The latest quarterly PIP statistics released by the DWP this month suggest that almost 2,000 more claimants a month are getting no award since assessments switched from face-to-face to telephone.
The figures show that record numbers of people are now applying for PIP, but award rates for new claims remain below 50%.
The latest quarterly statistics cover the period from February to April 2021.
There were 170,000 new claims for PIP registered in the quarter, the highest level since PIP began.
There were also 26,000 changes of circumstances reported, again the highest level since PIP began.
110,000 PIP claimants had a planned review of their award.
In addition there were 22,000 DLA to PIP transfers and 65,000 claimants made mandatory reconsideration requests.
The success rate for new PIP claims continues to be well below the overall average. Since PIP began, 55% of all new claims where the claimant had an assessment have been successful. But in the most recent quarter the success rates were:
- February 47%
- March 48%
- April 48%
The success rate for DLA to PIP reassessments is also lower than the historical average of 78%.
- February 72%
- March 72%
- April 75%
The success rates for telephone assessments, which largely replaced face-to-face assessments from March 2020 as a result of the pandemic, fluctuated widely at the outset. But they now seem to have settled into a pattern in which they are lower than the success rates for face-to-face.
Averaged over the last six months figures are available for, the success rate for new claims is 48.5%.
For the same six months in 2019-20, before telephone assessments took over, the success rate was 52%.
Whilst this may seem relatively small, it means that 5,950 disabled claimants who would have got an award of PIP in the last quarter under face-to-face assessments did not get one when they were assessed by telephone.
It can’t be proved that it is the assessment method that has made the difference, award rates have been gradually falling for some time. And it is also not clear that they are falling for all types of condition. We will be looking further into how award rates for physical and mental health conditions may have been affected differently by the use of telephone assessments.
But what is certain is that the longer PIP is in place, the less the chances of a new claim being successful.