Ministers accused of 'failing people at the most vulnerable point in their lives' after it emerges nine disability claimants die each day while waiting for decisions on disability support
'More than 17,000 people have died while waiting to hear whether their claim for disability benefit had been successful, it has emerged.
Ministers have been accused of “failing people at the most vulnerable point in their lives” after figures revealed 17,070 disability claimants have died while waiting for decisions on their personal independence payment (PIP) claims since 2013.
One in four (4,330) of those who died were suffering from a form of cancer, while 270 had anxiety or depressive disorders. In more than half of cases (9,020), the main disability was not recorded.
Waiting times for PIP claims have risen over the last year, with the latest figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) showing that the average waiting time for new claims is 14 weeks – a rise of a month since March 2018.
Philip Connolly, policy and development manager at Disability Rights UK said the figures were further evidence that the government was struggling to deliver a benefits system which is fit for purpose.
“Disabled people shouldn’t have to wait for so long for assessments for PIP,” he said. “How vulnerable do you have to be before the government will change how things are done and ensure people get their assessments in a timely manner?
“Tax payers have a right to expect a decent service funded by their money. And disabled people have a right to an accurate and timely assessment so they get the benefits they qualify for promptly.”
Linda Burnip, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “It is shocking that so many disabled people have died waiting for their social security claims to be processed at a time when they need and should be able to get support.'
Read more: More than 17,000 sick and disabled people have died while waiting for welfare benefits, figures show