This weekend has seen much justifiable outrage at the fact that disability rights activist Sue Marsh has been turned down for DLA.
But many of the comments I've seen seem to think this is an isolated incident of just one genuine claimant getting their application rejected. In fact, according to the table on page 14 of this DWP report from March 2011, in the 2009/10 year 36,000 people appealed their decision and 14,000 people had the decision overturned.
That's 14,000 vindicated Sues per year.
And then there are those who decide not to appeal because they don't have the strength to fight, because they don't have sufficient self-confidence or because struggling on in poverty seems easier than dealing with the bureaucracy. According to the Minister for Disabled People (*cough*) Maria Miller on 6 Sep 2010; records are not available of unclaimed DLA. but it's worth reading the stats for other unclaimed benefits on page 2 of this DWP report. The rate of underpaid other benefits varies from 0.3% to 2.1%.
It's from 2004 so quite outdated, and only looks at unclaimed DLA/AA by people with one condition: Cancer. But this report by Macmillan suggested that at 2004 benefit rates that more than £126.5 million goes unclaimed in a six month period. And that's only people with cancer, and doesn't take any other "disabling" condition into consideration.
Sue's story seems to have shocked people because she put a human face to the real problems faced when claiming benefits. A human face that isn't a Daily Mail-ised version of a disabled person. To help people understand how widespread this problem is I'd really like to hear from more people with similar experiences.
If you've similarly been turned down for DLA despite being a genuine claimant in the 18 months since the coalition came to power, please post your story in the comments of this post. Thanks.
Huge thanks to @queerpup for unearthing statistics for me today. My Google Fu has decided to go on Christmas holidays a few days early.