reduce or axe their vital disability benefits, official figures show.
Figures released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) reveal that a record 72% of negative Personal Indepence Payment (PIP) decisions are overturned in favour of claimants on appeal.
The same percentage (72%) of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) are also successfully overturned at appeal stage, with critics and opponents of the disability benefit assessment system labelling the two benefits as “not fit for purpose”.
MoJ figures show 20,133 people who appealed a decision to change or deny their PIP between July and September 2018, of which 14,581 won their case at tribunal.
Meanwhile, 13,508 people appealed a decision to change or deny their ESA payments, of which 9,684 also won their case on appeal.
James Taylor, Head of Policy at disability charity Scope, said the latest statistics show that sick and disabled people are being let down by the cruel assessment process.
“Disabled people rely on these financial lifelines to live independently and be part of their community”, he said.
“It is high time that the assessments for PIP and ESA be overhauled to iron out the mistrust, lack of transparency and routine inaccuracies which disabled people report on a weekly basis.”
Commenting on the ESA appeal success rate, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabled People Marsha de Cordova MP said: “The cruel Work Capability Assessment is not fit for purpose.
“More than two-thirds of fit for work decisions are overturned at appeal, revealing the shocking inaccuracy of assessments that have a huge impact on the lives of disabled people.
“This Government is forcing disabled people through traumatic appeals processes to access vital social security they need.
“Labour in government will scrap this punitive assessment and introduce a tailored and personalised framework that treats disabled people with dignity.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “Since PIP was introduced 3.7 million decisions have been made and just 5% have been overturned.”