8 September 2020
What: New DWP figures show that, in just two years, 1,700 disabled people died within three months of having their claim for PIP rejected. All of them had their claims turned down between April 2018 and January 2020, and died between April 2018 and 30 April 2020. Comparing them with figures released in early 2019 suggests that the likelihood of someone having their PIP claim rejected and dying soon afterwards may even have increased in the last two years. The findings are tentative because the two sets of figures were not calculated in the same way by DWP. But other figures have shown a deteriorating performance across a similar time period by DWP contractors Atos and Capita, which carry out the assessments on the government’s behalf. When taken as a proportion of about 1.461 million PIP registrations between April 2018 and January 2020, about 0.12 per cent of claimants went on to die within three months of having their claim rejected. The earlier figures, released in February 2019, showed 3,680 PIP claimants died within three months of their initial PIP application being rejected between April 2013 and April 2018, out of about 3.6 million registrations, a rate of about 0.10 per cent. These comparative rates are only approximate figures, and there may be unknown factors that explain the apparent increase in the likelihood of someone dying soon after having a PIP claim rejected.
Why significant: The figures do not prove that the rejections of the PIP claims caused the deaths – although it is possible that wrongful decisions may contribute to or cause some deaths – but instead suggest that hundreds of disabled people every year appear to be dying after having their claims wrongly rejected by DWP.