Thousands of people who score ‘zero points’ for disability benefit win fight to get it back

“The broken system is designed to take money from people whose only crime is to be unlucky,” an MP said of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

More than 13,000 people rejected for disability benefit after scoring “zero points” on their assessment have had the decision overturned, new figures show.

Campaigners warn the assessment process for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is “broken” and has “deep and widespread” failures.

Their concerns emerged after figures released to Parliament showed a total of 66,180 people had an original decision by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) overturned in 2016.

Within this data, 5,030 people initially scoring zero points had their decision overturned at the internal review stage – known as mandatory reconsideration.

A further 8,100 then had their decision overturned at an independent tribunal.

Some are new claims not previously eligible for benefit, but many are also people who previously claimed Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Labour MP Chris Matheson, who obtained the figures, said: “The system is broken and is designed to take money from people whose only crime is to be unlucky, to be born with a genetic problem or to suffer an accident that completely changes their life.”

Roy Ramm, former senior police detective (left) with Chester MP Chris Matheson, who are probing missing cruise worker Rebecca Coriam's case
MP Chris Matheson (right) who obtained the figures said: “The system is broken” (Photo: Supplied by Chris Matheson)

He called for private companies Atos and Capita to stop doing the assessments and for the process to be brought back into the hands of civil servants.

PIP tests award ‘points’ for each task someone can’t do, like dressing, washing or using the toilet. Claimants must score at least eight to be paid the benefit.

But 83,000 people were given no points at all between April and October 2016.

That was around 14% of all PIP tests in that period – up from 13% in 2015/16 and 8% in 2014/15, analysis by the Press Association showed.

In total 234,000 people have been given zero points since the benefit launched in 2013.

Robert Meadowcroft, chief executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, added: “PIP assessments are poor in quality and today’s data shows yet again just how seriously wrong they can be.

Theresa May has defended the system (Photo: BBC)

“Each case represents profound stress and financial uncertainty for a disabled person.”

Of 555,000 PIP claimants rejected for the benefit who asked the DWP to review their case since 2013, just 18% had their benefit restored.

Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/thousands-people-who-score-zero-10329116

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