Time marches on and the calendar pages turn ever closer towards the date when the UK’s Disabled Living Allowance (DLA) is phased out for working age people1 and replaced with Personal Independence Payment (PIP). DLA recipients who have not yet been invited to apply for PIP are fearful of the day when the phone rings or the dreaded brown envelope drops through the letterbox.
DLA has been the benefit for people who have extra care needs or mobility needs as a result of a disability2 but the message is clear. DLA is ending and that person’s claim will end on a specified date unless a claim is made for PIP. If a claim is made, DLA will continue to be paid until that new application is assessed and decided.
Then they have the stresses of making the claim, possibly being required to attend a face-to-face interview, and finally waiting in trepidation for notification of the decision to arrive – in another brown envelope.
Of course, there are good stories as well as bad. Some people have gone from lower rate care and no mobility on DLA to the enhanced (highest) rate in both care and mobility under PIP. However, for others the opposite has been true with worst case cases going from highest on both sides with DLA to absolutely nothing at all from PIP.
There just seems no rhyme nor reason for the decision-making process.
Official figures3 show that of the nearly 261,500 DLA claimants so far reassessed4 for PIP 74%, or 193,500, have received an award – 67% (128,000) at the enhanced rate and 33% (63,500) at the enhanced rate for both care and mobility components.
And of the 54,200 original decisions that were challenged by claimants, 28% have had their award changed through the mandatory reconsideration process.
But the success of 74% of DLA claimants in gaining PIP awards still leaves a worrying 24%, or 68,000, with nothing.
The roll out of PIP has been beset with problems. The original scheduled implementation date of October 2013 was delayed owing to assessments taking much longer than originally planned. Now, all existing DLA claimants (aged 16 to 64 on 8 April 2013) will have been invited to claim PIP by 30 September 2017, according to the DWP.
1 Working age means anyone aged 16 to 64 on April 8, 2013.
2 Disability means any kind of physical or mental disability, such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, MND, epilepsy, blindness and many, many more both visible and invisible.
3 Department for Work and Pensions: Personal Independence Payment Official Statistics, published March 16, 2016.
4 As at January 31, 2016 – the latest figures available, published on March 16.