I am still getting DLA, why haven’t I been moved over to PIP yet? 

When Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was first introduced the aim was it would replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for most claimants by 2017. Because of staff shortages at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) this process is unlikely to be completed until 2021 at the earliest.  If you are under 16 you will continue to get DLA until your 16th birthday. If you were born before 8th April 1947 you won't be affected by PIP, and you will continue to receive DLA.
You do not need to do anything until the DWP writes to you and invites you to make a claim for PIP. However it is important that when the DWP do contact you register your claim, you need to do this by the deadline the DWP will give you in the letter. If you do, then your DLA will continue to be paid whilst your PIP claim is registered.  If you don’t then your DLA payment may stop. 
As part of the claim you will need to fill in a PIP form about how your disability affects you. You may also need to attend a face-to-face assessment with a health care professional. We have produced a leaflet with useful tips and general information about changing from DLA to PIP and how to complete the claim form. Download the leaflet, or request a copy by calling our Welfare Benefits Advice Service on 020 8420 6711

What is Universal Credit and how will it affect me? 

Universal Credit (UC) is a means-tested benefit which is a payment to help with your living costs if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.  It is replacing the majority of means-tested benefits and tax credits (known as legacy benefits) for those who are under state pension age (you can check your state pension age at www.gov.uk/state-pension-age).  Most people are no longer able to make claims for legacy benefits (although there are some exceptions). 

The legacy benefits are:

  • Income Support
  • Income Related Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Related Job Seekers Allowance
  • Housing Benefit (unless you are in supported exempt housing/ temporary accommodation/ over pension age)
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
I am on a legacy benefit, what does that mean for me?
Most changes in circumstances will trigger a claim for UC – such as moving in with a partner or moving address. This will mean that your legacy benefit will cease and you will need to make a claim for UC. It could be that you are entitled to more or less benefit. In some circumstances you will have a choice to remain on the legacy benefit although there are many factors to consider as there are many differences between UC and legacy benefits. For example initial waiting days you will not be paid for; the frequency of your payments (usually monthly); or the commitments you need to agree to in order to remain eligible.  
What if nothing changes for me, can I stay on my current benefits?
If there is no change in your circumstances or you choose to remain on your current benefits there should be no issue immediately. However at some point you will need to make the change. Through a process called ‘managed migration’ legacy benefit claimants will need to claim UC to continue to receive payment – there will be no choice when you are informed that you need to do so.  The DWP's process of moving more than 2.5 million households currently receiving legacy benefits and tax credits across to UC has begun. Currently there is a pilot underway in the areas of Bolton and Medway.  Whilst there has not been a timetable has been provided as to when the pilot will end and full migration will begin the aim is that managed migration is completed by the end of 2024.
What will I have to do?
The DWP will contact you by letter to tell you that you will need to take steps to make a claim for UC.  You will need to make a claim within three months from the date at the top of the letter. You will be advised to make a claim online however will have the option to do so by telephone if you are not able to do so online. The DWP have agreed that they can increase this deadline during the pilot phase if there is good reason to do so, although this is at the discretion of the case manager. If it is not accepted then there could be a period of time when you are left without benefit.

I am worried that I will be worse off on Universal Credit

There are some people who will be better off and unfortunately others that will be worse off.  Transitional Protection is a provision in place which will allow an extra amount which tops up your payment so that you are not substantially worse off when you move onto UC. If you are moved onto UC as part of managed migration or were in receipt of a severe disability premium on a legacy benefit you should not be worse off.  If this happens you should seek advice.

I am unhappy with the decision made by the DWP, what can I do?

You should ask for a mandatory reconsideration. When requesting the reconsideration you should clearly state why you are disputing the decision and if possible send in supporting evidence.

If you're not happy with the outcome of the reconsideration, you can appeal to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS). A tribunal panel will make a decision based on the facts and law. You can request either a paper or oral hearing. An oral hearing will normally be held at a venue near you where you and your representative will have the opportunity to present your case. Oral hearings have a higher success rate.

Normally you have one month from the decision to request a mandatory reconsideration or an appeal . It is important to appeal in time otherwise you might lose the chance to challenge the decision. If you miss the deadline, a late request can be made if you have good reasons is accepted why it’s late.

How Aspire can help:

If you have a spinal cord injury and would like a benefits check or are worried about UC or any other issues then our Welfare Benefits Advice team are available to advise you.

Tel : 0208 420 6711  Email:  [email protected]


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