DWP today published a ‘Statistical Ad-hoc’ document for PIP plus the first Review of PIP following its implementation.
Notable in the statistics release is the discrepancy between the number of new claims referred to the assessment provider (523,000) and the total number of new claims registered (625,000). DWP gives the the 3 following reasons to explain this discrepancy:
- some claims have either been received recently and are still with the claimant for completion and return of Part 2 information and evidence;
- or the claimant may have chosen to withdraw their claim;
- or the department has disallowed the claim before it was referred to the assessment providers (due to failure of basic eligibility criteria or non return of the Part 2 information within the time limit).
The third reason is important. From the PIP review, many claimants have experienced difficulties in understanding the questions or filling in the form. The PIP reviewer notes that although the claimant has one calendar month to return this form to DWP, they can ask for an extension if reasonably required. It seems that when requested, DWP is only prepared to give a 2 week extension, but this extension can make the difference between a claim being accepted or disallowed. He also notes that: ‘At discussion groups, many claimants were unaware of the flexibility to request an extension where there is good reason’.
It is vitally important that PIP claimants are aware that they have the opportunity to ask for an extension if they cannot manage to fill in the form within the time limit, if they have good reasons to do so.