The Government notes the GSD’s opportunistic use of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities to politicise an issue that they themselves admit is already being addressed by Government.
As the GSD acknowledge in their latest press release, there has been significant progress in the administration of disability benefits over the last few weeks.
The criteria for child applicants has been clarified, therefore removing the blocker for the Panels to recommence assessing applications. The process of assessment and recommendation has been improved to be more objective and consistent through the introduction of an assessment form.
These concrete measures have already proven extremely effective. As a direct result,
• 26 applications for children have now been assessed by the Panel and have been considered for a final decision. Any arrears due now need to be calculated for those who have had their applications approved and letters advising applicants of the outcome will be issued accordingly
• 1 child application was deferred by the Panel for further information before recommendations can be made
• 3 child applicants who submitted an appeal are pending assessment by a new panel.
• 16 adult applications have been assessed by the Panel, who have provided recommendations.
The Government can confirm that 54 adult applications are pending assessment by the Panel, whilst 6 adult applicants who submitted an appeal are pending assessment by a new panel.
The Minister for Social Security, the Hon Paul Balban, said: ‘The GSD has recognised the huge advancements that this Government have made to improve the lives of people in our community with disabilities. It is ignoble of them to seek to capitalise on this day to make up for their own inaction with regards to the proposed Reform. The Government will not commit to a nonsensical deadline and instead will continue to commit to substantive and effective policies and practices.
‘I am very pleased with the work undertaken by the panel to ensure that all applications will from now on be processed in a timely manner and I am delighted that these historic issues will have been fully addressed within weeks. I’d like to thank all those who have worked so hard to resolve the past delays, especially the Assessment Panel.’