BENEFITS assessments were ridiculed yesterday following revelations that 13,000 disabled claimants given “zero points” were later awarded payments on appeal.
New government figures show that 66,180 claimants had an original decision by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) overturned in their favour at a mandatory reconsideration or tribunal last year.
And 8,100 of these who initially scored zero points on the DWP tests were later awarded PIP by independent tribunals.
A further 5,030 applicants had their decision overturned at mandatory reconsideration, a system run by DWP that claimants must go through before appealing to tribunals.
Labour MP Chris Matheson, who received the figures in response to a written parliamentary question, said: “So many of my constituents come in here and clearly they have a disability or debilitating illnesses — and that’s from someone who’s medically qualified — and they’re getting knocked back for the most spurious reasons.
“Every time we challenge them — and we go into detail, my staff sit down with these constituents — we can see the guidelines haven’t been followed.
“When we challenge, so many cases get overturned or the number of points jumps right up.
“The system is broken and is designed to take money from people whose only crime is to be unlucky, to be born with a genetic problem or to suffer an accident that completely changes their life.”
He called for private companies Atos and Capita to stop doing the assessments and for the process to be brought back into the hands of civil servants.