Personal Independence Payments to be launched in stages – roadtesting starts in Spring 2013

The Personal Independence Payments scheme (PIP), the benefit that will replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), is to be introduced in stages – starting in Spring next year, the Department for Work and Pensions announced yesterday.

The Bootle Assessment Centre will start taking new claims from Merseyside, North West England, Cumbria, Cheshire and North East England so the Department can road test the robustness of its new procedures. Once the system has been tested, new claims from the rest of the country will be accepted from Summer 2013.

Existing DLA claimants are expected to start to be transferred over to Personal Independence Payments in Autumn next year – with everyone who qualifies moving across to the new benefit by the Spring of 2016.

We received the following announcement from the Office for Disability Issues yesterday (13 March 2012):

Dear All,

I am writing to let you know that DWP have today confirmed plans to introduce Personal Independence Payment in stages so that they can learn from each stage and get the whole process right.

The Department have also announced how the Disability and Carers Service will organise itself internally to deliver the new benefit.

New claims to Personal Independence Payment

Bootle Benefits Centre will administer the first new claims from spring 2013, from areas including Merseyside, North West England, Cumbria, Cheshire and North East England. People in these locations will be the first to claim the new benefit.

This region has been chosen for a number of reasons. Primarily because Bootle handles about the right number of new claims to provide a meaningful test of Personal Independence Payment processes and IT functionality without overloading new systems.

Bootle is also a high performing unit, and has a good track record on implementing innovative ways of working.

The remaining network of benefits centres currently administering new claims for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will start to take on new claims for PIP from summer 2013, once evidence is in place that processes are working as intended. In addition, this network will handle continuing DLA claims for children.

However the Department is currently reviewing operational structures in readiness for Personal Independence Payment and the existing regional boundaries for the benefits centres may change. We will let you know the outcome of the review.

Reassessing existing DLA claimants for Personal Independence Payment

If a person is already getting DLA they will need to make a claim for the new benefit. DWP will write to them to let them know when they can make a claim to Personal Independence Payment and how to do that.

If a person’s DLA award becomes subject to change after autumn 2013, for example if they have a change in their condition, or new evidence comes to light which means that we may need to look at that their entitlement again, DWP will ask them if they want to claim Personal Independence Payment. It will not be possible to review their DLA award. If they decide not to claim PIP, their DLA award will end.

All current DLA claimants of working age will have been contacted about assessment for Personal Independence Payment by spring 2016.

Blackpool Benefits Centre (formerly known as the Disability Contact and Processing Unit) based at Warbreck House, Blackpool, will administer all reassessment activity.

DWP expect to publish a further policy briefing document on reassessment shortly.

DWP will be consulting on these arrangements and other features of Personal Independence Payment. We will also begin to draft Regulations under the powers we have in the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

ODI Communications Team

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