Damning figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) earlier this week expose the extent to which the UK Government will go to deprive some of the most vulnerable people in society of their right to live freely and independently.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced by Personal Independence Payments (PIP), with the aim of reducing costs to “taxpayers” by around 20%.
The latest statistics, which include people who have been migrated from DLA to PIP, reveal how thousands of sick and disabled are denied the same level of financial support under the new benefits system, while many more are refused any kind of support whatsoever.
According to the most recent statistics, a shocking 28% of people who have been transferred from DLA to PIP are denied any financial help – or 381,000 DLA claimants. It has been estimated that should this trend continue, a total of 880,000 people will lose their crucial disability benefits when moved from DLA from PIP.
The UK Government’s treatment of disabled people has been a bone of contention for many years, with even the United Nations accusing ministers of “grave and systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights.
But despite these much reported rebukes of Tory welfare policy, the cruel treatment of Britain’s sick and disabled continues unabated and opposition parties seem incapable of forcing much-needed changes.
Official figures show there were 3,334,160 DLA claimants prior to the controversial changes. But those same figures also show there have only been 1,785,000 PIP awards since the changes came into force in 2013. This has led to accusations of “lying” against the new Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, who told MP’s that “under PIP we are supporting more people than before”.
The relatively new Government Secretary, who reportedly welcomed and supposedly celebrated cuts to disability benefits made under her predecessor Iain Duncan Smith, has also dismissed “myths” that disabled people are treated unfairly.
“That really needs to be heard so that we dispel any myths from the Opposition”, she cruelly proclaimed.
A DWP spokesperson claimed that more people are being supported under PIP than DLA, pointing to statistics showing there were 3,701,275 claimants of DLA or PIP up to November 2017 compared to 3,334,160 DLA claimants in May 2013.
They also argued that more people with medical conditions who were not supported under DLA and being helped under PIP.
However, seperate figures expose the shocking extent of incorrect PIP decisions. The number of people who successfully appeal against a negative decision is at a record high, with around 69% of assessments branded a “total failure” – and this figure only includes those who contest DWP decisions.
There has also been criticism of the quality of assessment report by private contractors who carry out disability assessments on behalf of the DWP. Chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committe, a cross-party group of MPs, Frank Field slammed “shoddy” and “error-ridden” reports, warning private contractors like Atos and Maximus to up their game or face the prospect of their contracts being revoked.
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey told The Canary: “This is a brand new benefit that, for the first time, looks not just at people with physical disabilities, but looks fundamentally at all the disabilities people have – cognitive, sensory, health and mental health conditions – and supports more people than DLA ever did.”