Disability Living Allowance changing to Personal Independence Payment – from April 2013
- From April 2014 it is expected that anyone aged 16 - 64 who already receives DLA will be reassessed to see whether they are entitled to the new Personal Independence Payment. It is expected to take 3 years to transfer everyone over from DLA to PIP, so some claimants may not be contacted for a while.
- The Government has confirmed that all DLA claimants aged 16-64 will be subject to reassessment, which means they will have to complete a new application form , then they will have a medical assessment conducted by a health professional: this includes those where an indefinite award of DLA had previously been awarded. (70% of DLA claimants have an indefinite award).
- People entitled to Personal Independence Payment will have their claims smoothly transferred over and their DLA will stop.
- Those not found to be entitled to Personal Independence Payment will be informed and their DLA will stop. This could include people given an indefinite award of DLA. This will have a dramatic impact on their income and may effect entitlement to other benefits.
- Claimants who have been getting DLA are not guaranteed to be awarded PIP on reassessment. PIP will have different entitlement criteria to those for DLA. There will be no automatic entitlement to PIP on reassessment except for people on DLA care under the 'special rules' ie because they are defined as terminally ill for DLA purposes - if they are also getting the mobility component they will need to be reassessed to see if they meet the new PIP mobility criteria.
What’s staying the same?
Many aspects of PIP are the same, or similar, to DLA:
For example, PIP will have two components, a mobility and a daily living component (although there will only be two rates of each - see below).
It won’t be means-tested or taxed and won’t depend on national insurance contributions.
It can be claimed in or out of work. It will be a cash payment. It will be payable to adults who claim before they reach 65 and can continue in payment beyond that age.
There will still be ‘special rules’ claims for people who are terminally ill.
Motability will still be ‘supported’ under PIP.
And after a proposed amendment by the House of Lords the time that someone has to wait before they can claim PIP will be 3 months (the same as for DLA) - the proposal was to extend this time to 6 months.
The Government intends that the existing passporting arrangements eg for Blue Badge, Carers Allowance, and access to public transport concessions will be maintained wherever possible.
The upper age limit of 65 will increase in line with the changes to State Pension age.
Initially those claimants already with an award of PIP when they reach 65 or State Pension age (whichever is the higher) will continue to receive PIP as long as they continue to meet the eligibility criteria. However, the Welfare Reform Bill provides for the Government changing this in the future in response to any future changes to the social care system.
People with conditions that can be expected to have periods of remission, where continued payment of Personal Independence Payment would be inappropriate, will not have to fulfil the qualifying period again if they make a further claim within a year of the date they were last entitled.
There will be no more automatic entitlement for specific conditions or impairments, such as for double amputees or for people who are both deaf and blind.
There will only be two rates for both components - a standard rate and an enhanced rate. This is different to DLA which has three rates for the care component.
The Government aim to make the claiming process easier with a shorter claim form, and the ability to claim on-line.
There will be a new assessment system with ‘greater emphasis on objectivity and increased use of evidence’.
Most people will have to have a face-to-face assessment with a health professional (apart from people awarded under the 'special rules'.) This seems likely to be an assessment on very similar lines to the work capability assessment for Employment and Support Allowance, quite probably with some of the activities overlapping so that one medical will cover both benefits for some claimants.
More account will be taken of aids and adaptations. The document gives the example of considering an individual’s ability to get about in a self-propelled manual wheelchair rather than just their ability to walk.
There will be fixed term awards, except in exceptional circumstances. The length of award will be based on the individual’s needs and the likelihood of their health condition or impairment changing. There will be shorter term awards of up to 2 years, and longer term awards of between 5 and 10 years.
The Government also say that it recognises the importance of DLA as a passport to things such as Warm Home grants and the Blue Badge scheme and that they will take this into account when designing PIP.
The Government intends to introduce a habitual residence test to bring PIP in line with other non-contributory benefits instead of the ordinary residence test which applies to DLA.