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Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is to replace Disability Living Allowance for people of working age, between April 2013 and March 2016. The changes will affect existing working age DLA claimants, as well as those making a new claim. For those existing DLA claimants found not to satisfy the conditions for PIP on reassessment, their DLA will stop.

At first glance, PIP seems much like DLA – it is a non-means-tested, non-taxable benefit to help with the extra costs of disability. Like DLA, it has a mobility component payable at two rates, but instead of a care component it has a “daily living” component. Whereas the DLA care component has three rates, the PIP daily living component will have only two.

The Government’s intention is that PIP will focus support on those “who face the greatest challenges to living independently.” A key aim of the new benefit is to deliver savings of over £1 billion a year by 2014-15, rising to £1.5 billion a year by 2016-17. Other controversial aspects of the proposals include the new assessment and the intention to focus on those with the “greatest need”, the fact that fewer people will be exempt from assessment compared with DLA, the proposal for periodic reviews of entitlement for all claimants, and the proposal to take into account the use of aids and adaptations by disabled people. The Government has not yet announced its final plans for the PIP assessment – a second public consultation on the draft assessment criteria and thresholds ended on 30 April – but under its latest proposals for the PIP assessment, 500,000 fewer people would receive PIP by 2015-16 than would have got DLA under the existing rules.

The DWP’s responses to the public consultation on the draft assessment and to further consultations on the detailed benefit rules underpinning the new benefit are expected later this year. The draft regulations setting out the assessment criteria and the detailed rules for PIP are expected to be laid before Parliament following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 5 December, with other regulations covering transitional arrangements and technical and consequential changes to follow later

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