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


  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.

  6. cat

    Between the devil and the deep blue sea. They’re both terrible, the Tories are just worse.

  7. Vanessa

    I waited 24 weeks for my assessment by Atos. WHAT A FARSE. The examination didn’t relate to my disability of vasculitis.wegeners granulomatosis. With orbital inflammation. Swollen blood vessels and arteries. Anxiety. Joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, have wrist splints, muscle pain. Poor memory. DWP wrote back to say i was unsuccessful. No help at all for me. Really. I will appeal. I have another brain scan this Saturday and seeing a rheumatologist and neurologist next week. Am having all my nerve damage assessed. Will have chemo or chemo typewriter, many more trips to hospital. Been going through this since 2013, October. But that’s ok, I don’t qualify for help. Really!!!!!! I had to give up my job of 5 years as was a liability.temporarily lose vision. But I don’t qualify for help. Government want to review the system and sort it out.

  8. Graeme

    My daughter has a number of disabilities which I won’t go into but suffice to say at 21 she has a mental age of 7. She has a physical condition which, short of a miracle, she’ll have for life, she suffers from anxiety attacks and has type one diabetes.

    In May 2014 we were sent a DLA renewal form which I promptly completed and returned with all the supporting evidence requested and then some. It was returned in the prepaid, pre addressed brown envelope provided. Six weeks later I hadn’t heard anything and my daughters financial support was due to end so I contacted the DLA via telephone. They said they had no record of the firm being received and would urgently send out a replacement which I would need to complete asap. Now anyone who’s ever completed these forms will know that they take some completing but I dud it straight away and regs there’d supporting evidence some of which I had to pay a fee for. This time I returned the form by recorded delivery but once again I got nothing back and my daughters payments stopped. I contacted the DLA again and was told that they had the firm but that it was the wrong form as the region had moved to PIPs. I explained that the that it was sent to me by DLA and had been completed immediately but they said my daughters case was now closed and no backdating or future payments would or could be made, no appeal no chance whatsoever. They just passed the buck and gave me the number for PIPs, when ringing PIPs they said DLA were wrong and should backdate and reinstate payments immediately. I rang DLA. And they said PIPs were wrong, you get the picture.

    Now we’ve had no money for about 5 months and PIPs are saying the new claim will take a further 6 months to evaluate and complete. In the meantime I am no longer classed as my daughters carer because she’s not in receipt of disability, I cannot receive Income support for the same reason, I can’t sign on for Job seekers because I’m unavailable for work because I have to care for my daughter. Because I get neither I can’t get any help with Council a Tax or Housing Benefit which means my Landlord has placed a notice of seeking possession on the house, our home of 20 years.

    I’m caught in a limbo, I can’t leave my daughter to go to work and I don’t have any money coming in at all. I’m soon to be evicted and the Housing Association say they have no obligation to rehouse us. By the time this is sorted we will have had no money coming in for just short of a year and will be homeless.
    Before becoming a single parent of four children 18 years ago I had never been out of work since the age of 16 when I left school

    The only thing they said is a suggestion to apply for crisis help!

    They don’t care!

    We are cannon fodder, a statistic, collateral damage!

  9. Leon Wolfeson

    Very arguable.

  10. treborc1

    Ms Reeves is about as interested as Tony Blair was with Welfare .

    I’m going through it now and I am not as serious as your sister I’ve got a lesion of the spinal cord, loss of bowel and bladder and chronic never ending pain.

    I’ve an implanted morphine pump which stops me over dosing sadly I’m unlikely even with Paraplegia to get the award.

  11. treborc1

    Well do you know for example if you get an electric wheelchair from the NHS hospital or social services you will get pips automatically and if your wrists are that bad then surely you should have a wheelchair and you cannot use a manual one.

    But it has to be officially no good buying one.

  12. treborc1

    In what way did the Tories rip it up as an advisor the Tories actually help by allowing the DWP to look at any referrals to appeals, this emans they can now over rule the comapny which does the WCA or PIP’s , which is the reason why ATOS gave y up the game was over they would not be able to sent everyone to appeals..

    Labour tried to end DLA Gordon brown was of the view it was a wasted benefits, when the Tories said nope sorry with 14 labour lefties, then Brown said it should be stopped for people of retirement age , then he said young people in care homes which would mean they get no benefits what so ever and some of these people will stay in these care homes for life.

    The issue over pips is a simple one as was DLA it’s not the illness or disability I’ve seen people bring in sheets of papers with everything on it down to split hair end to broken finger nails to one eye looking left the other looking right.

    Then I asked them simply to put down what the doctors have said and some say, I’m suffering from Chromic fatigue .

    Now tell me how that effects your everyday life , they say well I’m tired all day some days I cannot get out of bed, why are you in bed because I cannot walk, so you cannot walk, how about washing no I cannot wash, dressing no god no.

    You have filled in the forms and then get the evidence evidence is everything these days send it in and these people normally get the benefits maybe not at the top end they are hoping for but you can appeal that.

    But we tell people ask your GP for the medical name of the condition, you have to know what is wrong with you.

    For example I’ve a back condition with lots of pain, if I wrote that down it’s meaningless.

    The medical term for me is Paraplegia level 3. Lesion of the spinal cord L5 with nerve damage in the spinal cord and out side of the nerve branch leading to nerve damage in my spine, I’m also chromic diabetic leading to series Nerve damage in my legs feet and toes . I also have serious heart condition, which leaves me tired all the time.

    I cannot wash my self get tired walking a few steps cannot dress my self , if I go to the toilet I’ve got to use a catheter, plus have to empty my bowel by using my finger.

    I’ve an implanted morphine pump delivering a dose of Morphine into my spinal cord .

    The problem is of course labour are saying nothing of what they will do let me remind you of what Ms Reeves have stated if she gets in she will hammer down on us
    Dar;lingw as going to flog us all if he got in, ok not flog us just kick us on the way to the Job Center to make us do more.

    Both parties are not talking to use but about us, none are much interested in us and before you say I’m a Tory I spent 44 years in the labour party 45 years in the GMB Union.

  13. treborc1

    That is the issue both parties speak about hard working or working people when they them selves failed at it.

  14. treborc1

    First sending forms you must send them recorded mail, always send all mail to these companies by recorded mail.

    I would always tell people go to the CAB to fill in the forms PIP’s is so dam easy to make a simple error your appealing and spending years sorting it out.


  15. RoyB

    It’s difficult to comment without the detail, but, having spent some years as a CAB Adviser, I would strongly recommend you contact your nearest CAB for help with this, if you haven’t already done so. The same applies to Graeme, below. In my experience, what is often lacking is awareness of the way the system operates, coupled with a reluctance by claimants acting alone to make their own case with sufficient force.

    From what you say, you should certainly be entitled to enhanced rate PIP/ Higher Rate DLA. And Graeme should insist on his right to be heard at appeal.

  16. RoyB

    Hi Graeme
    Please see my reply to treborc1 above.


  17. Keith M

    As a benefits advisor I can confirm that some of my clients have already been waiting for 40 weeks. The DWP displays a total arrogance towards the most vu,lendable members of our society.

  18. Guest

    You still fight for the government’s cruelty to the disabled. It’s beyond rude.

  19. Guest


    I am a highly intelligent and resourceful human being on disability
    benefits due to long-term mental health conditions at 42. Employers
    have an actively negative bias towards those like myself and,
    therefore trapped by all corners of the main-three political parties
    with a self-interested agenda to protect the wealthiest in our

    Much to the unhinged delighted of the wealthier protected, I am yet to
    receive PIP – not looking forward to it at all, and as people on
    benefits are not encouraged to have any savings, I am in supported
    housing, what will happen to me and those in my situation?. There
    appears a third-world holocaust in western society that cannot and
    should not be ignored by the out-of-touch Ivory towered tyrants we
    call a democracy!.

  20. robert rodgers

    Guest…I have been down the road with PIP you need to state what mental heath condition you have how it effects in public at home and explain what anxiety it gives waiting for a decision in the claim. I have Autism be it with high intelligence. but they are making certain excemptions to those with mental illnesses. But I had to wait 1 year and 4 months to get a success. Not much good if you need the support. I allowed welfare rights to deal with my claim and I would strongly suggest others do this they tend to be more knowledglable and better success rates.

  21. Amazinglyso

    I shall be okay with my application for PIP due to having a supported
    housing worker, but thanks for letting me know of what to expect if I
    am invited to an interview. I don’t know about the DWP making
    exemptions for those with mental health conditions, yet it is most
    often the case that mental health conditions are not just about the
    mind but also about physical mobility. I am severely agoraphobic
    and morbidly depressed on and off due to past childhood sexual abuse
    trauma that has left me incapacitated. Physical or mental disability
    are often one of the same thing because just as physical impairment
    causes morbid/clinical depression, so does mental health cause
    physical limitations that employers are oftentimes biased towards
    both yet more so mental health. I agree that having the support of
    welfare rights has its advantages, yet each disabled individual is
    not always informed of their welfare rights and where the problems
    arises. Not all disabled people are computer literate like you and
    me, and where the DWP takes advantage of this so as to stop
    legitimate claims as well as bogus ones. I just loathe the way that
    right-wing media corporations name and shame the odd benefit cheat
    when they really are in the minority as a whole, yet reflects upon
    genuine benefit claimants in the process.

  22. Amazinglyso

    One very good reason for the DWP to launch a serious demonstration against the policy making elite in even banned demonstration zones in London.

  23. Amazinglyso

    It is never about who is and isn’t deserving of welfare benefits, no one can compare your condition to that of another’s – why the main-three-party politicians are so confident and joyous of this same-alike battle between the poorest in our society and, so as to spend more money on foreign aid and less on those in their own country. Please don’t doubt your eligibility for welfare support because of any past experiences and/or fearful rejection. You should get some medical representation from your GP who knows your disability and can write a lengthy supporting letter on your behalf – don’t be afraid of asking them either as they are not just employed as medicinal practitioners, yet also as community support and care officers where there are no community care and support officials to fight your corner.

  24. Amazinglyso

    You give wonderfully insightful and informed advice here. I also recommend that claimants also approach some independent solicitors where there may be no free legal aid representation through the CAB and n difficult cases where there is no care supporting officers in disabled people’s lives especially. Many high-charging-fee solicitors are taking on clients who are already benefit-dependent and they will not charge a fee at all for free consultation. This is not the same as No Win No Fee type of solicitors yet your regular run of the mill ones who are oftentimes far more real and compassionate about human welfare rights.

  25. Amazinglyso

    I am sincerely sorry and sad for your situation. ASOS was primarily set up to get as many disabled people off benefits as you already know, not just those who have pretence conditions to maximize income. If you don’t have a support carer of any kind to write a strong and dedicated supportive letter on your behalf, I strong recommend contacting your GP practice and get them to do one which is free of charge if you are in receipt of benefits already. I would also approach a regular solicitor – not one of those No Win No Fee types, who charge massive administration fees, yet locally based ones who are already well aid enough to fight your corner at affordable very low cost. Consultations are always free with your main high street solicitors, yet they will certainly not charge you anything unaffordable for fighting your case: £150 maximum at a repayable rate of say £5 per month.

  26. Amazinglyso

    The spin doctors of labour are there at the ready!. Not only this, Labour have quite audibly stated that they intend to make humongous cuts to the welfare bill just as the conservatives in their recent Jerry-here-now manifesto’s. Please explain to me how it is the case that we can feed the starving natively poor African and Middle-East continents with generous foreign aid and yet deprive our own native poorest of deserving welfare benefits?. Did you know that there are an active 100-strong anti-poverty organizations internationally stationed across the globe and, right now food and gift aiding billions of Sudanese, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo each and every day of the year?. Our incredibly talented and outspoken naturalist BBC presenter David Attenborough has got it right by openly saying that ‘It is Impossible to feed the whole world due to population increase’.

  27. Amazinglyso

    The Labour Loyalist Perception is not a widespread supported reality. No one here is defending or supporting either Labour or Conservative much to your candid splitherous thinking that we do.

  28. Amazinglyso

    Few genuinely disabled claimants will be capable of convinced dramatized acts of self destruction in order to receive benefits. You totally undermine and insult the rest of us – whether or not we are intelligent and resourceful beings yet must fight for our basic rights to welfare.

  29. treborc1

    You will need to ask the political parties that question not me.

  30. Ricki Baran

    I waited six months and without medical evidence in my hand ( they dont access your records) I failed to qualify. I then opened a reconsideration with medical evidence and that brings the wait to 8 months with no AWNSER any time soon.

  31. Ricki Baran

    I have been on PiP carousel of fun for eight months. Waited six months for an assessment which I failed due to no medical evidence. Dates and places are not good enough. Put in for reconsideration 2 months ago only to be told today they have no record of my new medical evidence sent from my doctors surgery being received. Very kindly my GP is sending it again by recorded delivery this time.
    so round and round we go again.

  32. Allan James

    How can the pip assessment judge your disability in one day assessment. When you have the disability every day of your live I’d been on dla for a while on Mobilty ! The. One day affected all that by saying no to Mobilty I need that to get me to a lot otf hospital apts i have but now them apt nets we have to be cancels

  33. Elle J Morgan

    This is all so wrong, I’ve just won my tribunal, it’s taken 70 weeks from the date of my claim to tribunal, 7 months from claiming to ATOS assessment..

    And now despite winning I’ve now got to wait for the decision to go to the DWP legal dept, then have it put on the system..I then have to claim the SDP I’m owed..but I won so why are we made to wait so long after..been told it will take 8 weeks!

    This was awarded for 2 years, and as its advised to claim early before you’re claim runs out, I’m in a constant loop of applying & fighting..I haven’t got the strength for this..

  34. Amazinglyso

    Since when did new Roman elitists care about people or respond to direct campaigns for social change and readjustment of their cruel benefit cuts?.

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