DWP processing 60 online PIP claims per day as tests of digital service remain small-scale
Department began piloting limited use of online system in October 2020
The Department for Work and Pensions is processing a daily total of 60 new online claims for Personal Independence Payments.
Usage of the new digital service remains limited to a test phase including “small numbers” of users – more than two and a half years after such testing began.
Since October 2020, some claimants making a phone call to begin a new PIP claim have been offered the opportunity to complete a digital version of the PIP2 health questionnaire. This option is now available to the majority of applicants, according to recent comments from minister for disabled people, health and work Tom Pursglove
But the offer of using the fully digital option is currently being made to a maximum of 60 claimants a day, the minister said in a newly published response to a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Stephen Timms.
“Only those claimants who are able to apply online, and feel comfortable doing so, are offered a digital application,” he said. “Call agents offer this voluntary option to new PIP claimants within scope of the current service until the daily limit is met.”
The minister added that large numbers of claimants are excluded from the testing of the digital service, including anyone living in Wales, Northern Ireland, Guernsey or Jersey, anyone with an existing claim for PIP or the outgoing Disability Living Allowance benefit, anyone without a National Insurance Number, and anyone applying for special rules or in an official capacity.
“As we gradually expand the service, we will incrementally bring more user groups in scope. This approach is allowing us to build, develop and design the service safely,” Pursglove said, in answer to a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Stephen Timms. “The department is committed to working with stakeholder organisations as we develop the new online new online apply service for PIP. Their input will be vital to its delivery. To date, three workshops dedicated to the service have been held, engaging with 16 different key stakeholder organisations. These workshops are contributing to the design and the delivery of the service and will continue as we gradually expand the service.”
In early 2021 – several months after DWP began very limited testing of online PIP applications by offering some callers making new claims the option to complete the PIP2 form digitally – then minister Justin Tomlinson said the government intended “to scale this service by spring 2021”.
Recent ministerial comments have not put a definitive timeline on the completed implementation of a fully digital service.
“The full online apply service will offer claimants the option to claim PIP online, including the ability to save and resume and to upload medical evidence,” said Pursglove two weeks ago. “The programme will be developing the new PIP service carefully and incrementally, designing it around the needs of claimants, making it quicker, simpler and more transparent.”
PIP is intended to help with living costs for those who have a long term disability, illness or other physical or mental-health condition that limits their mobility or ability to perform everyday tasks. As of October, the DWP’s caseload comprised about 2.8 million eligible claimants – a total that is split fairly evenly between new claims and those in the process of being reassigned from Disability Living Allowance.
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