Over the past weeks we have been covering the issue of the repeated delays to PIP reviews and renewals and how these have affected Blue Badge holders. We’ve now heard from readers telling us that the delays are also affecting other benefits, bus passes, Motability cars and increases in PIP for changes of circumstances.
But above all else it’s the enormous anxiety that delays and the DWP’s failure to keep people informed that is causing people real harm.
Problems caused by PIP review delays
A recent article focused on the problems claimants have been having renewing their blue badge because their PIP award was being extended by only short periods.
However, many claimants have now been in touch with us to tell us about other problems caused by the delays. These include:
- Not being able to lease a Motability car
- Not being able to renew a Bus/Freedom pass
- Other benefits being stopped or reduced
- PIP not being increased even though needs have greatly increased
Some of our readers comments are below (minor typos have been corrected for ease of reading)
Other benefits and premiums affected
Some readers have found that the delay in reviewing their PIP award is causing issues with other benefits. One reader says that this has affected their pension credit, council tax and housing benefit.
“I have had a dreadful year regarding my PIP review. It arrived in April 2021, a full year before my extended end date. This impacted my Blue Badge renewal which I could only get for one year. In August 2021 I retired and received my pension and pension credit. The pension credit stopped on March 3rd, 2022 because it is linked to the PIP end date, also It has caused problems with my renewing my Blue Badge a second time . . .My council tax and housing benefit is also affected by this. Today I received an email to inform me that they have been stopped. The situation is a nightmare to deal with especially when you are ill.”
Another reader is struggling both to get their change of circumstances assessed and having difficulties with their daughter’s carer’s allowance
“I sent off my renewal last July for consideration - have constantly advised them my condition has considerably worsened. All I heard from them was a text at the end of July to say paperwork had been received. Phoned PIP on 16 September, 2 December, 15 February and then lastly 25 April to constantly be told it’s in a pile to be looked at!!!! When I say how debilitating it is and a daily worry all I get told is if your benefits are increased it will be back dated. That’s NOT the issue it’s the constant daily worry. My daughter has now been told her carers allowance will stop in May and my housing benefits will alter too . . . Help help help.”
Other readers have also been threatened with the loss of carer’s allowance.
“Myself and my wife have had our PIP extended. My wife's was due to run out last week in April. We had heard nothing except for a letter from my carers allowance saying that was about to end. We contacted PIP to be told my wife's PIP was extended to July a couple of days later we received a text message saying they acknowledge receipt of our "review form" (from june 2021) that we didn't need to phone for an update again, they would contact us with a decision.”
“My husband has had his review in since July 21 and it has been extended. We have had no communication from DWP PIP but Carers contacted myself telling me my CA is stopping, several calls later I got to the bottom of the situation. I am closely watching payments, letters news etc”
One commenter told us that their brother’s ESA was being affected by the PIP review delay:
“My brother is still waiting for a decision on renewal of his PIP claim having sent the forms in last June and we have not been told if his money is going to stop. However, his ESA is going to be considerably reduced because they are removing his disability premium because they have had no decision on his PIP. PIP have given no indication of when his decision will be made and ESA are not interested, just that he will lose his money. Feel completely helpless.”
Mobility cars not being leased
Some readers have told us that they have been unable to lease a Motability car because they are waiting for their PIP review to happen.
“My award was up in January 2022 it has been extended for the second time until July 22 but I cannot get a mobility car without the review. It was sent in last may and even though there is a mountain of evidence they keep saying I need an assessment. I wrote to Chloe Smith and my local MP Ian Burns. Ian helped me with my blue badge problem as they said the process for a blue badge application can take 12 weeks. The same amount of time as my extension so it was a vicious circle. I’m still waiting to hear from the DWP after having 2 people email me with regards to my issue. It’s ridiculous I’m a prisoner in my own home as I cannot drive my manual car with my mobility issues. I just want my assessment done.”
“Its ok saying our awards will continue until they get to our reviews ,but i need to show Motability a new award so I can receive a Motability car. As pip claimants are aware you need a minimum of a year left of your award to get a Motability car. I have roughly 10 weeks left of my award and its shocking how they can treat claimants this way”
Bus/Freedom pass not renewed
An award of PIP can be one route to a bus pass or Freedom pass, meaning that yet again claimants are affected when PIP reviews do not happen.
“My PIP award is to be due to end 6 June, after 2 extensions. I submitted the reassessment information by the date I was given in October but I have heard nothing. Meanwhile, my disability bus pass has expired and the council will not renew without a new dated PIP assessment document.”
Another reader initially had problems with their Freedom Pass, but opted for a local authority assessment in order to get round the lack of a PIP award letter.
“I have had my PIP automatically renewed for another year or so about three times now. I have renewed my blue badge using the extension letter and had no problems in Lewisham, London. The only place I could not use my extension letter was to apply for a freedom Pass. I was told this letter was not valid, only the PIP award letter was, but obviously that has the old expired date. I had two options either contact DWP or go through their own medical. I opted for the latter and after two weeks I got my Freedom Pass which is valid for five years, without having to do any medical at all, again with Lewisham in London.”
Change of circumstances not acted on
The DWP have repeatedly implied that delays to PIP reviews are not a problem, because people who report a change of circumstances because their condition has deteriorated will not have to wait to get assessed. But we are hearing a very different story from some of our readers.
“I sent my review form, with additional papers regarding change of circumstances ie. my health has changed more for the worst. This was in February and I still haven’t had a letter responding to the additional information. I have not received a letter informing me of any extension either.”
“I sent my additional papers regarding a change of circumstances in the end of January/February and I haven't had any response either relating to this.”
“I have now been waiting for a review for over a year now my circumstances have massively changed for the worse. I keep ringing them and I just get told they are extending it, I’ve never known anything like this before.”
“My husband has mental and physical health problems. His needs have substantially increased so I asked that his care needs be reviewed and also his mobility be reviewed in line with the Leap guidelines. This was 18 months ago and no review has taken place just a continuance of his care award.”
Delays and anxiety
More than anything else, it’s the uncertainty, the fear that a PIP award might just end at any moment and not knowing when or whether you might be called for an assessment that is causing people enormous worry and even making their health conditions worse.
“I sent my review in last September and my award ended this month. I have just got through after a 45 minute wait to be told that it’s with the assessors however it’s been extended until August. I wasn’t sent a letter regarding this. The lady said there is a huge backlog & if it hasn’t been sorted out by August then it will be extended for a further 3 months.”
“My renewal claim ended July 2021, its now May 2022 I’ve just had a text from DWP to say they will review my claim and I might need to see a medical professional. I’ve had no correspondence at all, so I take it it was done digitally. How long will this take, its making me ill.”
“They don't understand the anxiety that they cause, my head is spinning with this.”
“My review went in last august and I’ve heard nothing since, my award ends in June and I’m worried but too scared to ring them!”
“My PIP award has been extended twice and my blue badge was only allowed for one year. My review went in june 2021 and I have become so stressed over it, it’s been nearly a year without an assessment. I have given enough medical evidence with my form so why am I still waiting? When my carer phoned they said I’m down for an assessment but no idea when that might be.”
No end in sight for PIP review delays
At the moment there is no end in sight for PIP review delays.
So long as the DWP continues to prioritise new claims and assessment companies are unable to meet demand, existing claimants will be left in a state of uncertainty.
Plans to change the assessment system so that the same company carries out both PIP and ESA assessments in a given area could well lead to even further delays, as companies learn to carry out assessments for which they have no previous experience.
We hope that many more claimants follow the example of some of our readers and complain to their MP about the delays and lack of communication they are experiencing. It may take time, but it is only pressure from parliament that is likely to improve the situation.