Closed petition Review the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) application process.

Ensure that PIP applications are completed fairly by appropriately trained medical staff by government agencies. Ensure that "decision makers" awarding PIP are accountable. Reintroduce lifetime awards where appropriate. Ensure decisions are correct the first time they are made.

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The PIP process is unfair, traumatic and inhumane, denying disabled people their rights and putting them at financial risk. It affects their mental health and puts them through months of distress. It overwhelms the court system when incorrect decisions need to be challenged. It wastes taxpayers' money when decisions are reviewed, and lines the pockets of private companies.

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 March 2021

We are committed to ensuring individuals receive high quality, robust and accurate decisions. We work extensively to ensure the quality of service is continuously improved.

Read the response in full

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP), focuses on needs rather than condition and prioritising support on those requiring the most assistance to lead independent lives. 33% of the 2.6 million claimants now receiving PIP get the highest level, compared to 15% for working age Disability Living
Allowance (DLA).

We are determined that the claim and assessment process works effectively across the spectrum of disabilities and health conditions and that claimants receive the right decision, first time, every time. In the majority of cases that already happens; of the 4.1 million initial decisions made following an assessment, by June 2020 9% per cent had been appealed and 5% overturned.

Assessments

The PIP assessment is not a medical assessment. Health Professionals conducting the assessments are experts in disability analysis, focusing on the effects of health conditions and disability on the individual’s daily life.

The PIP assessment criteria, developed in collaboration with disabled people and independent specialists, allow us to accurately, consistently and fairly assess individuals’ needs across all health conditions and impairments.

A PIP assessment allows a trained professional to assess an individual’s needs but we do not require it where there is enough evidence to determine benefit entitlement. Where we’re unable to make a paper-based assessment, a telephone assessment will be conducted if appropriate.

Claimants identified as vulnerable (e.g. having mental health or learning disabilities) can access additional support, including filling in the form and additional protections exist for failing to return the questionnaire or to attend an assessment. For all assessments, companions are encouraged to attend and offer support to claimants who may struggle to provide an accurate account of their needs.

Healthcare Professionals

Assessment Providers are required to ensure Health Professionals carrying out assessments have knowledge of the clinical aspects and likely functional effects of a wide range of health conditions and impairments. Assessment Providers are required to demonstrate their Health Professionals meet all our requirements before they are approved to carry out assessments on behalf of DWP.

All Health Professionals receive comprehensive training in how multiple, complex conditions affect individuals in their daily activities and participate in an ongoing Continuing Professional Development programme with training in specific conditions. Any Health Professional undertaking assessments must be a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist or paramedic, with at least two years’ experience following full registration (less by agreement with the Department). The Department ensures a high standard is always maintained by having an Independent Audit function that continually monitors performance and provides feedback to the Providers.

Decisions

Decisions on entitlement and the rate of PIP payable are made by DWP Case Managers, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, after careful consideration of all evidence, including the assessment report from the Health Professional and information provided by the claimant and their healthcare professionals.

If a claimant disagrees with the outcome of a Mandatory Reconsideration they can appeal to an independent Tribunal. After an appeal is lodged, we review cases where there is new evidence and, where appropriate, may change decisions with the agreement of the claimant to avoid unnecessary hearings.

Reviews

Reviews are important, ensuring that awards remain correct where needs change and maintaining contact with the claimant. The length of an award is based on an individual’s needs, not their condition or disability and can vary from nine months to an ongoing award, with a light touch review at the ten-year point.

Improvements

We are continually adapting our approach to improve our service. We have introduced a new approach to decision making at both the first decision and the Mandatory Reconsideration stage, giving Case Managers time to proactively contact customers if they think further evidence may support the claim. This approach supports our aim to make the right decision as early as possible, so claimants don’t need to progress to the appeal stage.

We are committed to improving the overall PIP claimant experience; claimants rightly expect and deserve this. We have already delivered improvements to the customer journey, our communications, the assessment and our decision making.

This year we will publish a Green Paper on health and disability support. This will explore how the welfare system can better meet the needs of disabled people and those with health conditions to build a system that enables people to live independently and move into work where possible.

Department for Work and Pensions

Other parliamentary business

How could PIP and ESA assessments be better? MPs want to hear from you

The Work and Pensions Committee are running a survey to hear from people who have had Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or Work Capability Assessments as part of a claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit. They want to know what your experience was and how you think these assessments could be improved.
 
If you have had an assessment to claim PIP and/or a Work Capability Assessment to claim ESA or as part of a Universal Credit claim, you can tell the committee your views here: https://forms.office.com/r/WPHy8kB23e
 
An Easy Read version of the survey is available as a PDF here: https://www.parliament.uk/contentassets/04b00c9bda3740e7831c04e1fa0d9fd2/isl_190_21_er_health_assessments_survey_finals_web-acc_2.02MB.pdf
 
The survey will be open until mid-February 2022.
 

What happens next? 

We will use your response as part of our inquiry into Health assessments for benefits.
 
We might publish some or all of your responses on the committee's website or social media. The committee might read them out when they're asking questions in a public committee meeting or in the House of Commons.
 
The committee won't ask for your name or publish any details that could identify you.
 
For more information about the inquiry, visit our inquiry page: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/1468/health-assessments-for-benefits
 

What is the Work and Pensions Committee? 

The Work and Pensions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that look into the work of the Department for Work and Pensions. 
 
Find out more about the committee on its website: 
https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/164/work-and-pensions-committee
 
Follow the committee on Twitter for updates on its work: 
https://twitter.com/CommonsWorkPen
 
The Work and Pensions Committee is a select committee. Find out how select committees work: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c
 

Get involved 

For the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference, sign up to the UK Parliament newsletter: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/your-uk-parliament-newsletter-sign-up-form/

Disability benefits assessments debated by MPs

MPs debated disability benefits assessments on Tuesday 1 February in Westminster Hall. The debate was led by Marsha De Cordova MP.

Read a transcript of the debate: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-02-01/debates/E9607D70-36BB-489A-A4D6-E5517C99819F/DisabilityBenefitsAssessments

Watch the debate: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/cffaed45-e164-4b1f-a884-d851d496712f

This was a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/

Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament

You can sign up to the UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference: https://learning.parliament.uk/en/your-uk-parliament-newsletter-sign-up-form/