Benefits court ruling welcomed by former teacher seeking help
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
A High Court ruling that disability benefit payment delays were unlawful has been welcomed by a Suffolk claimant.
The Honourable Mrs Justice Patterson ruled that the nine month delays in Personal Independence Payments (PIP) were unreasonable.
However the judge dismissed claims that human rights had been breached, which meant claimants were not eligible for compensation.
And calls for the ruling to serve as a “test case” for other delayed claimants were also dismissed by the judge, who said there was no evidence that their experiences were typical of others at that time.
Adrian Schoeberl, a former teacher from Trimley St Martin, who claims to have waited nearly 18 months for a decision on his PIP application only to be told his payments were to be drastically cut back, has welcomed the court’s decision.
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“This system is such a failure it’s obscene. If I had the means I would fight it to the end of time,” he said
Mr Schoeberl, 57, had been a keen sportsman and highly regarded teacher who had never claimed benefits until a series of health complaints, culminating in two episodes of bilateral blood clots on his lungs, left him with challenging mobility problems and unable to work.
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Having “paid into the system all my life”, he hoped it would be there for him in his time of need. Instead, he claims to have been treated like “rubbish” by the DWP, after being granted just £21 a week – the lowest possible payment and less than a third of what he received on DLA.
“They made me wait 17 months and then treat me as if I’m nothing, that’s how I feel,” he said.
“I’ve worked hard, grew up on a council estate, reached the top of my profession, and when I need help I’m treated like a piece of rubbish to be thrown in the bin.”
Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, said: “We have taken decisive action to speed up PIP waiting times and we are pleased the Court has recognised the huge progress made. The average new PIP claimant now waits only seven weeks for an assessment.”