Disability benefit delays are unacceptable

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THIS week Parliament will be holding a debate on benefit delays.

As part of its welfare reforms, the Government brought in a new disability benefit – the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – but the chaos at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) means that people have been left waiting for upwards of nine months to have their claims processed, with nothing to live on.

People have come to me saying they feel completely lost within the new system, unable to get answers from DWP, and with no idea how long they will have to wait until they get the money they need to help them survive.

One woman I spoke to had to borrow money from her elderly mother to make ends meet because, nine months after she made her application, she was still no closer to hearing whether she could get support.

When I raised her case with the Prime Minister last year he agreed these delays were unacceptable, yet nearly a year on the situation is no better.

An independent report out last month exposes the shambles at DWP.

Hundreds of thousands of disabled people are stuck in the system, not knowing if they will have money to live on week to week.

We hear a lot from the Government about the small minority who abuse the benefit system. But there is another side to this story – people with disabilities who are losing out because of the Government’s incompetence.

We can’t allow their stories to go ignored, and that’s why I and other Labour MPs will be in Parliament to demand that the Government fixes this mess.