Defend the right of appeal
Tyneside Claimants’ Union are currently engaged in call for a change in the Social Security appeal system to enable access for many claimants who are effectively denied the right of appeal, or who are heavily penalised for exercising this right. For many claimants in a situation where they disagree with the conditions, or instructions, imposed on there benefit claim by benefit officials, an application to the Social Security Appeal Tribunal would not be allowed to proceed until after a sanction has been applied to their benefit claim, that is, until their benefit has been penalised. This causes undue and unfair hardship for claimants who take appeals to the Social Security Tribunal, and in many cases of dispute it deters claimants from entering an appeal entirely. The time required for an appeal to be heard by the tribunal can be many months, and in the most extreme cases it can take years!
Even a reduced level of payment for a limited period can be a formidable endurance for many claimants – the levels of subsistence benefits are determined in law and are the minimum requirement for personal maintenance. In the most severe cases of sanctioning, benefit may be withdrawn entirely for an extended period of time. In these circumstances, it is the poorest, the weakest and most vulnerable, who are most severely disadvantaged and disfranchised by this system of administration.
The right to representation by a legally constituted tribunal, in civil claims, is an internationally founded fundamental provision. The fact that this is systematically denied to welfare claimants in the UK is a severe national deficit. However, there is a universal remedy that can be applied, which would give back the right of appeal to all welfare benefit claimants. This would be that, in disputes and disagreements concerning welfare claims, claimants are allowed to exercise and resolve appeal tribunal claims before any penalisation of, or detrimental intervention to, benefit payments is applied.
Support the Tyneside Claimants’ Union and join us in this collective claim to restore a very important fundamental right.