Z2K gives evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee on behalf of the DBC

Z2K's Marc Francis gave evidence to the newly formed Work and Pensions Committee on behalf of the DBC. He explained the inadequacies of the current assessment process for disability benefits, and how many unwell people could be left without benefits for months on end due to COVID-19

Z2K, as part of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) has long campaigned against the disability benefits assessment process. For many of our clients who attend these assessments, the account and evidence that they provide are not considered by the assessor. This results in the DWP often ignoring, or twisting, our clients’ accounts and evidence in their report, as explained by Z2K’s Marc Francis when he recently gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee.

This is why the DBC is calling for audio recordings by default, so that assessors and the DWP can be held to account for not considering the evidence that they are originally provided with.

Clients then have to go through the pointless Mandatory Reconsideration stage, where their account and evidence is rarely looked at afresh, before taking the decision to appeal where nationally 72% of original decisions are overturned. For us at Z2K, we have a success rate of over 92% when taking our clients to tribunal.

Thousands of people request a Mandatory Reconsideration each month after being refused their benefit. This process already has many delays, taking around 10 weeks, but as focus is directed towards responding to the pandemic, it is likely that people will be left out of pocket for much longer.

As covered in the Independent and Mirror, these delays mean that tens of thousands of unwell people could be left without benefits for months on end. This is why Z2K are calling on Government to provide everyone with the appeal rate while they are waiting for their Mandatory Reconsideration, as well as 11 other further actions to ensure that everyone has enough money to live on during this crisis, and somewhere safe to live.

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