Record levels of successful PIP and ESA appeals

It's been revealed that a record number of Persoanl Independence Payments (PIP) and Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) appeals are now resulting in the overturning of DWP assessment decisions. In the past three months, independent tribunals ruled in favour of claimants in 69% of appeal cases for both benefits. This represents the highest percentage ever for PIP over a three month period.

Assessments for both Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) have been branded “a total failure” and “not fit for purpose” in the wake of the Government statistics.

Labour shadow Secretary of State, Debbie Abrahams said:

“With 69% of both Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance decisions being overturned at appeal, it is clear the assessment process is a total failure and not fit for purpose. We know from the recent Work and Pensions select committee’s damning report that these assessments cause unnecessary stress and anxiety for the thousands who have been denied support unfairly, as well as wasting public money by sending so many decisions back to the courts.

“The Government is failing sick and disabled people by knowingly allowing this injustice to continue. The Tories must act on the select committee’s recommendations immediately.”

The figures, released by the Ministry of Justice, which manages the tribunal service, show 12,195 of 17,785 of ESA cases taken to appeal went in favour of the claimant between October and December. For PIP, it was 13,881 of 20,144 cases taken to appeal over the same time frame.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive at disability charity Scope, said:

“The Government needs to get a grip on this situation, as both PIP and ESA appeals are still being won at alarmingly high rates. Disabled people rely on these financial lifelines to live independently and be part of their community. Without urgent action, vast numbers will continue to be denied this support unfairly. The assessments for PIP and ESA must be overhauled to iron out the mistrust, lack of transparency and routine inaccuracies which disabled people report on a weekly basis.”

DWP says only a fraction of cases are taken to appeal and most decisions are overturned because claimants submit more evidence.

A DWP spokeswoman said:

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support they’re entitled to. Since PIP was introduced more than 2.9 million decisions have been made, and of these 8% have been appealed and 4% have been overturned. In the majority of successful appeals, decisions are overturned because people have submitted more evidence.”