From 8th April 2013 the UK government will begin introducing a new benefits system for people with disabilities.

What is changing?

Changes are being made to the way people with disabilities claim benefits from the government. The current Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will be replaced with the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

What is PIP?

PIP is a benefit provided by the government for people with disabilities. The benefit is not means-tested or taxable and can be used to pay for things such as wheelchair accessible vehicles, to help people with disabilities lead more independent lives. PIP will be made up of two parts – a daily living component and a mobility component. Both of these will have two rates of payment – standard or enhanced.

Who will be affected?

The changes will affect all people aged 16 to 64 who currently receive DLA. Under the new system all claimants will need to reapply for PIP. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will write to affected DLA claimants between August 2013 and Spring 2016 to advise when DLA payments are due to end. Claimants will then need to apply for PIP.

Even those who currently have indefinite or lifetime DLA awards will be subject to the changeover.

Is there anyone not affected?

The following groups will not be affected by the changes:

  • Children, who currently receive DLA, will continue to do so until they reach the age of 16.
  • People aged 65 and over, who already receive DLA, will continue to do so.
  • People who receive the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement will be unaffected.

Who is eligible for PIP?

All people aged 16 to 64, who currently receive DLA, will need to undergo an assessment to decide if they are eligible for PIP. The majority of assessments will involve a face to face consultation, along with information and evidence provided by the claimant which will be used to assess their ability to carry out a range of everyday activities. A decision will then be made on whether the claimant is entitled to PIP. Following a successful award, DLA payments will end and the new PIP payments will begin.

What effect will PIP have on Motability?

The Motability Scheme will continue to provide lease cars, wheelchairs and scooters. You will still be eligible for a Motability car if you receive one of the following benefits:

  • the higher rate mobility component of DLA,
  • the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP from April 2013,
  • the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement.

Will I get to keep my current Motability car?

For people who are current Motability customers, eligibility to remain on the Scheme will depend on the outcome of their PIP assessment.

Everyone who receives one of the following benefits will be eligible for a Motability car:

  • the higher rate mobility component of DLA (children up to the age of 16 and people aged 65 or over),
  • the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP from April 2013, or
  • the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement.

People who are awarded the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP should not experience any disruptions to their current Motability agreement as the changeover from DLA to PIP takes place.

What if I’m not awarded the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP?

If you currently receive the higher rate mobility component of DLA but are not awarded the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP then you will no longer be eligible for a car through the Motability Scheme. Under these circumstances Motability will:

  • end the leasing agreement.
  • arrange for the vehicle to be returned to them.
  • refund any Advance Payments on a pro-rata basis e.g. if one year of a three year agreement has passed, two thirds of the original Advance Payment will be refunded.
  • be able to offer the vehicle for sale to the customer in some cases, subject to terms and conditions.

What if I’m not awarded PIP but I am appealing, can I keep my Motability vehicle?

Once a claim for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP has been turned down, DLA payments for your car will stop and your vehicle will be returned to Motability. If you decide to appeal the decision, your Motability car will still need to be returned to Motability. If the appeal is successful then you would be eligible to re-join the Scheme.

Do I need to do anything?

No, all affected people will be contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions who will provide information about the new PIP application and assessment process. Claimants do not need to take any action until they have been contacted.