The cost of individual appeals has quadrupled to over £1,000 each since 2013, a justice minister revealed this week. But for the DWP appeals are still a massive money saver.
If you’ve ever wondered how much your PIP or WCA appeal might be costing, we can now put a rough figure on it thank to a written answer to a parliamentary question.
According to justice minister Rachel Maclean, the average cost of a social security appeal has gone up from £257 in 2013 to £1,091 in 2022.
However, the total cost of all social security appeals over the same period has fallen from £140 million to £101 million a year.
The reason for the fall in cost is the introduction of mandatory reconsiderations.
The vast majority of mandatory reconsiderations are unsuccessful, but most claimants are so ground down by the process that they do not go on to appeal, few realising that their chances of success are as high as 70% at a tribunal.
As a result of this cruel con trick, appeal numbers have been slashed from 543,609 in 2013-14 down to 91,690 in 2021-22.
And whilst £100 million for the appeals that still do happen might sound like a lot of money, the DWP have two reasons to be cheerful.
Firstly, they aren’t meeting the costs, the ministry of justice is.
But secondly, and much more importantly, from the government’s point of view it is money very well spent. Because for every claimant who successfully challenges their unfair benefits decision, there will be many more who simply accept it and give up - not realising that they would have been likely to win.
If just 16,000 claimants who should have got an award of PIP standard rate daily living component for two years are unfairly given nothing and don’t appeal, then the money saved is over £100 million.
In reality, it is clear from the fall in appeal rates since the introduction of mandatory reconsiderations that not tens but hundreds of thousands of claimants are unfairly refused awards and fail to make a challenge.
So unfair decision making decision making is very profitable indeed for the government, even if they have to pay out 100 million a year in tribunal costs.
You can see the full stats for appeal costs on the parliament website