PIP Award Review Backlog Could Take 10 Years to Clear

Fri,5 July 2024
News Benefits
Figures produced by the DWP show that, at present rates, it will take almost 10 years to work through the backlog of outstanding personal independence payment (PIP) planned award reviews, Benefits and Work has highlighted.

It means that over 74,000 claimants are likely to be getting a lower award than they are entitled to.

A Freedom of Information request by a Benefits and Work member asked the DWP to provide the outstanding number of PIP reviews, the cause of the backlog, and how long it would take to clear.

The DWP responded that: “As of 31st May 2024, there were 392,000 Award Reviews outstanding in England and Wales.”

Saying that there was no timeline for clearing the backlog it added that:

“The main reason for the length of time to complete PIP award reviews is very high demand for PIP.

We are seeing unprecedented numbers of new claims being made. To manage this demand, and ensure cases are put into payment as soon as possible, we are prioritising these claims.” 

The DWP claimed that it is recruiting additional case managers and that assessment providers are “taking steps to increase the number of Healthcare Professionals they employ”.  However, they also stressed that “it takes time to train and consolidate new entrants”.

Benefits and Work point out however that “ … the latest quarterly PIP statistics published earlier this month, show that in the last quarter the DWP only managed to reduce the backlog of outstanding award reviews by 10,000.  The figures show that 120,000 new award reviews were registered and 130,000 were cleared.

“So at the current rate, it would take just short of 10 years to work through the entire backlog.

“And, in fact, the most recent quarter was the only one in the last year that the backlog was actually reduced. In preceding quarters it either went up or remained the same.

Given that the number of PIP new claims is continuing to rise month on month, with the last quarter seeing a record breaking quarter of a million new claims, it is doubtful whether new recruits will be able to do much to cut the review backlog.”

Analysing  DWP statistics on the outcome of planned award reviews over the last five years, the backlog includes:

  • 74,480 claimants getting a lower award of PIP than they are entitled to
  • 27,440 claimants getting a higher award than they are entitled to
  • 78,400 claimants who are no longer entitled to PIP, in the view of the DWP.

Benefits and Work conclude that: “It is hard to see how this situation can be resolved in the near future. 

“In the meantime, tens of thousands of claimants will continue to receive yet another annual communication from the DWP telling them that their review has not yet taken place and that their current award will remain in payment.”   

“Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said: “The Benefits and Work member must be congratulated on getting this information from the DWP. As does Benefits and Work in highlighting it.

“It’s outrageous that any benefit claim should take 10 years to process and completely unacceptable.

“In August 2023, Citizens Advice research estimated that Disabled people were missing out on an estimated £24 million every month because of delays to PIP reviews.

“The record number of people experiencing delays comes at a time when Disabled people are some of the worst affected by the cost-of-living crisis.  

“The new Government needs to prioritise giving the DWP clearly needs to take much greater steps to increased capacity to process new and review claims in good time.

“These should include making better use paper-based decisions and give longer duration PIP awards.”

“The latest DWP statistics for 2022/2023 show that the level of PIP fraud is zero.

“And in 91% of PIP appeal cases the claimant wins without any new evidence being provided.

“The Scottish PIP equivalent, Adult Disability Payment, is nearly always assessed only on the claimant’s written evidence and their own medical evidence.

This is the kind of change that needs to be introduced across the UK.

For more information see PIP award review backlog could take ten years to clear available from benefitsandwork.co.uk.