More than 180,000 people have had their disability benefits cut since the Government replaced the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) system with Personal Independence Payments (PIP) five years ago.
That’s according to figures uncovered by Labour MP Toby Perkins, which appear to show 125,000 assessments have been disallowed by private contractor Atos and 64,000 by Capita. On average around 22% of claims assessed by the contractors were rejected by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
In December both Atos and Capita came under fire from campaigners after it emerged that the companies, which earn more than £500m for their services, failed to meet their quality standards target after over 6% of assessments were deemed “unacceptable” between July and October.
The new numbers show that until the end of July last year just under 650,000 people underwent reassessment from DLA to PIP.
Of the claimants 125,680 were disallowed PIP and 523,800 were awarded PIP. Meanwhile, Capita conducted 262,500 assessments of which 64,280 were disallowed PIP and 198,220 were awarded PIP.
MP Toby Perkins told HuffPost UK: “These figures reveal the extent to which the new regime is impoverishing severely disabled people. Already over 20% of DLA recipients have lost out on payments they did receive.
“It is also chilling to see that the disallowance rate of Capita is actually higher than those assessed by infamous Atos assessors.”
He added: “We are talking about a very substantial number of people whose claims have been disallowed, and I think many people even expected the figures to be higher.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for DWP said: “We introduced PIP to replace the outdated DLA system. PIP is a better benefit which takes a much wider look at the way an individual’s health condition or disability impacts them on a daily basis. Under PIP, 29% of claimants receive the highest rate of support compared to 15% under DLA.
“Decisions are made following careful consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist. Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal.”