Personal Independence Payment: Merseyside

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 24th June 2019.

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Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Labour, Garston and Halewood

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average waiting time has been in Merseyside for personal independence payment tribunal appeals in each of the last 12 months.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Information about waiting times for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support - SSCS) is published at:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics.

Average waiting times1 for PIP2 appeals in Merseyside3 between April 2018 to March 2019 (the latest 12 month period for which data are available) is included in the table below:

Month

Waiting time (in weeks)4

April 2018

34

May 2018

35

June 2018

35

July 2018

34

August 2018

34

September 2018

36

October 2018

37

November 2018

37

December 2018

38

January 2019p

37

February 2019p

38

March 2019p

36

1 Waiting time is interpreted as average clearance time – time taken from appeal receipt to outcome

2. Personal Independence Payment (New Claim Appeals), which is replacing Disability Living Allowance was introduced on 8 April 2013, also includes Disability Living Allowance Reassessed cases

3. SSCS data are recorded by the office that dealt with the case, and if the case went to oral hearing, the location of the tribunal hearing, normally the hearing venue nearest to the appellant’s home address. Cases relating to the Merseyside region are attributed to the following SSCS venues: Birkenhead, Liverpool & St Helens

4. Includes all cases cleared both with and without a tribunal hearing, in line with the published statistics

p Provisional data which are subject to change.

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.

In order to respond to a general increase in appeal receipts, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has been working with the judiciary to reduce waiting times for appeals and has appointed additional judges and panel members. This includes 250 judges across the First-tier Tribunal, 125 disability qualified members and up to 230 medical members. In addition, more PIP appeals are being listed per session and case-management “triage” sessions have been introduced, with the aim of reducing the time taken for appeals to reach final determination. All these measures will increase the capacity of the tribunal, with the aim of reducing waiting times for appellants.

In addition, we have recently launched a new digital service with a view to enabling speedier processing of appeals and provide a better service for all parties to the proceedings. Information on the new digital service can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/appeal-benefit-decision/submit-appeal

Latest figures for PIP (to December 2018) indicate that since it was introduced, 3.9 million decisions have been made. Of these, 10% have been appealed and 5% have been overturned at tribunals.

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