DWP to pilot single service to deliver all disability benefits assessments

Wed,4 March 2020
News Benefits

The DWP is piloting a new system that it has developed which will deliver all assessments for all three benefits using a single digital platform.

Separate organisations currently run assessments for PIP and the Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) in ESA and Universal Credit, using different IT systems.

The new system, which will be launched in a region not yet confirmed – a Transformation Area - will mean that people in receipt of more than one benefit will not have to provide the same information multiple times.  

For claimants in this Transformation Area, assessments will be conducted by the DWP, rather than outsourced to providers.

The DWP says that this will give it the flexibility to explore new ideas including:

  • trialling better ways of carrying out face-to-face assessments;
  • how to triage more effectively so that only those people who need a face-to-face assessment will have to undergo one;
  • how to make it easier for claimants to understand the evidence they need to provide and why;
  • how to remove the need for claimants to give the same information twice;
  • how to ensure that claimants are aware of the whole range of support available to them both from the DWP and more widely.

The new service will be developed from 2021 before a national rollout.

The Government is due to launch its National Disability Strategy this year to increase inclusivity in all spheres of life for disabled people.

Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said:

“Several of the “new ideas” to be trialled by the new service are ones that DR UK welcome and has called for.

These include a reduction in face to face assessments, stopping the use of private contractors, and bringing medical assessments in house.

Ready access to information and evidence supplied by disabled people may also lead to better DWP decision making.

And potentially if the Department uses and shares information well, it could improve its safeguarding of vulnerable disabled people.

However, any new single IT system must be open to use by disabled people too. PIP, ESA and Universal Credit claimants should be able to readily access evidence they have sent to the DWP.

Disabled people must also have ready access to other information compiled about them such as WCA reports and PIP assessment reports.”

For more information see Next step for new service for benefit assessments announced @ gov.uk