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Personal Independence Payment: Multiple Sclerosis

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 50702, tabled on 16 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people with multiple sclerosis have submitted a mandatory reconsideration after being assessed by phone for personal independence payment since March 2020.

Answered on

24 September 2021

The specific information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Telephone assessments only commenced for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in late March 2020 and were then used as one of the alternatives to face to face assessments. For the two providers of medical assessments this was on 23rd March 2020 (Capita) and 6th April 2020 (IAS) respectively.

Therefore, the majority of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments after March 2020 would have been by telephone, with some paper- based and video call assessments. Where it was not possible to carry out a PIP telephone assessment decisions were made on paper using all the available evidence to ensure any payment was not delayed. We do not readily hold the information on how assessments were carried out for specific conditions.

Face to face assessments for Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) were re-introduced in May. They have initially focused on claimants who we have been unable to assess fully by other means. Paper-based assessments, as before the COVID-19 pandemic, are considered in the first instance, and telephone assessments and video assessments introduced in response to the pandemic continue to take place where appropriate.