The number of disability living allowance (DLA) claimants being forced to apply for personal independence payment (PIP) has plummeted, DWP statistics released this week show. The DWP have said only that they are “managing capacity within the system.”
The DWP PIP Official Statistics, published on 14 June show a massive drop in the number of claims registered in April 2017. Claims are registered either when a new claim is made or when a current DLA claimant is informed by the DWP that they have to transfer to PIP.
For the current year, the number of PIP registrations was:
- January 104,333
- February 92,327
- March 83,578
- April 49,409
That means that there was a huge fall of over 50% in the number of registrations in April as compared to January.
The explanation given by the DWP is that:
“In recent months reassessment registrations have decreased due to DWP managing capacity within the system.”
The DWP also claim that the number of new claims made in April was low due to Easter and a high number of weekends in April.
Nonetheless, the main reason for such a drop has to be that dramatically fewer DLA to PIP cases are being sent to Atos and Capita.
To find numbers of PIP registrations as low as they were in April, you would have to look back to 2014, before the DWP began migrating claimants with indefinite DLA awards to PIP.
We cannot know the precise number of DLA reassessments that took place in April, because the DWP do not give a monthly breakdown of how many registrations are new claims and how many are DLA to PIP reassessments.
However, the DWP do give quarterly breakdowns. So we do know that in the three months to the end of October 2016, 158,400 DLA to PIP reassessments were registered.
In the three months to the end of January 2017, 178,300 were registered.
In the three months to April 2017, just 100,900 were registered.
So, there was a fall of 44% in the number of reassessments in the quarter to April 2017, compared to the quarter to the end of January.
Most of that fall appears to have happened in April itself, meaning that reassessments must have plummeted by at least two thirds, if not more.
The transfer of all working age DLA claimants to PIP was supposed to have been completed by April of this year. In fact there are still around 500,000 DLA claimants waiting for the dreaded reassessment letter to drop through the door.
The DWP are clearly keen to get the transfer of DLA claimants completed, given that they are already so far behind schedule. The fact that they have had to call a temporary halt to the mass transfer of claimants suggests that the assessment providers may be failing to keep up with demand.
It now seems likely that the transfer of all working DLA claimants to PIP will not be completed until some time in 2018.