Social security: reviewing the decision making system
Reforming benefits decision making
Being denied benefits can have a devastating impact on individuals' and their families' lives. The economic fall-out from Covid-19 has only increased these risks. It is therefore vital that there is a fair benefits system that is accessible and makes timely and accurate decisions, and for there to be an effective means of reviewing decisions once made.
The findings of this report demonstrate that the benefits system is not working as well as it should, in particular for those with health conditions and disabilities, especially mental health conditions and fluctuating conditions.
The report makes recommendations that seek to ensure welfare support is made available to those that need it as quickly, accurately and effectively as possible, including:
- Changes to improve the quality of the health and disability assessment;
- Better data collection and evaluation;
- Clear structures and rules to prevent the inconsistent and unfair application of discretion;
- Greater transparency on the use of automation;
- The establishment of clear, public performance standards and an independent reviewer or regulator for welfare benefits;
- The adoption of a ‘no wrong door’ approach to applying for Universal Credit and managing a claim.