In an earlier article we discussed the introduction of Universal Credit, its qualifying criteria and the difficulties experienced by those applying for this benefit, particularly people suffering chronic pain. We understand that currently around 20% of initial applications are unsuccessful purely as a result of “non-compliance with the process.” Of that 20%, half have simply failed to comply with the requirement to call a helpline to arrange an interview within a week of making the application.
Add the complexity of the application process to the infamous Work Capability Assessment and it becomes easy to see why so many people are seeing their applications rejected.
However, the most recent figures on benefit sanctions (ie where applications fail or benefits are stopped or reduced) published by the Department for Work and Pensions reveal a remarkable statistic – on appeal to the tribunal, over 82% of sanction decisions are found to be wrong. In fact, the figure for the 12 months period to January 2018 was even higher than that.
Regrettably, these statistics don’t leap off the page, instead requiring some detailed analysis of figures tucked away in an Excel spreadsheet catchily entitled “Universal Credit Live Service Sanction Decisions by Month 1st August 2015 to 31st January 2018”.
So what does this tell us?
As well as confirming what we already know – that the whole application process for Universal Credit is shambolic – these figures also scream “don’t give up!” In many cases an appeal will have a good prospect of success.
In our earlier article there are a number of links to some very useful information, guidance and tools for the initial application process.
People applying for benefits of any kind who have made or are making a claim for personal injury, may find it helpful to use the medical evidence from their claim in the benefits application and/or on appeal. However, it is crucial that you discuss this with your legal representative before disclosing medical reports to anyone else.