Disabled people in Blackpool face waits of nine weeks when they appeal decisions about their benefit claims, new figures reveal.
Disability charity Scope called the lengthy waits “unacceptable”, saying the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was not fit for purpose.
People who are denied PIP – worth up to £145.85 a week – or who get less than they expected can ask for an internal review by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
In Blackpool, people face a median wait of 63 days for this initial review, known as a mandatory reconsideration.
This is 66 per cent higher than the 38-day average reported just one year previously.
James Taylor, policy head at Scope, said: “Lengthy waits for PIP decisions mean that disabled people are going far too long without essential financial support.
“Delays in income can force disabled people to make impossible choices about what they can afford.
“Disabled people are being continuously let down by a system that is not fit for purpose. The PIP assessment needs to be overhauled to restore faith and fix the system.”
Since PIP was introduced in 2013, replacing the previous Disability Living Allowance, 2,950 people in Blackpool applied for a mandatory reconsideration.
The DWP rejected the appeal in 85 per cent of cases, its own figures show. This can be challenged in court, with 1,080 appeal lodged since 2013 in Blackpool. Of those, 61 per cent were successful.
A DWP spokesman said: “We want people to get the right PIP outcome as quickly as possible. That’s why we have introduced a new approach to gathering evidence so that fewer people have to go to appeal, and we have recruited extra staff to help reduce waiting times.”