Record benefit claims wrongly rejected due to ‘flaws’ – how to challenge them

CLAIMS for benefits were wrongly rejected at a record rate last year, new figures reveal.

Nearly 80,000 applications for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) were given the go ahead after initially being turned down.

Thousands of claims were challenged successfully last year

Thousands of claims were challenged successfully last yearCredit: Alamy

The benefit worth between £23.60 and £151.40 a week is designed to support those with disabilities or long-term illnesses.

There were 905,870 claims for PIP made last year and 182,880 of those were appealed.

Of those appeals, 78,390 were successful according to figures obtained by the Independent.

It means 43% of denied PIP claims were challenged successfully through mandatory reconsideration.

Anyone can challenge a decision about benefits this way, but this can take time.

Paul Alexander, policy manager at disability equality charity Scope said the figures showed “flaws in the system” and that the DWP is getting decisions wrong “far too many times”.

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“Disabled people shouldn’t have to fight to get what they are entitled to. DWP needs to be getting decisions right first time around,” he told the newspaper.

We’ve asked the DWP for comment and will update when we hear back.

The government department told the newspaper that it got the decision right in the majority of PIP claims, and is exploring ways to make sure the “welfare system better meets the needs of disabled people through our health and disability green paper”.

When you first claim PIP you’ll be assessed by a health professional to work out the level of help you can get. This is then regularly reviewed with follow-up assessments.

There are two elements of PIP – a weekly daily living rate worth either £60 or £89.60, and a weekly mobility rate worth £23.70 or £62.55 – how much you get depends on the severity of your condition.

PIP was launched in 2013 to gradually replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Unlike Universal Credit, PIP isn’t means-tested so it doesn’t matter how much you earn or what your national insurance contributions are.

You must have a health condition or disability that has made it hard to cope with moving around or daily living, or both, for the past three months.

The difficulties should be expected to continue for at least nine months.

You usually need to have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least two of the previous three years to be eligible. The rules are different in Northern Ireland

How to appeal a benefits decision

If you’re unhappy with a PIP decision – or any decision about benefits you think you should get – then you can challenge it.

If your application has been turned down, or you don’t think you’ve been offered enough cash, you can appeal the decision.

You first need to ask for a “mandatory reconsideration notice”.

This is where the DWP looks at the decision again.

If you are still unhappy with this outcome, you can then appeal to an independent tribunal.

You must send your appeal form in within one month of the date shown on the mandatory reconsideration notice.

Be warned that it usually takes up to six months for an appeal to be heard by the tribunal.

Before it gets to the tribunal, the DWP can make a revision to the original claim.

If you’re unhappy with the decision you get from the tribunal, you may be able to get the decision cancelled – known as “set aside”. You’ll be told how to do this at the time.

You may also be able to appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) if you think the tribunal wasn’t able to give you proper reasons for its decision, or back up the decision with facts, or if it failed to apply the law properly.

You can get advice and support for appealing a decision for free from organisations like Citizens Advice and Benefits and Work.

Brits claiming benefits could be owed thousands of pounds after an error calculating payments.

One man was awarded £12,000 after contacting the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to recalculate his PIP payments.

Cold-calls pressuring vulnerable people into accepting lower benefit amounts will end after the DWP agreed to change its rules.

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