Levels of satisfaction with working-age disability benefits plummeted in the two years to spring 2019, new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) research has revealed.
The DWP figures show a huge 15 per cent fall in the proportion of claimants of personal independence payment (PIP) who were satisfied with the service they received, from 87 per cent in 2016-17 to 74 per cent in 2018-19.
There was also a nine per cent fall (or seven percentage points) in the proportion of employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants satisfied with the service they received, from 82 per cent in 2016-17 to 75 per cent in 2018-19.
The significant falls in satisfaction with ESA and PIP contrasts with the performance of non-working-age benefits such as attendance allowance (improved from 92 to 95 per cent), disability living allowance for children (improved from 85 to 89 per cent), and state pension (a slight decrease from 93 to 92 per cent).
But the survey also produced troubling findings on the percentage of claimants who found it simple to get in touch with DWP, with just 60 per cent of PIP claimants, and only 58 per cent of ESA claimants, saying they found it easy.
This compares with 86 per cent of those receiving state pension, 76 per cent of universal credit claimants and 80 per cent of those in receipt of carer’s allowance.
The results also show a fall in the overall level of satisfaction with DWP, from 86 per cent in 2016-17 to 81 per cent in 2018-19, and with universal credit (a fall from 83 per cent to 79 per cent).
The survey questions benefit claimants who have had contact with DWP and Jobcentre Plus in the previous three months, but does not ask questions about contact with the department’s three much-criticised outsourcing companies – Atos, Capita and Maximus –which carry out benefit assessments on its behalf.
Asked why it thought its performance appeared to have plummeted, a DWP spokesperson refused to comment.
She also refused to say what action ministers planned to take to address the issue.
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