Revealed: Over half of Scots win disability assessment appeals

Med assess

Campaigners say the stats prove the process is unfit for purpose 

14th November 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

More than one in two Scots have won disability benefit claims after taking the UK government to court, new data has revealed.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that in Scotland more than 120,000 appealed against the loss of benefit payments in the five year period since 2013 – with 65,750 succeeding.

Overall the success rate for tribunal appeals rose from 41% in 2013-14 to 63%.

Assessments are carried out on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) by contractors Capita, the Independent Assessment Services (formerly called Atos) and Maximus.

Since welfare reforms took place, there has been ongoing controversy over how these tests are conducted with charities and campaigners maintaining they are designed to get people off benefits without recourse to their medical history.

People seeking to overturn a benefits ruling must complete a written challenge within a month, known as a mandatory reconsideration. If unsuccessful, people can appeal against the decision at tribunal.

But critics say the process is confusing, stressful and does not give claimants enough time to gather evidence to support their appeal.

James Carswell from the Scottish Welfare Rights Forum demanded the process is ditched in its entirety.

“Claimants are committing suicide because of an unfair and unjust regime,” he said. “Consistently it is being proven assessments are designed to intimidate and scare people off of benefits that they are rightfully entitled.

“If a doctor says a person is unfit for work then that should be all that is required. Instead people are routinely humiliated and stigmatised.”

A DWP spokesman said: "We are committed to ensuring people get the support they are entitled to and spend £55bn a year supporting disabled people and those with health conditions."