Written Questions On Personal Independence Payments

thumb_IMG_1703_1024.jpgMy questions to the Department of Work and Pensions on the Personal Independence Payments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has any plans to review the personal independence payments assessment criteria.

Penny Mordaunt: There are no current plans to review the Personal Independence Payment assessment criteria.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing an assessment rate for personal independence payments during the appeals process.

Penny Mordaunt: No assessment or costings exercise has been made in relation to introducing an assessment rate for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) during the appeal process. As for other decisions in law, a PIP decision persists until such time as an appeal against the decision is concluded. As PIP can be paid at one of eight different rates this means that those appealing against a successful award continue to be paid the level of PIP awarded by the Secretary of State during the appeal process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the (a) quality and (b) consistency in the delivery of personal independence payment assessments across the UK in each of the last five years for which figures
are available.

Penny Mordaunt: The Department has set standards for the quality of assessments which both Personal Independence Payment providers must meet, which the Department monitors. The standards require assessment providers to provide the Department’s Decision Makers with an assessment that is clear and medically reasonable. We are continually working with the assessment providers to further improve the quality of assessments including clinical coaching, feedback and support available to each assessor.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much has been spent defending appeals of personal independence payment decisions in (a) the UK, (b) Wales and (c) Aberavon in each of the last five years for which figures are available.

Penny Mordaunt: The information is not readily available and can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the psychological effect that the personal independence payment assessment process is having on applicants.

Penny Mordaunt:  We have consulted and engaged widely, and continue to do so, with disabled people, carers and representative organisations to ensure the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment process works smoothly and efficiently for all claimants, regardless of their condition or disability. The PIP assessment allows us to accurately and consistently assess individuals’ needs, ensuring that support is targeted at those disabled people who require the most assistance to lead independent lives.

We do recognise that attending a face-to-face assessment can be a stressful experience for some people, which is why we do not carry out such consultations where there is enough existing evidence to carry out a paper-based assessment. Furthermore, where a face-to-face consultation is required, we encourage claimants to bring another person with them to consultations where they would find this helpful to, for example, reassure them or to help them during the consultation. The person chosen is at the discretion of the claimant and might be, but is not limited to, a parent, family member, friend, carer, or advocate.

Where a face-to-face consultation is required, the Health Professional (HP) carrying it out will be a medically qualified professional and as such, will have the appropriate skills to enable them to deal with people in a supportive and sensitive way. HPs ensure that assessments are relaxed and unhurried, allowing the claimant  time and encouraging them to explain in their own words how their health condition or disability impacts their ability to carry out the PIP activities. It is important that the consultation feels like a genuine two way conversation.

In 2016 DWP commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct independent research with PIP claimants covering all aspects of the PIP journey, from initial claim, the assessment process through to mandatory reconsideration and appeal. The first phase of the
research, examining the initial claims process, was published in the Department’s research report series in March. Subsequent findings from stages two and three of the research, including findings on assessments, will be published in late 2017/early
2018 (date to be confirmed).

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the usefulness of the information provided to personal independence payment claimants on obtaining supporting evidence for their claims.

Penny Mordaunt: We currently send an information booklet to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claimants, which tells them about the types of supporting evidence it is helpful to provide with a claim, when we send the ‘How your disability affects you’ questionnaire for completion.

However, we constantly look to review and improve the experience of people claiming PIP. We are currently considering the recommendations made in the second independent review of PIP (published on 30 March 2017) which included recommendations to improve our information regarding the provision of supporting evidence. We plan to respond to the review’s findings later this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints were upheld in relation to the personal independence payment assessment process in (a) the UK, (b) Wales and (c) Aberavon in each of the last two years.

Penny Mordaunt: The number of complaints upheld in relation to the PIP assessment process in the last is as follows:

Operational Year 15/16 (April 15 to March 2016)
a) In the UK, 133 complaints were closed in relation to the PIP assessment process, of which 67 were upheld
b) In Wales, 4 complaints were closed in relation to the PIP assessment process, of which 2 were upheld
c) The DWP complaints system does not collect information at this level of detail

Operational Year 16/17 (April 2016 to March 2017)
a) In the UK, 1345 complaints were closed in relation to the PIP assessment process, of which 545 were upheld
b) In Wales, 506 complaints were closed in relation to the PIP assessment process, of which 206 were upheld
c) The DWP complaints system does not collect information at this level of detail

Data provided for complaints closed and upheld within the 2015/216 and 2016/2017 operational years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has undertaken a costings exercise on introducing an assessment rate for personal independence payments claimants during the appeals process.

Penny Mordaunt: No assessment or costings exercise has been made in relation to introducing an assessment rate for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) during the appeal process. As for other decisions in law, a PIP decision persists until such time as an appeal against the decision is concluded. As PIP can be paid at one of eight different rates this means that those appealing against a successful award continue to be paid the level of PIP awarded by the Secretary of State during the appeal process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints were received in relation to the personal independence payment assessment process in (a) the UK, (b) Wales and (c) Aberavon in each of the last two years.

Penny Mordaunt: The total number of complaints received in relation to the PIP assessment process in each of the last two operational years is as follows:

Operational Year 15/16 (April 15 to March 2016)
a) In the UK a total of 142 complaints were logged against the PIP assessment process
b) In Wales a total of 4 complaints were logged against PIP assessment process
c) The DWP complaints system does not collect information at this level of detail.

Operational Year 16/17 (April 2016 to March 2017)
a) In the UK a total of 1391 complaints were logged against the PIP assessment process
b) In Wales a total of 519 complaints were logged against the PIP assessment process
c) The DWP complaints system does not collect information at this level of detail.

Data provided for complaints received within the 2015/216 and 2016/2017 operational years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many PIP2 forms were (a) completed and returned within the four week deadline, (b) completed and returned outside the four week deadline and (c) never returned in the last 12 months.

Penny Mordaunt: 473,000 claimants under Normal Rules returned their PIP2 questionnaire within 28 days and 350,000 claimants returned their questionnaire outside 28 days. A further 129,000 claimants were not recorded as having returned a PIP2 questionnaire. The status of claims as 'Normal Rules' is shown as at the point of the registration. It is possible for claims to transition between Normal/Special Rules during the course of the claimant journey. Special Rules for the Terminally Ill claimants are not required to complete PIP2 questionnaires.

It should be noted that a PIP claimant is given one calendar month from the day after the date of issue to return the PIP2 questionnaire. Claimants who require additional time to complete and submit their PIP2 questionnaire are able to do so
where that is reasonably required. The letter accompanying the PIP2 encourages claimants to contact the Department if they require more time.

Notes:
1. Normal Rules only. Special Rules for the Terminally Ill claimants are not required to complete PIP2 questionnaires.
2. The status of claims as 'normal rules' is shown as at the point of the registration.
It is possible for claims to transition between normal/special rules and new claims/reassessments during the course of the claimant journey.
3. The 'Issue of Part 2 to return of Part 2' clearance time is measured as the time between the date the Part 2 form is sent to the claimant and the date the form is received back by the Department as recorded on Department systems.
4. Unpublished data which may be subject to revision and should be used with caution.
5. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 1,000.
6. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
7. Great Britain only.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the number of people with conditions that do not require face-to-face assessments for a personal independence payment application but are still being invited for one in
the last 12 months.

Penny Mordaunt: Decisions on whether an assessment can be undertaken based on the paper evidence alone, or via a face to face consultation, are made by a Healthcare Professional on a case by case basis and are not dependent on a claimant’s condition, except for those people who are applying under the terminally ill provisions. Most people will be required to attend a face to face consultation except where there is sufficient existing information to carry out an assessment based on the paper evidence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he plans to commission a review of the evidence-gathering process for personal independence payments.

Penny Mordaunt: We constantly look to review and improve the experience of claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and committed to two, statutory independent reviews as part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012. The latest of these reviews, led by PaulGray, was published on 30 March 2017:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-pip-assessment-second-independent-review

As part of the review Paul Gray considered how effectively further evidence is being used to assist the correct claim decision, and the speed and effectiveness of information-gathering.

We are currently considering the review’s findings and plan to respond later this year.

In 2016 DWP commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct independent research with PIP claimants covering all aspects of the PIP journey, from initial claim, the assessment process through to mandatory reconsideration and appeal. The first phase of the
research, examining the initial claims process, was published in the Department’s research report series in March 2017. Subsequent findings from stages two and three of the research, including findings on assessments and decisions, will be
published in late 2017/early 2018 (date to be confirmed).

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the usefulness of the PIP2 form in collecting information about a claimant's conditions.

Penny Mordaunt: The PIP2 questionnaire was designed to allow claimants to tell us, in their own words, how their health condition or disability impacts them on a day-to-day basis. The questionnaire has a mixture of tick boxes and free text boxes allowing claimants to add as much or as little detail as they wish.

Recent research [1] carried out by Ipsos MORI found that 85 per cent of claimants were able to complete all sections of the questionnaire and only four per cent were unable to do so. The research also shows that 63 per cent of claimants found
completing the questionnaire as easy or easier than expected.

However, we constantly look to review and improve the experience of people claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP). We are currently considering the recommendations made in the second independent review of Personal Independence
Payment (published on 30 March 2017) which included recommendations to improve our communications for claimants. We plan to respond to the review’s findings later this year.


[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-evaluation-wave-1-claimant-survey-findings