More than 1,500 disabled people in East Riding County are challenging the government in a welfare tribunal.

Data from the Department of Work and Pensions show that between April 2013 and the end of 2021, about 1,770 cases from the East Riding of Yorkshire were taken to court. Photo: PA Images

Since 2013, hundreds of thousands of benefit decisions have been overturned across the UK after people with disabilities fought a “complicated and harrowing” appeals system to win their case in court, disability charities say.

Anyone who is denied a personal independence payment, which covers the additional costs faced by people with disabilities, ranging from £23 to £150 per week, can request a review.

If someone is still dissatisfied with the result of this, they can further appeal it to an independent court.

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About 65% saw the DWP decision reversed in their favor during this period.

Nationally, plaintiffs have won more than two-thirds of the cases that have gone to trial since 2013.

Nina Khuzarik, lead political adviser to the charity Scope, said that too many people with disabilities were given the wrong decision the first time and ended up without financial support.

She said the lives of a huge number of people with disabilities had been devastated by “failures in the welfare system,” with many of them not well enough to withstand the mental and physical stress and exhaustion caused by their appeals.

In total, the DWP reviewed 19,260 PIP applications from residents of the East Riding of Yorkshire between 2013 and 2021, with benefits awarded in 12,134 (63%) cases.

Dissatisfaction with the initial decisions led 4,570 people to submit an initial request for mandatory reconsideration, resulting in 20% of these awards being modified.

Both Scope and charity Disability Rights UK say they have worked with many people with disabilities who were examined by DWP workers without proper knowledge of their condition.

Ken Butler of Disability Rights UK said this resulted in “poor and inaccurate initial medical assessments” by people who did not understand the nature and consequences of disability.

Ms Khuzarik added: “We hear about assessors having to google people’s terms during assessments because they’ve never heard of it.

“People with disabilities should be entitled to an assessor who understands the true impact of their condition and how it can change.

“For the system to work, people with disabilities need to get the right solution the first time.”

Mr. Butler said court hearings were often the first time a plaintiff “felt properly heard.”

A DWP spokesperson stated that the dismissed cases were only a fraction of the millions of decisions made since the evaluations, and said that most of the PIP decisions were correct.

He added: “All assessments were carried out by professionals trained to consider the impact of a person’s condition or disability, but we are exploring what more we can do to make the welfare system better serve the needs of people with disabilities through our Health and Disability Green Paper. “.

The DWP is now giving applicants more time to gather information to support their application.

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