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Benefits: Tribunal Awards

Volume 670: debated on Monday 27 January 2020

19. How many and what proportion of applications for (a) disability living allowance, (b) employment and support allowance and (c) personal independence payment that were considered by a tribunal resulted in a benefit award. (900414)

These numbers are far too high, and I suspect that one of the reasons that they are so high is that requisite paperwork is not provided until it reaches the tribunal stage. What can the Minister do to ensure that the paperwork from the applicants is provided earlier?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is often the case that additional written and oral evidence is presented at the tribunal stage, which is why we have made significant changes to the mandatory reconsideration stage where we proactively contact claimants to try to assist in gathering that data. We rolled that out halfway through last year. It is now in all the mandatory reconsideration assessments, and we have seen a significant uplift in the number of appeals overturned at the MR stage, and that is a good thing.

Since PIP was introduced, 30,000 people in Scotland have had to undergo stressful appeals, with 21,000 people having to go to court to receive their correct entitlement. Will the Minister’s Department overhaul the PIP assessment so that it works for disabled people, and not against them, or does the Minister intend to wait until Scotland can fix that for itself?

I have just set out the answer. The hon. Lady does not need to wait. We actually made significant changes last year to gather that missing additional written and oral evidence proactively, making a huge difference, and we will continue to work with claimants, stakeholders and organisations to identify other areas to improve the experience.