Figures releases by the DWP prove that independent decision making by the DWP is a sham, with PIP decision makers disagreeing with assessment reports in just 3% of cases.

In March of this year a request was made to the DWP for information on the number of cases  “where a decision maker or senior decision maker has not followed the descriptors recommended by the health care professional in a PA4 report?”

Initially the DWP refused to answer, claiming it would cost too much to provide the data.

Eventually, however, they did disclose that:

“Between February 2023 and January 2024, there were 22,000 cases where the decision

maker did not follow all the descriptors recommended by the assessment provider. In the

same period a total of 679,000 assessment decisions were made.“

This amounts to a little over 3% of all reports

In other words, for every thirty three assessments that cross  a decision makers desk, only one will be disagreed with in any way whatsoever.

Yet, according to the DWP’s PIP handbook:  

“In all cases the decision maker will make a decision based on all the available evidence, such as:

  • the report from the assessment provider
  • the ‘How your disability affects you’ form
  • any additional evidence that the claimant has provided, or
  • further evidence that the assessment provider has given”

If this was genuinely the case, then you could expect there to be a significant percentage of cases where the decision maker attached more weight to the evidence given by the claimant themselves or to medical or other evidence provided by the claimant.

In reality, no matter how poor the PIP assessment report is, it is almost always simply rubber stamped by the decision maker.  In fact, t would be reasonable to question whether decision makers even read the majority of reports, rather than simply totting up the scores and calculating any award.

It seems to be only at the mandatory reconsideration or appeal stage that there is any real possibility of a decision maker actually considering evidence other than the assessment report.

Last month, we revealed that the DWP is testing sharing PIP assessment reports with claimants before making a decision.

The comments below the article show that many readers are in favour of the idea:

“This would be a welcome part of the procedure as it will allow you to clarify information and if needed supply further evidence and information.”
Woody

“I think this would be of tremendous benefit to claimants especially in the case where information has been blatantly altered or omitted completely. It gives us the chance to make sure our voices are heard.”
Zara

But others doubted that it would make any real difference to the initial decision.

“Surely it's only going to be as 'Good' as the DWP's willingness to actually action any discrepancies claimants & their advisors wish to 'Clarify' with them!  As has been shown time & time again, the DWP is an unwilling participant in its own policies & the cynic in me remains sceptical of this 'Test' & left wondering what their ulterior motive might be!”
Sue C C

Here at Benefits and Work, we have our doubts about how much notice would be taken of corrections by claimants, if they were made at the initial decision stage. 

But claimants would get the chance to see at the outset how poor the evidence being used to decide there claim really was.  Many would be astonished and outraged by seeing what had been written about them.

This might encourage many more claimants to go on to challenge the decision rather than giving up at the first refusal. And that can only be a good thing.

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    Support worker appointee . · 11 days ago
    It is scary concerning what Sunak says regards people on PIP. Making it stressful and frightening. He has no clue what a person with mental health needs to deal with on a  daily basis. Or a person who has physical problems. People need to mske their own decisions without a Gestapo. Have dignity and be respected and trusted. A Government should not go counting costs as they give more money to other countries and also spend on nuclear. Needing PIP or other support Goulding happen yo anyone. It is compassion and care. In India bodies lie in the street. They died there. We can't let it turn into a cruel state. 
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    Christine hodgkinson · 23 days ago
    About 2015 on a Sunday afternoon I got a phone call from the DWP to say that my money was going to be stopped. I was in total shock.  I had to appeal that decision and with help from EDMONTON disability I won my appeal. During this time I had no money my mental state was really bad. I started cutting myself again . I got about £4000 . But I was previously on the enhance rate and had to battle to get back to my enhanced rate. I would like to know of I can make a claim for that time.

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    Dino · 23 days ago
    The decision makers are not trained in making decisions on claims by people with medical conditions that can have a serious effect on a person's life. In 20 plus years I've had PIP awards from full mobility to low mobility and low care to full care components. I could have challenged the lower awards but I didn't because of what I encountered on an ESA tribunal in 2009 when they asked unrelevant questions as to why I should get ESA and I told them so. 
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    Paul · 23 days ago
    as Julie D I have done the same. I have found that there were many errors in the report.  When I have challenged this, I have been informed that it is called 'a slip of the pen'. One part of the report stated that I refused to answer my door to my sister who had travelled over 250 miles to visit me.  Nothing of the kind was said.  slip of the pen what a joke.  I recommend everyone does the same so that it can be amended and challenged.
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    Steven Bridge · 23 days ago
    Absolutely shocking department. Reported a change to my mobility and had a re-assessment in January. We are now coming to the end of April and still no decision despite constant telephone calls asking what on earth takes so long.
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    Julie D · 23 days ago
    Whenever I had an assessment I always asked for a copy of the assessors paperwork, I would copy this ,  go through it and amend what wasn’t written down properly or not written at all then I would return to DWP special delivery to ensure they received it . 
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      Dave · 23 days ago
      @Julie D Wise indeed Julie. I had an assessment and when Nurse 'Nightingale' was dealing with me i did ask her to turn the computer screen so that i could read what she was writing. She fobbed me off with some tripe about that not being necessary, to which i showed her the booklet that came with the appointment date pointing out in one section that you have the right to see the screen. Most are paid to lie to get their bonuses. I also pointed out that in my pocket was a recording device that i activated before i stepped into the room. I pointed this out in my appeal of which i won and also stated that the 'lying through her teeth Florence Nightingale' was not fit to serve the public. I also offered to send them a copy of the recording of which they declined, but since then they amended the rules in that, yes you could take recording equipment but you also had to supply to them the exact same equipment, which would put many people off doing because of the extra costs. Slyest of the sly these people. If you see a weasel asleep piss in it's ear is my mantra to these blood suckers.
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