Small-scale testing began in October
Credit: Kirsty O’Connor/PA Wire/PA Images
The Department for Work and Pensions is to launch an online service for citizens to make claims for Personal Independence Payments.
New claims must currently be made by calling the department, but testing of a digital service – dubbed ‘PIP Apply’ – began on a “small scale” in October 2020, according to minister for disabled people, health and work Justin Tomlinson.
The service allowed claims to be filed via “an online version of the PIP 2 claim form for claimants to complete using an HTML link sent via an email”
“We will use the learning from this [test] as we develop this service further,” Tomlinson said. “Our aim is to scale this service by spring 2021.”
The service that was tested still required claimants to make an opening phone call requesting the form to be sent digitally. But the minister said that the aim is ultimately to ensure that the service can be accessed directly via the government’s website.
He added that government would ensure it continued to offer both digital and non-digital means of accessing the benefit.
“We are committed to providing a digital channel… to widen claimants’ choices on how to make a new claim for PIP,” he said. “We are… working on how we enable claimants to access this service directly from gov.uk removing the need for the initial telephone call. As this digital channel will be optional, we will ensure we continue to offer our telephony service and paper form for those who are unable or prefer not to use our online services.”
PIP is available to adults to help meet the additional costs of living with a disability or long-term health condition. Beginning in 2013, the benefit was gradually introduced to replace Disability Living Allowance.
Government data reveals that more than five million claims have been made since PIP was first introduced, with 2.5 million eligible claimants across the UK as of April 2020.
Tomlinson’s comments were made in answer to a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy.