A Minister told me in the Commons that Department for Work Pensions (DWP) ‘Presenting Officers’ attend social security tribunals to learn lessons and improve the benefits assessment process. This was during an Urgent Question after it emerged 30,000 more people were owed backdated payments on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) from the DWP. Too many disabled people are forced to undergo tribunals to access ESA and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) after an assessment, ‘Mandatory Reconsiderations’, and lodging an appeal. The current process costs millions to run, delays payments and causes huge anxiety for many disabled people and their families.
My question was why DWP officers were only attending 20% of tribunals at the end of 2018. They clearly are not learning very much.