In an exclusive report, the Mirror have discovered that Conservative ministers have spent a whopping £200 million on contesting appeals to PIP and ESA over a period of five years.
Despite pouring money into it, over 400,000 individuals who have been denied their PIP or ESA after an assessment have won the benefits back after an appeal, with over two thirds of appeals lodged against the DWP being successful.
The Mirror acquired the figures after submitting a Freedom of Information request, which showed the £199 million spent by the DWP between the two stages of PIP and ESA appeals between 2013 and 2018. Mandatory Reconsiderations, the first stage of appeal completed by the DWP as an internal review, cost them around £50.7 million for ESA appeals and £43.4 million for PIP in the same period. External appeal tribunals, the secondary stage, cost £58.7 million for ESA and £46.2 million for PIP.
From the figures, the Mirror also discovered the rapid rise in all figures over the five year period, going up by £32 million in 2015/16, £45 million in 2016/17 and £62 million in 2017/18. It is also believed that the true costs will in fact be considerable higher than the figures given as they do not factor in the price of running the appeal hearings, which are paid for by the Ministry of Justice – although it was revealed that in 2016/17 the MoJ spent £103.1 million on social security and child support tribunals, of which four out of five were appeals on PIP or ESA.
Tthe DWP said that the figures were not official, and “should be treated with caution,” noting that figures for 2017/18 were still going under validation and “the data is frequently revised.”
In a statement to the Mirror, a DWP spokesperson said: “We’re committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support that they need, spending £50 billion a year supporting them and those with health conditions. A relatively small proportion of all decisions are overturned at appeal – 4% for both PIP and ESA.”
Read the full report with source here.
Image: Flickr/Number 10
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