PIP: DWP criticised for new claimant waiting times – ‘much higher than they should be’

Martin Lewis discusses universal credit help for those on PIP

PIP is designed to provide financial support to individuals who are reckoning with ill-health or a disability. The payments are issued once every four weeks to those who are eligible, and split into two tiers – daily living and mobility payments, with the amount a person receives dependent on how their condition affect them. Those who are new to receiving PIP will often have to wait for a period of time to have their claim processed before they can receive the sum to which they are entitled.

Today, the government has released new data relating to claims for PIP, which provides a clearer picture of the situation at hand. 

From April 2013 until October 2020, 5.5 million claims to PIP have been registered, with 5.3 million cleared.

As of October 2020, there were 2.6 million claimants entitled to PIP, with nearly one in three normal rules cases receiving the highest level of award. 

But the report also focused on the ‘clearance’ times it takes for the DWP to process and make a decision on a case.

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For a new claim, under normal rules, the so-called ‘end to end’ clearance time, from the registration to decision being made stands at an average of 16 weeks in October 2020.

From the point of the referral to the Assessment Provider, to the decision being made, this is at an average of 12 weeks for a new claim under normal rules. 

But for some, such a waiting time is considered not to be good enough in providing support. 

Sara Bainbridge, Head of Policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, commented on the data.

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She said: “The latest figures show waiting times for new claimants receiving standard PIP benefits are still much higher than they should be.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, the financial pressure on people living with cancer has increased, from the cost of having to travel further for treatment to higher bills from having to live in isolation.

“It’s critical that the government recognises the impact that delayed financial claims have on those with cancer, and commits to reducing waiting times to no more than 11 weeks, at the very longest.

“Additionally, the government must not cut the £20 increase to Universal Credit.

“This lifeline should also be extended to people living with cancer receiving other benefits who haven’t received any extra financial support during the crisis.”

For those who are terminally ill, the average waiting time for a new claim currently stands at five working days.

This is because the DWP has implemented special rules to take extenuating circumstances into consideration. 

However, the government has said there has been a marked improvement in waiting times, considered within the data.

The report said clearance times for normal rules new claims have reduced significantly from peaks observed in July 2014.

At this point, claimants could expect to wait 42 weeks ‘end to end’ for their PIP award to be processed.

Clearance times for normal rules, the government added, have also “reflected distortions” due to COVID-19 measures.

There was an initial drop in April 2020, increases from May to August 2020, and then a drop in September and October of this year. 

For individuals who do wish to apply for PIP, this can be done by calling the DWP.

Britons will need particular information to hand such as contact details, their date of birth and National Insurance number.

They will also need to provide details of their doctor or healthcare professional, as well as their bank or building society account number and sort code. 

Express.co.uk has contacted the DWP for comment on the matter. 

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