MP blasts welfare delays for disabled

North East Derbyshire MP Natascha Engel.
North East Derbyshire MP Natascha Engel.

North East Derbyshire MP Natascha Engel has criticised the Department for Work and Pensions’ welfare reform assessments and delays to benefits for the disabled during a Parliamentary debate.

Ms Engel highlighted the case of constituent Jamie Thompson, during the debate on Wednesday, July 2, who is paraplegic and but has been called in for re-assessment every couple of months even though his condition will never change.

She said: “Given that more than 700,000 people are still waiting for work capability assessments and that the length of delays people are experiencing are pushing them into destitution, we really are getting into trouble.

“Over the last two years I have had more casework on this than on anything else. This is a problem nationwide.”

Another highlighted case involved the parents of disabled 15-year-old girl who have had to wait three months for their benefits appeal to be heard.

Ms Engel added: “Andrew Birks, who has a 15-year-old daughter Ella so severely disabled that she needs around-the-clock care.

“Both her parents work, have always worked, have never claimed benefits, but Ella has now had her disability allowance withdrawn, which has pushed her parents into serious financial trouble.”

The Government claims assessments have been speeded up and Conservative Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Ian Duncan Smith argued there has been success in getting the long-term unemployed into work with record high employment. He argued time is needed to get welfare reform right. He stated more than 1.35million incapacity benefit claimants have been reassessed and 720,000 more are preparing or looking for work and appeals against ESA decisions are down by just under 90per cent. But Ms Engel fears the we;lfare state safety net is being withdrawn.