The Department for Work and Pension and the Disabled Person Independence Payment

Disability makes it difficult for individuals to work (especially in light of inaccessibilities), making them have little or no income. To help with this, the department for work and pension (DWP) offers personal independence payments (PIP) to those that are disabled. There are legal benefits and quotas the eligible can legally receive, however DWP lately had a case brought up against them as they minimize these benefits. The department for work and pension pressured the dissabled and disabled benefit claimants into accepting lower welfare support than what they legally deserved or could get. This was not the first time such an incident had happened as claims were raised against the department when their policy changed through the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government in May 2010. This lasted for around five years and the staff would cut or not allow completely for the claimants to receive any payments. Recently, the department started such behavior again as it would lessen the legal benefits the eligible could receive, even by thousands. The eligible could appeal to the benefits they are receiving, but this is only successful 75% of the time.

The department would not inform their claimants about their appeal rights and other vital information. The DWP would cold-call claimants wanting to claim their benefits and tell them to let go of their appeals and to accept lower benefits and offers. This was not done through the representatives of the disabled but directly to them, even when they told the DWP to speak with their representatives, which resulted in stress and fear. It caused psychological harm of the claimant. The representatives should be contacted and spoken to to help the dissabled, but the cold-calling needed an answer within an hour, meaning that the eligible were not always able to talk to their people. Claimants got slightly higher offers to release the DWP from appeals, of whose conditions they were not informed about.

Such was a case of a disabled woman with severe bipolar disorder named K. In 2017, she was denied payment and in 2019 when she tried again she received only a fraction of the payment she should have. She was cold-called from a withheld number in the manner described above when she set in an appeal for her legal benefits. She was offered 1,500 pounds per year less than she deserved. K’s mother, her representative, was not contacted. After K found out that other claimants were treated the same way, K tried for over a year to persuade the DWP to change their “unfair, unlawful and discriminatory” practice. Eventually, K contacted the Public Law Project for help and went to the High Court. A day before the case, the DWP agreed to settle and change its ways.

The DWP agreed to not do a “partial lapse” award or lower the benefits of claimants through cold calling. It also agreed to re-training it’s employees. They would be taught the new policies that the DWP agreed on rewriting. Regardless, the DWP hurt many individuals with their actions.

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AblifyNow

Dismantling ableism and advancing disability equity through education, conversation, and grassroots activism.