FM/CFS/ME RESOURCES - UK Disability Living Allowance

 

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UK DISABILITY PLANS UK Disability Plans

Online:http://www.direct.gov.uk/
Helpline: 08457 123 456
Text Phone: 08457 224 433
E-Mail: DCPU.Customer-Services@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

This section will help you learn about the range of benefits, tax credits and other disability-related financial support you may be able to get.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Disability Living Allowance - sometimes referred to as DLA - is a tax-free benefit for children and adults who need help with personal care or have walking difficulties because they are physically or mentally disabled. You must claim before you reach age 65.

Attendance Allowance (AA)
Attendance Allowance (AA) is a tax-free benefit for people aged 65 or over who need help with personal care because they are physically or mentally disabled.

Incapacity Benefit (IB)
If you can't work because of illness or disability you may be able to get Incapacity Benefit (IB), a weekly payment for people who become incapable of work while under State Pension age. It is paid in three weekly rates depending on how long you've been unable to work.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
From 2013 the Government is proposing to introduce a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment for eligible working age people aged 16 to 64 to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

The intention is that Personal Independence Payment will focus support to those individuals who experience the greatest challenges to remaining independent and leading full, active and independent lives.

Contact us if you have any questions.

(updated Jan. 18, 2012)

 UK Disability Living Allowance
To get Disability Living Allowance you must be in Great Britain, or be treated as living here, and meet certain other conditions about your residence and presence.

You must:

  • Be normally resident in Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales), and

  • Not be subject to immigration control, and

  • Be in Great Britain when you make your claim, and

  • Have been in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey for at least 26 weeks out of the last 52 weeks (the period is 13 weeks for babies under 6 months old and does not apply at all for people paid under special rules).

Time spent living in another European Economic Area country may in some cases be treated as a period in Great Britain for the purposes of the 26-week rule.

You may be treated as living in Great Britain if you are:

  • A member of HM Armed Forces serving abroad or member of their family

  • A mariner or airman working abroad

  • Working on the United Kingdom sector of the continental shelf (for example, on an oil rig)

 Disability Living Allowance Questions

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Who Can Get Disability Living Allowance?

ANSWER: You may get Disability Living Allowance if:

  • You have a physical or mental disability, or both

  • You are under 65 when you claim

  • Your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself or you have walking difficulties, or both

If you are aged 65 or over, you may be able to get Attendance Allowance. You can get Disability Living Allowance whether or not you work. It isn't usually affected by any savings or income you may have.

Special Rules - If You Are Terminally Ill
If you have a progressive disease and you are not expected to live for more than another six months there are special rules for claiming to make sure you get your benefit more quickly and easily.

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How Much Do You Get?

ANSWER: Disability Living Allowance has two parts called "components":

  • A Mobility Component - if you can't walk or need help getting around
  • A Care Component - if you need help looking after yourself or supervision to keep you safe

Some people will be entitled to receive just one component; others may get both. The care component and mobility component are paid at different rates depending on how your disability affects you.

 Disability Living Allowance Rates
Care Component Weekly Rate
Highest Rate £64.50
Middle Rate £43.15
Lowest Rate £17.10
Mobility Component Weekly Rate
Higher Rate £45.00
Lower Rate £17.10

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How Is It Paid?

ANSWER: Disability Living Allowance is normally paid directly into any account of your choice which accepts Direct Payment of benefits. This might be a bank, building society or other account provider.

You may be able to get someone else to collect your Disability Living Allowance if you wish. For help with this please contact your bank, building society or other account provider.

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How Do I Make A Claim?

ANSWER: Make your claim right away - if you delay you may lose benefits.

You can claim online or you can get a claim pack by:

  • Phoning the Benefit Enquiry Line
  • Contacting your local Jobcentre Plus office or local social security office
  • Downloading the form from the government web site

There are two forms - one if you're claiming for someone aged 16 or over and another if you're claiming for someone aged under 16.

In April 2007 a new Disability Living Allowance (adult) claim form was introduced. Work is ongoing to develop the online version, which will be made available as soon as possible. In the mean time you can still claim online or you can download the new claim form the government web site.

Claim Online
To claim Disability Living Allowance online use the link below and follow the on-screen instructions.

Call The Benefit Enquiry Line
This is a confidential free phone service for disabled people and carers. You can call the Benefit Enquiry Line and ask them to send you a claim pack. They can send you the claim pack in an alternative format if required - for example, Braille.

They can also arrange for someone to help you fill out the form if required. Please note that the person you speak to may need to arrange for someone to phone you back.

Telephone: 0800 88 22 00

Text phone: 0800 24 33 55

The Benefit Enquiry Line is open 8.30 am to 6.30 pm Monday to Friday and 9.00 am to 1.00 pm Saturday. If you request a form from the Benefit Enquiry Line, the date of request will be treated as your date of claim from which Disability Living Allowance can be paid, as long as the form you receive is returned within six weeks of that date. If you delay making a claim, you may lose out on benefits.

The person taking your call will not have your personal papers but will be able to give you general advice. This advice must not be taken as a decision about your claim.

Contact Your Local Jobcentre Plus Office
If you request a form from your local Jobcentre Plus office or local social security office, the date of request will be treated as your date of claim from which Disability Living Allowance can be paid, as long as the form you receive is returned within six weeks of that date. If you delay making a claim, you may lose out on benefit.

Download A Claim Form To Print At Home
You can also download a claim form to print off and fill in using a pen. Each form comes with notes that will help you fill it in and tell you where to send it. In either case, the date of the claim will be established as the date on which it is received by your local office.

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Will I Need a Medical Examination?

ANSWER: You will not usually need a medical examination when you claim for Disability Living Allowance. However, sometimes a medical examination is necessary.

A medical examination involves an interview and sometimes a medical examination with a doctor who has completed specialized training in disability and benefit awareness.

The medical examination is likely to be different from what you would expect from your own doctor. The Medical Services doctor's examination is not to diagnose or discuss treatment of your medical condition; it is to assess how your condition affects you and the doctor may not need to carry out a physical examination.

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Who's Involved In A Medical Examination?

ANSWER: The people and organizations involved in the medical examination process are:

  • The Disability and Carers Service (DCS) - who are part of the Department for Work and Pensions - who handle benefit claims

  • Medical Services, who org anise medical examinations on behalf of DCS

  • The 'decision-maker' - a non-medical person within DCS who is responsible for making a decision on your benefit claim

  • The Examining Medical Practitioner (EMP) - the doctor who carries out the medical examination

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Why Have I Been Asked For A Medical Examination?

ANSWER: You may have been asked for a medical examination for several reasons. It doesn't mean the information you've provided on your claim form is being treated as suspicious or that your claim will be turned down. One of the reasons for a medical examination may be to check you're receiving the full amount of benefit you're entitled to.

When you first apply for Disability Living Allowance, you are sent a claim form to complete. Your completed claim form is assessed by the decision-maker, who must decide:

  • Whether to approve your claim

  • How much benefit you're entitled to receive

  • Whether you're entitled to one or both of the benefit's two components (the mobility component and the care component), and

Decision-makers may ask for a medical examination if they need more information before they can make a decision, or they're unsure about any details.

The decision-maker can approve your claim without a medical examination if they're happy with the information that they have obtained.

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How Do I Appeal?

ANSWER: When the benefits office sends you a letter about their decision, if you do not agree, you can ask them to explain or reconsider it. If you're unhappy with a reconsidered decision you can appeal.

You can ask for an explanation or reconsideration of every decision, but some benefit decisions cannot be appealed. For example, you can't appeal against decisions on Budgeting Loans, Community Care Grants or Crisis Loans. The decision letter will make it clear if it can't be appealed.

You have one month:

  • After getting a decision to ask for it to be explained, reconsidered or to appeal
  • After getting a reconsidered decision to start an appeal

A late appeal may be accepted if you have special circumstances that prevented you appealing in time, but not if more than 13 months have passed.

Information on how to appeal is normally included in the decision letter. In most cases, it involves filling in the appeal form in the leaflet: "If You Think Our Decision Is Wrong" and posting it to the benefits office dealing with your claim.

You can pick up the leaflet at your local benefits office or download it, below, from the Department for Work and Pensions web site.

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Who Hears The Appeal?

ANSWER: Appeals are heard by a tribunal; a panel of up to three members, one of whom is legally qualified.

There are two kinds of tribunal hearing:

  • Oral hearing - where you or your representative can attend to discuss your appeal

  • Paper hearing - where you or your representative do not appear and the case is decided on the written evidence

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Can I Get Help With My Appeal?

ANSWER: Yes. Some organizations offer help and advice (some for free) with your appeal, including:

The CAB will help you fill in forms and may accompany you to the hearing. Or you could ask an adviser, friend or family member to appeal on your behalf.

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What Happens If I Lose My Appeal?

ANSWER: If you don't agree with the tribunal's decision, you can only challenge it if:

  • You didn't get a document that was used at the hearing
  • You weren't present at the hearing although you wanted to be

But if you think the tribunal made a mistake in how they applied the law, you can ask for permission to appeal to a Social Security or Child Support Commissioner.

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 UK Attendance Allowance

To get Attendance Allowance you must be in Great Britain, or be treated as living here, and meet certain other conditions about your residence and presence.

You must:

  • Be normally resident in Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales), and

  • Not be subject to immigration control, and

  • Be in Great Britain when you make your claim, and

  • Have been in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey for at least 26 weeks out of the last 52 weeks (the period does not apply at all for people paid under the special rules).

Time spent living in another European Economic Area country may in some cases be treated as a period in Great Britain for the purposes of the 26-week rule.

You may be treated as living in Great Britain if you are:

  • A mariner or airman working abroad

  • A member of HM Armed Forces serving abroad or member of their family

  • Working on the United Kingdom sector of the continental shelf (for example, on an oil rig)

 Attendance Allowance Questions

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Who Can Get Attendance Allowance?

ANSWER: You may get Attendance Allowance if:

  • You are aged 65 or over when you claim
  • You have a physical or mental disability, or both
  • your disability is severe enough for you to need help caring for yourself

If you are under age 65, you may be able to get Disability Living Allowance. Attendance Allowance is not usually affected by any savings or income you may have.

Special Rules - If You Are Terminally Ill
If you have a progressive disease and you are not expected to live for more than another six months there are special rules for claiming to make sure you get your benefit more quickly and easily.

You will not usually need a medical examination when you claim for Attendance Allowance.

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How Much Do You Get?

ANSWER: The amount you get depends on how much your disability affects you. There are two rates of Attendance Allowance.

 Attendance Allowance Rates
Attendance Allowance Weekly Rate
Higher Rate £64.50
Lower Rate £43.15

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How Is It Paid?

ANSWER: Attendance Allowance is normally paid directly into any account of your choice which accepts Direct Payment of benefits. This might be a bank, building society or other account provider.

You may be able to get someone else to collect your Attendance Allowance if you wish. For help with this please contact your bank, building society or other account provider.

If you would like more information about how you can be paid by other means please contact the office dealing with your claim.

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How Do I Make A Claim?

ANSWER: Make your claim right away - if you delay you may lose benefits.

You can claim online or you can get a claim pack by:

  • Phoning the Benefit Enquiry Line
  • Downloading the form from the government web site.

Claim Online
To claim Attendance Allowance online use the link below and follow the on-screen instructions.

Call The Benefit Enquiry Line
This is a confidential free phone service for disabled people and carers. You can call the Benefit Enquiry Line and ask them to send you a claim pack. They can send you the claim pack in an alternative format if required - for example, Braille.

They can also arrange for someone to help you fill out the form if required. Please note that the person you speak to may need to arrange for someone to phone you back.

Telephone: 0800 88 22 00

Text phone: 0800 24 33 55

The Benefit Enquiry Line is open 8.30 am to 6.30 pm Monday to Friday and 9.00 am to 1.00 pm Saturday. If you request a form from the Benefit Enquiry Line, the date of request will be treated as your date of claim from which Disability Living Allowance can be paid, as long as the form you receive is returned within six weeks of that date. If you delay making a claim, you may lose out on benefits.

The person taking your call will not have your personal papers but will be able to give you general advice. This advice must not be taken as a decision about your claim.

Download A Claim Form To Print At Home
You can also download a claim form to print off and fill in using a pen or complete the form on your computer and print off. The form comes with notes that will help you fill it in and tell you where to send it. We will treat the day we get your form back as the date of your claim.

If you are going to complete the form on your computer, we recommend that you save the form on your computer before completing it: to do this simply right click with your mouse on the link below and choose the "Save Target As" option. (You cannot save the form once you've opened it in an internet browser.

Once you have filled in the form, you can print and sign it.

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How Do I Appeal A Benefits Decision?

ANSWER: If you think a decision about your benefits is wrong, you can ask the office that made the decision to explain it. You can also ask to get the decision reconsidered and, if you're still unhappy, you can appeal against the decision to an independent tribunal.

When the benefits office sends you a letter about their decision, if you do not agree, you can ask them to explain or reconsider it.

If you're unhappy with a reconsidered decision you can appeal. You can ask for an explanation or reconsideration of every decision, but some benefit decisions cannot be appealed. For example, you can't appeal against decisions on Budgeting Loans, Community Care Grants or Crisis Loans. The decision letter will make it clear if it can't be appealed.

You have one month:

  • After getting a decision to ask for it to be explained, reconsidered or to appeal
  • After getting a reconsidered decision to start an appeal

A late appeal may be accepted if you have special circumstances that prevented you appealing in time, but not if more than 13 months have passed.

Information on how to appeal is normally included in the decision letter. In most cases, it involves filling in the appeal form in the leaflet: "If You Think Our Decision Is Wrong" and posting it to the benefits office dealing with your claim.

You can pick up the leaflet at your local benefits office or download it, below, from the Department for Work and Pensions web site.

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Who Hears The Appeal?

ANSWER: Appeals are heard by a tribunal; a panel of up to three members, one of whom is legally qualified.

There are two kinds of tribunal hearing:

  • Oral hearing - where you or your representative can attend to discuss your appeal

  • Paper hearing - where you or your representative do not appear and the case is decided on the written evidence

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Can I Get Help With My Appeal?

ANSWER: Yes. Some organizations offer help and advice (some for free) with your appeal, including:

The CAB will help you fill in forms and may accompany you to the hearing. Or you could ask an adviser, friend or family member to appeal on your behalf.

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What Happens If I Lose My Appeal?

ANSWER: If you don't agree with the tribunal's decision, you can only challenge it if:

  • You didn't get a document that was used at the hearing
  • You weren't present at the hearing although you wanted to be

But if you think the tribunal made a mistake in how they applied the law, you can ask for permission to appeal to a Social Security or Child Support Commissioner.

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 UK Incapacity Benefit

If you can't work because of illness or disability you may be able to get Incapacity Benefit (IB), a weekly payment for people who become incapable of work while under State Pension age.


 UK Incapacity Benefit Questions

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Who Is Eligible?

ANSWER: You may be able to claim Incapacity Benefit if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are self employed or unemployed

  • You were under State Pension age when you became sick

  • Your Statutory Sick Pay has ended, or you cannot get it

  • You have been getting Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and have not gone back to work for your employer because you are incapable of work

You must also have been:

  • Getting special medical treatment

  • Paying National Insurance Contributions

  • Unable to work for two or more days out of seven consecutive days

  • Unable to work due to sickness or disability for at least four days in a row (including weekends and public holidays)

or you must:

  • Be aged between 16 and 20 (or under 25 if you were in education or training at least three months immediately before turning 20)

  • Have been too ill to work because of sickness or disability for at least 28 weeks

  • Have been too ill to work before you turned 20 (or 25 if you were in education or training at least three months immediately before turning 20)

If You've Been Living or Working Abroad
Living or working abroad can affect your Incapacity Benefit claim. But you may be able to claim if you've either:

  • Paid enough UK National Insurance Contributions (NIC's) in the past (and the equivalent in certain other countries - ask your local Jobcentre Plus office for details)

  • Worked abroad for an employer based in the UK and paid NIC's for the first 52 weeks of that employment

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How Much Do You Get?

ANSWER: Incapacity Benefit is paid at three weekly rates:

  • Short-term (lower) IB is paid for the first 28 weeks
  • Short-term (higher) IB is paid from weeks 29 to 52
  • Long-term IB is paid from week 53

Current weekly amounts:

Weekly Rate Amount Over State Pension Age
Short-Term (lower rate) £61.35 £78.05
Short-Term (higher rate) £72.55 £81.35
Long-Term Basic Rate £81.35 Not Eligible Long-Term Basic Rate IB

You may be able to get an "age addition" with your long-term Incapacity Benefit if you were under 45 when you became too ill or disabled to work. You may be able to get extra benefit for your spouse or civil partner or the person who looks after your children.

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How Is It Paid?

ANSWER: Incapacity Benefit is paid into your bank, building society, Post Office or National Savings account - in other words, any account that accepts Direct Payment.

If you're registered blind or need someone who cares for you to collect your money, your payment can be sent by cheque to be cashed at the Post Office.

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How Do I Make A Claim?

ANSWER: Make your claim right away - if you delay you may lose benefits.

You can claim online or you can get a claim pack by:

  • Contacting Your local Jobcentre Plus Office
  • Downloading the claim form from the Department for Work and Pensions web site.

Claim Online
To claim Incapacity Benefit online use the link below and follow the on-screen instructions.

Download A Claim Form To Print At Home
You can also download a claim form to print off and fill in using a pen or complete the form on your computer and print off. The form comes with notes that will help you fill it in and tell you where to send it. We will treat the day we get your form back as the date of your claim.

Once you have filled in the form, you can print and sign it.

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What Is A Personal Capability Assessment?

ANSWER: A Personal Capability Assessment (PCA) is the main assessment for Incapacity Benefit claims. An approved Disability Analyst, who has been trained in handling Incapacity Benefit claims, will assess your claim and provide advice to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), who are responsible for benefit claims.

The analyst may recommend that you attend a medical examination if they feel they need more information about your condition.

The PCA applies:

  • From the 29th week of incapacity in all other cases

  • As soon as you claim if you haven't worked in a job for at least eight of the previous 21 weeks

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What Is Involved In A Personal Capability Assessment?

ANSWER: When you make a claim for Incapacity Benefit, you have to complete a questionnaire about how your disability or illness affects your ability to complete everyday tasks. Your own doctor may be asked to provide a medical report.

An approved Disability Analyst will consider the questionnaire and any medical reports, along with any other information you may have provided. If the analyst feels that the DWP will need more information before they can make a decision on your benefit claim, they will recommend that you attend a medical examination.

You can do some work while claiming Incapacity Benefit, within limits. This is called "Permitted Work" and it allows you to test your own capacity for work and perhaps gain new skills.

You won't need to have a medical examination just because you have started doing permitted work. However, if you're asked to attend a medical examination for some other reason, the fact that you're doing permitted work will not count against your claim.

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What Is Considered "Permitted Work"?

ANSWER: You cannot usually work while you are getting Incapacity Benefit because of illness or disability. However, you may be able to do some types of work - within limits. This is called "Permitted Work" and it allows you to test your own capacity for doing some work and perhaps gain new skills. You should check with your local Jobcentre or Jobcentre Plus office before you start.

Permitted Work is a benefit arrangement - employers do not offer "permitted work". You do not need approval from your doctor or have to have a medical test just because you are doing permitted work. However, if a medical test is due as part of your ongoing benefits-related review, it will go ahead as planned.

You can work:

  • For earnings of up to and including £20.00 a week for an unlimited period, or

  • For less than 16 hours a week, on average, with earnings up to and including £88.50 a week for a 52 week period

  • For less than 16 hours a week, on average, and earn up to and including £88.50 a week for as long as your illness or disability is considered sufficiently severe that you are treated as meeting the threshold of incapacity without undergoing a medical assessment

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What Is Involved In A Medical Examination?

ANSWER: You may have been asked to attend a medical examination for a number of reasons. It is often because more medical information is needed before your claim can be approved. It doesn't mean the information you've provided on your claim form is being treated as suspicious or that your claim will be turned down.

Your benefit claim will not be turned down without you either having a medical examination or being offered one.

The medical examination will usually take place at one of the Medical Examination Centres (MEC's) near where you live. However, if you're unfit to travel or you live more than 90 minutes journey from the nearest centre, the doctor may visit you at home.

You will be given notice of your appointment and the chance to change it if the time doesn't suit you. It's very important to attend your medical examination as your benefit may be affected if you don't.

If for any reason you can't attend, you should contact the MEC beforehand and arrange another appointment.

You have the right to:

  • Ask for an interpreter if you need one
  • Ask to be examined by a doctor of the same gender as yourself
  • Have a friend, relative or support worker with you at the medical examination

You need to let the MEC know ahead of time if you want an interpreter or same-gender doctor. They will try to find one for you, although this may not always be possible in some areas.

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What Happens After The Medical Exam Is Completed?

ANSWER: After your Incapacity Benefit medical examination, the doctor's report is sent to the person at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who is responsible for making a decision on your claim.

The decision-maker will consider the report along with all the other information provided for your claim and decide whether you are entitled to Incapacity Benefit and at what rate it should be paid. You will receive a letter stating their decision.

All the medical information related to your claim, including the doctor's report from the medical examination, is confidential and will not be released to anyone outside the DWP. You can ask to be sent a copy of the doctor's report at any time.

Sometimes the doctor may want to send some information about your medical examination to your GP. In that case, Medical Services, who org anise medical examinations on behalf of DWP, will write to you and ask whether you agree to them giving your GP the information.

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What Can I Do If I'm Not Happy With Their Decision?

ANSWER: If you think the decision about your benefit claim is wrong, or you don't understand it, you can:

  • Ask the office who made the decision to explain it
  • Ask to have the decision reconsidered by another decision-maker
  • Appeal against the decision to an independent tribunal

When the benefits office sends you a letter about their decision, if you do not agree, you can ask them to explain or reconsider it.

If you're unhappy with a reconsidered decision you can appeal. You can ask for an explanation or reconsideration of every decision, but some benefit decisions cannot be appealed.

For example, you can't appeal against decisions on Budgeting Loans, Community Care Grants or Crisis Loans. The decision letter will make it clear if it can't be appealed.

You have one month:

  • After getting a reconsidered decision to start an appeal
  • After getting a decision to ask for it to be explained, reconsidered or to appeal

A late appeal may be accepted if you have special circumstances that prevented you appealing in time, but not if more than 13 months have passed.

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How Do I Appeal?

ANSWER: Information on how to appeal is normally included in the decision letter. In most cases, it involves filling in the appeal form in the leaflet: "If You Think Our Decision Is Wrong" and posting it to the benefits office dealing with your claim.

You can pick up the leaflet at your local benefits office or download it, below, from the Department for Work and Pensions web site.

Return to top of page

Who Hears The Appeal?

ANSWER: Appeals are heard by a tribunal; a panel of up to three members, one of whom is legally qualified.

There are two kinds of tribunal hearing:

  • Oral hearing - where you or your representative can attend to discuss your appeal

  • Paper hearing - where you or your representative do not appear and the case is decided on the written evidence

Return to top of page

Can I Get Help With My Appeal?

ANSWER: Yes. Some organizations offer help and advice (some for free) with your appeal, including:

The CAB will help you fill in forms and may accompany you to the hearing. Or you could ask an adviser, friend or family member to appeal on your behalf.

Return to top of page

What Happens If I Lose My Appeal?

ANSWER: If you don't agree with the tribunal's decision, you can only challenge it if:

  • You didn't get a document that was used at the hearing
  • You weren't present at the hearing although you wanted to be

But if you think the tribunal made a mistake in how they applied the law, you can ask for permission to appeal to a Social Security or Child Support Commissioner.

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 Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

From 2013 the Government is proposing to introduce a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment for eligible working age people aged 16 to 64 to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

The intention is that Personal Independence Payment will focus support to those individuals who experience the greatest challenges to remaining independent and leading full, active and independent lives.


Background to Reform

Disability Living Allowance was introduced in 1992 and has not been fundamentally reviewed or reformed since. There is confusion about the purpose of the benefit, it is complex to claim and there is no systematic way of checking that awards remain correct.

We are putting disabled people at the heart of the development of Personal Independence Payment. This includes:

  • working with disabled people and their organisations as we develop the new claims and assessment processes

  • seeking feedback on our proposals for the draft assessment criteria, which consider an individual's circumstances and the impact of their health condition or impairment on their everyday life.

The proposals for Personal Independence Payment are included in the Welfare Reform Bill 2011 and are subject to Parliamentary approval.


What The Change Means

Between 2013 and 2016 everyone aged 16 to 64 receiving DLA will be reassessed to see whether they are entitled to the new Personal Independence Payment.

People entitled to Personal Independence Payment will have their claims 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. They may be able to claim other benefits.

There are no current plans to replace DLA with Personal Independence Payment for children aged under 16 and people over the age of 65 who are already receiving DLA.


 Personal Independence Payment Questions

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What is Personal Independence Payment?

ANSWER: It is a new benefit to help disabled people live full, active and independent lives.

It will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from April 2013 for eligible people of working age (by this we mean people aged 16-64).

DLA has been in place for almost 20 years largely unchanged, the new benefit will better reflect today's understanding of disability which has changed a lot in two decades.

If you are already getting DLA you will have to be reassessed for Personal Independence Payment (see questions 5 and 6).

It will help towards some of the extra costs arising from having a long term condition - this means ill-health or disability (expected to last 12 months or longer).

Recipients of the benefit can choose to spend it in a way that suits them best.

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How is entitlement to Personal Independence Payment assessed and decided upon?

ANSWER: The assessment for the new benefit to decide a person's needs and entitlement will be carried out by an independent health professional.

The assessor will consider the evidence provided by the person claiming and professionals that support them on a regular basis.

Most people will also be asked to a face-to-face consultation with this assessor as part of the claim process.

The assessor will provide advice to a benefit decision maker at the Department for Work and Pensions.

As is now the case with DLA the benefit decision maker will then use all of this to decide entitlement.

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What are the parts to Personal Independence Payment?

ANSWER: Personal Independence Payment will have a Daily Living component and a Mobility component.

Awards will be made up of one or both of these components.

Each component will have two rates – standard and enhanced. The amount for each rate is still to be decided.

Awards of Personal Independence Payment will be based upon the individual, the impact of the disability or health condition and the extent to which they are able to live independently.

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I receive DLA – will I be entitled to Personal Independence Payment?

ANSWER: Everyone will be individually assessed against the new entitlement criteria (some people understand these as rules).

This means we will look at your personal circumstances and the impact that your condition, or disability has on your ability to live an independent life.

Entitlement will depend on how your ability to carry out daily living and / or mobility activities is affected by your condition or disability. It won't depend on what type of health condition or disability you have.

Nor will it be determined by what award of DLA you currently get. The new benefit will have different entitlement criteria to those for DLA to better reflect today's understanding of disability.

DLA in the past focussed on physical disability.

Personal Independence Payment will strike a better balance to take into account the needs of those with mental health, intellectual, cognitive and developmental impairments.

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When could I see a change to my DLA award because of the introduction of Personal Independence Payment?

ANSWER: There will be no changes to your DLA benefit award resulting from the introduction of Personal Independence Payment, before April 2013.

Your DLA benefit award could change if you have a change in your condition, or new evidence comes to light which means that we may need to look at your entitlement again.

Between 2013 and 2016 we will reassess people who get DLA for Personal Independence Payment.

We will contact people who get DLA before they are reassessed for Personal Independence Payment to explain how this will happen.

We are involving disabled people and their organisations in designing how we communicate information about reassessing them to make sure we get it right.

A note that sets out our early thinking on the ways in which people of working age could become entitled to Personal Independence Payment when it is introduced can be found at www.dwp.gov.uk/pip

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Will people on DLA be told before they are reassessed for Personal Independence Payment?

ANSWER: Yes. All those of working age who get DLA and will need to be reassessed against the new entitlement criteria will be told in advance.

We will contact them individually, providing plenty of notice and explaining what will happen and what they will need to do.

The work to reassess people who get DLA for Personal Independence Payment is expected to take around three years and will start in 2013.

Where individuals satisfy the entitlement criteria for the new benefit, they will be transferred from DLA to Personal Independence Payment.

Those individuals who are not entitled to Personal Independence Payment, or who choose not to claim it, will not be able to retain their DLA as an alternative.

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Will there be a break in my benefit payments as I transfer from DLA to Personal Independence Payment?

ANSWER: Where DLA recipients are entitled to the new benefit, we want to ensure that there are no gaps between benefit payments.

We want to make the transfer from DLA to Personal Independence Payment as smooth as possible.

We will contact people, providing plenty of notice, explaining what will happen and what you will need to do.

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Will there be automatic entitlement to Personal Independence Payment for people with certain conditions?

ANSWER: No. We want to treat everyone as an individual. The benefit will go to those individuals whose impairments impact most on their ability to participate in society.

The only way to accurately decide who should get the new benefit is to assess everyone individually, looking at their personal circumstances and the barriers they face.

This is because people's health conditions or disabilities can affect them in very different ways and some individuals have more than one health condition or disability.

The assessment for Personal Independence Payment will make greater use of evidence and help us to accurately and consistently assess individuals and decide their entitlement.

The only exception is for people who are Terminally Ill (this is defined as under DLA as those who are not expected to live for more than six months).

The Department for Work and Pensions will deal with these claims quickly and the person will not need a face-to-face consultation, or to fulfil the six month qualifying period.

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I currently have a life or indefinite award of DLA – will I have to have an assessment even though my condition has not changed / is never going to change?

ANSWER: Everyone of working age who gets DLA will need to be reassessed for Personal Independence Payment.

This is because the new benefit will have different entitlement criteria to those for DLA.

We expect that people will be reassessed over three years, starting from April 2013.

We will contact people with more information, giving them as much notice as possible and explaining what they will need to do and when this will affect them.

Most people will be asked to have a face-to-face consultation with a trained independent health professional, as part of their claim.

Individuals with the most severe health conditions or disabilities, or those who are terminally ill, are unlikely to need to attend a face-to-face consultation. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

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How will you provide support to those that need it when applying for Personal Independence Payment?

ANSWER: We recognise that we will need to adapt our approach to delivering Personal Independence Payment to address the specific needs of certain groups.

Detailed profiles have been developed to understand both preferences and health issues of disabled people and these are being used to inform a programme of research facilitated by a specialist external company.

The intention is that learning from these exercises and other work with disabled people and their representatives will be used to inform all aspects of how we deliver Personal Independence Payment - including simplifying the claim process.

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Are these changes driven purely to achieve a reduction in costs?

ANSWER: No, DLA has been in place for almost 20 years largely unchanged and no longer properly takes into account the needs of all disabled people.

It does not have some of the checks that are a key part of other state benefits and it needs to be brought up to date.

We also have to make sure support is affordable for the long term.

The cost of DLA has risen by almost 30% over the last eight years. Only around a third of that increase can be accounted for by demographic change.

The changes we are making will ensure that this new benefit will remain affordable in the future

The amount we expect to spend in 2015/16 on working age individuals, is around the same level we spent in 2009/10.

It was clear from the responses received to the public consultation on DLA Reform in December 2010 that some reform of DLA was welcomed.

We continue to receive representations from disability organisations welcoming some reform.

Through greater use of evidence and reassessment the intention is that the new benefit will enable a more accurate assessment of an individual's entitlement to make sure support is reaching those who need it most.

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If I am awarded Personal Independence Payment will I need to undergo further assessments?

ANSWER: Possibly. Awards of Personal Independence Payment will be based upon the individual person, the impact of the disability or health condition and the extent to which they are able to live independently.

Over time peoples' conditions can change and we want to make sure that their award of benefit reflects their current needs.

At the moment there are no regular checks under DLA leaving disabled people at risk of claiming incorrect levels of support.

The length of awards individuals get will depend on their individual circumstances and the likelihood of this changing.

This will be determined by the benefit decision maker, following advice from an independent healthcare professional'.

Some people will get short awards (up to two years) and others will get longer ones (such as five or ten years).

If you are awarded Personal Independence Payment you will be sent a letter telling you how long your award is for, the changes in circumstances you will need to tell us about and how to do this.

We will contact individuals with longer awards occasionally, to see if their needs have changed over time, to ensure that individuals continue to receive the correct level of benefit.

At the end of the award if you still have needs arising from your health condition or disability you can decide to make a further claim for Personal Independence Payment.

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How long do I have to wait to qualify for Personal Independence Payment?

ANSWER: There will be a 6 month qualifying period and the health condition or disability must be expected to last for a further 6 months as well.

Individuals will not necessarily have to wait 6 months, as the qualifying period starts from when the individual's eligible needs arise and not from when they make a claim.

For example someone might have had difficulty walking for six months, or more when they apply for Personal Independence Payment and the condition is expected to last a further six months.

People of working age who get DLA who are invited to apply will have met the 6 month qualifying period because of the time they have already spent claiming DLA.

Individuals with a terminal illness will be fast tracked on to a guaranteed payment of the enhanced rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment and will also be able to apply for the mobility component.

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Will Personal Independence Payment provide a "gateway or passport" to the additional help and support that DLA attracts?

ANSWER: We recognise people value the additional help that passported benefits, such as the Blue Badge, Carer's Allowance and Motability schemes, as well as public transport concessions provide.

It is our intention that the existing passporting arrangements will be maintained wherever possible.

We are working with other Government Departments and Devolved Administrations that currently use DLA as a passport to schemes they provide to ensure that any future passporting arrangements remain appropriate for their own schemes.

We will publish further information once it has been decided how this will work.

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My child is under 16 years old and receives DLA. Will they be affected by the introduction of the new Personal Independence Payment?

ANSWER: No. At the moment Personal Independence Payment will not replace DLA for those under the age of 16 with Personal Independence Payment.

We would want to see how the assessment works for people of working age before deciding if children (under 16) getting DLA should undertake a new assessment.

Children in receipt of DLA may remain on this benefit until they reach 16 provided that they continue to satisfy the eligibility criteria. They will then need to be reassessed for Personal Independence Payment.

We will develop specific plans to transfer young people from age 16 to Personal Independence Payment as smooth and straightforward as possible.

No firm decisions have yet been made about how this will be done because it is one of the things where we are continuing to talk to young disabled people, their families and organisations representing them.

Our current thinking about how we support young people during the introduction of Personal Independence Payment can be found in a briefing note at www.dwp.gov.uk/pip

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Will pensioners receiving DLA be affected by these changes?

ANSWER: No. At the moment Personal Independence Payment will not replace DLA for those aged over 65.

They can continue to receive DLA so long as they continue to satisfy the qualifying conditions.

We want to see how the assessment for the new benefit works for people of working age before deciding if people over 65 and getting DLA should undertake a new assessment.

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Will people who get Attendance Allowance (AA) be affected by these changes?

ANSWER: No. People who get AA will not be affected by the introduction of Personal Independence Payment.

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How do I have my say about what is happening with Personal Independence Payment?

ANSWER: On 16 January we published more information about Personal Independence Payment. This included more details on:

  • The proposed entitlement thresholds for the assessment
  • Projected caseload figures for PIP
  • New 'case studies' which show how the assessment will work

We are seeking further views from disabled people and their organisations, to ensure that we get the assessment criteria right.

We have launched a consultation that will run for 15 weeks, from 16 January 2012 to 30 April 2012.

Consultation questions can be found in the Personal Independence Payment: assessment thresholds and consultation

Final draft regulations will be laid before Parliament later this year.

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Where can I find more information about Personal Independence Payment?

ANSWER: We have published various documents to keep people informed of our plans:

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