LexisNexis UK, a leading global provider of information and analytics, has announced the availability of the Simplified Personal Independence Payment (PIP) form, a digitised version of the Department of Works and Pensions’ (DWP) paper-based, handwritten and highly complex PIP form for disability claims in the UK. LexisNexis’ teams, who specialise in making legal processes simple and effective, volunteered over 700 hours of time to create Simplified PIP. This free tool is available to all independent legal clinics and disability claimants, many of whom are amongst the most vulnerable in society, to give them the best chance of receiving financial assistance.
Due to the complexity of the PIP form, the rejection rate of disability claims by the DWP is extremely high. However, three in four applicants, with the right legal assistance, go on to win their appeals at Tribunals. This suggests the high level of difficulty posed to disability claimants in successfully making their case for financial help in the absence of legal advice, which many applicants simply cannot afford.
Tia Matt, Senior Lecturer and Director of Clinical Legal Education at the University of Exeter, who also runs an independent legal clinic, elaborates, “The DWP makes a determination of whether or not a disability applicant qualifies for financial assistance, based on the evidence provided in the DWP PIP form. However, the process is extremely challenging and stressful, given that most of the applicants suffer from debilitating disabilities. The PIP form is unnecessarily complex, requires adept use of language, runs into multiple pages and is handwritten.”
Matt adds, “The LexisNexis Simplified PIP form has removed many of the problems associated with the handwritten form. At our clinic, it is helping speed up the arduous application submission process. It is enabling us to provide legal advice to more individuals and in doing so, we are making a huge difference to the lives of the claimants, who are among the most vulnerable in our society. It is a very welcome initiative and is making a tangible difference to our goal of providing access to justice.”
This work is part of LexisNexis’s global commitment to advancing the Rule of Law. It follows a strategy whereby the company looks for opportunities to use the skills and talents of its people, and the tools and assets in its business, to work on projects that further this goal.
James Harper, Executive Sponsor of Rule of Law and CSR at LexisNexis UK, comments, “Equal access to justice is a fundamental tenet of the Rule of Law, but the reality is far from it. The PIP process, as it stands, is both flawed and apathetic to the plight of some of the most defenceless individuals in our society. While it may be true that the majority of claimants who are able to appeal, win their cases at Tribunals, the delay in payment – potentially of 10 weeks or more now due to Covid-19 – has a traumatic effect on their lives. With Simplified PIP, we are seeking to give disability claimants and those supporting them – i.e. the free legal advice community, which is the biggest provider of legal advice in the UK – an efficient and accurate way of completing the form, so that applicants have the best chance of receiving the financial help that they desperately need.”
PIP claimants and independent legal advice clinics can download the free form here: https://digitalpip.lexisnexisrolfoundation.org/. This tool will not be commercialised by the company.