Once again, we have a story of government mishandling of disability benefits and allegations of the existence of targets. Targets that don’t officially exist, as if we believe that.
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) insider has described to the Disability News Service (DNS) that a “mismanaged” and under-funded social security system is leaving many disability benefit claimants penniless and helpless. And those claimants include people with MS and other disabilities.
George (name changed to protect his anonymity) works on DWP’s employment and support allowance (ESA) helpline. He told DNS that the experience has left him shocked and frustrated at the deeply flawed system.
Also, he says he believes – although he does not have direct evidence of this – that DWP decision-makers do have targets for the proportion of claimants that they need to find “fit for work”, and so ineligible for ESA.
DWP decision-maker ‘hates job’
Additionally, George claimed that a colleague in another part of DWP, who actually works with a decision-maker, told him that the decision-maker hates his job. This is because he must “disallow people” and was “struggling to hit his disallowance targets”.
DNS has been unable to verify this claim, but disabled activists have been warning for years that they believe DWP decision-makers, and the healthcare professionals who work for the government contractor Maximus, are set targets for the proportion of claimants they must find fit for work.
DWP has continued to deny imposing any such targets and no-one has been able to provide strong evidence that they exist. Even George says he believes such targets do exist, although he cannot prove it.
“I think decision-makers are trying to meet targets,” he told DNS.
No disparaging story about the DWP’s management, or mismanagement, will ever surprise me. I hope you feel the same way.
Read Disability News Service’s full report here.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Clinical Writer with Healthline, the fastest growing health information site. 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.