The lives and health of people in Surrey with long-term disabling conditions such as autoimmune disorder and painful degenerative conditions are being made worse by a failing benefit process. Long delays in the process of applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) now routinely lead to dire financial circumstances.
This is the stark message of a new research report – A Rubber Stamp? Mandatory Reconsideration in the PIP – published* jointly last week by all the Surrey Citizens Advice charities. The research shines a harsh light on methods used by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to decide if someone really needs the PIP.
Andrea Dunhill, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice Reigate & Banstead said:
“Claimants can appeal an initial decision they think is wrong but first have to apply for a Mandatory Reconsideration. This means the DWP must review the decision before the claimant is allowed to take their case to a tribunal. It’s often this extra step that causes the problems.
“Our evidence, based on hundreds of cases across Surrey, reveals a situation that is both unacceptable and unnecessary.
“We are asking decision-makers in the county to support our call for urgent reform. Mandatory reconsideration should in effect become an automatic part of the appeal process and put an end to the delays that are causing vulnerable people so much difficulty.”
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A Rubber Stamp? Mandatory Reconsideration in Personal Independence Payment. Author: Lizzie Blair, Research and Campaigns Officer, Citizens Advice Mole Valley. Commissioned by Surrey Citizens Advice Research and Campaigns Group, May 2019