BENEFITS EXPERT: Benefits for those with disabilities

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I recently contacted you about my son who has learning disabilities and works part-time and you asked if he received any benefit on account of his disability. I had not realised that there was such a benefit. Can you tell me more about it?

The benefit I had in mind was Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Your son might be able to qualify for it but this would depend upon how his disability affects him.

You cannot predict if a person will be eligible for PIP, and the best way to find out is for the person to claim. PIP is a benefit for people who have a physical or mental disability and need help in participating in everyday life or find it difficult to get around.

Entitlement to PIP is worked out by awarding the disabled person ‘points’ in respect of tasks that cause them difficulty.

Whether they qualify for PIP, and how much they get will be based upon their total points score.

The sort of problems for which a person with learning difficulties might be awarded points would include those associated with such things as verbal communication, reading and understanding, engaging face to face with others and dealing with money. As regards difficulties in getting about, points are awarded if the person’s learning difficulties give them problems with planning and following journeys.

The person will be asked to provide details of their situation on a form ‘How your disability affects you’, but the first step in claiming is to phone the PIP claim line on 0800 917 2222.

Another person may call on their behalf but they must be present when the call is made.

I have been receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the High Rate for Care and Mobility since 1993.

I have been told that I will have to be tested for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

This I believe is a benefit for those aged from 16 to 64. Even though I am now 67, I am told I am six weeks too young to be able to keep my DLA.

How can it be that I must claim a benefit for which I am too old to qualify?

As you were under the age of 65 on April 8, 2013, you will have to be tested for PIP. You will be invited to make a claim for it sometime between October 2015 and late 2017.

Even though you will be older than the maximum age for claiming PIP by then you will still have to be tested. It is your age at April 8, 2013 that matters, not the age when you are eventually tested.