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Most PIP claimants still waiting for a verdict after 16 months

Less than 40% of those who have tried to claim Personal Independence Payment have actually got the money or been rejected, with the majority still waiting.

Data released by the Department for Work and Pensions shows that of the 529,400 cases registered between April 2013 and the end of July 2014, just over 206,000 had been awarded, declined or withdrawn.

PIP was introduced in April 2013 to replace disability living allowance (DLA) for 16- to 64-year-olds. Payments are worth between £21 and £138 a week and support people with long-term ill-health or disability.

Mark Harper - Ian Nicholson PA WireMark Harper, minister for disabled people, says the delays are unacceptable. He said: "Unlike the old system, PIP includes a face-to-face assessment and regular reviews to ensure support goes to those who need it most. Today's figures show just that, with nearly 23% of people getting the highest level of support, compared with 16% under Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

“We accept that the delays faced by some people are unacceptable, and we are committed to putting that right. Between May and July we have doubled the number of claims processed and we are working hard to continue to make further improvements. By the end of the year we expect that no-one will be waiting for an assessment for longer than 16 weeks."

The statistics show that PIP has been awarded to 51% of new claimants since April 2013, and it has been awarded in 72% of reassessment cases since October 2013 – namely those previously on DLA.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, called on the government to do “everything in its power” to address the delays, which are causing “uncertainty, distress and anxiety” for disabled people.

“Scope’s helpline has been inundated with disabled people phoning for advice on their PIP claims. Many are facing extreme delays of well over six months.” He continued, “Life costs more if you are disabled. Buying a wheelchair, higher energy bills – Scope research shows all this adds up to an extra £550 per month. Some costs can't be avoided, but too often disabled people continue to pay over the odds for everyday items and services. 

“Personal Independence Payment is the financial life-line that disabled people rely on to help meet these costs.

“It was reassuring to hear the minister for disabled people state last week that resolving the ongoing issues with PIP is his top priority.”

(Image: Mark Harper. C. Ian Nicholson/PA Wire)

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