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1 Claiming for: Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Attendance Allowance (AA) don t delay a guide for people with motor neurone disease

2 A guide to claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance (AA) Living with motor neurone disease (MND), particularly when you are first diagnosed, can be very difficult. Thinking about claiming benefits will probably be the last thing on your mind. However, this leaflet is about important benefits for people with MND. We strongly advise you to claim the relevant benefit for you, as soon as you feel able. PIP, DLA and AA are not taxable or means tested. Can I claim? You may feel that you are not disabled and therefore not entitled to claim disability benefits. However, the term disabled simply means you have an impairment or illness that affects your ability to do everyday things. If you are unsure about claiming, contact our helpline MND Connect for guidance: You can claim even if you: have someone looking after you do not have someone looking after you do not want someone looking after you live alone or live with someone are not registered disabled are not on other support benefits are working have savings Personal Independence Payment (PIP) What is it? Between 2013 and 2018 PIP will gradually replace DLA to support people aged 16 to 64 who have a health condition or disability. PIP has two components, one for daily living support and one for mobility. If you qualify, you could 1

3 be awarded money for one or both parts, at either a standard or enhanced rate. If you need help with washing, cooking, eating, dressing or going to the toilet (daily living component) or you find it difficult to walk or get around (mobility component) you should think about claiming. When can I claim? To claim, you must have needed help for three months or more (to fast track, which avoids this qualifying period, see Special Rules, page 4). If you are approaching 65, you may wish to claim for PIP while you still have time. This is because PIP offers a mobility component, which is not available with AA. You can remain on PIP (or DLA) if you have already received an award and then turn 65, but if you receive the standard mobility component, you cannot move up to enhanced after 65. How do I claim? New claimants: PIP is available to all new claimants from 10 June After this date you will not be able to make new claims for DLA. In all cases, payment of a successful claim will only be backdated to the date you requested the claim pack, not to the date you were diagnosed or your problems started. If you are thinking of making a new claim, you can check how this works by searching for PIP at the GOV.UK website or contact the DWP by phone when PIP becomes available in your area (you can have someone phone on your behalf if necessary): New claims: Text phone: The first stage of the application is completed over the phone and determines if you will be fast tracked. You are allowed to ask someone to help you if this is difficult due to speech or other impairment. The second stage involves completing a form, which asks you to describe how your long-term health condition or disability affects you (see Tips for filling in the forms on page 4 and information on face to face assessment on page 6). Existing DLA claimants: Existing DLA claimants will be contacted by the DWP to explain when they need to transfer to PIP. The transfer of existing claims for DLA will take until 2018 to 2

4 complete. When notified, you must reapply for PIP even if you have an indefinite or lifetime award for DLA (unless you are over 65, in which case your DLA will continue for the length of the existing award). Disability Living Allowance (DLA) What is it? DLA is a benefit for people under 65 with disabilities, which works in a similar way to PIP. When can I claim? From 10 June 2013, you will no longer be able to claim DLA as a new claimant, as PIP is gradually replacing DLA across the UK. If you are already receiving DLA, you will be told in writing when you need to reapply for PIP (unless you are already 65 or over, in which case your DLA will continue for the length of the existing award). Attendance Allowance (AA) dressing or going to the toilet. You can get AA even if you live alone you do not need to have a carer. AA will not be affected by the introduction of PIP. If you already receive and remain on DLA or PIP after 65, you cannot claim AA in addition. AA does not have a mobility component, as with PIP or DLA. When can I claim? To claim AA you must have needed help for six months or more (to fast track, which avoids this qualifying period, see Special Rules on page 4). How do I claim? To request a claim pack contact one of the following: the Benefit Enquiry Line: the DWP s Disability and Carers Service: your local Jobcentre Plus office You can also download the form from the GOV.UK website, by searching for AA at What is it? AA is a benefit for people over 65 with disabilities who need help with washing, cooking, eating, 3

5 Can I speed up my claim using Special Rules? What are the Special Rules? If you are terminally ill, there are Special Rules for claiming PIP and AA which can fast-track the process. If successful, you will be awarded the daily living component. You may also receive the mobility component, if you meet the criteria. What is the advantage of using Special Rules? Claims can take many weeks to complete, but with Special Rules you do not have to fill in the longer forms or serve the usual qualifying period for daily living support (see pages 1 and 2). This means you will receive the award much faster. If you are not successful, you will be redirected to a normal application, so you have nothing to lose. What do I need to do? You will find notes about claiming under Special Rules in your claim pack or ask about this if you make the initial claim by telephone (see page 3). You need to: complete the Special Rules section of the claim form (whether by paper or telephone) request form DS1500 from your doctor, nurse or social worker, who will complete it for you. You then send it to the DWP to support your claim. The DWP will then let you know their decision. If successful, you will receive a three year award. Does this really apply to me? You may be unsure about qualifying for Special Rules, particularly as there is a prognosis guideline, but we recommend applying in all cases of MND. If you or your doctor are in any doubt about whether a diagnosis of MND qualifies for Special Rules, you may find it helpful to contact our helpline, MND Connect (See page 1). Tips for filling in the forms The claim packs can look daunting, but don t be put off. Some of the questions need detail, but others only need a simple tick. To ensure that you receive the appropriate level of help when most needed, try to: give as much information as possible 4

6 be direct, eg don t make light of problems you may encounter emphasise that MND is progressive and will get worse over time, so that your future needs are considered add supporting evidence from your GP, consultant or other members of your health and social care team where you can. This is especially important with PIP (although a face to face assessment is unlikely with most cases of MND, good evidence will also help to avoid this requirement) provide the best possible contact name for any further evidence that may be required, such as the care centre coordinator from your MND Care Centre or, if you do not attend a care centre, then a consultant or specialist nurse from your neurological clinic keep a file of all the letters and telephone conversations you have during a claim, in case of any problems. If possible, make a copy of the completed claim form. Example of how to answer questions: Don t say: I find it difficult to get dressed. Do say: I cannot do up buttons or zips. Even with assistance it can take over an hour to get dressed and I find it very tiring. For further guidance and tips on filling in the forms, you may find it useful to contact our helpline, MND Connect, a local independent advice centre or a local carer s organisation (as advised by your council). A representative from the DWP Local Service may be able to help you fill out the form. If you prefer assistance from someone you know, you can ask a carer, family member or friend, who knows what you need and can provide emotional support while you are completing the form. If they continue to act on your behalf, they may be referred to as your appointee. 5

7 What should I do if I need a face to face assessment? If you are asked to attend a face to face assessment for a PIP claim or a medical examination for AA, this may feel different to an examination by your own doctor. The assessment is not to diagnose or discuss treatment of your medical condition, but to assess how your condition affects you. The DWP is required to give you seven days notice of an assessment, should it be required. It may be possible to arrange a different date if necessary. Depending on your residential area, this may be carried out at your home. However, if you are asked to attend an assessment at a specific location, do let them know if you find it difficult to travel. They may be able to rearrange the appointment as a home visit. Your Rights: you can have a friend, relative or support worker with you at the assessment you can request an interpreter if you need one you can ask to be assessed by someone of the same gender as yourself. Can I appeal if I'm unhappy with the decision? PIP: when you receive the result of your claim, you will be given an opportunity for the evidence to be reconsidered if you are unhappy with the outcome. In this instance it may be helpful to supply additional supporting evidence, as it is possible that your original claim did not provide a clear picture of your needs. If the decision is reconsidered and you are still unhappy with the result, you can make a formal appeal. AA: when you receive the result of your claim, you will be given an opportunity to ask for a reconsideration or an appeal against the decision if you are unhappy with the outcome. We strongly advise that you do ask for reconsideration or an appeal in either situation. You may find it useful to contact our helpline, MND Connect, or a local independent advice centre. 6

8 References: Main source: the online government information service Acknowledgements: Thanks to Sarah Hayle, Welfare Benefits Service Manager, Community Law Service, Northampton and County for her assistance in reviewing this information. Further information: Please refer to the government online information service and search for PIP, DLA or AA. You may also want to read our information sheet 22A Benefits and entitlements, which can be downloaded from our website at publications or, if preferred, you can order printed information from our helpline: MND Connect Your views We would welcome any comments about this leaflet and any difficulties you may experience when making a claim. Your views are important to us as they provide evidence for improving future claims for people with MND. or Info Feedback MND Association PO Box 246, Northampton NN1 2PR Motor Neurone Disease Association PO Box 246, Northampton NN1 2PR Tel: Fax: Website: Registered Charity No MND Association 2001/Revised 06/13 Next revision: 04/14 Ref. DLApat 06/13 version: 1.0

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