Hundreds of Midlothian disability appeals successful

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Disabled people in Midlothian have successfully appealed against a decision to deny them benefits 390 times – prompting calls for a fresh review of the DWP assessment and appeals process.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws show 390 assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) have been successfully challenged by people in Midlothian since April 2013.

There were a total of 590 appeals during this period – meaning the success rate for appeals was 66 per cent per cent.

PIP is being rolled-out across the UK to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) as the main benefit for disabled or ill people. To receive this benefit, claimants have to take controversial assessments, conducted by private companies on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie (SNP) said: “Disabled people in Midlothian rely on these financial lifelines to live independently and be part of their community.

“For the DWP to get these cases so consistently wrong suggests a systematic hostility towards people in need.

“The Tory government’s punitive approach to the system simply isn’t working.

“It’s failing vulnerable people, withdrawing support from those who need it most, and leaving people out of pocket and unable to afford the basic essentials.

“The UK government’s disastrous record on welfare shows why Scotland should have the power to take our own approach – rather than leaving these powers at Westminster.

“In the meantime, it’s vital that these fundamental flaws in the current assessment appeals process are urgently addressed.”

A DWP spokesman defended Personal Independence Payments: “PIP is a better benefit which takes a much wider look at the way a person’s health condition or disability impacts them on a daily basis.

“Under PIP, 31 per cent of claimants receive the highest rate of support, compared to 15 per cent under DLA. In fact, Nine in 10 of all PIP claims are made and completed without appeal, and since PIP was introduced there have been 3.9 million decisions made and of these, five per cent have been overturned at appeal.

“In many successful appeals, decisions are overturned because people have submitted more oral or written evidence.”