19 July 2005

The percentage of initial claims for disability living allowance that fail has risen for the third year in a row. Claimants now have a less than 50/50 chance of their initial claim for disability living allowance being successful. Meanwhile, the DWP are refusing to give MPs any explanation for why this might be happening.

Our lips are sealed
In the 12 months to the end of February 2003 54% of all new claims for disability living allowance were successful. In 2003/04 the percentage of successful claims had fallen significantly to 50%. In the year to February 2005 it has fallen again, to just 47%. There is now a better chance of an initial claim for disability living allowance being refused than there is of it being accepted.

In addition, the number of new claims made in the same period has fallen. In 2002/03 433,345 new claims were made. In 2003/04 that number went up again to 442,150. But in 2004/05 the number of fresh claims suddenly dropped to 427,550.

The number of disability living allowance appeals is also down. In the quarter ending December 2003 there were 22,870 disability living allowance appeals lodged. In the quarter ending December 2004 (the most recent date figures are available for) that had fallen to 21,875.

When Angus McNeil, an SNP MP tabled a question asking why the percentage of rejected disability living allowance claims had increased, the response he got was derisory. Mr. Terry Moran, the chief executive of the Disability and Carers Service – the bit of the DWP that deals with disability benefits – wrote saying:

“The percentage rejections on disability living allowance claims has increased since 2002 because the conditions of entitlement to benefit have been found not to be satisfied in a greater proportion of claims”.

In other words, the percentage of rejections has increased because we’ve rejected a higher percentage. Or to put it more bluntly: mind your own business.

Trebles all round
So fewer disability living allowance claims being made; a smaller percentage of disabled people’s claims being successful and fewer appeals being lodged against disability living allowance decisions: costs cut all round. We wouldn’t mind betting that one disability living allowance related cost is going to increase sharply in the coming year, however: Mr Moran’s very handsome salary.


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