DWP drew up plans to charge disabled people for fit-to-work appeals, internal documents reveal

Charities warned the plans reflected badly on DWP officials

Most appeals against fit to work decisions are successful
Most appeals against fit to work decisions are successful

Officials at the Department for Work and Pensions drew up plans to charge disabled people for appeals against benefit decisions, internal documents show.

Documents released by the Daily Mirror newspaper show the Government also considered stopping benefits altogether during appeals and making changes to tribunals to reduce the rate of successful appeals.

The idea of charging for appeals was floated despite official DWP figures showing more than half of disabled people declared “fit to work” who appeal the decision are later found to actually be ill.

Dan Scorer, head of policy at the learning disability charity Mencap, said the policy ideas reflected badly on the officials that drew them up.

“It’s deeply concerning that anyone in the DWP thought these policies were acceptable,” he said.

“If introduced they would block disabled people’s ability to seek justice and challenge benefit decisions made against them, taking away the support they desperately rely on to find work and to maintain their independence and health.

“The assessments system for people with a learning disability is already broken, with over half of Fit for Work decisions being overturned by tribunal.”

He called on Stephen Crabb, the new Work and Pensions Secretary, to rule out implementing the policies.

Mr Crabb was appointed to replace Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned as Work and Pensions Secretary after the most recent Budget.

Mr Duncan Smith, long a target of criticism himself, accused the Government of balancing the books on the back of the most vulnerable in society.

Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith told the Mirror the documents revealed a department “determined to make life harder for disabled people and low-wage working families”.

A DWP spokesperson said the policies were not taken forward and had not been shown to ministers.

“These ideas were drafted by staff before the last election. They do not represent Government policy and have never been sent to Ministers,” she said.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in