DWP kept damning Universal Credit research ‘secret’ for 18 months : Welfare Weekly

The Work and Pensions Select Committee (WPC), a cross-party group of MPs with an interest in social security, has slammed the UK Government for failing to publish research into Universal Credit for a staggering 18 months.

Committee Chair Frank Field has written to Chancellor Philip Hammond, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, and copied the letter PM Theresa May, over “alarming” findings of joint HMRC and DWP research into the transition of claimants from tax credits to Universal Credit.

The research found that nearly two-thirds (60%) of former tax credit claimants who were transferred to the new benefits system were struggling to keep up with bills.


Source: DWP kept damning Universal Credit research ‘secret’ for 18 months : Welfare Weekly

Home Office IT failure stalls disabled civil servant’s career, MPs hear | DisabledGo News and Blog

A disabled civil servant has told MPs how her career has stalled because of the failure of the IT systems in the Home Office to cope with the assistive technology she needs to do her job.

Jo-Ann Moran, a senior executive officer in the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, told the work and pensions select committee yesterday (Wednesday) that she had been encouraged to apply for promotion but declined to do so because of the IT problems she was facing.

She told the committee that it had been a “culture shock” to “all of a sudden be denied access” after 30 years of full-time employment.

Moran, who has a degenerative condition that affects her hearing and sight, said: “I am a top performer in my grade and I keep getting told, ‘Come on, go for it,’ but I can’t because I am just not going to be reliable.”

She added: “We just can’t get the assistive technology to work. It’s not through the [lack of] trying, it’s just about the infrastructure being able to cope with the additional technology.”

The evidence session was part of the committee’s inquiry into the role of assistive technology in improving disabled people’s employment rates.

Moran said she feared that if she applied for a job working for a minister, that minister would not be able to accommodate her if she had to say, ‘Sorry, my computer’s not working today.

Source: Home Office IT failure stalls disabled civil servant’s career, MPs hear | DisabledGo News and Blog

DWP agrees to reform benefit appeals process following pressure from MPs

In response to pressure from the Work and Pensions Select Committee the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that its target for upholding original PIP and ESA decisions at the first stage of appeal, known as Mandatory Reconsideration (MR), will be dropped.

On 28 November the Committee wrote to DWP with concerns about MRs, which had come up in the Committee’s current inquiry into the medical assessments carried out by ATOS, Maximus and Capita to inform DWP’s decisions on awards of disability benefits PIP and ESA.

The Committee had heard of “pressure to turn out numbers” in relation to both the original decision and at MR stage, and that MRs simply “rubber stamp” the original decision. The DWP revealed in an FOI request in May 2017 that one of the performance indicators for MRCs was that 80% of the original decisions are to be upheld.

The Committee queried how a target for upholding original decisions could be compatible with ensuring that questionable reports are thoroughly investigated, and erroneous decisions identified and corrected.


Source: DWP agrees to reform benefit appeals process following pressure from MPs

DBC gives evidence to Work and Pensions Select Committee

The 4 witnesses from Citizens Advice, Scope, National Mencap and Sense are certainly tell the Work and Pension Select Committee about their findings regarding PIP and ESA assessments, but to what effect.

Hopefully the Select Committee will use this and other evidence to make major changes to the PIP and ESA progresses to improve them for the betterment of all claimants.

Disability benefits cuts should be delayed, MPs say | DisabledGo News and Blog

Cuts in disability benefits should be delayed until the government clarifies how it will support those in need of extra money, a group of MPs has said. The Work and Pensions Select Committee found there was little evidence that lower payments would motivate disabled people to find work. The allowance is set to be reduced from £102 to £73 per week from April. Ministers have argued that savings would be invested in a new support package for the most vulnerable. The committee said evidence supporting the idea that introducing a lower rate of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) would enhance incentives to work was “ambiguous at best”. It welcomed a decision to make some severely disabled claimants exempt from repeated reassessment for ESA but said it had deep concerns about assessments proposed in the recent work and health green paper. The committee said ministers should consider using incentives such as reductions in National Insurance contributions to encourage employers to employ

Source: Disability benefits cuts should be delayed, MPs say | DisabledGo News and Blog