Social Security Benefits: Tribunals

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of appeals to the tribunal service in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in relation to (i) personal independence payment, (ii) employment and support allowance, (iii) income support, (iv) jobseeker's allowance, (v) tax credits, (vi) universal credit were successful in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average length of time was for the Tribunals Service to administer a First-Tier Social Security and Child Support appeal in relation to (a) personal independence payment, (b) employment and support allowance, (c) income support, (d) jobseeker's allowance, (e) tax credits, (f) universal credit in (i) Coventry, (ii) the West Midlands and (iii) England in the latest period for which figures are available.

Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many appellants are waiting for the Tribunals Service to list their First Tier Tribunal Social Security and Child Support appeal in relation to personal independence payment in (a) Coventry, (b) West Midlands and (c) England.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Information about the volumes, outcomes, and timeliness of appeals in the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS) is published at:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics

SSCS appeals are listed into the hearing venue nearest to the appellant’s home address. The published data (which can be viewed at the link above) provide information about the outcomes and timeliness of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) appeals for hearing venues covering (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England for the period January – March 2019, the latest period for which data are available.

The tables below contain the requested information for (iii) Income Support (IS), (iv) Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and (v) Tax Credits:

Proportion1 of appeals decided in favour of the appellant for the period January to March 2019 (the latest period for which data are available)

IS

JSA

Tax Credits2

Coventry

~

~

~

West Midlands3

28%

~

20%

England4

45%

32%

34%

Average length of time to administer appeals (in weeks) for the period January to March 2019 (the latest period for which data are available)

IS

JSA

Tax Credits2

Coventry

42

37

20

West Midlands3

44

31

19

England4

30

26

22

As at March 2019 (the latest period for which data are available) there were a total of 625 PIP5 appeals waiting to be listed6 in the Coventry venue; 4660 in the West Midlands3; and 35,091 in England4.

1. Proportion based on the number of cases found in favour of the appellant at a tribunal hearing, as a percentage of the cases heard at a tribunal hearing

2. Includes Working Family Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit.

3. SSCS data are recorded by the office that dealt with the case, and if the case went to oral hearing, the location of the tribunal hearing, normally the hearing venue nearest to the appellant’s home address. Cases relating to the West Midlands region are attributed to the following SSCS venues: Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Coventry, Nuneaton, Stoke, Shrewsbury, Hereford and Worcester.

4. Excludes SSCS Scotland Region and Wales Region.

5. Personal Independence Payment (New Claim Appeals), which is replacing Disability Living Allowance was introduced on 8 April 2013, also includes Disability Living Allowance Reassessed cases.

6. Appeals waiting to be listed are those awaiting a tribunal hearing date, and may include cases previously adjourned, postponed or those waiting to be reheard as directed by the Upper Tribunal.

~ Equates to a value of fewer than 5

Although care is taken when processing and analysing the data, the details are subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale case management system and are the best data available.

The data may differ slightly to that of the published statistics as these data were run on a different date.

Decisions on benefit entitlement can be overturned on appeal for a variety of reasons. For instance, further evidence, including evidence in the form of oral testimony, may be provided at the hearing. HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) cannot comment on decisions made by independent tribunal judiciary.

Waiting times are calculated from receipt of an appeal to its final disposal. An appeal is not necessarily disposed of at its first hearing. The final disposal decision on the appeal may be reached after an earlier hearing had been adjourned (which may be directed by the judge for a variety of reasons, such as to seek further evidence), or after an earlier hearing date had been postponed (again, for a variety of reasons, often at the request of the appellant). An appeal may also have been decided at an earlier date by the First-tier Tribunal, only for the case to have gone on to the Upper Tribunal, to be returned once again to the First-tier, for its final disposal.

HMCTS has been working with the judiciary to reduce waiting times for appeals and has appointed additional judges and panel members. This includes 250 judges across the First-tier Tribunal, 125 disability qualified members and up to 230 medical members. In addition, more PIP appeals are being listed per session and case-management “triage” sessions have been introduced, with the aim of reducing the time taken for appeals to reach final determination. All these measures will increase the capacity of the Tribunal, with the aim of reducing waiting times for appellants.

In addition, we have recently launched a new digital service with a view to enabling speedier processing of appeals and provide a better service for all parties to the proceedings. Information on the new digital service can be found at:

www.gov.uk/appeal-benefit-decision/submit-appeal

Latest figures (to March 2019) indicate that since PIP was introduced, 4.1 million decisions have been made, and of these, 10% have been appealed and 5% have been overturned at Tribunals. For ESA (post Work Capability Assessment) to December 2018, 4.1m decisions have been made and of these 8% have been appealed and 4% have been overturned.

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