The DWP have attempted to mislead the work and pensions select committee over the accuracy of PIP and ESA decisions.
In a document entitled ‘Work and Pensions Select Committee PIP and ESA Assessments inquiry: Supporting Statistics’ the DWP argue that only “A small proportion of decisions are overturned at MR [mandatory reconsiderations] or appeal”.
The document presents figures showing that only 4% of PIP decisions and 3% of ESA decisions are overturned at mandatory reconsideration.
What the document fails to explain is that many claimants are prevented from requesting a mandatory reconsideration in the first place, because call centre staff repeatedly mislead claimants by telling them:
You are not allowed to request a mandatory reconsideration by phone, you must do so in writing;
You must have new medical evidence before you can ask for a mandatory reconsideration.
Neither of these statements is true, but they are undoubtedly effective in discouraging many claimants from challenging a decision.
The DWP go on to claim that only a small proportion of PIP decisions upheld at mandatory reconsideration have been overturned at first tier Tribunal. They present this as being between 2% and 4%, depending on the health condition.
But this entirely ignores the fact that many claimants will simply be physically, mentally or emotionally unable to lodge an appeal after already being forced to take part in the mandatory reconsideration process, which is deliberately designed to discourage claimants from taking matters further
But the one figure that the DWP shamefully exclude from their briefing document is the overturn rate at first tier tribunals.
With 65% of PIP claimants and 68% of ESA claimants winning their appeal, it’s no surprise that the DWP simply avoid mentioning appeal success rates at all in their document.