There has been a dramatic and unprecedented drop in the number of benefits appeals, especially in relation to the work capability assessment.{jcomments on}

According to tribunal president Judge Robert Martin, giving evidence to the work and pensions committee earlier this month:

“The figures have just fallen away remarkably. In March 2013, in a single month we had something like 37,000 Work Capability Assessment appeals. In March this year, from my enquiries of regional judges, we think probably less than 1,000 is our estimate.”

The judge suggested that the fall is due to the reduction in the number of cases going to Atos and also to delays in the assessment process.

Judge Martin also criticised the new mandatory reconsideration system arguing that it is “built on a false premise” because “before mandatory reconsideration came in, the Department would reconsider every appeal that was sent to it” in any case.

The judge expressed concern about the effects of the new system on claimants:

"To my mind, it is of dubious advantage. It builds in an extra step, in that the claimant now has to make two applications: mandatory reconsideration and then appeal. It is bound to take longer. Personally, I am quite concerned that a number of claimants who may have winnable cases drop out between the mandatory reconsideration stage and deciding to make a further appeal. It seems to me to be regressive."

You can read a transcript of Judge Martin's  evidence to the work and pensions committee.


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