PIP delays leave Disabled people hundreds of millions of pounds out of pocket

Tue,5 July 2022
News Benefits

Hundreds of thousands of disabled people are having to wait for £300 million of vital support because of delays to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) applications, according to new analysis from Citizens Advice.

Citizens Advice said: “PIP, which can see people with an illness, disability or mental health condition receive up to £157 a week, is a lifeline for millions of people.

"But the waiting list for an assessment now stands at 327,000 Disabled people, with an average waiting time of five months. Citizens Advice projects this means £294 million of payments that would be awarded are being held up.

"Waiting for this payment is having a huge impact on people. Delays in assessment mean that support is held up, forcing people into impossible choices as they try to make ends meet.”

The charity highlighted that:

  • 1 in 5 people who have needed a food bank referral from Citizens Advice in the last 3 months also have an issue with PIP. Many of those waiting for a decision will also be eligible for the £150 disability benefits cost-of-living support payment but are unlikely to get it before October’s mammoth energy price hike.
  • There are more people coming to Citizens Advice for help with PIP than with any other issue 41% more than the next highest issue.
  • Around 150 people are contacting advisors every hour for one-to-one help, and its webpage on “How the DWP makes a decision on PIP claims” had 27,700 page views last month, up 56% year on year.

Citizens Advice is calling on the Government to take urgent action to relieve pressure in the system and help get money to people who desperately need it.

The charity is calling for an emergency plan from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to urgently tackle this backlog, including reducing the number of claimants required to have a medical assessment the main reason for these delays – and extending the award period so people have to reclaim less often.

Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said: "Citizens Advice should be applauded for highlighting the delay to new PIP claims and DR UK supports its emergency plan call.

“However, the severe PIP assessment backlog is not just affecting new claimants but also those seeking reassessments or needing extensions to their claims. These delays are having a substantial impact on their applications for other benefits such as blue parking badges, bus passes and Motability vehicles.”

For more information see PIP delays leave disabled people hundreds of millions of pounds out of pocket available from citizensadvice.org.uk.