The average wait for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appeal decisions for those transferring from disability living allowance topped 35 weeks within a year.
And the response to a written Commons question confirmed the related data for April 2018-March 2019 includes cases cleared both with and without a Tribunal ruling.
This, on the proviso that an appeal may be captured more than once as a clearance, should the original decision be overturned, set aside, or made subject to an Upper Tribunal re-hearing.
Stats to March this year indicate that, since Personal Independence Payment was introduced, 4.1 million decisions have been made; and of these, 10% have been appealed and 5% have been overturned at Tribunals.
The issue of average PIP appeal waiting time was raised as a question from Green MP Caroline Lucas.
Answering in his previous capacity as justice minister, Edward Argar – now a health minister – confirmed the 35-week wait, saying the data was based on the time from receipt in HM Courts and Tribunals Service to the last decision within the input period.
Argar outlined that, although care was taken when processing and analysing the data, the details were “subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale case-management system”.
But he stood by the stats as “the best available”, being a subset of official statistics extracted from the case management system on a different date.
Waiting times are calculated from receipt of an appeal to its final disposal.
An appeal is not necessarily disposed of at its first hearing. A final disposal decision on the appeal may be reached after an earlier hearing had been adjourne or after an earlier hearing date had been postponed.
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.
Previous 24housing coverage has outlined allegations of the DWP having a ‘systemic problem’ dealing with the disabled – leading to calls in the Commons for an independent review into deaths linked to DWP activity and cover-up claims over fitness-for-work reviews.
Coverage also confirmed the DWP does not record why claimant ‘commitments’ aren’t accepted when contracted ‘health assessors’ are subject to independent and not departmental audit.