FIGURES SHOW FULL EXTENT OF DWP ‘AUDITS’ ON DISABILITY PAYMENTS AS McVEY FACES CALLS TO ANSWER TO PARLIAMENT
Figures from the Department of Work and Pensions show almost 70,000 claimants of Personal Independence Payments and Employment Support Allowance have had their assessment ‘audited’ by the DWP since 2015 leading to fears that thousands have had their reports amended by someone who wasn’t present during the assessment.
Figures from DWP service, Independent Audit, show that from June 2016, there were 10,289 ‘audits’ of PIP assessments; 17,285 in 2017; and 11,705 from January to August 2018.
For those who went through a Work Capability Assessment under ESA, from March 2015, 7,185 were ‘audited’; 8,590 in 2016; 8,647 in 2017; and 5,423 from January to August 2018.
The figures were revealed following a written question by SNP MP, Marion Fellows, who last week raised the case of her constituent who had his health report ‘audited’ by the DWP.
When appealing the decision of his Personal Independence Payment claim, Mrs Fellows’ constituent was sent both the original and the ‘audited’ report.
Every section of the original report where her constituent scored points was reduced to zero by the ‘auditor’.
Some sections were amended to show contradictory information. For example, the original said her constituent required “specialist input” whereas the ‘audited’ copy said he did not. Likewise, the original said he “needs prompting” to prepare a meal which was changed by the ‘auditor’ that he could prepare a simple meal himself.
Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, is now facing calls to answer to Parliament specifically on the matter of DWP ‘audits’ this week.
Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:
These figures show that there are potentially hundreds if not thousands of vulnerable people who may have had their health assessment reports tampered with by someone who wasn’t even in the room. These audits must be halted and Esther McVey must answer to Parliament with a statement this week.
The case of my constituent shows that for many, the system is rigged entirely against them and that decisions are a foregone conclusion. The Tories aren’t just making the system difficult for people; they are now cheating people out of essential support.
This not only affects people who are claiming for additional support under PIP, but also those who are claiming ESA and that they are unfit for work. Thousands could have been forced into working by these ‘auditors’ who haven’t even met these people.
The Tories’ welfare regime is targeting the most vulnerable people in society – all in the name of saving money while the wealthy receive tax cuts. It’s time they stopped attacking people and started supporting them.