DWP PIP rule change could result in back payments of up to £11,000 for some claimants

File photo of UK five pound, ten pound, twenty pound and fifty pound notes with one pound coins
-Credit: (Image: PA)

Thousands of pounds could be due for claimants of Personal Independence Payments following a rule amendment by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Online benefits advisory forum members report receiving backdated PIP payments ranging between £5,000 and nearly £11,000. About 326,000 PIP cases are set to be reviewed following a redefinition of 'social support', linked with one of the Daily Living questions on the 'PIP 2 evidence form'.

The independent Benefits and Work website reveals some of its online community members have received communications from the DWP - both phone calls and letters - informing them of upcoming arrears payments. A member announced that they collected another £5,500 from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after initially receiving £5,000 in early March following their case review and award increase to the enhanced rate.

The aforementioned member shared with Benefits and Work how a DWP decision maker called and "ran through a few questions" regarding plans when going out and who is relied upon as support. The person went on to say: "She told me there and then that she was going to back date my claim to 2016 and increase it from standard to enhanced. I have just had just under £5,000 paid into my account today."

A member has shared a heartwarming update on the Benefits and Work forum, revealing that after settling a payment with the DWP, they informed HMRC about a past mistake as they had been working while receiving Tax Credits. This call led to the discovery of additional Working Tax Credit entitlement, resulting in a substantial lump sum arrears payment of £5,500, as reported by the Daily Record.

The elated forum user expressed their joy: "I have just received an additional £5.5k from them (HMRC) meaning in total I've had a back payment of £10.5k. This has changed my life in a way I can't even articulate, I've been able to buy a car for my family, pay off debt and can afford to live day to day without any fear of running out of money."

The member added: “Thank you to this group and everyone in it, you'll never know how much you've helped flip my whole life around.” Benefits and Work has said that members of the online community are continuing to report “a trickle of backdated PIP payments, ranging from £3,000 to £11,000”.

You can read more member comments about PIP back payments on the Benefits and Work website here.

A significant number of PIP recipients could be owed arrears dating back to April 2016. An estimated 284,000 individuals currently on PIP or those who may have been previously denied are being encouraged to reach out to the DWP if they suspect they were impacted.

In July 2019, a Supreme Court ruling following an Upper Tribunal decision altered how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) interprets 'social support' for Daily Living activity number nine. The 'MM' judgment pertains to the definition of 'social support' in face-to-face interactions and when 'prompting' should be considered as 'social support' in the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment, as well as how far in advance social support can be provided.

By the end of August 2023, the DWP had reviewed approximately 79,000 cases in light of the MM judgment. This includes instances where claimants have previously been assessed as requiring 'prompting'.

Around 14,000 arrears payments, amounting to roughly £74 million, have been made. It's crucial to note that the amount each person receives may vary, but on average, it equates to about £5,285 per PIP claim.

Who may be affected by the assessment rule change?

The MM judgment can only affect a claimant’s assessment for the Daily Living part of the PIP assessment. The DWP is reviewing cases where additional points for Activity 9 (‘prompting’ or ‘social support’) may make a material difference to the amount of PIP claimants’ are entitled to.

People who may have missed out on the Daily Living component element of PIP, or were awarded the standard rate and may be entitled to the enhanced rate, include:

  • People who have regular meetings with a mental health professional, without which they would not be able to manage face to face encounters.

  • People who need the input of particular friends or relatives with experience of supporting them in social situations - rather than just any well-meaning friend or relative - to help them manage face to face encounters.

Claims that will not be reviewed

The DWP is not reviewing claims if:

  • the enhanced rate of the daily living part of PIP has been awarded continuously since April 6, 2016

  • a Tribunal made a decision on a claim since April 6, 2016

  • a decision not to award PIP was made before April 6, 2016

How to make a claim

Claimants who wish to dispute a decision on the review of their PIP claim under the MM judgment can ask DWP to reconsider the decision - this is called a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) and must be completed before an appeal is made and lodged with His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

Full details about challenging your PIP (and other benefit) decisions can be found on GOV.UK here.

For breaking news in your area direct to your inbox every day, go here to sign up to our free newsletter