This article has been triggered by a post from Joe Halewood who is absolutely right to highlight the shockingly low numbers of people appealing a benefit decision, and especially PIP https://speyejoe2.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/tory-policy-deliberately-shafts-half-a-million-disabled-persons/
It is worth looking at the numbers to understand the scale of the issue, and to compare the situation under DLA and PIP.
The main difference between the 2 benefits, apart from the descriptors, which with PIP were meant to lead to a reduction of 500,000 fewer claimants, is the introduction of Mandatory Reconsiderations. Mandatory Reconsiderations are a system of internal appeals, designed to reduce the number of appeals by reviewing and revising if necessary a benefit decision within a shorter timeframe. Where appeals could take one year or even 18 months these days to be heard, a mandatory reconsideration can take around 10 days, because the government has imposed targets. That is the good news. The bad news is as for sanctions, mandatory reconsiderations are under the direct influence of DWP Secretary of State, and are not independent. The initial benefit decision is supposed to be reviewed by a different Decision Maker, but around 84% of initial benefit decisions are being upheld, which leaves a claimant with only one option: to appeal.
The problem is that very few people appeal, and it is obvious that Mandatory Reconsiderations and the Kafkaesque system put in place by DWP, which makes it as difficult as possible for a claimant to get some kind of justice, plus the mistakes and the incompetence of many DWP staff, constitute a real denial of justice. Let’s crunch some numbers:
Before the introduction of PIP in 2012, there were 3,253,810 DLA claimants, but only 71,744 appeals, which is 2,20%. Let’s remind ourselves that claimants could directly ask for an appeal and that DWP would lodge it on their behalf. Now let’s compare this situation with PIP today.
In 2016/2017, there are only 1,409,027 PIP claimants (and still 2,263,162 DLA claimants), and the number of Mandatory Reconsiderations is 669,000. This means that almost ½ the people undergoing a PIP assessment are dissatisfied with the outcome and ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration. Knowing that 80% of mandatory reconsideration upheld the initial PIP decision, you would expect around 535,200 PIP claimants lodging an appeal. In fact, the number is 104,205, which only 19% of the number of claimants expected to appeal.
But what needs to be done is to compare more directly the DLA and the PIP situation:
2012 3,253,810 DLA claimants 71,744 appeals
2017 1,409,027 PIP claimants 669,000 MR 104,205 appeals
Without Mandatory Reconsiderations, the number of PIP claimants lodging an appeal would have been 669,000. If the level of overturned PIP decisions is maintained (64%), it means that 424,160 PIP claimants would have had a PIP decision overturned in their favour.
That is a real denial of justice.