Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Austin slams three month waits for disability and illness support

Dudley MP Ian Austin has criticised long waits for disability and illness support.

Dudley MP Ian Austin has called on the Government to address delays in the processing of financial support for disabled people, after it emerged that claimants wait an average of 107 days for a decision.

The Government’s controversial welfare reforms, which involve paying private companies such as Atos to conduct disability assessments, have been far less efficient than expected. The National Audit Office recently found that processing of claims for non-terminally ill patients was taking more than a month longer than the expected 74 days, with claims for terminally ill patients taking an average of 28 days, almost triple the expected 10 days.

Austin is concerned that these delays are making it difficult for seriously ill and disabled people to get by. Currently no support is available in the first three months after someone becomes ill or disabled.

The NAO report also found that the new Personal Independence Payments (PIP) will cost almost three and a half times more to administer than Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the scheme it has replaced, and takes almost twice as much time to process.

Austin has written to Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, urging him to bring down waiting times for claims to be processed.

Ian Austin said:

“The Government’s welfare reforms have been a shambles from start to finish. Everyone agrees there should be checks before receiving support, but it shouldn’t leave people without help for three months and the Government’s new scheme costs more than three times as much to run than its predecessor.

“While the likes of Atos and Capita continue to profit from this programme, disabled people in Dudley are getting a raw deal and finding it harder to get the support they need.”

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