The Opposition continues to receive numerous complaints about the amount of time that disability benefit applications and appeals are taking to be determined.
The system is simply not working, and this is not something that has happened overnight but has gone on for many years now. It will be recalled that on 31 July 2020, Daniel Feetham, who has been asking questions in Parliament about the fairness and inefficiency of the disability benefit system for many years, brought a motion to parliament with key proposals to reform the system. This was a pro-active attempt by the GSD Opposition to improve the disability benefit system and ensure that those who need help obtain it as quickly as possible. That motion was passed with amendments and those who need the help will find it extremely disappointing that little has happened since. Indeed, as part of the Motion it was resolved that “the Minister should report to this House within the next six months with the result of the consideration of placing on a statutory footing the qualifying test for the award of disability benefit and the review of the disability benefit system which is currently taking place.” This has never happened, and it is yet another disappointing blow to people who must navigate this opaque system.In July of this year Mr Feetham asked how many applications for disability benefit (inclusive of an appeal) were outstanding for longer than 1 year, 2 years and 3 years. The answer was as follows: 1 year – 55 2 years – 10 3 years – 2 Mr Feetham said “it is quite frankly shocking that there are people waiting this long for their applications to be determined. COVID is no longer an excuse. It seems us as if the Government talks the talk about improving the system of disability benefit but does not walk the walk. It needs to sort this out and quickly.”