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4 out of 10 PIP claimants do not appeal as it would be too stressful

10 September 2018

The DWP has published new quantitative and qualitative research that explores claimants’ experiences of the whole PIP claim process.

Disability Rights UK, welfare rights and policy adviser Ken Butler said:

“The DWP often counters that while 70% of PIP appeals are successful only 9% of PIP decisions to date have been appealed.

"The implication being that most disabled people are content with their PIP award.

"However, its own research now gives lie to this given the findings that many disabled people do not make an appeal due to ill health or stress or lack of faith in a positive outcome.

"Again, this DWP research shows that 51% of PIP mandatory reconsideration requests are made as PIP assessments were felt to be unfair and due to a lack of regard to evidence submitted.

"The only way to reduce the number of appeals is for the DWP to make radical changes to the PIP assessment process so that most decisions are made right first time.”

Key research findings

In relation to mandatory reconsideration (MR), of those who did not appeal their decision after having no change to their PIP award at MR, the main reason was that the process would be too stressful (37 percent).

A further one-fifth mentioned that they did not expect the award to change (20 percent) or that they were too unwell (20 percent).

The reasons identified in the qualitative research included not being able to get help to navigate the appeals process, the view that the stress and anxiety that an appeal would cause would be detrimental to their condition, and not having the physical and emotional energy that the appeals process was deemed to require.

The main reasons for appealing the MR decision among those who had no change to their award at MR were that:

  • they did not get an award (42 percent);

  • that DWP did not take their evidence into account (26 percent); or

  • that the assessor was unfair at the face-to-face assessment interview (25 percent).

The qualitative research also showed that some claimants doubted their application had been properly reconsidered at the MR stage, as the initial decision letter and MR notice were so similar.

For those who appealed and reported on their post-MR and appeal award outcome, over half went from having no award at MR to having an award, or having an increase in their award (34 percent and 22 per cent respectively).

When asked what they considered to be the reason for their PIP award changing at appeal the main reason given for the outcome among those who received a new or improved award after appeal was a belief that the original assessment understated their condition (23 per cent).

The qualitative research showed that claimants felt the tribunal panel were independent and impartial and valued the expertise of the doctor on the panel.

View research

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