The Tories’ PIP failure has left thousands of disabled people without support

Statistics show that thousands of disabled people are still waiting over 16 weeks just to get an assessment

 

The DWP has published statistics on the coalition’s new Personal Independence Payments (PIPs). The stats show the government has failed – again – to get a grip of its new benefit, leaving thousands of disabled people without support.

PIPs were introduced from April 2013 to replace Disability Living Allowance for working age claimants. But Iain Duncan Smith soon performed his ‘reverse-Midas’.

Delays, backlogs and criticism forced the department to revise rollout plans significantly. The majority of DLA claimants were to be assessed after October 2015. The NAO still warned that DWP was not on track, disabled people were hit by the impact of delays and the OBR revised DLA/PIP forecasts six times as a result of repeated ministerial failures to get a grip.

Ministers also shifted the timetable for how long disabled people seeking PIPs can expect to wait for support. Initial plans proposed 12-15 weeks from claims to decisions by DWP. This became an expected 26 weeks just for people to get an assessment as part of the new, multi-million pound process; additional weeks of delays are experienced waiting for DWP to process applications and make decisions.

Despite the much lower number of people requiring PIP assessments and the extended waiting times, DWP still failed to clear the backlog. Last month the process was subject to significant criticism by the independent reviewer in a report published by DWP. It concluded that not enough was being done to tackle delays for disabled people.

IDS and the minister for Disabled People published ad hoc stats today in response to a debate secured by Labour last week. The stats were an attempt to demonstrate DWP is meeting the promise ministers made to deliver all assessments within 16 weeks by the end of 2014.

This promise was secured during an Opposition Day Debate called by shadow secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves MP in June 2014.

But the stats show that thousands of disabled people are still waiting over 16 weeks just to get an assessment. This week the Guardian reported on one man with cancer who has waited ten months for an assessment. The fudged stats also pose more questions than ministers have been willing to answer:

 Why are one in ten people still waiting more than 16 weeks for an assessment?

 Why are over 180,000 people still stuck in a backlog waiting to have their claims assessed?

 How many of the 64,000 claims that have been ‘disallowed’ by the department were due to disabled people being unable to supply medical  information from GPs and hospital consultants within the timeframe stipulated by DWP; and how many of them will simply reapply?

 How many of the 143,000 disallowed claims were due to disabled people being unable to attend assessments; and how many of them will  reapply?

 And how long is the average wait from claim to DWP decision for disabled people and their families across the country?

DWP has admitted it had to employ 76 additional temporary staff to try and reduce the backlog. But DWP hasn’t said how many staff in total it’s had to redeploy to cope with the delays in the benefit.

Nor do we know when DWP expects rollout of PIP to be complete; how many disabled people will not qualify for support; and how much more will it cost overall than initially projected.

Disabled people are right to feel aggrieved by the way the government has mishandled this issue, leaving thousands without help for months. Labour are committed to tackling the delays and the backlog that’s built up.

We’ll also ensure no one with cancer waits longer than 11 weeks for PIP assessments. After months of Tory welfare waste, and hardship for thousands of claimants, it’s time to get a grip.

Kate Green MP is the shadow minister for Disabled People. Follow her on Twitter

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34 Responses to “The Tories’ PIP failure has left thousands of disabled people without support”

  1. Ian

    A bit rich for a Labour blogger to complain about this when the party have been appallingly quiet over the whole Atos thing (Atos, who Labour employed in the first place, for those with short memories), i.e. all these deaths that can be laid at the DWP’s door. Not a peep out of Rachel Reeves (spit) or Ed miliband about those poor buggers dying or left desperate and destitute, except more promises t be ‘tougher than the Tories’ on benefits.Labour can piss off, I will not vote for them purely on this matter alone, let alone their support for TTIP and all the other decaf Conservative shite they come ut with.

    Warm words in blogs mean nothing.

  2. sarntcrip

    YOU CLEARLY DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THE ORIGINAL BRIEF GIVEN TO ATOS(GRANTED A FRENCH COMPUTER COMPANY)WAS TORN UP BY THE TORIES WHO RE WROTE THE RULES TO MAKE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO BE DISABLED NOW THE TORIES HAVE GIVEN IT TO AN AMERICAN COMPANY MAXIMUS WHO HAVE TAKEN ON MANY OF TYE ATOS STAFF WHO FAILE DISABLED PEOPLE SO BADLY THE BUDGET FOR PIPS IS 25%LESS THAN DLA WHICH MEANS THEY LIED THERE WILL BE YET MORE CUTS FIR DISABLED PEOPLE
    THEY CLOSED THE INDEPENDENT LIVING FUND AND OF COURSE IMPOSED A TYPICALLY BIGOTED THING THE BEDROOM TAX SORRY SPASM CAUSED ME TO HIT CAPS LOCK

  3. RoyB

    One issue that hasn’t yet been picked up more generally concerns backdating of claims.

    My sister suffers from vascular dementia and has been in receipt of DLA (Lower Rate for both Care and Mobility) for some time. Following a deterioration in her condition, in July, I asisted her to make a claim for PIP as she lives in an area where beneficiaries are being automatically transitioned from DLA to PIP.

    Recently, I was advised that her claim had been successful and that she would be awarded the enhanced rate of PIP for both Care and Mobility.

    So far so good, if a little long-winded. But here’s the rub. I was also advised that she would be paid DLA until 11th February when the PIP would kick in, but that neither the DLA nor the PIP would be backdated to the date of her claim.

    Under the old rules, my sister would have been entitled to Higher Rate DLA backdated to the date of the claim which is surely the correct approach as her condition at that date was deemed to justify the higher rate. The loss to her from this change of policy is approaching £3000.00.

    The grievance is compounded by the fact that, had my sister lived in another part of the country not subject to automatic transitioning, she would have ben dealt with under the old rules. It is difficult to see how the Government can justify treating two people in identical circumstances so differently, except to sneak in a change of rules to save money and which, coincidentally, could easily be a positive incentive to delay claims.

    As I understand it, these new rules will apply to all PIP claims, not just to those arising under the transition arrangements. My sister is likely to be among the first to be affected by this change of policy, hence the lack of awareness.

    Please add this to your list of questions, Kate. I have already written to Rachel about this matter, but probably too late for it to come to her attention prior to the debate. The Disability News Service has more information.

  4. madasafish

    You still shout.It’s rude.

  5. Ian

    Oi! Shouty! Tory wrongs don’t make Labour right. BTW, ESA was *entirely* designed to reduce sickness benefits, as was the original – Labour – reason for Atos being hired.

    Myopic loyalists like you are the reason Labour has moved rightwards; you vote for them no matter what.

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