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GSD presses Govt to review disability benefit system amid long waits

Archive image of GSD MP Daniel Feetham in Parliament.

The GSD has again raised concern about the length of time that some disability benefit applications and appeals are taking to be determined.

The GSD said the system “is simply not working”, adding that this was not something that had happened overnight but has gone on for many years.

Parliamentary questions asked by Opposition MP Daniel Feetham earlier this year revealed that 55 applications had been pending for longer than a year.

Another 10 had been pending for over two years, while two applicants had been waiting for longer than three years.

“It is quite frankly shocking that there are people waiting this long for their applications to be determined,” Mr Feetham said.

“COVID is no longer an excuse.”

“It seems to 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.”

At the end of July 2020, Mr 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.

The GSD said this had been a proactive attempt to improve the disability benefit system and ensure that those who need help obtain it as quickly as possible.

The motion was passed with amendments.

But “those who need the help will find it extremely disappointing that little has happened since,” the GSD said.

As part of the motion, it was resolved that the minister should report to Parliament within six months with the result of a consideration to place on a statutory footing the qualifying test for the award of disability benefit and the review of the disability benefit system that was taking place at the time.

“This has never happened, and it is yet another disappointing blow to people who must navigate this opaque system,” the GSD added.

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