DWP PIP claimants facing 10-year wait for payment uplift as 74,000 left in limbo

-Credit: (Image: Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel)
-Credit: (Image: Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel)

Benefit claimants could face a staggering 10-year wait for a potential uplift due to a severe backlog in reviews, it has been revealed. An estimated 74,000 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claimants are stuck in limbo, potentially receiving a lower amount than they are entitled to.

There are a total of 392,000 outstanding PIP reviews in England and Wales, according to Benefits and Work. A Freedom of Information request exposed the Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) struggle to chip away at the mountain of reviews.

It has only managed to reduce it by a mere 10,000 in the last quarter. This is despite clearing 130,000 reviews in that time, with 120,000 being new reviews, highlighting the sheer volume of new claims flooding in, reports the Express.

At this rate, the advisory site warns, it could take almost a decade to clear the backlog. A DWP spokesperson explained: "The main reason for the length of time to complete PIP award reviews is very high demand for PIP. We are seeing unprecedented numbers of new claims being made. To manage this demand and ensure cases are put into payment as soon as possible, we are prioritising these claims."

The department has outlined several measures to tackle the backlog, including hiring more healthcare professionals, case managers and assessment providers. In the last five years, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) data shows that 19% of award reviews resulted in an increase, 54% remained the same, 7% saw a decrease, while 20% were disallowed.

Applying these percentages to the current backlog of 392,000 would mean 74,480 individuals could see an increase when their awards are finally reviewed, 27,440 may be receiving higher awards than they should, and 78,400 could have their PIP benefit removed.

The delay will not see any recipient's benefits going out of payment while waiting for a review and awards will be extended where necessary to ensure claimants don't find themselves out of pocket. During the review, claimants are able to use a blend of assessment methods, such as phone, video and face-to-face, for a more efficient process.

PIP comprises two components, each with two different rates. The parts, rates and total amount a claimant receives depend on how their disability impacts them, which is reviewed over time as conditions can change.

The benefit is designed to help offset the additional costs associated with living with a long-term disability, illness or mental health condition. The first component covers daily living expenses, while the second caters for mobility needs, with both offering a standard and enhanced rate.