A massive PIP assessment backlog of almost one third of a million claimants has been allowed to build up by the DWP, figures obtained by the Disability News Service (DNS) have revealed.  It raises big questions over the plan to have the same assessment providers carry out both PIP and UC/ESA assessments in the same geographical area in the future.

According to DNS, 311,870 claimants were waiting for a PIP assessment in December 2021.  That figure is likely to be even higher now.

The number of cases waiting for an assessment was just 88,500 in October 2016.

By October 2019, prior to the pandemic, this had risen to 143,000. 

This suggests that Capita and Atos (IAS) have long struggled to keep up with the level of assessments needed, even before the pandemic.

But once Covid hit waiting numbers rapidly increased and, having more than doubled, they are now at levels which it will be hard to get under control.

More concerning still, is that the DWP is planning to switch to joint assessment areas in which the same provider carries out both PIP and UC/ESA assessments

From August 2023 just one company will carry out the assessments for PIP and the WCA in any given geographical area.  The number of areas has not been disclosed, nor the number of companies that might provide services.

But if companies which can’t even cope with their current contracts for PIP are also allowed to take on work capability assessments, what kind of waiting lists might be allowed to build up?  Even if Maximus, who currently carry out WCAs are included in the new contracts, it still seems unlikely there will be sufficient capacity for all the work required.

And it means that each company will have to develop skills and procedures for assessments it currently doesn’t deal with.

Claimants are already waiting a long time for an initial assessment and being left terrified that their awards may end where they are left waiting for an assessment for a renewal claim.

To add to this chaos by a major change in the system seems an act of extreme folly.  Unless the backlog is massively reduced before August 2023, and additional companies are brough in to carry out assessments, it’s hard to see how enormous distress to claimants can be avoided.

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    MrFibro · 3 months ago
    The chaos is caused purely to inflict maximum stress and pain on disabled claimants, even though the DWP fully know such claimants are severely vulnerable, by means of which, such changes in systems will cause claimants health to decline considerably.

    Furthermore with such massive new pip claims and incomprehensible backlogs ie of renewals / reviews etc.  Would obviously mean any assessment agency/ company and assessors will just their upmost to get any assessment over and done with, and to move onto the next case, as they will be more bonus driven, paid by the DWP again.  This will mean more claimants getting zero awards or reduced awards.

    In turn it means appeals will skyrocket, not a very good outcome for us claimants.

    I cant understand how this government can discriminate disabled people who have worked all or most of their lives, only to become ill through no fault of their own, and to be kept jumping through hoops.  It's immoral, its inhumane, and it unjust.

    Final note the last 12 years or more the Tories have banged on about there's no monies in the pot, and across the board endless cutbacks in all services etc.

    And in the next breath, out of the blue they find hundreds of countless billions of pounds during the pandemic.  And to top the lot the government has allowed the cost of living to spiral out of control nationwide.  Whilst the people have to go without heating and or food.

    This governments main priority should be focused on Britain and it's people, and putting an end to this endless austerity and high costs of living.  Don't hold your breath.

    Good luck to all.



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    Porridge · 3 months ago
    That does seem like a terrible mess. Why they don’t just leave people alone who have incurable diseases and disabilities which will never go away I just cannot fathom. When you say people are “being left terrified that their awards may end where they are left waiting for an assessment for a renewal claim”, have any B&W member’s claim ended without having had a chance for a renewal yet? Presumably they could appeal against this termination of a claim without the opportunity to present evidence to keep that claim going?

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