They hit back at the proposal calling it “completely unacceptable” and insisting that the fault was with an assessment system “not fit for purpose”.
If the plans are finalised it could mean disabled people would face six months without benefits while appealing, according to the charities’ figures.
At present 40% of those who appeal their ESA decision succeed and are placed in either the support group or work-related activity group while claiming the benefit.
However, the government believes that allowing payments to continue while claimants appeal encourages people to appeal.
This is strongly disputed by 57 charities and other organisations that make up the Disability Benefits Consortium.
An open letter to Chris Grayling MP, Minister for Employment, written by the Consortium said they were “united in horror at the suggestion” that ESA may be withdrawn from claimants as they appeal against decisions.
“The rates of successful appeals and spiralling costs are indicative not of claimants taking advantage, nor of lenient tribunal judges, but of an assessment system that is not fit for purpose and that needs urgent reform,” it continued.
“The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has already recognised this in accepting the recommendations of the Harrington report, but more must be done to make the necessary changes to the system.
“It is completely unacceptable that thousands of ill and disabled people should be penalised for the DWP’s poor decision-making, and the inability to invest in a timely appeals system.
“Making disabled people wait on average six months for an appeal hearing is both stressful for claimants and a waste of government resources in itself.”
They letter concluded by asking for the DWP’s public assurance that it has no intention of taking forward “this grossly unfair suggestion”.
“This proposal would be an extremely concerning attack on the right to appeal, which would not only stifle legitimate challenges to wrongful decisions, but would bury the evidence of problems with the system and hinder the urgent improvement of the Work Capability Assessment that is so clearly needed,” it added.
Claimants will be fully reimbursed if the appeal is successful.