Government reject recommendation to automatically send PIP claimants their assessment report

Sun,14 January 2018
News Benefits

The Government has rejected its independent PIP reviewer’s recommendation that PIP claimants to receive their assessment report at the same time as they receive their decision letter.

In its response to the second Independent PIP review (again led by Paul Gray chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee) the Government says that it broadly accepts its recommendations, including that it should:

  • simplify and better co-ordinate communication products to provide a clear explanation of user responsibilities including to make clear that the responsibility to provide further evidence lies primarily with the claimant.
    • ensure that evidence of carers is given sufficient weight in the assessment.
    • explore options for confirming medical history in advance of the assessment should be explored.
    • implement a system to follow up evidence identified after an assessment.
    • undertake further research on the operation of PIP, in particular covering the consistency of outcomes, the effectiveness of award reviews and the effectiveness of the mandatory reconsideration process.

However, the Government says that it does not agree to Paul Gray's recommendation to provide claimants with their assessment report at the same time as they receive their decision letter and says that :

“Given the scale of the challenge to provide assessment reports to all claimants automatically, including the significant dependencies across a number of the Department’s IT systems, and the high cost to the taxpayer, this is not an option we will be pursuing.”

In addition, the Government only partially agrees with the review’s recommendation to offer audio recording of the assessment by default. This is because the results of a pilot study showed that recording assessments had a “limited impact” on providing additional evidence. However, the government acknowledges the potential impact that audio recording could have on people’s trust in the assessment of PIP and says that:

“We are therefore looking at a further feasibility study, with the aim of better understanding the costs and benefits of recording assessments.”

DR UK’s Welfare Rights Adviser Ken Butler said:

“In our response to Paul Gray’s second PIP review we recommended that the DWP should provide a copy of the Healthcare Professional (HCP) report with all decisions made.

Recent DWP commissioned research found that just 66% of PIP claimants said they understood how the decision on their claim had been reached.

If disabled people had access to the HCP report earlier in the process, they would be able to see for themselves the evidence on which the decision maker has based their decision.

This would allow them to better understand the decision and help inform what evidence they may need to provide to bring about the change in decision. This potentially saves time for all involved and facilitates evidence to be provided earlier and thereby avoid the need for a tribunal.

We also submitted that a copy of the full PIP daily living and mobility descriptors and points scheme should also be sent.

Without having access to this it is not possible for a claimant to see what points should have been correctly awarded to them and so be able to decide if they should challenge their PIP decision.”