DWP review means PIP claimants could be asked to pay money back

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for paying a number of benefits and State Pension to millions across the UK. New figures published in the 2024 Fraud and Error in the Benefit System report indicate that the total number of benefit overpayments over the past year was £9.7 billion - a rise on £8.3bn the previous year.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was brought in during 2013 to help with extra costs caused by a long-term disability or health condition. Data indicates that £21.6bn was spent on PIP last year - a rise on the £17.7bn in 2022/23.

But figures also show that while overpayments fell from £200 million in 2022/23 to £90m last year, it could lead to claimants having to pay money back to the DWP. The main reason for PIP overpayments is due to claimant error (0.3 per cent).

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This is when someone has failed to report a change in their circumstances, specifically an improvement in their condition, Daily Record reports. The report says that the one in 100 PIP claims were overpaid last year - the same rate as the previous year.

This accounted for £6 in every £10 overpaid. You should contact the the PIP enquiry line on 0800 121 4433 to report a change of circumstances.

Changes to daily living or mobility needs

You should tell DWP if, for example, you need more or less help or support. Or tell the DWP if the condition will last for a longer or shorter time than you previously said.

This change may affect entitlement to PIP, the amount and the period of the PIP award.

Leaving the country or planning to leave the country

If you are planning to leave the country for more than four weeks, even if this is a holiday, you should tell the DWP. This change may affect your entitlement to PIP.

The DWP needs to know the date the claimant is leaving the country, how long they are planning to be out of the country, which country they are going to and why they are going abroad.

Stays in hospital or similar institutions

DWP guidance states both components of PIP cease to be payable 28 days after the claimant is admitted to an NHS hospital. Privately funded patients are unaffected and can continue to be paid either component of PIP.

If a claimant is in hospital or a similar institution at the date entitlement to PIP starts, PIP is not payable until they are discharged.

Care homes

The daily living component of PIP ceases to be payable after 28 days of residency in care home where the costs of the accommodation are met from public or local funds. The PIP mobility component can continue to be paid.

People who fully self-fund their placement are unaffected. If a claimant is in a care home at the date of entitlement, the PIP daily living component is not payable until they leave.

Linked time in hospital and a care home

Time in hospital is linked if the gap between them is no more than 28 days. The daily living component for spells in a care home is also linked if the gap between them is no more than 28 days.

There is no link for the mobility component because payment is not affected when in a care home. Both components of PIP will stop being paid after a total of 28 days in hospital.

The daily living component of PIP will not be paid after a total of 28 days in a care home. If a claimant moves between a hospital and care home, or the other way around, these periods will also link.

Imprisonment or claimant held in legal custody

This could affect the amount of PIP that can be paid. The DWP needs to know the date the claimant was taken into prison or legal custody and the length of time they are expected to be there, if known.

Detained in legal custody

PIP is not payable after 28 days when someone is being detained in legal custody. This applies whether the offence is civil or criminal and whether they have been convicted or are on remand.

Suspended payments of benefit are not refunded regardless of the outcome of proceedings against the individual. Two or more separate periods in legal custody link if they are within one year of each other.

Change of name

This will not affect payment or eligibility for PIP, but it is important the DWP has the most up-to-date details for the claimant. This change needs to be reported in writing.

If the claimant phones to give these details, the DWP will ask for these details to be put in writing. The written notification must contain:

  • Full details of their previous name

  • Their new name

  • Details of any changes made to the bank or building society account into which PIP is paid, such as the name of the account or the account number

  • Their signature on the letter

Change of account PIP is paid into

The DWP needs full details of the of the name and address of the new bank or building society along with details of the new account including the name of the account, the account number and the sort code or roll number.

Change of person acting for the claimant

This refers to an appointee or someone with power of attorney for the claimant. The DWP needs to know this so it can make payments to the right person at the right time.

It needs the full name, address and contact details of the new person who is acting for the claimant. If the person acting for the claimant has moved or has different contact details, the DWP just needs the new details.

Change of address

This change, providing it is not a hospital or nursing home, will not affect eligibility or payment of PIP. It is important the DWP holds the most up-to-date details for the claimant.

It needs full details of the new address the claimant has moved to, including the postcode and the date they moved.

Change of doctor or healthcare professional

This change will not affect payment or eligibility for PIP and is not mandatory once a decision on the PIP claim has been made. But if the change happens during the claiming stage, the DWP needs to have the most up-to-date information.

This will make sure the assessment provider has the right contact details to gather any further details they may require. The DWP needs the full name, address and contact details of the new doctor or health care professional.

Full details about changes of circumstance if you are receiving PIP can be found in the online handbook here.