Thousands more people in the UK may be able to claim Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) benefits, and also Attendance Allowance (AA) after a change in the rules. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have announced the changes, some of which will come into effect from 3 April.
About three million people in the UK receive PIP payments, which are designed to help people with long term physical disabilities or mental health conditions with their living costs. It is available to claimants over the age of 16 who have trouble carrying out the tasks of everyday living.
PIP payments are not means tested and they are paid even if the claimant is working. The payments will rise by 10.1% in line with inflation from April. Furthermore, The Manchester Evening News reports that those who are already in receipt of PIP will automatically qualify for the new health element of Universal Credit, which will be phased in by 2026.
Those with certain medical conditions can also claim for the mobility element of PIP as well as for support with everyday tasks such as washing and dressing. Further advice about how to apply and the assessment process is available from the Citizen’s Advice website.
The rules have also been changed to allow terminally ill people to claim the highest level of disability benefits for up to a year, without attending a medical assessment in the majority of cases. Until recently, the terminally ill could only claim benefits for up to six months.
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove said: “Helping people in the final year of their lives to get faster access to financial support is the right thing to do, providing the dignity they deserve.”
“Extending this support will ensure more people can concentrate on making the most of their remaining time with loved ones, rather than worrying about finances. I am especially grateful to my predecessors in the role for the vital work they did, in bringing forward this hugely important reform, which I am glad to confirm will be implemented very soon.”
Terminal illness support charity Marie Curie’s senior policy and research manager Mark Jackson said: “We are pleased to see these changes come into effect, having campaigned alongside terminally ill people and the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association to scrap the previous six-month rule.”
He added: “A terminal diagnosis should not come with the added stress of financial struggles and these changes are an important step in the right direction to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
In further reforms to the welfare system, the government has announced plans to scrap the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). This is currently used to decide which benefits a claimant is entitled to in certain circumstances. However, campaigners have long criticised the system, describing it as unfair and discriminatory.
Instead, the PIP assessment will be used to decide which elements of Universal Credit a claimant is entitled to.
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