DWP to focus on PIP assessments
The issue of PIP backlogs recently came up in the House of Commons. Ian Lavery, the Labour MP for Wansbeck, pushed the DWP for action.
Mr Lavery asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps she is taking to reduce the backlog of people waiting for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims to be processed.
Yesterday, Chloe Smith, the Minister of State at the DWP, issued a response.
“We are committed to ensuring that people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in a timely manner and reducing customer journey times for PIP claimants is a priority for the Department,” she said.
“We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to review all available evidence.
“The time it takes to clear a claim and the number of people awaiting a decision can vary, reflecting factors including customer demand, operational resources and timescales for different parts of the process. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused distortion and work is ongoing to manage the recovery.”
Ms Smith concluded by noting the time it takes clear new PIP claims in July 2021 (the most recent data available) are “similar to levels- [seen] a year ago.”
It was also explained the DWP will be looking to improve the assessment process going forward to ease pressures on the backlogs. The DWP will continue to conduct paper-based, telephone and video assessments where appropriate in a bid to reduce waiting times.