In response to a parliamentary question by Dr Rupa Huq MP for Ealing Central and Acton, the DWP minister Tom Pursglove revealed that the DWP have been working on moving the PIP application process to be conducted entirely online. In the written question, Dr Huq said: “To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reviewing the Personal Independence Payment application process.”
Mr Pursglove, who was appointed his role in October, explained that the PIP application process is kept under “continual review to ensure it meets the needs of claimants”.
He also noted that the continual review helped the Government department reach an “accurate assessment of an individual’s entitlement”.
He said: “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.”
In England, PIP applications usually begin with a phone call to DWP who will check initial eligibility and then send out a claim form to be filled in.
The “PIP 2 evidence form” is completed by applicants who then return it back to the DWP along with any supporting documents which could back up their claim.
However, that could possibly change and move online as the DWP is planning to introduce a complete “end-to-end digital PIP service”.
He explained: “The programme is introducing a digital end-to-end PIP service, with the initial offering being an online application, which eventually will be available as self-service from GOV.UK.”
Mr Pursglove explained that the department has already conducted “small-scale testing” of the online application service at the beginning of this year.
He then stated that it will “gradually expand” as the department improves its approach.
Mr Pursglove added: “We published Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper last year.
“This asked for views on ways we can improve people’s experience of the health and disability benefits system and set out ways we could make our services easier to access, make our processes simpler and help build people’s trust.”
PIP is a benefit paid out by the DWP to people aged over 16 years and under the state pension age with a disability, long-term illness or mental health condition.
These can be both a physical or mental health condition or a disability.
The payment aims to help cover the extra costs having a medical condition or disability has on a person.
There are two rates of payments for two different components which the DWP pay out to claimants, the standard rate for daily living sits at £61.85 and the enhanced rate is £92.40.
The mobility component, which is extra if people need help getting around with the standard rate being £24.45 per week and the enhanced rate being £64.50 per week.
If a person is eligible for both enhanced payments then they could claim up to £627.60 each month.
A person’s eligibility for the payment is decided on their disability or condition and how it affects their life.
To get financial help, the DWP usually has to do an assessment in order to complete a person’s PIP application. This can either be done over the phone, on a video call, or in person.
According to the latest data from the DWP, there are over three million people in the UK claiming PIP.