Government admits 4,600 disabled people were wrongly stripped of their benefits
Their money was stopped despite them having ‘good reason’ for not attending consultations
The government has admitted that 4,600 disabled people wrongly lost access to a benefit payment more than a year ago after missing an assessment.
A statement from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed that many claimants sanctioned for failing to attend consultations while transferring from Disability Living Allowance to the new Personal Independence Payment (Pip) should not have had their payments stopped.
Pip “is a benefit for those who need help with extra costs associated with long-term illness or disability”, says the BBC.
It was “brought in to replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013”, the broadcaster adds.
The admission followed a tribunal decision made in November 2017 on what counted as a “good reason” for not attending or participating in a Pip assessment and the government promised those owed money would be notified and paid in the new year.
In a written statement to Parliament, DWP minister Sarah Newton outlined the numbers affected by the ruling.
“The decision states that in these instances claimants’ DLA awards should be reinstated, until a final decision on their Pip claim, and back paid, as necessary,” Newton said.
“The department has been working at pace and taking the necessary steps required to implement the ruling. All claimants who benefit from the tribunal decision will be notified.”
It is believe that not all of the claimants affected by the error have been identified as yet.
Minesh Patel, policy and campaigns manager at disability equality charity Scope, said the news was “deplorable” and that the payments were a “financial lifeline, not a luxury” for disabled people.
“They help disabled people to meet some of the extra costs they face as a result of an impairment or condition,” he added.
“Many disabled people we speak to are unable to attend their PIP assessment and it is desperately unfair that they are denied support on this basis. Whilst steps are being taken to rectify these errors, this alone won’t fix the lack of trust in the system,” Patel concluded.