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Benefits for disabled people are in chaos, government admits delays

Introductions of two flagship benefits that affect people with disabilities are both behind schedule. The government department responsible has confirmed that the nationwide roll out is going slower than anticipated.

benefits

Photo: The Independent.

The UK government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is far behind schedule. This is the benefit brought in to replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which the government thought unfit for purpose.

And the much-vaunted Universal Credit (UC) has just 540,000 recipients, that is 90% behind schedule. UC was designed to replace six other benefits. These are: income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and Income Support.

As far as PIP is concerned, all existing DLA claimants should have received ‘invitations’ to claim PIP by April of this year. Well, that didn’t happen, that target is now history. Now, the aim is that all working age DLA claimants will have received their invitation letters by late 2018. And final assessments and transfers are now expected to be completed around mid-2019.

Benefits massively behind schedule

According to Benefits and Work website, there has been a huge fall in the number of DLA to PIP cases being sent to DWP’s assessment companies Atos and Capita since January of this year. So, maybe the DWP will not be able to keep to that new target either.

Roll out of UC is massively behind schedule.  It is unlikely to be completed before 2022.

Call me a cynic, if you like, but I believe that target is wildly optimistic. Most UC claimants so far have made the simplest claims, what’s going to happen when they make complex ones? Can the DWP cope?

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) published a report, last month, and urged the government to pause the roll out of UC. This was because of major problems it is causing even the most straightforward claimants, including 57% having to borrow money while waiting for their first payment.

The DWP, however, has dismissed the concerns of the CAB and has confirmed that the roll out of full service UC will increase from 5 areas a month to 50 areas a month from October.

Whether that will happen, though, is matter for conjecture. I have my doubts.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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11 Responses so far.

  1. William bidwell says:

    I think this government is trying to stop peoples claims making everything so slow about time this lot was sorted out

  2. Steve Colborn says:

    PIP was/is being introduced not to increase entitlement to disabled people but to get around the problem of dealing with people on lifetime entitlement to DLA.
    If you cannot solve a problem, abolish the impediment, in this case DLA.
    PIP replacing DLA was/is never about helping the disabled, it was/is about saving money.
    Anyone who claims differently is a “liar”.

    • ian0811 says:

      Hi Steve, I couldn’t agree more. My DLA award was a ‘lifetime’ one, which I am still receiving as I haven’t yet been ‘invited’ to apply for PIP.

      • Steve Colborn says:

        When I was forcibly “invited” to apply for PIP, I asked the question, have you ever known of anyone who has had a total and spontaneous recovery from MS. The person from the Benefits Office who was speaking wasn’t to happy with my question.
        I told him of my Lifetime award of DLA and that the process of switching to PIP should have taken account of the “Lifetime” decision.
        He then made a quite astonishing pronouncement, “well people have been known to have an improvement in their condition, so that the level of benefit would need to change”!
        I could not believe my ears and asked him for his neurological qualifications, (silence). Very apt, as how can you justify the unjustifiable, other than with silence.
        I have been on PIP for nearly a year and am expecting a reconsideration of my case in about 14 months time.
        It would be funny, if not so farcical and ludicrous!

        • ian0811 says:

          Sadly, the assessors are not recruited from those with neurological experience. Yes, people’s conditions with MS can change, but normally for the worse. A lifetime award of DLA should be the same for PIP – but that would not fit the government’s money-saving agenda.

          • Steve Colborn says:

            Was refused Sativex after an Individual Funding request to my local CCG.
            I found out that not one person on this Panel of clinicians had a background in neurological medicine.
            This being the case, how could they seriously consider the efficacy of my request?
            Makes totally no sense.

      • Steve Colborn says:

        Love the cosy, friendly use of the word “invited”. Like being “invited” to a cannibals picnic.

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