Benefits Expert:

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Q I am 55 and receive Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for both Care and Mobility.

If I am found fit for work and am signed off IB would I automatically lose my DLA?

Mr. D (Hetton-le-Hole).

A No. Being fit enough to lose your IB does not necessarily mean that you are no longer entitled to DLA.

Nonetheless, as DLA is paid because of needs arising out of your disability it is up to you to report any changes in those needs.

For example, you may be able to cope better because of new medication or an operation. Or your condition may have improved so you need less help with your daily tasks.

If you are unsure if a change affects your benefit, it is your responsibility to contact the Disability and Carers Service to find out.

Their Helpline number is 08457 123 456.

Q The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) called me in to be interviewed under caution about my DLA.

I told them that my condition had improved but that I did not think the improvement had been enough for me to have to report it.

They said that they had a video taken of me six months previously and that I had not been entitled to DLA since then. They said I had been overpaid £1,900 which I would have to repay. Can they do this?

D (Sunderland).

A It depends on whether or not the DWP believed you. In your case it seems they did not.

If your condition has improved enough for your DLA to be affected and you did not know you should have reported it, there should not be an overpayment.

If however, you could reasonably have been expected to know that the change should have been reported there will be an overpayment backdated to the date you should have told them.

Q My husband has fortnightly Income Support of £105.60 and Incapacity Benefit of £188.50 plus a full Council Tax rebate.

Now that he has turned 60 in July and I am 58 are we entitled to claim any more benefits?

Mrs T

A Not any more. When women used to qualify for State Pension at the age of 60 this was the age at which someone’s Income Support would be replaced by the more generous Pension Credit.

As the women’s pension age is now rising, the Pension Credit minimum age is going up in line with it. As his date of birth was July 1951 he will not be old enough to be eligible until the autumn of 2012 when he will be 61 and a few months.