Benefits Expert: ‘Are we entitled?’

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Q I UNDERSTAND that Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is changing. Will this mean a “witch hunt” on all receiving it or will everyone be given a medical examination?


A FROM April next year, DLA will be replaced by the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which has different entitlement criteria.

From autumn next year those on DLA and aged between 16 and 64, even those on lifetime awards, will be re-assessed for a PIP.

For most people this will mean a face-to-face consultation with an independent medical professional, but there will be exceptions decided on a case-by-case basis.

It is likely that many people who currently get DLA will not be eligible for PIP.

The Government wants a 20 per cent cut in DLA spending and under PIP there will be no equivalent of the low rate of DLA for care.

Q WE are both in our 70s with four-weekly State Pensions of £743.36 and £298.36 plus my private pension of £28.15 a month. Are we entitled to any benefits?

Mr and Mrs D. (Fulwell)

A YOU appear to be entitled to Pension Credit (Savings Credit) of about £4.21 a week and Council Tax Benefit that would reduce your Council Tax to about £356 a year. That makes about £16 a week, backdated for three months.

Q SINCE being made redundant in August I have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), but this has been stopped because the Jobcentre says I have refused to apply for three jobs.

I have appealed and claimed hardship payments while I wait for the hearing, but the Jobcentre says they need to see my dad’s payslips and bank statements.

I live with him and his wages are keeping me and my disabled brother. What has his income got to do with my claim?

Distressed Jobseeker

A HARDSHIP payments do not have entitlement rules like other benefits.

They are only payable if the decision-maker thinks the person will suffer hardship without them.

So any money that may be available to you is taken into account. This includes help from people you live with.

Unless there was reason for doubt, however, I do not see why they could not have taken your word about your dad’s income.