Ministers have been forced to intervene and deploy civil servants to shore up a private company struggling to clear a backlog of medical assessments for payments to tens of thousands of terminally ill, sick and disabled people.{jcomments on}

In a letter leaked to the Guardian, a senior civil servant says the "one-off" step will be taken because Capita is failing to process the recently introduced personal independence payment (PIP) claims in time.

The benefit, worth between £21 and £134 a week, is meant to cover transport, care and other costs associated with being seriously sick or disabled. Waiting times for assessment have been so long that in some cases people with terminal conditions have died before receiving a penny.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said his new PIP system would be fairer than the old disability living allowance (DLA). Under DLA, he said, people went years and years without being able to get the right support for their condition. With PIP, Duncan Smith said, many more people would get face-to-face assessments and the right sort of help.

However, the demand for face-to-face evaluations has overwhelmed the company contracted to carry them out – so much so that the DWP may cut back on such assessments to reduce waiting times.

Read the full story in the Guardian


Write comments...
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

We use cookies

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.