The proportion of new claimants getting an award of PIP has plummeted from 46% to just 30% in the space of a few months. The fall is at least partly due to the DWP disallowing claims where the PIP2 is allegedly received late, even though the claimant may have returned it in good time.
Award rates for DLA to PIP reassessments have also fallen for the same reason.
The DWP say the main reason for the fall in success rates is that they have ended a temporary measure which allowed claimants three months instead of the normal one month to return a PIP2 ‘How your disability affects you’ form:
Patterns in award rates over recent months have been driven in part by patterns of disallowance due to non-return of PIP2 forms. Between late February and late May 2021, the time allowed to return the PIP2 was extended from one month to three months to reflect the additional challenges claimants faced in accessing the necessary support and collating supporting evidence. During this period, award rates were higher than usual because there were fewer disallowances relative to the number of awards. Since times reverted to the standard one-month deadline, award rates have dropped as there have been a higher than usual number of disallowances to include those who would have been disallowed at an earlier point under current rules.
The award rate for normal rules PIP claims (excluding withdrawn claims) for July 2021 had fallen to just 30%, down from 46% in April. This is the lowest ever level, except for 29% in February 2020, when the pandemic had begun to have an effect.
For DLA to PIP reassessments, the success rate for July 2021 was 64%, compared to 73% in April.
The proof that many of these refusals are actually unfair is provided by a sudden leap in mandatory reconsideration success rates, which have now risen to over 60% as the graph below shows. The 'Award Changed' line shows the mandatory reconsideration requests that were successful.
The DWP say that “A dip in April 2021 followed by a sharper rise in July 2021 are a natural consequence of the rise in MRs relating to patterns of disallowances pre-referral to the Assessment Provider (mainly due to non-return of PIP2 forms) . . .”
The fact that a big rise in mandatory reconsideration success rates is linked to alleged non-return of PIP forms suggests that in many cases, when challenged, the DWP are being forced to admit it was not the claimant’s fault.
Just this month the Disability News Service carried a story alleging that the DWP were taking between four and six weeks to scan documents, including claim forms, onto their system.
Given the big fall in PIP award rates and the large rise in mandatory reconsideration rates it seems clear that a large number of claims are being wrongly refused for reasons relating to late-return or non-return of claims forms.
For this reason we are urging claimants, as always, to get proof of postage for any form they return to the DWP. We understand that this can be very difficult for claimants who are not able to travel to, or access, a post office. We’d be very interested to hear from readers about how they deal with the issue of proving that a form was sent within the time limit.
You can see the latest PIP statistics here.