Outrage as DWP reveals ‘target’ to reject the vast majority of benefit appeals

Theresa May has admitted there are some issues around benefit assessments (Image: Getty)

Campaigners have branded the system “disgraceful” and a “sham” after the policy was slipped out by the government

The government faces outrage after it was accused of setting a target to turn down the vast majority of benefit appeals.

Critics branded the system a “sham” after the policy was released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The row involves Mandatory Reconsiderations (MRs) – internal reviews people must go through if their claims for welfare are rejected, before they can launch a full appeal.

MRs were already under fire because they are far less likely than full appeals to end in victory.

Now it’s been revealed staff have a performance measure that says 80% of decisions “are to be upheld” – in other words, MRs reject 80% of claims.

They met this ‘Key Performance Indicator’ between April 2016 and March 2017 after rejecting 87% of claims, the DWP statement said.

Following a backlash DWP sources insisted the measure is “not a target” and is used to judge the accuracy of original decisions – not pre-judge MRs.

Yet the DWP’s own statement said it was used “to monitor Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) performance”.

Critics said it had exposed the “disgraceful” system as a “sham”.

Just 20% of ESA reconsiderations end in victory – compared to 47% of full appeals (Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire)
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams said: “The Government’s target that 80% of MRs should be rejected shows their assessment process for the sham it is.

“It’s no wonder disabled people have no confidence in this Government.”

Phil Reynolds of Parkinson’s UK branded the measure “disgraceful”, adding: “These outrageous targets must be abolished to ensure people with Parkinson’s get the support they desperately need, rather than facing a system rigged against them.”

The government has faced calls to scrap MRs because they are far less likely to result in victory than an independent tribunal.

Claimants of one benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), won just 20% of MRs from October 2013 to April 2016.

Yet 47% of those who went to a full tribunal won their case.

For Personal Independence Payment (PIP) the gap is even starker – 17% of MRs succeed, compared to 61% of tribunals.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams said the system was a “sham” (Image: Daily Mirror)
PIP is the only benefit not included in the formal performance measure, but is still tracked informally using the same 80% threshold.

The government insists tribunals are more successful because most claimants provide extra evidence.

But campaigners say MRs have missed simple mistakes like ticking the wrong box.

Genevieve Edwards of the MS Society said: “Many people with MS aren’t getting the correct decision – so we’re concerned about the impact this target might have on people’s timely access to the support they need.”

Mencap spokesman Rob Holland added the “target” was “deeply concerning”.

He said: “MRs should be a tool to protect people from the effects of incorrect decisions, but their use appears to act as further evidence of a benefits system stacked against the people it is designed to support.”

Former Disability Alliance chief Neil Coyle dismissed the claim it was “not a target” (Image: Getty)
A DWP source insisted the measure was “not a target”.

A spokeswoman said: “Mandatory reconsiderations look at all the evidence afresh, including any new evidence provided by the claimant.

“Our key performance measures are strictly used to assess the accuracy of the original benefit decisions.

“We want to ensure we get decisions right first time around, and performance measures help to monitor this.”

Labour candidate Neil Coyle, a former director of the Disability Alliance, branded that statement “disingenuous”.

He said: “Even if you take the DWP at face value they should be looking at why so many of these reconsiderations are overturned at appeal.

“They’re spending millions of pounds of public money on reconsiderations that are a complete fraud.

“People should never have had an additional barrier put in front of them and the DWP should quit the fakery.”

Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/outrage-dwp-reveals-target-reject-10434547

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9 Comments

  1. Hi my name is Jay Miller and I have just become one of them that has lost his benefit of ESA and now I have to look for work. The disability is. I have a really bad back problem my L4 and L5 discs have a bulge that has crushed my nerves down my left side. And that means I have conston pain and no feeling down my left side. I would love to talk to you more about my case as I’m about to start a full appell ageist my mandatory reconsideration that came back saying that I can still work please contact me on

  2. The headline at least here is dangerous. Mandatory reconsiderations are not appeals – they were introduced to discourage people from appealing and they succeeded in that aim. Since they are, by design, obstructions to a proper appeal of course they are not fair or balanced. The message to get across is that appeals, since 2013, are ALWAYS a two-stage process – MR, which is largely an empty formality, then the proper appeal which is the important part.

  3. I won on MR I didn’t get anything for my illnesses but I did for care as I have mental health problems. Didn’t want to fight for mobility incase I lost my enhanced care.

  4. Having won an ESA MR back in December which only took 1 week for a decision I don’t think banning them is the answer as a full appeal can take up to 6 months on reduced benefit I think MR’s are a quick way of resolving a mistake but they should be made by an independent judge and if there has been targets they should be stopped. If MR’s were used correctly it would save people having to go through the nightmare of a long appeal on reduced benefits and would also save the DWP a lot of money from the costly appeals process

  5. I had a total Knee replacement on 23rd August 2016,and was told that i could no longer lift heavy things pull objects,which meant i had to finish work! I went on to ESA then in Dec i had to attend an assessment! The so called health professional did his so called examination When i got the result i was flabbergasted! Not only did i fail the assessment i got zero point! He wouldnt even take any notice of my surgeons notes and recomendations and said i was fit for work! What a complete and utter waste of time these examinations are! They make it up as they go along!

  6. These ministers are evil beyond belief I had a stroke had to wait 3 years to get full benefit and my disability car now they are changing it all again they will probably tell me I’m fit enough to run a marathon even though I suffer now with deep depression and lack of use down one side COPD and can hardly walk but they will say I’m alright. Evil evil people

  7. I’m still waiting to go to tribunal.I have had to visit lots of professionalstuff to prove I have anxiety panic attacts and arthritis in 3 lower vertebrates.in truth it has helped because I wouldn’t have seen these people withought a push because of my anxiety.still waiting for my date which is causing my anxiety even more problems just wish it would get sorted.

  8. It was Just as bad under labour.. 🙁 Tony made SURE If Anything good was going,he/his wife & What came to be known as “Tony’s cronies” ie Alistair Campbell/(his lordship) John Prescott/David Blunkett/Perter Mandelson got it… 🙁

  9. my partner went from higher rate pip to nothing the assessor turned up late never asked him to do anything pointed to a chair in the garden 20ft away and asked if he could get there, she had him sobbing as she asked endless questions about his bowels and waterworks . his rejection letter said he had walked 100m, there was no visable sign of any disability and he could drive a manual vehicle …nil points …his mandatory reconsideration has been rejected so its off to tribunal we go ..wish us luck !!!

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