Charities ‘horror’ at plans to cut ESA during appeals

Disability charities are horrified at government plans to cut employment and support allowance (ESA) during appeals.

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Minister for Employment, written by the Consortium said they were “united in horror at the suggestion” that ESA may be withdrawn from claimants as they appeal against decisions.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.

http://www.ifaonline.co.uk

Comments
  • Daveyb David Bovill on Facebook October 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    DISGUSTING!!!!

  • Catherine Mosey on Facebook October 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I have yet to receive the results of my WCA 🙁

  • Bill Kruse on Facebook October 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I’m noting a complete silence from Maria Miller about this…

  • George Petrie on Facebook October 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Guilty until proven innocent comes to mind. Seams that they just want to make people more ill.

  • Elysabeth Mccaig-scott on Facebook October 19, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    They want no one claiming anything, either work and be in pverty or just hurry up and die. That’s the way all three parties see us disabled people. They need an example to be made of one of them with prison time for how they have abused people into taking their lives under this regime.

    • anna s October 24, 2011 at 11:39 pm

      COULD NOT HAVE PUT THAT BETTER MYSELF, I REALLY HOPE IT GOES BACK ON THEM.. NO ONE IN LIFE GETS AWAY WITH SUCH EXTREME MENTAL CRUETLY.

  • anna s October 24, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    I have asked for an appeal form today,I only have three weeks left to fill this in thats if it arrives…I,m appealing because the letter from dwp says i,m entitled to esa and will be paid as from the 5th nov,.it then says that i have been placed in the work activity section,this decision was made without a medical even?,I came to the realization that these people at the dwp had totally ignored the ,what they call a questoinaire, Its so obviously been disregarded,I have been signed off as unfit for work and registered disabled for 15 yrs plus..I have 8 diagnosed health problems,.at the moment my back has gone completely and i have to lay flat until it goes back in..i,m very depressed because after several tests over recent months it has been discovered i now have a dodgy heart meaning that it misses 359./400 beats per,this is quite serious,doctors words not mine..on the day i got the dwp letter i read it and because there was no one to talk to no one to ring i got into such a state i blacked out and lost consciencness,this has been happening anyway due to heart,but it was definately the letter,its was dated the 18th oct but arrived on the 21st..they did not answer the phone..i just got so stressed, its like mental cruelty.this morning i got some legal advice…i told them everything..they said hundreds of ill people are taking advice,,they suggested that when i phoned and told them i wanted to appeal to make sure i mention the fact that i,ve had pnuemonia twice , and have to stay in the same temperature as much aspossible…my doctor says i,d be lucky to survive it again,,thing is dwp stop 30.00 per wk while you appeal and i have to put 35.00 plus into my card and keys meters for heating,,so i did tell them,,,but i could have been telling them that i had a pimple on my a—, they dont care ..they are told not to care..i,m frightened.

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