People on PIP could be due back payments of over £5,000 this year after assessment rule change

Members of a popular online benefits advice forum are reporting that they have received backdated Personal Independence Payments (PIP) of between £5,000 and nearly £11,000 following a recent rule change by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Some 326,000 PIP cases are due to be reviewed after a change to the definition of ‘social support’, which relates to one of the Daily Living questions on the PIP 2 evidence form.

The independent Benefits and Work website reports that several members of its online community have been contacted by the DWP - by phone and through the post - informing them they are due an arrears payment.

And one member who previously shared how they had received £5,000 in early March after having their case reviewed and award increased to the enhanced rate, updated their post to add that they have received a further £5,500 from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The member previously explained to Benefits and Work how they received a call in March from a DWP decision maker who “ran through a few questions” with them, asking what plans they made when they were going out and who they used as their support when they did. They added: “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.”

In an update last week, the member said that once the money was paid by DWP they called HMRC to let them know about the historical error as they had been working and claiming Tax Credits during that time period.

As a result of the phone call, the member found out they should have been entitled to additional Working Tax Credit and has now received a lump sum payment of £5,500 in arrears.

The member posted on the Benefits and Work forum: “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 man and woman are looking at a computer screen
Some PIP claimants have reportedly received nearly £11,000 in arrears payments from the DWP. -Credit:Getty Images

PIP back payments in a nutshell

Tens of thousands of people in receipt of PIP may be due arrears going back as far as April 2016. Around 284,000 existing PIP claimants and those who might have had their claim rejected, are being urged to contact the DWP, if they think they may have been affected.

In July 2019, the Supreme Court handed down a judgment following an Upper Tribunal (UT) decision which changed the way the DWP considers the definition of ‘social support’ for Daily Living activity number nine. The ‘MM’ judgment concerns the definition of ‘social support’ when engaging with other people face to face and when ‘prompting’ should be considered ‘social support’ in the PIP assessment, and how far in advance social support can be provided.

At the end of August 2023, the DWP had reviewed around 79,000 cases against the MM judgment. This includes cases where claimants have previously been assessed as needing ‘prompting’.

Some 14,000 arrears payments, totalling around £74 million have been made. It's important to be aware how much someone receives may be higher or lower for each individual case, but on average, that works out at around £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.

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