CALLS have been made for a review of the benefits assessment process after new figures revealed a huge number of disabled people have successfully appealed against decisions to refuse them payments.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws show that 1,030 assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) have been successfully challenged by people in Renfrewshire since April 2013, with 310 appeals being granted in East Renfrewshire.

There were a total of 1,650 appeals in Renfrewshire and 470 in East Renfrewshire during this period – meaning the success rate was 63 per cent and 65 per cent respectively.

PIP is being rolled-out across the UK to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) as the main benefit for disabled or ill people. To receive this benefit, claimants have to undergo assessments conducted by private companies on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur said there is a “systematic hostility towards people in need.”

The SNP man, whose constituency covers both Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, added: “Disabled people rely on these financial lifelines to live independently and be part of their community. The UK government’s punitive approach to the system isn’t working.

“It’s vital that these fundamental flaws in the current assessment appeals process are urgently addressed.”

A DWP spokesman said: “Under PIP, 31 per cent of claimants receive the highest rate of support, compared to 15 per cent under DLA. Nine in 10 of all PIP claims are made and completed without appeal and since PIP was introduced there have been 3.9 million decisions made and of these, five per cent have been overturned at appeal.”