The number of benefit decision appeals dropped by 79% to 32,546 between January and March 2014, compared to same time last year.
The figures come after fundamental reform to the way DWP manages disputes – mandatory reconsideration – where officials will now look again at a decision and any additional evidence before it goes to an appeal.
Claimants are now contacted much earlier in the process, with the decision explained to them, and giving them the chance to challenge it if they feel it is incorrect at the earliest possible opportunity.
Streamlining of the appeals process is part of the government’s long-term economic plan to reform welfare and ensure benefit support is better targeted at those who need it most. The government currently spends around £94 billion a year on working-age benefits.
Big falls in appeals have been seen across DWP decisions including:
- a decrease of around 89% against Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) decisions
- over 70% reduction in appeals on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) decisions
Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning said:
Fewer appeals going to tribunal is welcome news. Getting more decisions right the first time avoids the need for protracted tribunal appeals. Going to tribunal is not only expensive for the taxpayer but leads to delays in people getting the money where they are eligible.
Thanks to streamlining the disputes process, this new safeguard gives claimants the chance to raise their grievance promptly, provide further evidence and have their claim reassessed without the unnecessary stress of an appeal.
As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, we are committed to helping as many people into work as possible, rather than just writing them off on out-of-work benefits as happened in the past. We also want to make sure we help and support those too sick to work, which we are doing.
The DWP has also introduced the Claimant Commitment for JSA claimants, where jobseekers agree to take more proactive steps to find work on a daily basis – with close help from a designated work coach.
DWP introduced mandatory reconsideration for all benefit cases last year.
The DWP will look to publish official statistics about mandatory reconsiderations in due course.
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