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DWP axes commitment to review 1.6 million PIP claims to see if extra benefit legally payable

13 February 2020

In a written statement to the House of Commons, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Justin Tomlinson has announced that around £28 million has so far been paid out as a result of a DWP PIP review exercise following Upper Tribunal decisions relating to 'psychological distress' and carrying out activities 'safely'.

However, instead of reviewing all 1.6 million PIP claimants as originally promised, the Minister announced that the DWP will only in future review those claimants it believes “are most likely to benefit”.

In his written statement, the Minister for Disabled People said:

“The MH decision changed how overwhelming psychological distress is considered when assessing someone’s ability to plan and follow a journey. The RJ decision concerned how we decide whether someone can carry out everyday activities safely or not, and whether they need supervision.

We are committed to ensuring everyone with a health condition or disability gets the support they are entitled to. This is why we have dedicated substantial resource to checking claims, so that we can pay eligible people as quickly as possible. We remain on track to finish this exercise in 2020.

Thanks to our continuous monitoring of the exercise, we know which claimants are most likely to benefit. This now allows us to focus on those cases and to make backdated payments to eligible claimants more quickly.

We will write to all other claimants in scope of the exercise, explaining the Upper Tribunal decisions and how they can get in touch with us if they think they may benefit and want to ask us to review their case.

We have said that we will keep the House updated and I can announce that the department has today published the third ad hoc release of Management Information on this exercise: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pip-administrative-exercise-progress-on-cases-cleared-at-5-january-2020

Since the exercise began on 25 June 2018 (HCWS793) up to 05 January 2020, we have cleared 720,000 cases against the MH decision and 820,000 cases against the RJ decision, with most cases being cleared against both Upper Tribunal decisions. In total, we have paid £28 million in arrears to 5,900 claimants.”

Commenting on the Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Officer said:

“This is a retrograde step in ensuring disabled people receive their correct disability benefit entitlement.

When it committed itself to a review, the Government said that claimants would not need to write to the DWP in order to receive their correct award and that it would only review that aspect of a claim that related to the two legal judgments.

The number of PIP back payments made is already far less than originally projected.

In 2018, the DWP said that it believed up to 220,000 people might be entitled to a higher award. But, with over 800,000 reviews carried out, only 5,900 awards have been made at a cost of just £28 million – less than 1% of the original cost estimate.

Many disabled people will be fearful of asking for a review on the grounds that it could lead them to instead being awarded less or no PIP benefit.

The real distrust in which the DWP is held means that any reassurance that the review request will be restricted to the MH and RJ judgments is likely to be disbelieved.”

The Minister for Disabled People’s  written statement is available @ parliament.uk.