We have put together an overview of the main changes to the benefits system that are likely to affect spinal injured people who are claiming. Also included are some useful contacts if you require further information.

If you are worried about any aspect of benefits, please email [email protected] to let us know your concerns.

What's happening with Personal Independent Payments (PIP)?

PIP is the new disability payment, which is starting to be phased in this year to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for all claimants by 2017.
The government recognises that people with a disability have higher living costs and this benefit is to help those claimants. PIP, like DLA, is based on the impact of the disability and not the condition or severity.

The Department of Work and Pensions are currently taking new claims only. 
From October 2013, the DWP will start writing to DLA claimants, whose DLA awards are due for re-assessment, asking if they would like to claim PIP. If an existing DLA claimant makes a claim for PIP then their DLA payments would normally continue until their PIP claim is decided

The DWP envisages the peak period of reassessments will not be until 2015.

There are three basic steps to making a claim:

• Claimants call the DWP to see if the eligibility criteria it met, and to request a form.
• Completing of the form, which consists of 12 questions about your daily living.
• Most people will be asked to attend a face-to-face meeting with a medical assessor from either ATOS or Capita.

At the moment, you don’t need to do anything, unless your needs or circumstances change.

What is 'Access to Work'?

Access to Work grant can assists people with a disability, who are in paid employment, about to start work, or self employed or on a certain work placement by providing practical support and equipment at the work place.
The help can pay for :
• specialist equipment
• support worker
• travel when you can’t use public transport
• a communicator at a job interview

Please phone your relevant office for more information :

Where you live Your regional Centre
South East England, London, East of England London: 020 8426 3110
South West England, Wales, West Midlands, East Midlands Cardiff: 02920 423291
Scotland, North West England, North East England, Yorkshire and Humberside

Glasgow: 0141 950 5327

Will I be affected by the Benefit Cap?

From September 2013 there will be a cap on the amount of benefits you can receive, unless you are exempt from this rule. If you are a lone parent or if you have a partner you will only be paid a maximum of £500 a week in benefits and for single people you will only be paid a maximum of £350.
You will be exempt from the cap if anyone in your household is getting:
• attendance allowance
• disability living allowance
• Personal Independence Payment
• industrial injuries benefits
• war disablement pension/armed forces compensation scheme payments
• war widow's pension

Or if you or your partner are getting:
• employment and support allowance support component.
• working tax credit
(If you live in Bromley, Croydon, Enfield or Haringey the Benefit Cap applies form April 2013)

What about the Independent Living Fund

We are still waiting for a Government decision on the future of the Independent Living Fund (ILF). There is a public consultation as the moment asking for views on closing the ILF in 2012 and transferring funding to local authorities. We will keep you posted.

Useful contacts

For help and advise on all government services and information, visit: www.gov.uk