PIP delays leave disabled people missing out on £24million every month

Person looking at notebook and phone

PIP is paid at a higher and lower rate for both parts

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 15/08/2023

- 13:47

Updated: 14/11/2023

- 16:02

PIP is paid at two rates - the lower rate for the daily living part is £68.10 and it's £26.90 for the mobility part. The higher weekly rates are £101.75 and £71 respectively

Disabled people are missing out on an estimated £24million each month due to delays to Personal Independent Payment (PIP) reviews, according to new analysis.

More than 430,000 people are currently waiting for a PIP review, with some waiting for more than two years, leaving them to cover extra costs, new research from Citizens Advice shows.

The record number of people experiencing delays comes at a time when disabled people are some of the worst affected by the cost of living crisis.

Disabled people are twice as likely to say they can rarely or never cover their essentials each month, Citizens Advice research shows, and just under two thirds (61 per cent) of the people Citizens Advice helped with food bank referrals in the past six months were disabled or had a long term health condition.

DWP logo in London

The DWP is the department responsible for PIP claims and reviews


Matthew Upton, acting executive director of policy and advocacy at Citizens Advice, said: “PIP can act as a lifeline for so many people with extra living costs linked to their health condition. But right now, hundreds of thousands are being left in limbo while they wait for a health assessment with little clarity as to when their claim will be reviewed.

“Delays don’t just pose a financially agonising wait; they can take a significant emotional toll on people every single day.”

Citizens Advice’s latest report found that in the last six months, the number of people seeking support from the charity with issues related to PIP reviews increased by 19 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The charity said this is far higher than the overall increase in PIP applications.

PIP is a benefit designed to help people with a disability, long-term illness or mental health condition with extra living costs.

It may be used to help pay for things such as medical equipment or transport, depending on someone’s needs.

Between January and April 2023, 210,000 people made a new claim for PIP, but Citizens Advice says the DWP has failed to recruit and train enough staff to keep up with demand.

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People are often left months, sometimes years, waiting for a PIP review, it’s claimed, and the uncertain situation can cause a lot of stress and anxiety on top of significant financial implications.

PIP delays can also disrupt access to related benefits such as the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

Shirley, who is retired and lives with long-term health issues, says she had to cut back on food and transport as her health and financial stability worsened during a two-and-a-half-year wait for her PIP review to be processed.

A deterioration in her health and three hospital admissions during the pandemic exacerbated her existing conditions and increased her care needs.

Shirley sent off the relevant forms and required medical information to the DWP when her PIP was due for review in December 2021, but it was only in May 2023 that an enhanced PIP award was granted.

She said: “I kept asking for updates but all they said is that I'd hear from them in due course. One person said to me on the phone, ‘I don't know what you’re moaning about, you’re getting money, aren't you? While you’re getting money, why complain? There are people who haven't got any.’

“My physio kept telling me to buy a sling or a support, or something that would help my arm. But I didn’t have the funds to do this - I couldn’t afford the things I needed for my health.

“Last Christmas I didn’t even have a pound to put on my gas and electric and things got worse as travelling to and from physio was costing me a lot on diesel.”

The DWP has taken steps to halve wait times for new PIP applications from six to three months, but hundreds of thousands are still being left to wait for months or years for a review of their payments.

Citizens Advice is calling on the government to increase its efforts to make sure disabled people are getting the right level of support.

Mr Upton said: “At a time when rising prices are putting immense pressure on disabled people’s budgets, we need a system that efficiently and effectively helps people with extra living costs - not one that causes more harm.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “We support millions of people every year and our top priority is they get the benefits to which they are entitled as soon as possible.

“We are recruiting more staff, increasing resourcing and making constant improvements to deliver a more efficient PIP service, and no one will miss out on money they are owed as any arrears are paid once their review has been concluded.”

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