A freedom of information request to the DWP has revealed the staggering amount Scottish disability claimants are losing out on

The DWP logo

An enquiry by investigative journalism platform the Ferret has revealed that Scottish disability claimants are seriously losing out due to DWP reforms, to the sum of £56.4m a year.

A rocky transition

The Ferret sent a freedom of information request to the DWP. It asked:

how many people resident in Scotland who previously qualified for Disability Living Allowance have not been given a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) following medical assessments.

The DWP has been phasing out Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to be replaced by PIP since 2013. People who were claiming DLA have to apply for PIP instead.

However, the Ferret’s investigation has revealed that this has not been a smooth changeover for many claimants in Scotland. The DWP stated that, up to 31 October 2017, it had completed 97,560 assessments of previous DLA claimants. But assessors did not award 16,970 of these people PIP. The Ferret estimates that this amounts to an annual overall loss of £56.4m annually, with Scotland’s poorest communities hit hardest.

A money saver

In response to the Ferret’s findings, the DWP issued the following statement:

We are committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support they’re entitled to. Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant and their GP or medical specialist, and anyone who is unhappy with their decision can appeal.

Read on...

However, there has been a backlash from disability groups and politicians alike. Iain Smith, from the disabled people’s organisation Inclusion Scotlandsaid the findings confirm that the advent of PIP was:

always about cutting the benefits bill and not about providing disabled people with the support the need for independent living.

And Paul Sweeney, Labour MP for Glasgow North East, stated:

The potential annual total of £1.9m in social security payments being denied to my constituents every year is the difference between being able to live in dignity and facing destitution. This is the appalling reality of what the Tories have done in creating a hostile environment for those in our communities who are most in need of help.

In April 2018, the Scottish parliament voted unanimously to establish a new devolved Scottish social security system. For SNP MSP Ruth Maguire, the change can’t come soon enough:

Only with full powers over social security can Scotland treat all those in need of support with the respect they deserve, not the cruelty they face under a toxic Tory government.

Not the first time

This is far from the first time PIP payments, or the lack thereof, have come under the spotlight.

In December 2017, a high court ruled that DWP changes to the criteria required to receive PIP were unfair to people with mental health conditions. Indeed, these were so unfair that it deemed they breached the claimants’ human rights. The government was forced into a review and “expects up to 220,000 people to get more help as a result”. However, they will still have to wait until the end of the summer for the payment.

The DWP’s allocation of the Employment Support Allowance (ESA) benefit has also led to similar accusations. A Guardian report found that:

So far in 2017-18, 68% of 35,452 ESA appeals have gone in favour of the claimant.

And Universal Credit hasn’t got off scot-free either. As The Canary previously reported, 83% of Universal Credit sanction decisions are overturned on appeal.

Wrong priorities

The Ferret‘s findings demonstrate the effect of the DWP’s commitment to saving money over claimants’ best interests.

A shift in priorities is way overdue.

Get Involved!

– Support Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and the Mental Health Resistance Network, fighting for disabled people’s rights.

Featured image via UK government – Wikimedia

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed