Disability benefits: what’s changed, what hasn’t, what to do now

Disability benefits: what’s changed, what hasn’t, what to do now

As we enter summer and things begin to move towards a new normal, now’s the perfect time to make sure you’re on top of your family’s financial situation. We’ve got the low-down on what’s changed for disability and carer’s benefits (and what hasn’t), and what you need to do now.

Summer action plan

So whats important to do right now?

If you need to make a new claim for DLA or PIP, don’t delay! (And don’t forget to ring the DWP for a claim pack, as these are date stamped)

If you’ve started a claim and you are worried you can’t get it back in time, ring the DWP to ask for an extension

If your child is approaching 16, start gathering evidence now, even if their DLA claim has been extended

If your child needs to be reassessed due to a change in circumstances, go ahead and request a reassessment now

If you disagree with a decision about your claim, the timescales for requesting a mandatory reconsideration or lodging and appeal are short and haven’t changed, so don’t delay

If your income has dropped, check whether you’re eligible for Carer’s Allowance and make a claim if so

If you need help and advice at any step along the way, contact Amaze SENDIASS on 01273 772289 or email sendiass@amazesussex.org.uk.

It may take a bit longer for us to help than usual, so do get in touch as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the extension period is up!

What’s changed? (And what hasn’t.)

It can be hard to keep track of what’s changed and what hasn’t, so we’ve put together an overview of where things stand right now (July 2020) below. You can also stay up to date by checking in on the money and essentials section of our coronavirus advice pages, which we regularly update.

New claims for DLA and PIP

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is still taking new claims for DLA and PIP as usual and there are no changes to eligibility criteria or rates.

baby with nasal tube touching the face of a smiling womanYou can claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if your child needs more help or looking after than other children their age because of their additional needs. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is the equivalent benefit for adults aged 16+.

You can phone or email the Amaze helpline for advice and help. It may take a bit longer for us to help, but don’t miss out on these valuable benefits by delaying starting a claim. Do ring DWP for a DLA claim pack as these are date stamped and you are likely to be offered more time than usual to get the claim completed. There are no dates on downloaded packs and awards are not backdated!

If you have started a PIP claim and you are worried you can’t get it back in time do ring the DWP to ask for an extension.

At the moment, DWP are extending current DLA awards for young people as they reach 16, but this may change at short notice.

At some point in the future, DWP will invite them to start a PIP claim. It’s worth getting prepared for this now by gathering evidence: assessments, reports, Education Health and Care plans (EHCPs) and so on.

Renewals and reassessments

The government has announced that will be no new reviews or reassessments across all benefits for three months.

This includes DLA and PIP, as well as Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance.

The DWP is currently (as of July 2020) sending out letters to say that claims coming up for renewal are being extended for six months. Some people receiving this letter had already sent in their claim. If so, the DWP will process this claim eventually. You won’t have to fill out the form all over again in six months’ time. If you have an existing DLA claim, you may still be sent a review pack. You will get more time to complete this than usual but don’t ignore it as you will need to get it done eventually. The same applies if your young person is already on PIP and gets a PIP renewal pack.

If you have a review pack, we suggest you get on and complete this regardless of the extension, especially if you will be asking Amaze for help with this, otherwise we will not have the capacity to help everyone when the current exceptional extensions come to an end.

boy at Disability Pride having face paintedIf your child is getting DLA and due to turn 16 soon, there is a chance you may still get asked to claim PIP. Do not ignore this invitation as you don’t want a break in your DLA award. You will be given extra time to complete the pack but you still need to do it. Keep the DWP informed and ask for more time if you need it.

If you were due to ask for your child’s claim to be reassessed because of a change in circumstances you can still do this.

For example, when your child turns five you may want to request a reassessment if you feel they meet criteria to receive the mobility component of DLA.

You can continue to phone or email the Amaze helpline for advice about reviews and reassessments.

Face to face assessments

The DWP have stopped all face-to-face assessments for health and disability-related benefits including PIP for the time being.

If you or your young person have a scheduled appointment, you do not have to go to this or make contact. The assessment provider will contact you.

The suspension of reviews and assessments will be kept under regular review and extended if necessary. People experiencing a change in their needs are encouraged to contact the DWP to ensure they are receiving the correct level of support.

Reconsiderations and appeals

If you do not agree with the decision about your DLA or PIP claim, be aware the timescales for requesting a mandatory reconsideration or lodging an appeal are short and have not changed.

If you need extra time to get advice do contact DWP and ask for more time given the current crisis.

You can continue to phone or email the Amaze helpline for advice about reconsiderations and appeals.

Appeal hearings held face to face have been put on hold.

woman using video conferencing software on laptopThe Tribunals Service may offer you a hearing by phone or video conference. They will contact you to let you know what is happening. Do let them know if what they are suggesting will not work for you or your child, so they can make other adjustments. If your appeal hearing is less than a week away and you have not yet heard you should call them.

Carer's Allowance

The government has changed the Carer’s Allowance rules so that a break in caring can be ignored if it is caused by either the disabled person or their carer having Coronavirus symptoms.

If your income has dropped at the moment it may be time to claim Carer’s Allowance.

Check if your child gets the relevant rates of DLA or PIP to claim Carer’s Allowance if you are now under the earnings limit of £128 per week after deductions.


Benefits advice and information from Amaze

We are working hard to maintain our offer of direct support to families to claim DLA and PIP.

Although we cannot meet families and young people face to face, we are able to contact you by phone or email. We also have a range of fact sheets you can download with advice and information about claiming DLA and PIP, including reconsiderations and appeals.

Learn more about how Amaze can help with DLA and PIP.

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