Tories spend £200MILLION fighting to stop sick and disabled people getting benefits

EXCLUSIVE: Welfare chiefs splurged the vast sum contesting appeals for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

courtesy the Mirror 21st August 2018

Heartless Tory ministers have spent £200million fighting to stop people getting sickness and disability benefits.

Welfare chiefs splurged the vast sum, revealed by the Mirror, contesting appeals for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) over five years.

The two benefits, worth up to £141 a week, are replacing old-style payments to help fund the costs of illness and disability.

But since 2013, more than 400,000 people have been denied PIP or ESA after a medical assessment – only to win it back on appeal. More than two thirds of current appeal tribunals are successful.

Our figures sparked fresh calls to reform the “cruel” and “flawed” assessment regime, which is run by outsourcing giants Maximus (for ESA) and Atos and Capita (for PIP).

James Taylor, spokesman for disability charity Scope, declared: 

“The system isn’t just failing disabled people – it’s failing the taxpayer.”

We obtained our figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) through a Freedom of Information request.

They show the DWP ran up an estimated £199million in ‘direct operating costs’ between 2013/14 and 2017/18 dealing with the two stages of PIP and ESA appeals.

The first stage, internal reviews called Mandatory Reconsiderations, cost the DWP an estimated £50.7m for ESA and £43.4m for PIP over five years.

The second stage, external appeal tribunals, cost the DWP an estimated £58.7m for ESA and £46.2m for PIP.

The overall cost per year of dealing with both types of PIP and ESA appeals shot up from around £32m in 2015/16 to £45m in 2016/17 and £62m in 2017/18.

 

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