Ruth Barnett writes about the Department for Work and Pensions press release with a particularly nastily-spun statistic (bold in original):
“The vast majority (94%) of new claimants got the benefit without having any face-to-face assessment of their needs.”
“The rest of the release paints a more complex (or to be less diplomatic, potentially contradictory) picture.
“It seems 42% of claimants had a statement from their GP verifying their medical condition; a further 36% submitted other sources of evidence, a category that can include reports by social workers or occupational therapists.
“Surely a GP is a “healthcare professional”? And surely all these trained staff will have met the claimant in person? Does this not count as a form of assessment? Apparently not.
“The DWP’s figures show 16% submitted a claim form alone.”
Ruth got a response from the DWP, who do not feel their statements were misleading. Those statements include a quote from Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith that “At the moment hundreds of millions of pounds are paid out in disability benefits to people who have simply filled out a form.”
She points out:
“The DWP figures show the cost of new claimants who really did just fill in the form last year was […] £30m.”