‘Serious failings’ in disability benefits assessment system

Benefit tales

A committee of MPs has found evidence of serious failings in the disability benefits assessment system Credit: PA

The system for assessing disability benefits has “serious failings”, according to a committee of MPs.

Claimants were not receiving an “acceptable level of service” and the cost to the taxpayer of paying private firms to carry out the assessments was set to double to £579 million in 2016-17, according to the Public Accounts Committee.

Committee findings

  • evidence of “arduous journey times”
  • double booked appointments
  • assessments overturned on appeal
  • some assessors “do not understand particular medical conditions”
  • up to one in five reports sampled were “below the required standard”

The Commons spending watchdog said that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its private contractors were making progress to reduce delays and improve the quality of assessments but the regime still fell short of expectations.

The troubled history of this programme hammers…

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