To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current mean waiting time for Personal Independence Payment appeals; how that differs from the mean waiting time for the previous year; and, if the mean waiting time has risen compared to the previous year, what are the reasons for that rise.
The information requested is set out in the table below:
October – December 182
October – December 17
1. Waiting time is interpreted as average clearance time - time taken from appeal receipt to outcome.
2. The latest period for which data are available
The volume of appeals against decisions on PIP has built up since it was introduced as a new benefit, incrementally over time, from 2013. As the number of appeals has increased, so has the average waiting time for an appeal outcome.
Waiting times are calculated from receipt of an appeal to its final disposal. An appeal is not necessarily disposed of at its first hearing. The final disposal decision on the appeal may be reached after an earlier hearing had been adjourned (which may be directed by the judge for a variety of reasons, such as to seek further evidence), or after an earlier hearing date had been postponed (again, for a variety of reasons, often at the request of the appellant). An appeal may also have been decided at an earlier date by the First-tier Tribunal, only for the case to have gone on to the Upper Tribunal, to be returned once again to the First-tier, for its final disposal.
Waiting times can fluctuate temporarily and geographically, owing to a number of variable factors, including volumes of benefit decisions made locally, availability of medical/disability members, venue capacity and the complexity of the issue in dispute. Any disparity in waiting times is monitored and investigated locally.