Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Changes to benefits 2013
Summary: This article looks at the changes to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) payments, new terminology and options for those in debt when benefit cuts occur.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
PIP started to replace DLA from April 2013 for people aged 16 to 64 with a long-term health condition or disability. In practise the change to PIP from DLA won't affect the majority of claimants until 2015. What you will receive is not based on your condition, but how your condition affects you. You will need an assessment to work out the level of help you will receive. Your award will be regularly reassessed to make sure you're receiving the right support.
The PIP benefit consists of 2 components relating to mobility and daily living. You may receive a mobility component if you have difficulty in moving about or getting out.
Daily Living Component
You may receive this if you need help with things like:
- preparing/eating food
- washing and bathing
- using the toilet
- managing your medicines or treatments
- making decisions about money
PIP/DLA and debt repayments
The basic principle is that PIP/DLA payments are provided to meet the costs associated with a particular health issue or disability. As such it would not generally be expected to include this kind of income as an opportunity to repay debts. However in a formal solution such as an IVA, it would be appropriate to list the DLA for self or family member as an income, but to offset this in the outgoings with the same amount. It is possible that creditors will require some information about the actual costs requiring the benefit (especially if the DLA/PIP payment is quite high) but the general principle remains.
Benefit cuts and debt repayments
There are some who are finding that the present cuts in benefits are affecting their general finances. When this happens, attention needs to be given to working out the new income/outgoings and by definition - cutbacks will need to be made. It is important to maintain priority payments and to distinguish them from unsecured debt repayments. If we can't meet the required contractual repayments after all reasonable and necessary outgoings are met, we need to explore debt solutions that can work for us.