Newest quarterly stats show clearance times for new PIP claims are at their highest levels since 2015
The latest quarterly Personal Independence Payment (PIP) figures up until January 2020 have been published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), containing information about registrations, clearances, awards, new claims and more.
These statistics cover both new claims and claims made by those with an existing claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (known as reassessments). From the 8th of April 2013, the DWP started to replace DLA for working-age people with PIP.
PIP helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term disability, ill-health or terminal ill-health. The finances could be used to purchase some essential mobility equipment for people with long-term conditions or help cover the costs of a carer.
Every quarter, the DWP publishes quarterly statistics to highlight the progress of the PIP scheme within the UK.
To date, 4.8 million claims to PIP have been cleared, an increase of 162,000 clearances from the previous quarter (which was up until October 2019).
However, the most recent figures show that average clearance times have increased compared to the end of the last quarter for normal rules claims. Clearance times refer to the time taken for DWP to process and make a decision on a case.
For the quarter ended January 2020, the new figures reveal, on average, that it took 12 weeks to clear new normal rules claims (a four-week increase from the previous quarter) and 15 weeks reassessed normal rules claims (a three-week increase from the last quarter).
In contrast, the clearance times have remained largely the same for new and reassessed claims for terminally ill people in both quarters, taking six working days on average.
Although the DWP has stressed that PIP clearance times have significantly reduced from their peaks in July 2014 for new claims and September 2014 for reassessed claims, clearance times for all PIP claims have risen over the past quarter. For new PIP claims, clearance times are at the highest levels in five years.
Interestingly, the award rate for normal rules PIP claims have remained largely the same over time, with a rate of 42 percent for new claims and 71 percent for DLA reassessment claims. This means that under half of all new PIP claims are awarded to disabled people.
Nearly all special rules (terminally ill) claimants are awarded PIP.
PIP has come under fire frequently in the past for having unfair assessments, a harsh system and for making disabled people have a lack of trust in the disability benefits assessment system.
In a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by the BBC in November 2019, it revealed that half of the people who appealed in court against a decision to deny them disability benefits was successful.
This suggested that poor disability benefits assessments carried out by health professionals has led to a high success rate at tribunals.