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Disabilities DWP's ‘scandalous’ efforts to deprive claimants of cash

MORE than £100 million has been spent on administering reviews and appeals against disability benefit claims in just over two years, figures released today show.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spending is in addition to the tens of millions spent every year by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on appeals.

Disability benefits make up the bulk of these MoJ tribunals and about two-thirds of them have been won by claimants in the past year.

But the department is also facing questions from the work & pensions select committee over the figures amid claims it was not given similar information for its own inquiry into personal independence payment (PIP) and employment and support allowance (ESA).

The DWP has spent £108.1m on direct staffing costs for ESA and PIP appeals since October 2015, figures obtained by the Press Association through a freedom of information request show.

The figure covers mandatory reconsiderations, an internal DWP review, and appeals to tribunals run by the courts service. The DWP said a “small proportion” of decisions were overturned.

Linda Burnip of Disabled People Against Cuts told the Star that these amounts do not cover the £1.6 billion paid over three years to US privateer Maximus to carry out work capability assessments. Atos and Capita have also received more than £416m to carry out the totally inadequate PIP assessments over three years.

Ms Burnip said: “These wasted amounts of money spent trying to stop disabled people access the benefits they need could easily have paid for them for many years instead.

“It is time taxpayers demanded real value for money and justice for disabled people rather than having their money squandered on paying private corporations to continue failing and wasted on unnecessary and cruel reconsiderations and tribunals.

“Like most things this government do, this is scandalous.”

The select committee is due to publish the results of its inquiry into PIP and ESA on Wednesday.

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