Citizens Advice response to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry on health assessments for benefits
The current disability benefit system needs urgent improvement. Applying for disability benefits is too often complicated, distressing and it's not uncommon for initial decisions, following health assessments about the support people need, to be wrong. As a result of this trust in the system is incredibly low. 43% of the general population disagree that the current system makes accurate decisions (compared to 32% who agree), rising to 56% of all disabled people (30% agree). Over 85% of our advisers do not believe the current benefits system makes accurate decisions about who should get disability benefits (only 7% agree).
Advice on benefits is our biggest enquiry area. For disability benefits, we provide advice at every stage of the process - from helping people with eligibility right through to appeals. This gives us a unique insight into the way the two assessment processes are currently working, and it’s clear the system isn’t always matching claimants with the support they need. Instead it is a drain on people’s time and sometimes an active harm to their health.