The success rate for new personal independence payment (PIP) claimants who have an assessment has fallen to an all-time low of 50%, according to figures released by the DWP last week. DLA to PIP reassessment award rates, on the other hand, have increased in recent months
The overall award rate for all PIP fresh claims, not just those who were referred to an assessment provider, since the benefit began is 42%. This has fallen considerably over time. In 2014 award rates were as high as 62%.
By contrast, the success rate for the last three months for which figures are available shows that they were at 35% in May and June climbing to 38% in June 2019.
Awards following assessment
Looking only at claimants who had an assessment - so excluding those who withdrew their claim, failed to return their form or were not eligible for some other reason - the fall in success rates is strangely steady.
The overall award rate for this group is 58% since PIP began.
But in May 2019, for this group the award rate was 52%, in June 51% and in July 50%. This is the lowest award rate of any month since PIP began.
In fact, awards following assessment have been on an unusually steady downward path for many months.
In January 2018 the success rate was 57%. Since then there has been only a single month when the award rate went up. Apart from March this year, for every successive month the award rate has either remained the same or fallen.
In the past, benefits which depended on assessment have had award rates that were subject to quite a degree of fluctuation. This remorseless fall raises questions about whether pressure is being exerted to ensure that results move in only one direction.
DLA to PIP reassessments
For claimants who are moving from DLA to PIP, on the other hand, award rates have made a sudden leap.
In April 2019, award rates had dropped to 56%, in May this went up to 62% and in June and July it leapt to 72%.
This is higher than the overall average of 71% award rates since PIP was introduced.
Looking only at DLA to PIP transfers where the claimant had an assessment, the award rate has gone up from 71% in April to 77% in May and 78% in June and July.
This matches the overall average award rate of 78% since PIP was introduced.
There is no obvious explanation for why award rates for new claims are falling at the same time as award rates for DLA to PIP reassessments are climbing.