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Disability claimants face five-month wait before first benefit payment

DISABLED benefits claimants are waiting almost half a year to be awarded their first payment, new research suggests today.

Working-age claimants are waiting five months on average for a decision after applying for disability benefits, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

This “likely contributes” to the link between disability and deprivation, with disabled people making up nearly half of the most deprived working-age adults in Britain, it said.

The research also found that spending on disability benefits has risen as claims have increased – despite government reforms intended to reduce costs and numbers.

Peter Matejic, deputy director of evidence and impact at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which funded the research, said: “Delays this long are likely to have led many to go without essentials like food or basic hygiene in the cost-of-living crisis.”

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth said that the wait was “unacceptable” in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

“Ministers must urgently get a grip before even more disabled people are pushed into poverty and hardship under the Tories’ ‘Backlog Britain’,” he said.

 

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