Personal Independence Payment: West Yorkshire

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 2nd August 2019.

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Photo of Lord Scriven Lord Scriven Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that people in West Yorkshire have waited over 100 weeks for their Personal Independence Payment appeal hearings; and, if there is such a backlog, why.

Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice)

For the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 (the latest period for which data are available) there were a total of 571 appeals where people in West Yorkshire2 waited more than 100 weeks for their Personal Independence Payment (PIP)3 appeal hearing. This represents 1.5% of the total number of cases cleared at hearing.

1Data includes cases cleared at a Tribunal hearing. A Social Security and Child Support (SSCS) appeal may be captured more than once as a hearing should the original decision be overturned, set aside or an Upper Tribunal re-hearing is granted. The data are based on the time from receipt in HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to the last decision within the period.

2SSCS 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 West Yorkshire region are attributed to the following SSCS venues: Bradford, Leeds, Huddersfield and Wakefield

3 PIP (New Claim Appeals), which replaced Disability Living Allowance was introduced on 8 April 2013, also includes Disability Living Allowance Reassessed cases.

4Percentage exceeding 100 wks. is based on the number of cases cleared in over 100 weeks as a percentage of those cleared.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing the data, the details are subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale case management system and are the best data that are available. These data may differ slightly from those in the published statistics as these data were run on a different date.

It is important that appeals are heard as quickly as possible. HMCTS recognises there are delays in the system and it is in the process of recruiting more judicial office holders in order to increase capacity and help to reduce waiting times for appellants. This includes 250 judges across the First-tier Tribunal, 125 disability qualified members and up to 230 medical members.

In addition, HMCTS has recently launched a new digital service with a view to enabling speedier processing of appeals. Information on the new digital service can be found at: www.gov.uk/appeal-benefit-decision/submit-appeal.

HMCTS is also working with the Department for Work and Pensions to understand what could be done to reduce the number of appeals being submitted to the Tribunal, through their focus on improving decision-making and the mandatory reconsideration process.

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