4,600 disabled people 'wrongly' lost benefit

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Man in wheelchairImage source, Getty Images

About 4,600 disabled people wrongly lost access to a benefit payment more than a year ago after missing an assessment, ministers have revealed.

Their money was stopped despite them having "good reason" for not attending consultations for the new Personal Independence Payment.

The Department for Work and Pensions has been assessing the numbers affected since a November 2017 legal ruling.

The claimants will receive the payments again, as well as back pay.

Personal Independence Payment, or PIP, is a benefit for those who need help with extra costs associated with long-term illness or disability.

It was brought in to replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013.

But before a disabled person receiving DLA was transferred to PIP they needed to attend an assessment.

On 23 November last year, judges at the Upper Tribunal, which considers administrative matters in the UK, gave a ruling on what counted as a "good reason" for not attending or participating in a PIP assessment or failing to provide information.

In a written statement to Parliament, DWP minister Sarah Newton outlined the numbers affected by the ruling.

"The decision states that in these instances claimants' DLA awards should be reinstated, until a final decision on their PIP claim, and back paid, as necessary," Ms Newton said.

"The department has been working at pace and taking the necessary steps required to implement the ruling. All claimants who benefit from the Upper Tribunal decision will be notified."

Separately, the government statement also showed that as of last month only 1,000 people had been paid PIP arrears they are owed, with an average payment of £4,500.

It is thought a review of claims announced last January could see about 200,000 receive more money.

Marsha de Cordova, Labour's shadow minister for disabled people, said the figures in the government statement "once again show the DWP's shocking disregard for disabled claimants".

A spokesperson for the DWP said it was committed to ensuring that claimants get the support they need, and that it was making improvements to the administration of PIP.