The DWP has announced the start of the next stage in the process of the transfer of current disability living allowance (DLA) claims to claims for personal independence allowance (PIP). Simon Osborne outlines the plans.
The timing of the transfer process overall is essentially determined by DWP policy – ie, not by legislation, which allows wide discretion. Under regulation 3(1) of The Personal Independence Payment (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2013, the Secretary of State, ‘may by written notification invite a DLA entitled person to make a claim for personal independence payment’.
The initial stage of the process, which concerns the transfer, only of certain current claims for DLA, by being ‘invited’ to claim PIP, was introduced throughout Great Britain between October 2013 and July 2015. The DLA claimants concerned are those turning 16, and those aged under 65 on 8 April 2013, reporting a change of circumstance or whose award is due to expire. Also, those aged 16–64 who want to make a claim for PIP instead (ie, rather than wait to be invited) can do so.
For this initial stage, the Secretary of State was not actually required to ‘invite’ a claim for PIP in certain cases (turning 16 and change of circumstances) where he had not set a ‘relevant date’ – ie, in practice had not yet extended the initial transfer process to a certain postcode area. However, all postcode areas in Great Britain had been given a ‘relevant date’ by July, with the result that the initial stage is now fully in place everywhere. For claimants with DLA awards due to expire, it is understood that claimants are usually contacted 20 weeks before the award is due to expire and invited to claim PIP.
From July 2015
The next stage, which involves the transfer of indefinite and ‘long-term’ DLA awards, began in July. Here ‘long-term’ is regarded as a DLA award due to expire after September 2017. (It is assumed that those whose awards are due to expire before then are transferred under the initial stage described above.)
This has been introduced a little earlier than expected, as October was widely thought of as the start point. However, as a matter of DWP policy, there was nothing actually to prevent this stage from beginning early.
The amended PIP Handbook (p16) gives an overview of the plans:
‘From July 2015
We also started to invite people who currently have a long-term or indefinite award of DLA to claim PIP. This means if their DLA ends after September 2017 or if their award has no end date.
We will do this gradually. It will take around two years for us to contact everyone on DLA – we expect all invitations to claim PIP for existing DLA claimants to have been issued by late 2017. Claimants with an indefinite award made under the special rules for terminal illness or with a fixed term award expiring after late 2017 will be contacted towards the end of this this period.’
There is a bit more detail in the updated ‘Timetable for PIP’ (updated August 2015). This says that the two-year (or so) period of this next phase started with people living in postcode areas BB, BL, CO, DE, L, LE, M, NR, OL, PR, ST, WA and WN. From September the postcode areas were extended to include BA, FY, BR, BH, BS, CB, CT, CF, CM, CW, DA, DT, CH, GL, HX, HD, LA, LU, PL, PO, RG, RM, SP, SS, SO, SK, TA, TQ and TR.
It is also pointed out that, ‘not everyone in these postcode areas will be contacted to claim PIP right away. Claimants can be contacted anytime between 13 July 2015 and 30 September 2017.’
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