What: Ministers introduce the new mandatory reconsideration stage for personal independence payment and universal credit (and then for all other DWP benefits in October 2013). The high rate of benefits assessments decisions overturned at appeals stage created negative publicity for DWP. Mandatory reconsiderations introduce a first stage that claimants must go through before they can appeal a benefit assessment decision at tribunal. Data shows that between 2013-2018, there were almost one million MRs of PIP and ESA decisions. These comprised of 670,000 PIP MRs, of which 119,000 (18%) resulted in a change of award; and 260,000 ESA MRs, of which 31,000 (11%) resulted in a change of award (p. 34). Claimants who have completed MR can go to appeal if they are still unsatisfied with the Department’s decision. Between 2013-2018, there were 170,000 PIP appeals, of which claimants’ won in 108,000 cases (63%); and 53,000 ESA appeals, of which claimants won in 32,000 cases (60%) (p. 34).
Why significant: DWP said MRs were introduced to resolve disputes at an earlier stage, allow claimants to provide additional evidence and to reduce the demand on the tribunal service, but disabled campaigners viewed them as a tactic to discourage claimants from challenging benefit assessment decisions and encourage them to drop out of the system.