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Personal Independence Payment

Volume 738: debated on Thursday 26 October 2023

I would like to update the House on the Department’s progress in making backdated payments to personal independence payment claimants who are benefiting from the Supreme Court’s MM judgment.

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 that social support can be provided.

On 20 September 2021, the Department started an administrative exercise, looking at PIP claims since 6 April 2016 to check whether claimants may be eligible for more support under PIP. This is a complex exercise. We have identified around 326,000 unique cases that we need to review.

Given the complexity of the exercise, we started at a relatively small scale, prioritising terminally ill and recently deceased claimants, testing our processes and communications with claimants, to ensure that they are effective before ramping up.

The Department has today published an ad hoc release of management information on the administrative exercise. As at 31 August 2023, we have reviewed around 79,000 cases against the MM judgment. This includes cases where claimants have previously been assessed as needing “prompting.” All reviews have been carried out by a case manager within the Department.

Around 14,000 arrears payments, totalling around £74 million, have been made. No one should have seen their PIP reduced because of this exercise.

We are monitoring closely the numbers of, and reasons for, revised awards and making regular quality checks to ensure that our decision making is accurate and fair.

We have listened to feedback and engaged with disability organisations to develop our processes and communications, being sensitive to claimants who need help to provide any further information we need to decide if they are affected.

Confident that reviews are achieving the right outcomes for claimants, we have completed upskilling additional staff available for this exercise and expect to complete the review of all cases available to the exercise by the end of 2025.

We are committed to making backdated payments to all claimants affected by this judgment as quickly as possible. So, as well as continuing to review claims affected by the definition of “social support”, we are also testing a more proportionate approach for claimants who might be affected by the timing element only.

We will be inviting around 284,000 claimants in this group to contact the Department, if they think their claim is affected by this judgment and they were not previously identified as needing help to engage with other people face to face because any help they received was in advance.

I believe that prioritising cases where claimants are more likely to be entitled to more support is the correct approach.

Further information on how the administrative exercise is being undertaken is set out in a “frequently asked questions” document. I will deposit a copy of this document in the Library.

The Department plans to publish a further update next year.