The PIP decision timescale (How long does it take?)

time worksheets

In this article, we will go through the stages of the PIP decision timescale.

We’ll try to find out how long does PIP take, and what are the consequences of the unpredictable and long waiting time. 

The PIP decision timescale (How long does it take?)

What is a PIP decision timescale?

The PIP decision timescale includes the period in which your claim for Personal Independence Payment award is processed by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The PIP decision timescale runs from the first registration of the claim, through the application process, to the decision taken by the DWP.

How long does PIP take to process?

PIP can take a long time to process.

The latest reports suggest that many people are having to wait an average of fourteen weeks when making a new claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The same PIP decision timescale is also regarding the individuals moving up from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to the new PIP benefit. 

Figures released Personal Independence Payment: Official Statistics in 2019, show that the current waiting time for the disability benefit test results has almost doubled when compared to those of the previous six months.

For example, people that were referred for a medical assessment in April waited an average of nine weeks.

That is an obvious rise from an average of waiting only five weeks in October the year before.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) handles the benefit claims. When enquired “How long does PIP take?” the department admitted that “PIP clearance times”, had risen sharply over the first six months of 2017 and the situation did not improve much in 2019 either, as the PIP decision timescale continued to escalate. 

The entire start-to-finish process is measured from the first PIP registration to when a decision-maker at DWP makes the final conclusion.

The PIP timescale saw a rise from ten weeks to thirteen weeks for new PIP claims since October 2016.

More worrying, are the figures showing thousands of claimants getting rejected for PIP.

They include many trying to move over from the outdated DLA benefit.

So, the latest news on PIP benefit 2019 highlights a notable divergence between winning a DWP appeal when compared to that of going to an independent tribunal.


More recent statistics for the PIP decision timescale

Clearance times relate to the time taken for DWP to process and make a decision on a case.

In April 2019, for the new claims cleared under normal rules, the average PIP claim took:  

  • 13 weeks from the point of registration to a decision being made on the claim, and
  •  9 weeks from the point of referral to the Assessment Provider to a decision being made on the claim. 

These times have reduced significantly from the peak in July 2014 (42 and 35 weeks respectively).

Clearance times are currently at similar levels as in June 2018 despite small fluctuation across months. 

For the reassessed claims cleared under normal rules, the average PIP claim took: 

  •  12 weeks from the point of registration to a decision being made on the claim
  •  7 weeks from the point of referral to the Assessment Provider to a decision being made on the claim.

These times have reduced significantly since the last quarter, from 20 and 15 weeks respectively.

Clearance times are currently similar to the same point last year.

Although these figures show an improvement for the reassessed claims, for many claimants the waiting time is still too long.

For some people, it can take up to 3 months to get a response, waiting time which causes anxiety and unnecessary stress. 

The consequences of the delays

Not knowing how long PIP takes and if they are going to be awarded the benefit or not, is causing distress for most claimants, many of whom suffer from serious health conditions, already.

The typical disorders include cancer, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, dementia, and severe depression.

The PIP decision timescale is seen as unfair by many, as their levels of anxiety increase and there is nothing they can do in the meantime. 

During the waiting time, everything goes through your head. You think: “Why is it taking so long? There must be something wrong.”

PIP is meant to help with some of the extra costs that people living with a long-term health condition or disability experience.

However, the latest statistics show that disabled people continue to be let down.  

These increases in the PIP decision timescale are concerning.

As well as the impacts that these delays have on an individual’s life, causing stress and potentially insolation as they will be unable to receive the support they’re entitled to.

Why do PIP assessments take so long

In order to understand why the PIP assessments take so long, we decided to look through the assessment process.

How long does PIP take? Let’s find out. 

  1. The PIP claim  is received into DWP


The claimant questionnaire and any evidence will be scanned and saved in the Document Repository System (DRS). 

  1. An initial review of the case file

The Health professional (HP) should conduct an initial review of the case file to determine whether:

  • further evidence is needed
  • the claim can be assessed on the basis of the paper evidence held at this point (a ‘paper-based review’)
  • a face-to-face consultation will be required. If the HP decides that this is required, they should also determine any difficulties the claimant may have attended a consultation and any reasonable adjustments which need to be put in place 
  1. Further evidence needed

Additional evidence from professionals supporting the claimant should be sought where the HP feels it would help to inform their advice to DWP.

This step could severely delay the assessment process. 

  1. Face-to-face consultation

 In the majority of cases, a face-to-face consultation will be necessary to accurately assess the claimant’s functional ability.

This gives the claimant the opportunity to explain to the Health Professional how their impairment or health condition affects them.

Face-to-face consultations may be carried out at a range of locations, including an assessment center, local healthcare center or in the claimant’s own home.

When meeting the claimant, the HP should:

  1. Introduce themselves to the claimant and, if accompanied, their companion
  2. Explain the purpose of the assessment and what it entails – the HP should make clear to the claimant that the assessment is not a medical which involves diagnosis and treatment of their disability or condition. It should be explained that the assessment focuses on the effects of their health condition or impairment on their day-to-day life, looking at what they can and cannot do in relation to the daily living and mobility activities.
  1. Completing assessment reports

Evaluation and analysis of all the evidence:

  • The PIP claimant questionnaire – where the claimant describes their circumstances and the impact of their health condition or impairment
  • Further evidence – for example, a factual report from the GP, hospital report, other health and social care professionals involved in the claimants care
  • Face-to-face consultation – the history, informal observations, and clinical findings
  • Statements from family/carers/friends
  1. Making a prognosis

Entitlement to PIP is dependent on the functional effects of a health condition or impairment having been determined as likely to have been present at the required level for at least 3 months and is expected to last for at least a further 9 months.

These periods are known respectively as the ‘qualifying period’ and ‘prospective test’.

CMs will decide whether these conditions are met but need advice from the HP on how long the condition has been present and how long it is likely to last.

  1. Award review dates

The HP will be asked to provide advice on when it would be appropriate to review the claimant’s claim to PIP.

Advice should be based on HP’s assessment of when there is likely to be a significant change in the overall functional effect of a claimant’s main disabling condition(s).

  1. Making a decision

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will make a decision on your PIP claim after the medical assessment has been completed.

The DWP’s decision about your PIP award is based on the information you provided in your claim form and on the Health Professional’s notes from the medical assessment.

We described the PIP decision timescale in general lines.

On average, it takes the DWP 12 weeks from the date you started your claim to make a decision. Some claims take less time, some take more.

The Decision letter

The DWP will send you a letter to tell you their decision.

The letter confirms whether you will get PIP, which PIP components you get and which rate, and the number of points you score in the PIP test.

Keep the letter in a safe place. You may need to give people a copy when you claim other benefits.

You may want to show it to an adviser if you disagree with the decision.

If you disagree with the decision, you have one month from the date you received the letter to challenge it.

You can only challenge the decision after one month if you have a good reason for challenging it late.

Challenging the DWP’s decision

If you want to challenge the DWP’s decision you need to request a mandatory reconsideration.

A PIP mandatory reconsideration is a request addressed to the Department for Work and Pensions to reevaluate your claim for Personal Independence Payment.

You should apply for a PIP mandatory reconsideration even if you did not receive a PIP claim; if you got a lower rate than you expected or if you think the award you got is not long enough. 

Again, It can take any time between two weeks and several months before you get a response, so don’t get impatient if you don’t hear from them immediately.

If you are not successful with your PIP mandatory consideration, you have the right to appeal the decision again, but this time to an independent tribunal. 

Conclusions

In this article, we went through the stages of the PIP decision timescale.

We tried to find out how long does PIP take, and what are the consequences of the long waiting time for the claimants. 

According to the most recent statistics, we found out that many people have to wait an average of fourteen weeks when making a new claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

What do you think about that? Is 14 weeks a reasonable waiting time?

Let us know what you think and if you have other questions, in the comments section below. 

FAQ on How long does PIP take

How long does PIP take to process?

A claim for PIP benefit can take a long time to process. It can often take up to 4 months from starting the application to getting your money.

If you’re terminally ill your claim will be processed more quickly.

How long does PIP decision take 2019?

In 2019, a PIP decision takes 13 weeks from the point of registration to a decision being made on the claim and 9 weeks from the point of referral to the Assessment Provider to a decision being made on the claim.

How long does a PIP review decision take?

A PIP review decision takes, on average, 12 weeks from the point of registration to a decision being made on the claim.

Do PIP text you when they have made a decision?

Once there has been made a decision regarding your PIP, the DWP will write to you a formal letter that contains the decision.

On average it takes 6 weeks to get a reply.

You don’t need to contact the DPW in the meantime unless any of the details you gave them have changed.

Do PIP assessors make a decision?

PIP assessors don’t make a decision, however, they can recommend to the DWP if you should be awarded or not, following your medical assessment. 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is who will make the final decision on your PIP claim.

What percentage of PIP claims are successful?

The percentage of successful PIP claims has reached 70% in 2019. 

Recommendations

  1. Government’s Response to the Independent Review of the Personal Independence Payment Assessment
  2. Personal Independence Payment: What You Need to Know
  3. Be Calm: Proven Techniques to Stop Anxiety Now
  4. Stress Relief Essential Oil Blend
  5. Serenilite Hand Therapy Stress Ball 

References 

  1. PIP assessment guide part 1: the assessment process
  2. Personal Independence Payment: Official Statistics 
  3. Claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – Getting a PIP decision

The PIP decision timescale (How long does it take?)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.