If the recent changes to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) have affected you, your Personal Independence Payment (PIP) award may be less than you were getting on DLA or it may have stopped entirely. Find out how to challenge your PIP decision, and make ends meet in the short term.Then look at ways of managing your money to cope with a lower income.
When does DLA end?
PIP is replacing DLA for people aged 16 to 64. If you get DLA and your claim has an end date, you’ll be asked to claim PIP before your DLA ends.
If you get DLA and your claim does not have an end date, you can be asked to claim PIP at any time.
If you think the decision to reduce or stop paying PIP is wrong
If you believe the decision is wrong, you can ask for it to be looked at again.
You must do this within one month of getting the decision letter.
This is called a mandatory reconsideration.
Reasons why you can ask for the decision to be reconsidered are:
- you have new evidence affecting the decision
- there is a factual mistake you think could affect the decision
- it appears the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has misunderstood something you told them
- you might have told DWP something they appear not to have taken into account when they made their decision.
You must ask for a reconsideration before you can appeal against the decision.
The decision letter should tell you how to ask for a mandatory reconsideration but if you need help to do this, an advice organisation like Citizens Advice will be able to support you.
Help if your PIP award is less than you got on DLA
If your award is reduced or stopped, DWP will continue to pay your existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for at least four weeks to give you additional, limited support.
This is to help you prepare for coping with less money.
You’ll need to work out if it’s possible to save any money or increase your income as soon as possible.
Help if you have an emergency expense
There might be some help available if you need to find money quickly for an emergency or unexpected expense.
Local welfare schemes
If you are facing a sudden emergency and are on a very low income, you might be able to apply to your council’s local welfare scheme for vouchers to pay for essentials such as:
- household items, such as cookers or fridges.
Each county in the UK runs its own scheme. To find out what’s available in your area, contact your local council directly.
Or use the postcode finder on the Child Poverty Action Group website which lists the local welfare schemes in your area, regardless of whether you have children or not.
If you have been getting some income-related benefits, such as:
- Pension credit
- Income support
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
for at least 26 weeks you might be able to apply for a Budgeting Loan to pay for an emergency expense.
You will have to repay the amount you borrow within two years.
Check you’re getting the right benefits and entitlements
If your income has reduced, it’s important to make sure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to.
You can use a benefits checker to check on the Turn2US website
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can also carry out a full benefits check to make sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to.
It might be worth checking if you qualify for charitable help and grants. To find out more, read our guide Charitable grants for ill or disabled people.
Work out your income and outgoings
It’s really important to take another look at your budget and add up all the money coming in and going out.
Cut everyday spending costs
Now you’ve got your basic budget, take a look to see if there are any opportunities to make a few cutbacks.
Motability Transitional Package
If you joined the Motability scheme before January 2013 but no longer qualify under PIP, you might be eligible for a one-off £2,000 payment.
This is part of a transitional package to help you continue to meet your mobility needs by buying a used car.
If you joined the Motability scheme from 1 January 2013 onwards, you might qualify for a one-off payment of £1,000.
For more information on how the transitional arrangements will work on the Motability website.
If you need to buy another vehicle, read our guide Find the right car for your budget.
Increasing your income
If you would like help to find work or to prepare for work, there are organisations which can give you the support you might need if you have a disability or learning difficulty.
To find out more about support and advice to get you back into work, download the free factsheet Careers and work for disabled people on the Disability Rights UK website.
If you have a disability, health or mental health condition, find more about Access to Work, a government scheme helping you with the costs of getting into work or staying in work on the GOV.UK websiteopens in new window.
Rent a room scheme
If you have a spare room in your home, the first £7,500 a year from renting it out is tax free from April 2016.
If you can, try saving a little bit of money to give yourself a cushion if you face an emergency expense in the future or to help you pay for things like Christmas or Birthday presents.
If you’re coping with a sudden drop in income, it can be tempting to borrow money.
However, it’s important to be sure you’re able to pay the money back or you could end up in debt.
If you are borrowing money to pay off debts, or to pay essential household bills or rent, you should get some free debt advice to find out how you can get back on track.
If you’re worried about debts, get advice
If your bills are mounting up and you’re struggling to pay them, it’s really important you get debt advice even if you think you don’t have any spare money to pay them off.
A free and impartial debt adviser will:
- treat everything you say in confidence
- never judge you or make you feel bad about your situation
- help you to work things out with the people you owe money to
- suggest ways of dealing with debts you might not know about
- always be happy to talk to you, however small or big your problem is
- check you have applied for all the benefits and entitlements available to you
- find ways to manage your debts even if you think you have no money to pay them off.
You can get advice in the best way for you: over the phone, online or face to face.
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