Your benefit questions answered

We’ve teamed up with a number of benefits advisers from a local DIAL (Disability Information and Advice Line) to answer your questions about recent benefit questions:

What happens when your 64? – Linda

Hi Linda,

If I understand your question correctly you are asking what happens if you are over the age of 64 when the new Personal Independent Payment (PIP) comes in? If you were already in receipt of DLA and had reached the age of 65 on 8 April 2013 then you will remain on Disability Living Allowance and not be subject to the new PIP benefit rules.

If on the other hand you are under the age of 65 on 8 April 2013 then you will be subject to the new PIP rules and the new criteria is more restrictive than the DLA criteria. This role out will happen from October 2015 for majority of DLA claimants. With PIP there are only two levels of the care component as compared with three levels of DLA (the lower rate has effectively been abolished). The two rates of the mobility component will remain but with different criteria. Just to complicate things even further if you want to apply after the age of 65 and it is your first application then you will have to apply for Attendance Allowance rather than PIP as this benefit is staying the same.

Will the change from DLA to PIP affect claiming for my son who is 10 who has ADHD and Autism? – Rachel

Hi Rachel,

The good news is that your son will not be affected by the PIP as children under 16 years of age will remain on Disability Living Allowance. You will be “invited” to fill in a PIP form when your son nears the age of 16. We would always advise getting help to fill in this type of form from someone who understands the criteria and the case law that will have been built up by this point.

Will I still be receiving the same amount that I was with the Disability Living Allowance or is there going to be reduction in what I receive with this new benefit? – Sean

Hi Sean,

This is a good question that many people are asking. Very often with a change to the benefits system something called “transitional protection” applies, this basically means you will be no worse off with the new benefit and will be protected against any negative impact. Unfortunately with PIP and DLA no such protection has been written into the system and the majority of people will need to make a new application for PIP unless they are over 65 or under 16 years of age. It’s difficult to go into more detail without knowing your personal details and looking at them against the new criteria.

What is PIP? Is it just a new a name or is DLA being scrapped? – Amanda

Hi Amanda,

DLA is being abolished and replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for adults of working age. PIP has its own criteria that differ from the current DLA criteria. DLA has three component for care and two components for mobility. Under the new PIP criteria the lowest rate of care is no longer available. In addition the difference between night and day care no longer exists. The walking distance for PIP is more restricted than the present rules.

We would advise anyone who is invited to apply for PIP to get assistance with completing the forms from an advice agency who is familiar with the new rules. If you are on DLA then your payment will continue until you have been assessed under the new PIP criteria and a new decision made. Most people who do get an award for PIP will be re assessed on a regular basis to make sure they still meet the criteria.

When do we need to start filling the PIP application? My son’s DLA runs out in 2015 –  Jenna

Hi Jenna,

When your sons DLA is starting to run out as he approaches the age of 16 you will automatically be invited to make an application for the new PIP, this will be around five months before his birthday. As your son is under 16 at present the DLA rules will still apply, even if he is subject to a review. We would advise you to keep copies of educational statements and, care plans and medical reports as these may come in useful when you do make the PIP application.

If you have been awarded DLA indefinitely, do you know what happens when it changes to Personal Independent Payment? – Debbie

Hi Debbie,

Unfortunately your indefinite award of DLA is not recognised by the new PIP benefit. The indefinite DLA award meant that no review date had been set for your current award but it is not a guarantee of continuing payments. The Government has anticipated that indefinite awards of DLA will start to be looked at from October 2015 onwards, unless you have a change of circumstances before then. You will be invited to make an application for PIP, and any award will be based on assessments under the new criteria.

When filling an assessment form it is important to remember that you need to be defining what your difficulties are with getting around and personal care, not saying how you manage. One of the biggest reasons for people getting turned down for disability benefits is that they don’t give the decision maker enough information. Under PIP you will also be called for an assessment and it is again very important to highlight the difficulties you have.

I have just been offered a four-bed house which is adapted for my son Aaron who has cerebral palsy. He has to have a bedroom of his own, but our local council say we will have to pay a bedroom tax as it is classed as a spare room – but it won’t be because Aaron will be in it! I truthfully do not understand this at all – David

Hi David,

I am assuming that your local authority is working on the principle that your son is of an age that he can share with a sibling (two children under 10 years of age either gender can share or two children under 16 years of age same gender). However, the good news is that the Government has changed the way they view disabled children sharing bedrooms and a Court of Appeal decision (HB/CTB U2/2013) has led to a change in case law. Local authorities have been instructed that children who have severe impairments should in certain circumstances be allowed a bedroom of their own. This law changed on 1 April 2013 so it is worth getting back in touch with your council and asking them if they have applied this case law in your particular case. Good luck!

What are the timelines for the change to the Personal Independence Payment?

  • 8 April 2013 – New claims for PIP start with the Bootle benefit centre. Bootle will handle the claims from areas including Merseyside, North West England, Cumbria, Cheshire and North-East England. People in these locations will be the first to claim PIP.
  • 10 June 2013 – New claims for PIP from the rest of the country.
  • October 2013 – The re-assessment of current claimants will start – but only if there is a change in circumstance or end of an existing award.
  • The majority of existing claimants won’t be reassessed until 2015.

2 thoughts on “Your benefit questions answered”

  1. hi there can u tell me why my dla and carers have stopped even tho my daughter has downs .y would it just stop. what reason would they have ty

    1. Hi Lisa,

      We would suggest you contact your local DIAL (Disability Information and Advice Line) group as these groups usually have trained benefits advisers who can sometimes help. You can enter your postcode on the DIAL search function on our website (http://www.scope.org.uk/services/local-groups/dial-uk) and it will identify your nearest group and show you their contact number.

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