More than half of new claims in Scotland for the UK Government’s disability payment have been refused, according to analysis.
The figures produced by the Scottish Government suggest tens of thousands of people with disabilities have completely lost their benefits.
Since the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was replaced by the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in 2013, 167,000 new claims in Scotland have been unsuccessful – accounting for 54% of all applications.
Meanwhile, the share of new claimants awarded PIP has decreased since its introduction from 74% in 2013-14 to 56% in 2018-19.
The data suggests 39,000 people in Scotland have lost their disability benefits completely – at a cost of between £1200 and £7740 a year – after losing their DLA entitlement before being reassessed and refused PIP.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Scottish Government’s social security secretary, was critical of the findings, saying 30,000 people had went through a “stressful” appeals process since PIP’s introduction – 21,000 of those going to court.
She said: “For disabled people, the stress and anxiety of the application process and face-to-face assessment process are already hallmarks of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.
“Now this latest analysis shows that those most in need in our society are less likely to get help or have to fight through the courts to get what they are entitled to.
“Tens of thousands of disabled people are facing greater hardship because they have completely lost their benefits.”
She added: “We will do things differently as we start delivery of disability benefits over the next 18 months.
“Social security is an investment in the people of Scotland and we want people to receive all the support they are entitled to.
“That is why we are building a new social security system from scratch – with fairness, respect and dignity at its heart.”
A DWP spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring that people get the support they are entitled to, focusing on making the system fairer for those in most need.
“The government now spends more than £55bn every year to support disabled people – a record high – with more people benefiting from support through DLA and PIP than ever.
“Most people get PIP after being reassessed from DLA. More than half have their award maintained or increased, with 29% receiving the highest level of support compared to 16% under DLA.”