The waiting list for personal independence payment (PIP) assessments is continuing to grow, according to statistics released by the DWP today, in spite of claims by ministers that the problem would be fixed by the Autumn.
The latest figures from the DWP show that the number of PIP assessments being carried out each month increased dramatically from just under 20,000 a month in April and May this year to just under 40,000 a month in June and July.
However, the same statistics also show that a total of 41,600 new claims and transfer claims from disability living allowance (DLA) to PIP were lodged in June 2014and 43,800 in July. This means that PIP claims are still coming in faster than they are being processed and the backlog of claims is still growing, though more slowly than before.
Up to the end of July this year 529,000 claims for PIP had been lodged and 206,000 had been cleared, suggesting that there was still a backlog of 323,000 claims. At current clearance rates this means an average wait of around 35 weeks.
In February of this year, when the National Audit Office condemned the delays, the backlog stood at just 92,000 claims.
In August of this year Mark Harper, the minister for disabled people told the Mirror:
“The delays faced by some people are unacceptable, and we are committed to putting that right. By the Autumn, we anticipate that no one to be waiting for an assessment for longer than 26 weeks and by the end of the year no one to be waiting longer than 16 weeks”.
It now seems extremely unlikely that these targets will be hit unless there has been another doubling of the monthly rate of assessments since July.