The Disability Living Allowance is gradually being phased out and replaced with the Personal Independence Payment or PIP. If you are receiving DLA, you may need to stop and start claiming the new PIP as there are no automatic switchovers. Here’s what to expect and how to do it.
Moving from DLA
For starters, there are a few exceptions to the rule. If you were 65 or over on 8th April 2013, you don’t need to worry as you will continue to receive the DLA. But for everyone else who is aged 16 or over, you will need to stop DLA and start claiming PIP.
You will get a letter from the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) which will tell you when it is time to make the new claim. You need to complete the claim form, so you get the right level of PIP. If you need help, you can visit the nearest Citizens Advice Centre or ring DWP on their PIP contact number to get help.
Terminally ill claimants
If you are terminally ill and have been awarded PIP at the higher rate, which is more than DLA, you will see the switchover take place automatically. You will receive your last DLA payment and then your first new PIP payment on the Tuesday after the decision has been made to award it to you.
When can you claim PIP?
If you are asked to make a claim for PIP, you should do it straight away. This will be if you are over 16, your situation changes. It may also be if you have been awarded DLA for a fixed time and this is ending, or you get a letter from DWP.
Don’t claim PIP too early as this can stop your DLA payment prematurely and leave you without money. If you are unsure about the switch, wait until you get a letter from DWP or get in touch with them.
Making the switch
When you do get the letter to make the switch, you need to do it within 4 weeks. If you don’t, your DLA payment could be suspended. You can ring the PIP claim line if you need more time to complete the forms.
If you do find your payment has been suspended due to missing the deadline, you need to call the PIP claim line on 0800 917 222 or textphone 0800 917 7777. These lines are open from 8 am until 6 pm weekdays and are free to call.
Preparing your claim
Most of the time, you will be awarded PIP when you have received DLA, but it isn’t guaranteed, and you do need to make the application. To improve your changes:
- Ensure that you look at your DLA claims as some of the information from it can help fill out the new PIP claim forms
- Get medical evidence of how your condition affects you from your doctor or other medical professionals you have been seeing
- Diary about good and bad days to help show how your condition affects you for the assessment phase
- Keep a list of aids or appliances you use to help you manage everyday life as this is asked for PIP but wasn’t asked for DLA
Starting the claim
You can make your PIP claim by ringing the claim line. Remember to do it within 4 weeks of the date of the letter to avoid suspension of your DLA claim. To make the claim, you need to call the PIP claim line on 0800 917 222 or textphone 0800 917 7777. These lines are open from 8 am until 6 pm weekdays and are free to call.
What happens next?
You will receive your information pack from DWP, usually within a fortnight. You then need to complete it within 4 weeks. There is help on the website or from people such as Citizens Advice if you are struggling to complete the form.
Check in with doctors or other medical specialists as soon as possible to get the evidence you need. Don’t delay your application if you can’t get an appointment within the window, you can always provide this afterwards.
If you have a Motability vehicle
Your qualification for a Motability vehicle will be assessed when you move to PIP and you will qualify for it if you get the higher rate of payment, known as the enhanced rate. Rules for this are stricter so you may find you no longer qualify for a Motability vehicle. This means you will have to return the vehicle.
This needs to be done within 8 weeks of the DLA payment stops. This period is extended to 26 weeks if you joined before 2014. You may get a one-off payment from Motability when you return the vehicle depending on when you joined. This payment will be smaller if you keep the car for the full 26 weeks.
You can also appeal the decision to give you the lower rate and remove the vehicle. You need to do this within 1 month of receiving the original decision. You will still need to return the vehicle while the appeal is pending. An appeal can also see you lose more of the benefit than you gain so talk through with benefits experts before making it.