Mind supports Ombudsman call for more than 118,000 people with disabilities to be compensated after their benefits were wrongly cut off
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has said that over 118,000 people, including thousands of people with mental health problems had their Employment Support Allowance (ESA) wrongly cut are now being denied compensation by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). Mind supports Ombudsman Rob Behren’s call to rectify this and commit to urgent reforms of the benefits system, making sure the DWP are held to account over future errors.
Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations at Mind says:
“Benefits like Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment (PIP) are a lifeline for people with mental health problems. For those of us with mental health problems, just as for people with physical disabilities, the impact of a disability may be far reaching and directly affect the ability to work, earn or manage daily activities. Benefits are there to make sure people can get by day to day, to afford food and heating and live independently as well as meeting extra living costs occurred by managing a disability. If you cannot get the benefits in which you are entitled to the impact of this can be devastating and throw someone’s life into turmoil.
“These figures showing nearly 120,000 people have wrongly had their benefits cut and are being denied compensation are disgraceful. The UK Government has a responsibility to make sure people receive the benefits to which they are entitled and which they rely on. The amount people have lost is not a luxury, it’s a necessity to be able to afford the essentials, to be able to heat and eat, and yet thousands of people have been denied this, sometimes pushing people into extreme hardship and poverty. For some, the damage to their health and wellbeing will be long term. It is beyond shocking that compensation for the harm caused has been withheld.
“The UK Government urgently needs to open itself up to scrutiny and create an independent regulator of the benefits system to monitor how well the DWP is fulfilling its duties under the law and protecting the rights of people receiving financial support. The benefits system needs fundamental change, to make sure all disabled people can access the income they need to thrive, without having to go through a lengthy and stressful fight.”Benefits