No 10 accepts 'problems' with disability benefits, after court ruling
A test case brought by two individuals concerning the implementation of Personal Independence Payments (PIPs), which started to replace Disability Living Allowance in 2013, was heard today.
The benefit claims took nine months to process, and the court found the DWP took an “unlawful and unacceptably long time” to make the payments.
However, it rejected the case that the claimants' human rights were breached.
The Department for Work and Pensions had argued that it acted promptly once delays became apparent.
The case could have implications for upwards of 4,500 people whose benefit claims have taken more than a year to process.
Downing Street this morning accepted there were issues with the early roll-out of PIPs, but said the Government was now making progress.
“We knew that there were problems in the initial phase of the role of PIP and that’s why the Government has taken steps to address this – bringing in 800 more staff, increasing the number of health professionals working on it, and we are now starting to see progress,” the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said.
Disability charity Scope said it was “positive” that the delays in payments had been reduced since the case, but added that the judgement “demonstrates the importance” of payments to the disabled.
“Extra costs can make it extremely hard for disabled people to pay the bills. Every day without them is another day unable to afford the essentials in life,” Scope head of policy Elliot Dunster said.