The government wants to save 20% of what it spends on Disability Living Allowance. From June 2013, Disability Living Allowance has gradually been replaced by the Personal Independence Payment even for those who have been given a lifetime award. This will affect people of working age (16-64).
New claims for disability benefits are for Personal Independence Payment and not for Disability Living Allowance. You will have to fill in an application form and you will probably have to attend a medical assessment. This assessment will look at how your condition or impairment affects every day activities.
If you are of working age and receiving Disability Living Allowance and you report a change in your condition, you will have to apply for Personal Independence Payment instead. You will also have to apply for Personal Independence Payment if your benefit award is due to be renewed. If you reached the age of 65 by 8th April 2013 you won’t be asked to claim Personal Independence Payment instead of Disability Living Allowance.
Between January 2014 and Autumn 2017, if you are still on Disability Living Allowance, you will be given the opportunity to apply for Personal Independence Payment. If you do not apply, your benefit payment will stop. You will not be automatically transferred across from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.
Not everyone who receives Disability Living Allowance will automatically receive Personal Independence Payment. If the assessment finds that you are not entitled to Personal Independence Payment then you will be informed and your benefit will be stopped. You can appeal this decision if you feel that it is wrong.
Further advice can be found at:
How could this affect you?
James is 25 years old. At the moment he does not work because of a disability. He has received the lower rate of Disability Living Allowance for several years. As Personal Independence Payment replaces Disability Living Allowance (from June 2013), at some point James will be reassessed. If he fails to meet the criteria for receiving Personal Independence Payment, he could lose a large amount of money – possibly up to £21 per week or £1,092 per year.
"My epileptic seizures are very unpredictable and when they happen they result in a fall, several minutes of confusion and often lead to injuries. This has an impact on mine and my family’s daily independence. I went through the PIP process when it switched from DLA and the experience was very different.
"My original application was returned asking for further medical evidence and a physical assessment. This is the case for the majority of applicants. I was initially unaware that it is the responsibility of the applicant to get further medical evidence from the doctor. It doesn’t appear very obvious as you supply all contact details and your medical history on the application form anyway.
"Some of the PIP assessors are not experienced in the conditions they are assessing so are unable to give an educated response. I was allowed to have someone with me when I had this assessment and a copy of the notes taken afterwards. During the assessment I was asked to walk unaided as if I had a physical condition.
"The results of my first application showed that I required no supervision and therefore no care during seizures. The second time they made the conclusion that I was safe to be unsupervised in most aspects of daily living, including bathing and cooking. When this went to mandatory reconsideration, with additional medical reports that I had provided, I got the full award I was entitled to which was great but the whole process was very stressful as it meant payments were stopped immediately until the award was granted.
"My advice to anyone going through this process would be to appeal any decision you think is incorrect. It appears that many applications are downgraded at the first attempt and then awarded on appeal or at tribunal. There is no consistency with the assessments as some can be awarded the full entitlement and others nothing at all. It was a very difficult path to negotiate to get the money that I was entitled to receive."
There may be other changes – for example, how Personal Independence Payment affects your entitlement to other services like blue badges and entitlements to a free bus pass.