A Question Time audience member nailed the “appalling” state of the disability benefits system last night – to a Tory minister’s face.
The woman, who said she works with MS sufferers, confronted Treasury minister Mel Stride over the long wait for appeals.
And she blamed Tory austerity for a system where people wait more than a year for appeals in “absolute poverty”.
It came hours after the BBC revealed people who are denied Personal Independence Payments (PIP) now wait an average of 190 days for an appeal.
More than two thirds of full tribunal appeals overturn the original decision – but claimants say the system, where assessments and reconsiderations are overseen by the DWP and tribunals by the Ministry of Justice, is struggling to cope.
One in 10 disabled people have to wait more than 10 months for an appeal, the BBC reported.
The woman told the BBC’s flagship debate show: “For you to sit there and say the Tories are looking after the most vulnerable in society is absolutely appalling.
“Every day in my job I see people who are vulnerable, who are being made iller because of the PIP process.
“They are people who are very very unwell.
“The PIP process is making them even more unwell, it takes over a year to get to a tribunal then the decisions are usually overturned.
“In the meantime they’re left without their mobility cars, they can’t travel, they’re living in absolute poverty.
“And that is all because of austerity and the Tory government.”
Following the BBC’s story yesterday, the DWP said it was “committed” to ensuring disabled people get the support they need.
“Assessments work well for the majority of people, but one person’s poor experience is one too many, and we’re committed to continuously improving the process for people so that they get the support they need,” a spokesperson said.
“Under PIP in Wales, 40% of people are getting a higher rate of support than they were previously getting under DLA. 3.7m PIP decisions have been made, and of these 10% have been appealed and 5% have been overturned.
“Decisions are overturned because people have submitted more oral or written evidence.”