The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) just gave thousands of disabled people an outrageous ‘gift’ for summer. Speaking during a parliamentary debate, work and pensions secretary Esther McVey revealed that numerous claimants will have to wait until the end of the summer to get the money due to them.
The Conservative government made changes to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in 2017. These alterations limited the amount of financial support it gave to people with mental health conditions. However, a high court ruled in December that year that these changes were “blatantly discriminate” against people with such conditions. It also ruled that the changes breached people’s human rights.
The government has since begun a review of its 1.6m PIP claims to identify from whom it wrongly withheld support. It expects up to 220,000 people to get more help as a result. But, as the Mirror reports, in the debate McVey addressed when the DWP might get this support to the relevant people.
Labour’s Luciana Berger prompted McVey’s revelation in the debate. She said:
There’s still no – six months later – confirmed timetable for when that High Court judgement will be implemented in full, and back payments will be made to those people affected.
We have been making new guidance… consulting with stakeholders on… how to work through that… The first payments will begin at the end of the summer.
Fit for purpose
The changes in question affected people who experience “overwhelming psychological stress” when travelling alone. Despite a tribunal saying these people should qualify for the advanced mobility rate of PIP in 2016, the government denied it to them. The high court decision forced the government to do so in the end. But these people clearly won’t receive support when travelling alone until the end of the summer.
During the parliamentary debate, called to discuss another DWP climbdown following a legal decision, MPs questioned the legality of those changes in 2017. And Labour’s new shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood asked McVey:
What reason do disabled people have to believe that her department is fit for purpose?
That’s a good question. Following the series of legal decisions, climbdowns and scandals, there are probably very few people who do believe the department’s up to scratch.
That it doesn’t see fit to give people the support they deserve until the summer’s end is one good example of why that’s the case.
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Featured image via mrgarethm – Flickr
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