FOI request reveals DWP staff told to reject 80% of benefit appeals

Disability-absence-dwp

Staff are working to a quota confidential documents reveal 

18th May 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Confidential documents have revealed Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff are told to turn down four out of five benefit appeals.

A freedom of information (FOI) request revealed staff are instructed via a “key performance indicator” to uphold 80% of decisions.

The first stage of a claimant’s appeals against a decision on jobseeker's allowance, disability living allowance and other financial assistance is called mandatory reconsideration.

Unless granted a claimant cannot normally progress to the next appeal stage - a tribunal.

Figures show between April 2016 and March this year, 87% of mandatory reconsiderations resulted in the original decision being upheld.

Phil Reynolds, of Parkinson's UK, said: "It is disgraceful that the DWP would use such arbitrary targets as a basis for decisions that have an enormous impact on the lives of people with long-term conditions, such as Parkinson’s.

"These shocking findings have uncovered a blatant disregard for the health and wellbeing of thousands of people with the condition, who are forced to go through a stressful appeal process to get the support they should have received from day one.

"There should be trust that the DWP are working towards making the right decision, first time. These outrageous targets must be abolished."

A DWP spokesman said: "Mandatory reconsiderations look at all the evidence afresh, including any new evidence provided by the claimant. Our key performance measures are strictly used to assess the accuracy of the original benefit decisions.

"We want to ensure we get decisions right first time around, and performance measures help to monitor this."

In its FoI response, the department said the target was used "to monitor mandatory reconsideration performance".

In the "vast majority" of cases where decisions are overturned through mandatory reconsideration, more evidence has been provided by the claimant, the DWP added.