Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has slammed the government for denying vulnerable people the financial support they depend on while they have lengthy waits for decisions on welfare appeals.
Figures attained by Gloria through a Parliamentary Question show that on average, people in Ashfield are waiting around four months for their PIP and ESA benefit appeals to be decided.
PIP (Personal Independence Payments) replaced Disability Living Allowance and helps people cover the extra living costs of being disabled.
ESA (Employment Support Allowance) replaced Incapacity Benefit and provides help to those unable to work because of long term illness or disability and those who could eventually go into work if given enough support.
The figures show that in the year July 2016 to June 2017, the average time taken from an ESA appeal being lodged by an Ashfield resident to a decision being made, was 15.5 weeks.
The average time taken from a PIP appeal being made by an Ashfield resident to a decision being made was 16.6 weeks.
The answer to a further Parliamentary Question submitted by Gloria showed that between August 2016 and July 2017, 50 per cent of appeals by Ashfield residents against disallowed PIP claims resulted in them winning their case.
Thirty PIP claims that were initially disallowed and where this decision was upheld by the mandatory reconsideration process, were successful in overturning the decision at appeal.
The information on ESA appeals was not currently available.
Gloria said: “PIP and ESA claims are made by some of the most vulnerable people in our society whose disabilities and illnesses mean that they cannot go out to work.
“They depend on these benefits to live, but this heartless government is forcing them into financial difficulty and causing great stress by denying them this vital support – even when half of them are actually entitled to it.
“The fact that people are having to wait four months to get their appeals heard is a disgrace and demonstrates the callous disregard the Tories have for our most vulnerable residents.”