Hundreds of Hartlepool claimants win disabled benefit appeals against the Government
Nearly 1,000 people in Hartlepool have taken the Government to tribunals over disability benefit payments – with more than half winning, new figures show.
Anyone denied Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – which covers the additional expenses faced by people with disabilities and is worth between £23 and £150 a week – can request a reconsideration and can appeal to an independent tribunal if they are still not happy with the result.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) data shows 910 cases from Hartlepool were taken to tribunal between 2013 and the end of 2021 – with 51% of decision overturned in their favour.
Overall the DWP assessed 11,930 PIP applications from people in the area – with the benefit awarded to 8,112 (68%).
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Nationally, claimants won over two-thirds of tribunal cases.
Disability charities say “system failings” mean disabled people have to battle a "complex and distressing" appeals process to get what they are entitled to.
Nina Huszarik, lead policy adviser at charity Scope, said far too many disabled people receive the wrong decision initially.
She said: “An enormous number of disabled people's lives had been thrown into turmoil by failures of the benefits system.”
Both Scope and the charity Disability Rights UK say many disabled people had been assessed by DWP workers without appropriate knowledge of their condition.
Ken Butler, from Disability Rights UK said a tribunal hearing was often the first time a claimant "felt properly listened to".
A DWP spokesman said the overturned cases represented just a fraction of millions of decisions made following assessments and said the majority of PIP decisions were right.