Esther McVey has said that up to 220,000 disabled people will have to wait all summer for benefit payments they deserve.
Mentally sick people face having to last through the school holidays without additional Personal Independence Payments (PIP), despite winning the right to them in the High Court.
The claimants are set to get a higher rate of PIP after the High Court said rules for assessing them were blatantly discriminatory.
Staff are currently assessing all 1.6 million PIP claims, and up to 220,000 people will get additional money backdated to November 2016, but the Work and Pensions Secretary said the first of those back payments will only come at the end of the summer.
Esther McVey did not stipulate which month, and previous guidance to MPs had said the first back payments would come in summer 2018.
Esther McVey made the statement following a question by Labour MP Luciana Berger, who complained: “Six months later there’s still no confirmed timetable for when that High Court judgement will be implemented in full, and back payments made to those people affected.” But Ester McVey said that they had been making new guidance, consulting with stakeholders on how to work through it and that the first payments would start at the end of the summer, and that having to assess all the number of people will take and has taken a little time.
She further said that it had been meticulous, accurate, and the first of those payments will begin at the end of the summer, but the dispute is all about the 2016 tribunal, which stated people who experience devastating psychological anxiety when travelling alone should qualify more readily for Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
At first, ministers revised the law to evade obeying the tribunal, but after an outcry by mental health charities, the High Court ruled the government’s behaviour was blatantly discriminatory.
In a triumph for campaigners, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey then U-turned and announced she would not contest the High Court judgment any further, she further stated up to 220,000 people was thought to be affected, higher than the initial estimate of 164,000.
The fight came as Esther McVey collided furiously with MPs over a second, separate PIP climbdown, and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) retired from a battle which two chronically sick people, AN and JM, who wanted higher PIP.
One of the two people is severely diabetic and has to be watched at night to avoid slipping into a life-threatening coma, and the pair’s lawyers contended that this need for an observer counted as therapy, in which the claimant required higher PIP.
Esther McVey confirmed the DWP had backed down in the case, and the two people concerned would be given additional PIP within days, but she repeatedly declined to say how many other people in the same position would be affected, insisting that it wasn’t up for debate, and she dismissed Labour’s grievances as screams to howls of protest and a shout of rubbish.
Esther McVey said: “The opposition do not like to hear the facts we have, I would say, done a positive move by not seeking to appeal and support these extra people
“You wouldn’t believe that by the screams from the opposite benches.”
She added: “Sometimes listening in this chamber, listening to what oppositions are saying, actually you’re not helpful for your constituents because, in fact, you spread that fear unnecessarily.”
Labour MP Debbie Abrahams, who raised questions over the new case, demanded Ms McVey “get a grip”.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Margaret Greenwood said: “What reason do disabled people have to believe her department is fit for purpose?”
Tory former minister Anna Soubry said the government “need to look at assessments” for PIP, as two-thirds of claimants who mount a full appeal have them overturned.
SNP MP Alison Thewliss added: “The credibility of this department absolutely lies in tatters.
“They had to be dragged through the courts in the first place to be proven they are wrong.”
Odd isn’t it. If you owe the government money they won’t wait even 1 day for it, but if they owe you money, well, you simply have to wait and wait and wait, and that’s assuming they don’t try to go to court to get out of it or try to write new laws to get out of it. What a great country we have!
Esther McVey is so incompetent so she fits right in with all the other Tory enthusiasts, I mean prevaricators I mean ministers Ooops! And it’s shocking that this is the way our elected government treat their own people, and it’s clearly not a democracy when a government punishes its people like this.
Our government find the money for their wealthy donors, but surprisingly it won’t come from PIP because the cost of running PIP, ATOS et cetera is more than what they save by not giving disabled people who urgently need it, and they turn almost everyone down.
It’s not even about the money, it’s purely an ideological position about making the poor suffer and die, and it’s thoroughly contemptible. Perhaps we should stop her money and everything she claims for until the end of the summer, but I wager her massively over inflated wages and perks will be in her bank account at the end of the month. How does she sleep at night?
It’s tragic when someone who’s waiting for an appeal takes a doctors note to the Jobcentre and they tell you that they’ll fast track your money for you, that person waits a week and nothing, so they ring the Jobcentre and they tell them that they need a backdated one and that they’ll call you back the next day to get more details, then they don’t call, so you ring them, it takes over an hour to talk to anyone on the telephone. Then they take their backdated note to the Jobcentre and they’re still waiting three weeks, and still no money, in fact, they’ve been waiting 18 months for their appeal.
The DWP just don’t care what happens to people when they stop paying them for over a year, and then they deny having anything to do with homelessness and suicide rates going up.
There are people out there and children still waiting for their money 6 months on, children with extremely restricted speech and loads of other complications, and they get told, they will just have to wait! And how many will still be alive by the time their groats are dished out so they get their gruel?
Things like this shouldn’t be happening. Vulnerable people are launched all over the place and half the time they crack and end up committing suicide. Some have quite severe mental health issues and can’t defend themselves, some can’t even boil an egg, all of which falls on deaf ears from the Tories and their core voters because they’ve been told time and time again that mentally ill people are faking, lying or simply need to alter their thoughts somewhat.
But this is rather common for the nasty party because according to them, most mentally ill people are either pretending or want to be ill, and such is a typical right-wing concept these days.