Disabled people facing "unacceptable benefit waits" says Newport MP
10:02pm Thursday 27th February 2014 in News
DISABLED people in Newport are facing unacceptable waits for a new disability benefit, according to a city MP.
Newport East's Jessica Morden has criticised ministers for not getting to grips with personal independent payments after discovering some of her constituents were waiting months for decisions on if they'd get it.
The new payments are replacing disability living allowance benefit – and applicants need to be assessed before payments can be made.
But there are concerns that decisions are taking months, and yesterday the National Audit Office said claimants are facing long and uncertain delays.
Auditors said the Department of Work and Pensions hadn't allowed enough time to test whether the assessment process could handle large number of claims.
The Citizens Advice Bureau in Newport says it has helped 30 clients with their applications, with most waiting for four to five months for a decision.
Claimants would be sent letters from the firm that carries out the assessments in Wales, Capita, that would give dates when assessment will take place.
But these dates are either changed or no assessor turns up.
According to the CAB there can also be a delay between the assessment and when Capita sends their report to the Department of Work and Pensions, and there can be further delays in a final decision being made.
Ms Morden said the waits were "clearly not acceptable".
She said: "The previous Minister assured me three years ago that the new system would work and not repeat the chaos of Atos and the work capability assessments. Unfortunately, they appear not to have learnt the lessons".
DWP minister Mike Penning told the House of Commons earlier this week: “There are internal DWP processes that are taking too long. The assessment is taking too long, and it is also the case that some claimants are taking too long to return the forms that have been sent to them.
“We are working on this with both providers, and we will get there.”
Comments are closed on this article.