The welfare system is there to help us should we end up in difficulties – it’s the rainy day fund that we all, collectively as a society, contribute to through our salaries.
One way in which it’s there to help is if we are to suffer from severe ill health or disability. Yet, at a time when you’re emotionally and physically focused on coping with other things, you can easily be forgiven for getting a little lost when it comes to understanding how it works.
You might well have heard of the Disability Living Allowance, but is this the right thing for you?
Changes to the Disability Living Allowance
The Disability Living Allowance used to be the main benefit paid to people who had a physical or mental disability that caused them to need help with their own personal care or mobility.
However, in April 2013 the Government introduced Personal Independence Payments. These have been gradually phased in ever since and have replaced much of the function of the DLA. When introduced, the Government said the PIP aimed to target resources more effectively to the people who needed it most.
It’s likely, therefore, that if you need to claim for help with everyday tasks it’ll be a PIP that you need to claim.
What is the Personal Independence Payment?
As the Money Advice service points out, the PIP:
- is tax free
- is a weekly payment
- is not affected by income or savings
- consists of two parts – personal care and mobility
- ranges from £21.80 to £139.75 depending on the needs of the applicant
- is determined by a one-on-one assessment of the applicant
People on the DLA are being transferred over to the PIP, with everyone set to have moved over by September 2017.
Controversy over the move from DLA to PIP
The transition from the DLA to PIP has not been completely smooth. Campaigners have criticised the way in which the assessments are carried out and many people have appealed against decisions which would have cut or reduced the amount of money they were paid under the DLA. Many of these appeals have been successful, leading to calls that people in need are being denied the help that they need under the new system.
The move over to the new system is yet to be complete and there is still debate over whether further change is needed, which shows that this is still an area open to change going forward.
Has the Disability Living Allowance been scrapped?
That doesn’t mean that the Disability Living Allowance has disappeared completely, however.
If you are claiming for a child aged under 16, the DLA is still for you. Like the PIP, this is tax free, paid weekly and not affected by income or savings. Also like the PIP, this has care and mobility components – with payments graded depending on the needs of the child in question.
The DLA is also still claimed by people who were in receipt of the benefit before 2013 and born before April 8, 1948.