The length of time it takes for your disability living allowance (DLA) appeal to be heard depends very much on which area of the country you live in, figures released by the government show.

In response to a question raised this week by Anne McGuire MP about the average waiting times for DLA appeals to be heard, Jonathan Djanogly, Under Secretary of State (HM Courts Service and Legal Aid) provided evidence of waiting times at each HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) processing centres.

The evidence shows significant variations in waiting times depending on the region dealing with the processing of the DLA appeal. The figures available relate to average waiting times from receipt of DLA appeals at HMCTS to the date of appeal hearing.

The latest available figures cover the period 1 April 2011 to 30 September 2011 and show Birmingham processing centre as having the longest average waiting time of 29.62 weeks. In contrast to Birmingham, Cardiff processing centre has a waiting period of 21.02 weeks. There is, therefore, at an average wait of two months longer if your DLA appeal is processed by Birmingham rather than Cardiff HMCTS.

The average figures are affected by the number of cases that are withdrawn or settled before the hearing date and include paper hearings, so the actual waiting times for people who attend an oral hearing may in fact be much longer.

This correspon​dent’​s experience is that DLA appeals are taking longer than the average figures shown for the Birmingham processing centre. When enquiring about a date for a DLA appeal lodged in January this year, the correspondent was told there is a waiting time of 72 weeks for DLA appeals to be heard. In this instance an appeal submitted in January 2011 is unlikely to be heard until at least March 2012.

The reliability and accuracy of the figures about waiting times for DLA appeals to be heard cited by Mr Djanogly must therefore be questionable.

The average waiting times in weeks for each centre are:

Birmingham (Central and Eastern England) 29.62
Cardiff (Wales and SW England) 21.02
Glasgow (Scotland) 22.53
Leeds (NE England—​North and West Yorkshire) 25.98
Newcastle (NE England) 28.89
Liverpool (NW England) 28.26
Sutton (London and SE England) 22.39
All 25.59

More details can be found at can be found at They Work for You.


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