Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a major reform which is transforming the way we support disabled people to live independently.
PIP replaces the outdated Disability Living Allowance (DLA). PIP focuses support on those who need it most and, unlike DLA, a significant majority of claimants will have a face-to-face assessment as part of the application process. It is a more dynamic benefit with regular reviews to check entitlement remains correct—payments can increase as well as decrease—whereas 70% of those receiving DLA were on indefinite awards. And PIP is a more modern benefit which takes better account of mental health conditions.
I now intend to roll out the final phase of this vital reform, that of the reassessment of all remaining people on DLA for PIP. We have already rolled out PIP across GB for new claimants and for individuals who choose to claim PIP or whose circumstances change or where their DLA award comes to an end, including for children when they reach 16.
My original intention was to start this final phase in October 2015 GB wide. In May departmental statistics confirmed that average reassessment claims for PIP were waiting only four weeks from returning their PIP forms until an assessment, which is in line with our expectations. This improved performance means I am pleased to announce that we are now in a position to begin the final phase in July, initially at small volumes and in a limited number of areas. We recognise that this will result in some claimants being invited to reassessment earlier than they might have expected. But by operating at a smaller scale initially, this will enable us to monitor the system closely in small volumes to ensure an efficient reassessment process is in place.
It will also provide us with an opportunity to test key parts of the PIP process, such as the way in which we communicate with claimants. This is in line with the previous Government’s response to recommendations in the independent review of PIP carried out by Paul Gray in December 2014. My priority remains safe and secure delivery of PIP and we will use evidence from this early roll-out to ensure we are continuously improving the way in which we deliver PIP, offering the best claimant experience possible.