The DWP is moving inexcusably slowly in considering the cases of PIP claimants who may be owed thousands of pounds in back payments, its latest progress report reveals. Although the DWP claim the review will be completed in 2025, at the present rate, some claimants may be left waiting a total of more than 8 years for a decision on their case.
The review of cases relates to PIP activity 9. Engaging with other people face to face.
The DWP got the law wrong in relation to two descriptors:
b. Needs prompting to be able to engage with other people. 2 points.
c. Needs social support to be able to engage with other people. 4 points.
If the support a claimant needs consisted just of prompting, then the DWP argued it was only worth 2 points, regardless of who gave it.
However, in a case known as MM, the Supreme Court decided that where the prompting needs to be given by someone ‘trained or experienced in assisting people to engage in social situations’, then it may count as social support and score 4 points.
The DWP also believed that social support has to be given during the social activity or immediately before it.
But, in the same case, the Supreme Court held that social support does not have to take place during or immediately before a social engagement, it could take place weeks before or even after the event.
This means that many people who got zero points for this activity will now be eligible for four points.
The review of cases relates to decisions from 6 April 2016, when the case was decided, to 16 September 2020 when the DWP began following the correct rules.
The DWP say that they have identified 326,000 review cases relating to the 9(b) group. These are primarily cases where the claimant scored 2 points for prompting when they may have been entitled to 4 points for social support.
However, the DWP admit that they are unable to identify claimants affected by the timing of support issue, who may have received support well in advance of a social engagement but scored no points because the DWP got the law wrong. These claimants will need to contact the DWP themselves if they wish to be considered.
Reviews of cases started in September 2021. The DWP say they have prioritised reviews for terminally ill and recently deceased claimants.
In the following two years, they have dealt with just 79,000 cases with almost a quarter of a million left to examine.
At present rates it will take the DWP over six years to complete its review of the outstanding 247,000 cases, although the department claims it will be completed in just another two years.
But there may also be thousands of cases that relate to timing or that the DWP have simply failed to identify.
More than one in five claimants who have been reviewed have received a back payment.
So far, around 14,000 payments have been made to claimants, totalling £74 million..
Overall, the average payment is around £5,285 per claimant.
We have covered this issue extensively in the past.
Benefits and Work members can download the following resources from the PIP guides page.
Engaging with other people review guide
A six page guide to who may be affected by the review and what to do if you think you are.
Sample letters for people who think they may be affected by the DWP's error in assessing people who have difficulties engaging with other people.
A 7 minute video explaining who may be affected by the review and what to do if you think you are.
A transcript of the video.
A 5 page memo issued by the DWP on the subject of the changes to the law.