A recent report published by the National Audit Office (NAO) in the UK has stated that claimants for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which will replace Disability Living Allowance, were waiting an average 107 days – and terminally ill patients 28 days – for a decision on their cases, rather than the predicted processing times of 74 days and 10 days respectively.
There is also a backlog of up to 92,000 cases in some representative areas of North East England, a number that is growing by the day.
Each new PIP claim – worth between £21 and £134 a week to disabled claimants – costs an average £182 to administer, compared to £49 under DLA, said the report.
Sarah Lambert, Head of Policy at The National Autistic Society (NAS), told Autism Daily Newscast this morning:
“This report shows that far too many people are experiencing unacceptable delays when trying to access PIP and that an unmanageable backlog of claimants awaiting assessment has developed.
“Disability benefits are a necessity, not a luxury, so such delays cause real financial difficulties for those who rely on them to get the support they need to live and work. It’s deeply concerning that the DWP is unable to inform applicants how long they are likely to wait. This uncertainty will take an additional toll on people with autism, who often rely on routine and experience high levels of anxiety when faced with unexpected changes.
“A clear plan for informing claimants of likely delays would be a positive first step but more needs to be done.
“If the DWP wants to deliver a fair benefits system, it must suspend reassessments until the backlog is cleared.”