SNP CALLS FOR “TELEPHONE TAX” ON DISABLED AND DISADVANTAGED TO BE SCRAPPED

CALLS TO PURSUE PIP CLAIMS COST UP TO 45p A MINUTE

The SNP have called on the Prime Minister to scrap the “telephone tax” on social security claimants and for all Department for Work and Pensions numbers to be replaced with low-cost numbers.

It is free to call the DWP to make an initial claim for a social security entitlement but with many claimants often experiencing problems such as late payments, they are forced to call expensive 0345 numbers in order to sort out the error or issue.

For example, a person who is disabled and in receipt of Personal Independence Payment must call a number costing up to 45p a minute and with an average call time of 13 minutes a call costing over £5 every time there is an error.

 

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:

“People who need to get in touch with the DWP about their social security entitlement after they have made an initial claim face ludicrously high costs – this telephone tax on people who are disabled or disadvantaged must be urgently replaced with low-cost options.

“If a person who is severely disabled or their carer phones the DWP about a claim for Personal Independence Payment it can cost up to 45p a minute, and with an average call length of 13 minutes this is a considerable sum from their small social security entitlement. I’ve even know of people who had to pay almost £10 for a single call to the DWP; this is truly shocking and has to end.

“I receive a high number of enquiries from constituents, needing assistance with DWP mistakes and delays, and it’s shameful that on top of the existing errors, someone who has a disability is expected to pay over the odds to ask a simple question about the support that they are entitled to.

“The UK Government must urgently address this issue and end the telephone tax on social security claimants.”

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