I belong to an online group, called Benefits and Work, and they have been an amazingly accurate way for me to find out exactly what my rights are as a disabled person.
I get emails from them regularly, mostly when they get updates in the Law, and especially when it concerns the DWP. So their latest email gave me this following news, which made me feel so angered at the sheer waste of money being allowed to continue, while the same people accuse anyone claiming any sort of benefit as losers, users, and any other pejorative phrases they can think up – and all of this, in the so-called pursuit of saving money – by spending far too many pounds, in saving mere pennies!
The way in that the DWP are spending our Tax money, especially as it involves blocking as many vulnerable people as possible from claiming the benefits they are entitled to, is a crime, and it’s about time some Body took them to court over the disasterous actions the DWP have taken, and continue to tak, despite being shown, continuously, all the proof against their austerity-driven actions.
Here’s what they have to say about it all, with a link, immediately below, straight to their Latest News page:
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Welcome back to the first newsletter following our summer break.
We hope you had a peaceful, if possibly rather damp, summer.
Sadly, it’s clear that peace is the last thing that the DWP has in mind. More so now than ever before, the DWP is determined to fight every attempt to challenge its decisions or to get it to disclose information.
It is an agency remorselessly at war with the people it is supposed to support.
APPEALS UNLAWFULLY BLOCKED
So, in this update, we have news of the fight the DWP have put up to prevent claimants who are late asking for a mandatory reconsideration from getting to an appeal.
Entirely unlawfully, the DWP has been blocking people from appealing if they miss the one month deadline for asking for a mandatory reconsideration. In truth, the deadline can be extended by a further year where the claimant has good cause for being late. But the DWP had decided that it was up to them to be the judge of whether the claimant had a good reason for missing the deadline and that tribunals shouldn’t be allowed any say in whether they could hear the case.
Happily, a panel of three upper tribunal judges have now said that the DWP must stop preventing claimants from exercising their lawful right to appeal. The case involved ESA, but will apply to all other benefits too.
MILLIONS SPENT ON ESA APPEALS
The Independent, meanwhile, has managed to get the DWP to hand over details of how much they have spent on trying to stop people getting ESA. And, in particular, on fighting appeals against sanctions of sick and disabled claimants ESA.
The cost to the taxpayer has been a staggering £39 million. And that’s just the DWP’s costs. It doesn’t include to cost of the tribunals themselves.
The fact that the DWP has been losing over two thirds of these cases doesn’t discourage them in the slightest.
Far from it. According to the Independent, spending on ESA appeals has increased by 77% in 2017.
WCA REPORT BLOCKED
We also have news of the DWP refusing to accept the ruling of the Information Commissioner that they must publish a report that shows how well Maximus, and Atos before them, carry out work capability assessments.
The reason the DWP have given for the refusal?
Publication of the report could‘give a perception of under-performance’ which could ‘damage the reputation and standing of the companies involved’.
In other words, they don’t want anyone to know how bad things are, so they are trying to use commercial confidentiality as a reason for withholding the truth.
The matter will now be decided by an information tribunal.
PIP GUIDANCE WITHHELD
Then there’s the fight that Benefits and Work is having with the DWP, which is currently on its way to the Information Commissioner.
We’ve asked to see guidance and training materials used by Atos in relation to PIP assessments.
One of the things we want to discover is whether Atos and Capita are following the same procedures or whether the outcome of your assessment depends in part on what area of the country you are living in.
The DWP are fighting to withhold the documents, however.
You’ve probably guessed it: the information is, in some unexplained way, commercially confidential.
The matter is now going to the Information Commissioner and then, quite possibly, to an information tribunal.
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Well, as you can see, the DWP really don’t care in the least just how much Taxpayer’s money they squander – just as long as they can continue getting their own way, and causing the maximum hell to every single person who has to deal with them 😦