A MAJOR change to disability benefits is rolling out from this week – and thousands could be better off for it.
Personal Independent Payment (PIP) awards will now be extended by 12 months, the Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed.
It means if you are currently getting the benefit, the DWP will give you longer to reclaim.
The changes came into force yesterday, September 6.
People aged 16 or over with a long-term illness or disability can get up to £148.50 a week in benefits through PIP.
You are assessed by a health professional in order to work out the level of help you can get – and your rate is regularly reviewed to make sure you’re getting the right support.
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But there's a big backlog in assessments – according to Citizens Advice, 327,000 people are waiting an average of five months just to get one.
The charity estimated £294million of awards were being held-up due to the long waiting list as of July.
Delays to PIP reviews have also caused people issues getting Blue Badges – which means you can park in parking bays closer to where you need to get to.
Now, the DWP has announced that if you are currently getting PIP and your claim is coming up to renewal, reviews will be extended by 12 months.
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It means you won't have to reclaim as much and you are entitled to the benefit for another year.
A DWP spokesperson said: "We will automatically be extending existing claims awaiting review by up to 12 months and will do this 35 days before their end date.
"The longer extension provides greater certainty for claimants and in particular help with continuing to access other support for example a blue badge."
You can request a letter from the DWP confirming the changes and their continued benefit entitlement.
If you need a letter confirming the extension before October 31, they should contact the PIP enquiry helpline on 0800 1214433.
How much do I get from PIP?
PIP is made up of two parts – whether you get one or both depends on how severely your condition affects you.
How much you get also depends on how your condition affects you.
You may get the mobility part of PIP if you need help going out or moving around. The weekly rate for this is either £23.70 or £62.55.
While on the daily living part of PIP, the weekly rate is either £60 or £89.60.
You could also get both elements, so up to £152.05 in total.
Payments are usually made every four weeks directly into your bank account, and they're tax free.
Just bear in mind that if you get PIP and constant attendance allowance or war pensioners' mobility supplement, the daily living part of your PIP will be reduced.
How do I apply for PIP?
You can make a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim by calling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222.
There are also other ways to claim if you find it difficult to use a telephone. See Gov.uk for more information.
You'll need personal information to hand like your date of birth, National Insurance number, bank or building society account number.
You'll also need to provide your doctor's details.
You'll then be sent a form to fill in, after which you'll be invited for an assessment or your health or social care worker will be asked for information.
After this you'll be sent a letter telling you if your claim has been successful.
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