The percentage of claimants getting an award of personal independence payment (PIP) has fallen again, both for new claims and for disability living allowance (DLA) to PIP reassessments.
New PIP claims
According to the latest figures released by the DWP today, just 42% of new claims for PIP were successful in July 2015, compared to 43% in June and 46% in May.
If withdrawn claims are not counted the figures rise by 1% each month, to 43% in July, 44% in June and 47% in May.
At their highest, in March 2014, award rates for new PIP claims were at 62%.
The overall success rate for PIP claims, since the benefit was introduced, now stands at 48%.
DLA to PIP reassessment claims
The figures for DLA to PIP reassessments are much higher, but still following a downward trend.
In July 2015, 69% of reassessment claimants got an award of PIP. In June the figure was 71% and in May 73%.
Again, if withdrawn claims are excluded, the figures increase by 1% each month.
At their highest, in March 2014, award rates for DLA to PIP reassessment claims were at 80%.
The overall success rate for reassessment claims, since the benefit was introduced, now stands at 74%.
In the early days of PIP, high success rates were in part due to the fact that terminally ill claimants were taking priority and making up a much higher proportion of the caseload than normal.
But that is no longer the case.
By far the most likely reason for the continuing fall in success rates is that the DWP are continually issuing new guidance to assessors, encouraging them to interpret the law in a more and more restrictive manner so that fewer claimants get awards.
The Personal Independence Payment Assessment Guide has been updated three times, since it was first published in April 2013. Each time changes have been made which make it harder for claimants to score points.
No doubt this process will continue until the DWP are certain they have reached their stated goal of cutting the cost of disability benefits by 20%