By Pat Hutchinson MBE, District Manager, Citizens Advice Newtownabbey
Q: I am 35 years old and in receipt of DLA middle rate care and low rate mobility. I have heard a new benefit called PIP is coming in this year; how will it affect my benefits?
A: Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a new benefit to help people who have a disability or long-term health condition and to support those in greatest need. PIP will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for eligible people aged 16 to 64 years from 20 June 2016.
If you’re under 16, you can continue to claim DLA until your sixteenth birthday. If you’re already getting Attendance Allowance, you won’t be affected by PIP.
• If you’re already getting Disability Living Allowance
When PIP is introduced, you’ll be asked to make a new claim for PIP if:
• you report a change in your condition
• your DLA is due to come to an end
• you’re approaching your sixteenth birthday.
At a later date, the Social Security Agency (SSA) will start to contact everyone else getting DLA to invite them to claim PIP. You don’t need to do anything until the SSA writes to you.
There’s no automatic transfer from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to PIP. If you’re getting DLA, you will get a letter inviting you to make a new claim for PIP. If you don’t claim or if your claim is unsuccessful, your DLA will stop.
Once you’ve made a claim, you’ll continue to get DLA until you’re told whether you qualify for PIP. You won’t have to prove that your condition has existed for at least three months. But your condition or disability must be expected to last for the next nine months or longer.
• If you’re aged 65 and over
If you get DLA and you’re aged 65 or over when PIP is introduced you won’t need to make a claim for PIP. You can carry on getting DLA for as long as you meet the conditions for it.
• If you’re aged under 16
If you get DLA and you’re aged under 16, you can carry on getting it until you reach the age of 16. Your parent or guardian will get a letter when you are approaching 16, telling you that you can claim PIP.
• How passported benefits will be affected
If you’re getting DLA, this allows you to apply for other help to support you. These are called passported benefits. They include the Blue Badge Scheme, carers allowance, Motability schemes and help with public transport.
The government has said that current passporting arrangements for DLA will be broadly maintained under PIP. There is a list of the passported benefits and schemes, along with the details of the qualifying PIP component and rate, on the government website at www.nidirect.gov.uk/personal-independence-payment-pip
• Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice – go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk/nireland or call at: Citizens Advice Newtownabbey, Dunanney Centre, Rathmullan Drive, Rathcoole, Newtownabbey, BT37 9DQ. Telephone advice is available 9am – 4pm each day on 028 9085 2271 (Lunch 1:00 - 1:30pm), email advice is available at email@example.com