Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age, starting from April 2013. Part 4 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 provides the framework for PIP, but the detailed rules for the new benefit – including the assessment criteria – are to be set out in regulations.
Social security legislation requires the Secretary of State to review benefit levels each year to determine whether they have retained their value relative to prices. For most benefits annual uprating is not mandatory, but historically governments have exercised their discretion by increasing the principal means-tested working-age benefits each April in line with prices. In his 2012 Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced that increases in most working-age benefits would be limited to 1% a year for three years from 2013-14, as part of a package to deliver additional welfare savings of £3.7 billion a year by 2015-16. The Bill amends primary legislation to enable the decisions on uprating in 2014-15 and 2015-16 to be implemented.
The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) was introduced in October 2008 to assess entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Between now and 2014, 1.5 million incapacity benefits claimants will also undergo the WCA. The WCA has however proved controversial and remains so, depsite changes to the test itself and how it is applied as a result of Government an independent reviews.
As a result of measures in the Welfare Reform Act 2012, certain elements of the discretionary Social Fund scheme will be replaced by new locally based provision delivered by local authorities in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.
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.
Starting from next year, Universal Credit (UC) will begin to replace a range of means-tested benefits and tax credits for working age families. The intention is to simplify and streamline the benefits system for claimants, making it easier for people to understand; to reduce the financial and administrative barriers to work; to tackle in-work poverty; and to bear down on fraud and error.
Cold Weather Payments of 25 pounds a week are made to certain recipients of Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit during periods of very cold weather. To ‘trigger’ the payments, the average temperature at a specified weather station must be recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees or below for seven consecutive days.
Statistics on working-age claimants of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and its predecessor incapacity-related benefits in each constituency in Great Britain. In November 2011 there were 2.57 million claimants of these benefits in Great Britain.
The 2010 Spending Review announced that contributory Employment and Support Allowance for claimants in the Work-Related Activity Group would be limited to 12 months. The time limit takes effect on 30 April 2012. For some claimants, benefit will stop immediately. All recipients of contributory ESA in the WRAG, including Incapacity Benefit claimants “migrated” to ESA on reassessment, will be affected by the time limit. Savings of almost £1.5 billion a year are expected by 2015-16.
The Welfare Reform Bill has its Third Reading in the House of Lords on 31 January 2012. At Report Stage in the Lords, the government suffered defeats on amendments relating to under-occupation of social housing, the Employment and Support Allowance, the proposed benefit cap, and child support maintenance
Most but not all benefits are uprated in April each year, by reference to the increase in prices over the year to the previous September. The current Government has adopted the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) as the measure of inflation for uprating purposes. CPI tends to rise more slowly than the measures used. previously. The CPI for September 2011 was higher than expected, and media reports have suggested that the Government was considering changing the basis for uprating benefits. In the Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced that while benefits would increase by the full CPI from April 2011, the couple and lone parent elements of Working Tax Credit would be frozen and the child element of Child Tax Credit would increase by less than was planned.
This paper has been prepared for the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons. For information on the provision in the Bill relating to the introduction of Universal Credit, please see the complementary Library Research Paper, 11/24. Besides Universal Credit, the Bill proposes a number of other significant welfare reforms, including replacement of the current Disability Living Allowance, restriction of Housing Benefit entitlement to social housing tenants whose accommodation is larger than they need, time-limiting the payment of contributory Employment and Support Allowance to twelve months, and capping the total amount of benefit that can be claimed.
On 11 November 2010 the Government set out plans for a 'Universal Credit' to replace most in work and out of work benefits for people of working age. This note gives an overview of the main features of the Universal Credit and looks at some of the issues raised by the proposals.
The June 2010 Budget announced that a new "objective medical assessment" would be introduced for both new and existing working age DLA claims from 2013-14, saving over £1 billion a year by 2014-15 and reducing the DLA caseload by 20%. On 6 December the Government published a consultation paper, Disability Living Allowance reform, which sets out plans for an entirely new benefit - the "Personal Independence Payment" - to replace DLA, starting from 2013-14.