The Department of Work and Pensions has confirmed that PIP assessment providers have been given more time in which to process assessments and return reports, meaning disabled people may now have to wait longer to get a decision back on their claim.
In a written question to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Shadow Minister for Women and Equality, Cat Smith MP, writes:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the role of personal independence payment assessment providers in the increase in processing time between the case referral to assessment provider to return from the assessment provider to the government office since July 2015.”
Responding to the question, Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister for Disabled People, said:
“Following a controlled start from July 2015, full Personal Independence Payment (PIP) roll-out commenced in October 2015, with an increase in the numbers of existing Disability Living Allowance claimants being asked to claim PIP.
“In addition and in order to improve the customer journey, the Department has made some changes to the way in which it monitors Assessment Provider performance.
“These changes mean that Providers now have more time in which to complete assessments and return reports to the Department and also gives them greater flexibility to obtain further evidence to support claims: this therefore allows more time for scheduling appointments that better suit claimants and Assessment Providers, increases accuracy in assessments and reports and ensures opportunities for paper based reviews are maximised thereby reducing the demand for face-to-face appointments.
He added: “Although these changes may see slightly longer average clearance times, they remain within expected levels.”