LIFE-changing decisions about help for people with long-term illnesses and disabilities in Wrexham are taking almost half a year to be made.
The shocking news was revealed in a Parliamentary question I put down about the waiting times for decisions on Personal Independence Payments following tribunals. Personal Independence Payments are a form of assistance which was designed to help people with long term illnesses or disabilities. If decisions are taken which people disagree with, they can be challenged at a tribunal.
However, the length of time that people are waiting for decisions after these tribunals has rocketed in recent years – with people in the Wrexham area now waiting twenty weeks for decisions
The response to the question shows that in 2013-14, people waiting for tribunal decisions about PIP faced an average wait of 3.4 weeks, or 25 days – though the Government claim the speed this decision was made was not representative of the usual length of time it takes to come to a decision.
By 2016-17, that figure had risen to 20.1 weeks – or just under five months.
These figures are a disgrace and show just what strain the system is under as a result of the chaotic mismanagement of the welfare system under the Conservatives.
These are life-changing decisions, but they take months to come back. These cases are about help for people with long-term illnesses and disabilities – people who are left in limbo week after week after week while the process grinds on.
In my surgery, most weeks, I hear of cases where PIP assessments have been faulty – or even outright misleading. The decisions made can be overturned – but the chaos the system is under means that people are waiting longer and longer for tribunal decisions.
Ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions should look at the mismanagement of this system – and work to put it right. Its failures do not inspire any confidence about the introduction of Universal Credit now underway in Wrexham.
That’s why I backed the vote to halt Universal Credit yesterday – and why I’ll keep fighting for people trying to get help with PIP.