To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he plans to take steps to improve the application process for Personal Independence Payments.
The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) application process is kept under continual review to ensure it meets the needs of claimants and helps the department reach an accurate assessment of an individual’s entitlement. Since PIP was introduced, we have introduced a range of accessibility improvements such as the Video Relay Service and Relay UK, improved the clarity of the PIP2 questionnaire to make it easier to complete, expanded the assessment methods to include video and telephone, and introduced recording by request for telephone and face-to-face appointments. Claimants are also kept informed and updated at each stage of the application process, including through our improved text message service.
Alongside this, the Health Transformation Programme is transforming the entire PIP service which will reduce the time it will take to process a claim and create a vastly improved claimant experience and a more efficient service for the taxpayer. We will introduce an option to apply for PIP online, giving claimants a greater choice in how they interact with the DWP and the ability to save, resume and upload medical evidence. We are currently operating a small-scale test of the new online apply service, taking a small number of claims to begin with before we gradually and carefully increase the number of people using the service. This approach allows us to develop, test and evaluate the service, exploring and making improvements as we gradually increase its availability. We are also exploring options to re-use evidence we currently hold, removing the need for claimants to upload or re-submit it, and we are reviewing what evidence is relevant to a decision, to enable more accurate data gather and decision making.
We published Transforming Support: The Health and Disability White Paper on 15 March 2023 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transforming-support-the-health-and-disability-white-paper). The White Paper responds to feedback from The Health and Disability Green Paper consultation and sets out proposals to support more disabled people and people with health conditions to start, stay and succeed in work, as well as to improve the overall experience of, and trust in, the benefits system. We will continue to work with disabled people, people with health conditions and their representatives, to reach the important goals set out in the White Paper.