This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/simplifying-the-welfare-system-and-making-sure-work-pays. Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.

Issue

Many people on benefits believe that the financial risks of moving into work are too great. For some, the gains from work, particularly if they work part-time, are small, and any gain can easily be cancelled out by costs such as transport.

The government believes that:

  • the current system is too complex
  • there are insufficient incentives to encourage people on benefits to start paid work or increase their hours

We are aiming to:

  • make the benefit system fairer and more affordable
  • reduce poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency
  • reduce levels of fraud and error

Actions

We are reforming the welfare system to help more people to move into and progress in work, while supporting the most vulnerable.

Introducing Universal Credit

We began to introduce Universal Credit in 2013. It brings together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment. Universal Credit will:

  • encourage people on benefits to start paid work or increase their hours by making sure work pays
  • make it easier for people to manage the move into work
  • simplify the system, making it easier for people to understand, and easier and cheaper for the government to administer
  • reduce the number of people who are in work but still living in poverty
  • reduce fraud and error

Introducing Personal Independence Payment

We introduced a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from 8 April 2013. It will eventually replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16 to 64. PIP helps towards some of the extra costs because of a long term ill-health condition or disability. It’s based on how a person’s condition affects them, not the condition they have. It’s designed to be a more sustainable benefit and make sure support continues to reach those who face the greatest challenges to taking part in everyday life.

DLA was introduced in 1992 for children and adults who need help with personal care or mobility. It had not been fundamentally reviewed or reformed since. There was confusion about the purpose of the benefit, it was complex to claim and there was no systematic way of checking that awards remain correct.

Introducing the Jobseeker’s Allowance Claimant Commitment

We have introduced a new Claimant Commitment that outlines what jobseeking actions a claimant must carry out while receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance. The Claimant Commitment brings Jobseeker’s Allowance into line with claimants’ responsibilities under Universal Credit.

Introducing a cap on the amount of benefits working age people can receive

In 2013 we introduced a cap on the total amount of benefits that most people aged 16 to 64 can receive. This means that households on certain benefits can no longer receive more in benefits than the average wage for working families.

Reassessing incapacity benefits claimants for Employment and Support Allowance

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) replaced a range of incapacity benefits in 2008 for claimants making a new claim because of illness or incapacity.

From October 2010, those people who are still receiving the older style incapacity benefits are being reassessed and moved to ESA or other benefits more appropriate to their circumstances. This will continue until 2014.

Improving the Work Capability Assessment

Anyone claiming ESA will have a Work Capability Assessment to assess their capability for work. To ensure that the Work Capability Assessment is as fair and accurate as possible, we are continuing to review and improve it.

Making sure housing support is fair and affordable

We are creating a fairer approach to the way we pay housing costs to help bring stability to the housing market and improve incentives for people to find work or increase their hours.

From April 2013 we have introduced new rules for the size of accommodation that Housing Benefit, and then Universal Credit, will cover for working age tenants renting in the social housing sector. This makes the rules consistent with those that apply to tenants renting in the private rented sector.

Increasing penalties for benefit fraud

We introduced tougher penalties for people who commit benefit fraud in the Welfare Reform Act 2012. From April 2013, the changes affect:

  • when benefit can be reduced or stopped as a penalty
  • how penalties increase for persistent offenders

Background

In the coalition agreement we announced our intention to simplify the benefit system to:

  • encourage people to move into work
  • make sure that those able to work must show a willingness to work as a condition of receiving benefits

In ‘Universal Credit: welfare that works’, published on 11 November 2010, we set out plans to introduce Universal Credit in 2013.

In ‘Universal Credit at work’, published on 22 October 2014, we report on the progress of the rollout of Universal Credit.

Welfare reform communications toolkit

Our welfare reform communications toolkit helps explain how DWP is changing the welfare system. It covers:

  • what we are changing
  • why we are making the changes
  • when we are making the changes

Who we’ve consulted

We consulted on proposals to simplify the benefits system to improve work incentives in ’21st century welfare’ between 30 July and 1 October 2010.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) consultations

We consulted on proposals to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with a new benefit – Personal Independence Payment between 6 December 2010 and 18 February 2011.

We sought views on initial proposals for the draft assessment criteria for Personal Independence Payment between 9 May and 31 August 2011.

Following feedback on the initial proposals, we revised the draft assessment criteria for Personal Independence Payment. We consulted on the second draft of the assessment criteria for Personal Independence Payment between 16 January and 30 April 2012.

We consulted on proposals on some of the rules for claiming Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Attendance Allowance between 26 March and 30 June 2012.

From Monday 24 June to Monday 5 August 2013, we ran a further consultation on the mobility component of PIP to give everyone the opportunity to contribute their views.

In 2014 DWP appointed Paul Gray CB to undertake the first independent review of the PIP assessment. A call for evidence to inform the review ran from 23 June 2014 to 5 September 2014.

Universal Credit consultations

From 15 June 2012 to 27 July 2012 the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) consulted on the following draft Universal Credit and related regulations:

  • Universal Credit Regulations 2012
  • Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment and Working-age Benefits (Claims and Payments) Regulations 2012
  • Housing Benefit (Benefit Cap) Regulations 2012

On 10 December 2012 we published the SSAC’s report on the consultation together with the government’s response.

In September 2014, the government asked SSAC to consider proposals that certain Universal Credit claimants must wait 7 days before they are entitled to benefit. SSAC are consulting on these proposals from 19 September 2014 to 17 October 2014.

Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance consultations

In April 2014, the government asked SSAC consider its proposals to extend from 3 to 7 the number of days a claimant must wait before they are entitled to get Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance. SSAC ran a consultation on these proposals from 23 May 2014 to 13 June 2014. It published its independent report on 4 September.

Impact

We have published a number of impact assessments and equality impact assessments covering the measures to simplify the welfare system included in the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

The department continues to carry out analysis of the likely impacts of its policies on groups such as disabled people.

Bills and legislation

The changes to the welfare system are contained in the Welfare Reform Act 2012. The main elements of the act are:

  • the introduction of Universal Credit to provide a single payment that will improve incentives to work
  • a stronger approach to reducing fraud and error with tougher penalties for the most serious offences
  • a new ‘claimant commitment’ showing clearly what is expected of claimants while giving protection to those with the greatest needs
  • reforms to Disability Living Allowance, through the introduction of Personal Independence Payment to meet the needs of disabled people today
  • creating a fairer approach to Housing Benefit to bring stability to the market and improve incentives to work
  • preventing abuse of the Social Fund system by giving greater power to local authorities
  • reforming ESA to make the benefit fairer and to ensure that help goes to those with the greatest need
  • changes to support a new system of child support which puts the interest of the child first

We have published and will continue to publish regulations relating to the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

We have also published policy briefing notes giving more information about the main elements of the act for:

We have published more information about changes to Employment and Support Allowance in 2012 under the Welfare Reform Act and some commonly asked question and answers.

Appendix 1: government policy on Universal Credit, an introduction

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

This page explains the government’s policy on Universal Credit.

If you are looking for information about how Universal Credit will affect you, see information for Universal Credit claimants.

Universal Credit is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income.

Universal Credit will help claimants and their families to become more independent and will simplify the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment.

It will be introduced in 2013 and will replace:

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit

The differences between Universal Credit and the current system

The main differences between Universal Credit and the current welfare system are:

  • Universal Credit will be available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as to those who are out of work
  • most people will apply online and manage their claim through an online account
  • Universal Credit will be responsive – as people on low incomes move in and out of work, they’ll get ongoing support, giving people more incentive to work for any period of time that is available
  • most claimants on low incomes will still be paid Universal Credit when they first start a new job or increase their part-time hours
  • claimants will receive just 1 monthly payment, paid into a bank account in the same way as a monthly salary
  • support with housing costs will go direct to the claimant as part of their monthly payment

Changes to other benefits

The following benefits are also changing:

When Universal Credit starts

April 2013 – start of Universal Credit pathfinder

Starting in April 2013, DWP, with our delivery partners in HMRC and local authorities, is introducing Universal Credit for claimants within certain areas of the north-west of England.

October 2013 – introduction of Universal Credit

We will introduce Universal Credit in a managed way, progressively rolling it out nationally from October 2013. The transition from the current system of benefits and tax credits to Universal Credit will be gradual and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

Additional support for Universal Credit claimants

Giving evidence at the Work and Pensions Select Committee on 17 September 2012, Ministers announced 3 additional areas of support for Universal Credit claimants.

Help with budgeting

DWP will explore the feasibility of new types of bank accounts or other financial products to help benefit claimants budget and manage their money. These financial products could help make sure people’s essential bills are covered – helping them to build up their credit rating and break the cycle of financial exclusion.

Supported accommodation housing costs

Help towards housing costs for those living in supported housing that satisfies our definition of ‘exempt accommodation’ will be provided separately from Universal Credit. DWP wants to continue to provide a flexible system to help meet the higher costs often associated with providing supported accommodation.

Supported accommodation is:

  • a resettlement place
  • accommodation provided by a county council, housing association, registered charity or voluntary organisation where that body or person acting on their behalf provides the claimant with care, support or supervision

Self-employment start up period

We recognise the need for claimants who are setting up a business to be given time to establish themselves and find sources of support. Therefore where a claimant has been self-employed for less than 12 months, a start up period will be granted.

This means that claimants will not be required to look for work or satisfy requirements to be available for work, and we will not assume a minimum level of income from self-employment (known as the ‘Minimum Income Floor’). This will give them time to concentrate on developing their business.

Claimants will be allowed a new start up period every 5 years rather than once in their lifetime.

Help for claimants who may need extra support claiming Universal Credit

On 11 February 2013 we published the ‘Universal Credit local support services framework’. The framework will be put in place for the introduction of Universal Credit from October 2013 to help claimants who may need extra support claiming Universal Credit. It explains:

  • who may need help
  • what services they may need
  • how these services will be provided through locally developed partnerships

The framework was developed following careful and intensive working between DWP and colleagues in the Local Government Association, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and Welsh Local Government Associations with input from local authority representatives.

We invited feedback on the framework and published a summary of the responses on 2 August 2013.

Evaluation framework

On 10 December 2012 we published an evaluation framework for Universal Credit. The framework sets out our broad intentions for the evaluation of Universal Credit, highlights the main aims and objectives of the evaluation and considers possible analytical approaches.

Providing information about Universal Credit

We have published information about Universal Credit for claimants. They can find out if they are eligible and what they need to do to get ready for Universal Credit.

We have also published information about the introduction of Universal Credit for support organisations and claimant advisers, particularly those in the pathfinder areas, in the ‘Universal Credit toolkit for partner organisations’.

The toolkit contains information that will help these organisations to explain the changes that Universal Credit will bring for their customers. It includes a range of information products that can be printed off and shared and brand guidelines to help you create your own materials.

Appendix 2: introducing a cap on the amount of benefits working age people can receive

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

From April 2013 we introduced a cap on the total amount of benefits that working age people can receive. Households on working age benefits can no longer receive more in benefits than the average wage for working families.

The cap can be applied through Housing Benefit payments or Universal Credit. These arrangements will continue until Universal Credit is fully in place and the cap from Housing Benefit is no longer required.

Benefits that are affected

The cap applies to the total amount that the people in a household get from the following benefits:

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (unless the claimant is paid the support component as part of their award)
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance (or Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widow’s Pension that started before 9 April 2001)

Who won’t be affected

In recognition of the additional needs that disability can bring, the cap will not apply to households that include somebody receiving:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit (and those receiving War Disablement Pension and the equivalent payments from the Armed Forces Compensation Payments Scheme)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • the support component of Employment Support Allowance

The cap will not apply to households entitled to Working Tax Credit, or the earnings equivalent under Universal Credit. This will increase the incentive for people on out-of-work benefits to find jobs because once they are receiving Working Tax Credit their benefits will no longer be capped.

It will not apply to war widows and widowers.

How much is the cap

Applied through Housing Benefit the cap is £500 a week for couples and single parent households and £350 a week for single adult households without children.

Applied through Universal Credit the cap is £2,167 a month for joint claimants and single claimants with children, and £1,517 a month for a single claimant with no dependent children.

Appendix 3: making sure housing support is fair and affordable

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

We are creating a fairer approach to Housing Benefit to bring stability to the market and improve incentives to work.

Housing support under Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new single payment that we are introducing for people who are looking for work or on a low income. It replaces a number of other benefits, including Housing Benefit.

Universal Credit will include an appropriate amount to help meet the costs of household rent or mortgage interest.

Changes to housing support in the social rented sector and the private rented sector

We have introduced new rules for the size of accommodation that Housing Benefit, and then Universal Credit, will cover for working age tenants renting in the social sector. This brings them in line with those renting in the private rented sector.

From April 2013 all current and future working age tenants renting from a local authority, housing association or other registered social landlord no longer receive help towards the costs of a spare room. They receive help towards their housing costs based on the need of their household.

These rules allow 1 bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household with the following exceptions:

  • children aged under 16 of the same gender are expected to share
  • children aged under 10 are expected to share regardless of gender
  • a disabled tenant or partner who needs a non-resident overnight carer is allowed an extra room

Children who cannot share a bedroom because of a disability or medical condition may be entitled to an extra room. Claimants will need to contact their local authority and will be asked for medical evidence to support their claim.

The rules mean that those tenants whose accommodation is larger than they need may lose part of the money they get towards their housing through Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. Their eligible rent will be reduced by:

  • 14% for those with 1 spare bedroom
  • 25% for those with 2 or more spare bedrooms

There is more information in the under-occupation of social housing impact assessment.

Foster carers and armed forces personnel

On 12 March 2013 we clarified how these rules affect foster carers and armed forces personnel.

An additional bedroom is allowed where the claimant or their partner:

  • is caring for a foster child, or
  • has been accepted as a foster carer but has no child living with them, as long as the period without a child is no longer than 52 weeks

An additional bedroom is allowed for adult children who are in the armed forces and continue to live with their parents, even when they are deployed on operations. This means that the size criteria does not apply to the room normally occupied by the member of the armed forces.

Direct Payments in the social rented sector

We believe that Universal Credit payments should replicate as far as possible how people are paid when they are in work. We want to see very many more people handle their own benefit and rent payments.

Housing costs within Universal Credit will be paid directly to individuals in the social rented sector, rather than the current system of payments direct to landlords. This will encourage people to manage their own budget in the same way as other households.

The government recognises the importance of stable income from rent for social landlords to support the creation of new homes. We have included safeguards in Universal Credit to help protect landlords’ income.

We have also put in place support mechanisms for tenants who may need help managing their finances.

Direct Payment demonstration projects

We have been working with a number of local authority and housing association partnerships to test changes to the way housing support is paid in the social rented sector. These projects saw some tenants in the social rented sector receiving monthly Housing Benefit payments, paid directly to them for the first time.

The projects ran from June 2012 to December 2013 and:

  • tested how tenants could manage monthly payments of housing costs ahead of the introduction of Universal Credit from October 2013
  • looked at the appropriate level of safeguards needed to help protect a landlords’ income if tenants fall behind on their rent
  • looked at the support tenants also need

The projects have helped us understand the best ways of:

  • communicating these changes to tenants
  • providing assistance with budgeting to ensure tenants successfully pay their rent
  • developing appropriate safeguards to protect landlords’ financial position if tenants do get into arrears
  • supporting tenants and landlords experiencing financial difficulties

The local authority and social landlord partnerships that took part in the demonstration projects are:

  • City of Edinburgh Council and Dunedin Canmore Housing Association, Scotland
  • Southwark Council (the local authority landlord) and Family Mosaic Housing Association, London
  • Oxford City Council (the local authority landlord) and GreenSquare Group Housing Association, Southern England
  • Shropshire Unitary County Council (the local authority landlord) and Bromford Group Housing Association, Sanctuary Housing and The Wrekin Housing Trust, West Midlands
  • Wakefield Metropolitan District Council and Wakefield and District Housing , Northern England
  • Torfaen Borough County Council and Bron Afon Community Housing and Charter Housing Wales

We have published feedback from the projects.

Lord Freud, the Minister for Welfare Reform, gave a speech about direct payments in the social rented sector on 14 September 2011.

Appendix 4: introducing the Jobseeker’s Allowance Claimant Commitment

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The Claimant Commitment outlines what job seeking actions a claimant must carry out while receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). It emphasises the claimants’ responsibility to do all they can to look for work in return for the support they receive from the state.

What the JSA Claimant Commitment means

When someone makes a new claim for JSA or returns to JSA from the Work Programme they will attend an interview with a work coach. At the interview they will agree a personal plan outlining what the claimant will do as part of their Claimant Commitment to give themselves the best chance of finding work. This could include regular specific tasks and training opportunities.

The work coach will explain the penalties claimants could face for failing to meet their responsibilities to get into work. They will review the plan regularly.

The Claimant Commitment strengthens the ability of Jobcentre Plus staff to support claimants back into work at the earliest opportunity and redefines the relationship between the welfare state and claimants. In return for state support, we expect claimants to do all they can to meet their responsibilities to return to work.

The Claimant Commitment is already in place for Universal Credit claimants.

Appendix 5: Welfare Reform Act 2012 regulations

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The following regulations relating to the Welfare Reform Act 2012 are published on the legislation.gov.uk website.

Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – amending Commencement Order (2015 No. 740) – amends Commencement Order No. 23 for relevant Universal Credit claims made from 10 June 2015.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Commencement Order No. 23 – provides for expansion of Universal Credit to further postcodes in the London Boroughs of Sutton, Croydon and Southwark in three phases from 18 March, 10 June and 4 November 2015.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Commencement Order No. 22 – provides for the first phase of the national expansion of Universal Credit claims for single claimants between 16 February and 20 July 2015.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – amending Commencement Order (2015 No. 32) – provides for the introduction of Universal Credit claims from claimants with children in all current Live Service offices. This is implemented in two phases on 26 January and 2 March 2015.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Commencement Order No. 21 – provides for the resumption of Universal Credit new claims in the London Borough of Sutton from 28 January 2015.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Commencement Order No. 20 – provides for the introduction of Universal Credit claims in the London Borough of Sutton for a test period from 26 November to 19 December 2014.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – amending Commencement Order (2014 No. 3067) – provides for the introduction of Universal Credit claims from claimants with children in Warrington, Birkenhead, Bromborough, Hoylake, Upton and Wallasey Jobcentres from 24 November 2014.

The Universal Credit and Miscellaneous Amendments (No.2) Regulations 2014 – the amendments contained in these regulations will apply to all Universal Credit claimants, whether claiming under the Live Service or the Digital Service arrangements.

The Universal Credit (Digital Service) Amendment Regulations 2014 – the amendments contained in these regulations are those that will reflect Universal Credit in the enhanced Digital Service but will not be implemented in the Live Service.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Commencement Order No. 19 – provides for further expansion of Universal Credit in north west England between September and December 2014.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – amending Commencement Order (2014 No. 1923) – provides for the introduction of claims by couples from 28 July 2014 in all areas where Universal Credit is running.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – amending Commencement Order (2014 No. 1661) – updates the gateway conditions for claiming Universal Credit, and provides for the introduction of Universal Credit claims by couples in Hammersmith, Inverness, Rugby, Bath and Harrogate from 30 June 2014.

Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – enhances provision dealing Universal Credit expansion.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Commencement Order No. 17 – provides for Universal Credit expansion in North West England during June and July 2014.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – amending Commencement Order (2014 No. 1452) – provides for continued Universal Credit expansion from June 2014.

Universal Credit transitional provisions regulations 2014 – provides for continued Universal Credit expansion from June 2014.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Commencement Order No.16 – provides for the Universal Credit Pathfinder to be extended to Bath and Harrogate on 24 February, and to Shotton on 7 April 2014.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Commencement Order No.14 – provides for the Universal Credit Pathfinder to be extended to Rugby and Inverness on 25 November 2013.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Commencement Order No.13 – provides for the Universal Credit Pathfinder to be extended to Hammersmith on 28 October 2013.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Commencement Order No.11 – provides for the Universal Credit Pathfinder to be extended to Wigan on 1 July and to Oldham and Warrington on 29 July 2013.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 – Commencement Order No. 9 – provides for the Universal Credit Pathfinder to start on 29 April 2013 in Ashton-under-Lyne.

Universal Credit transitional provisions regulations 2013 – provide for the limited introduction of Universal Credit from 29 April 2013 for certain claimants who will participate in the ‘Pathfinder’.

Payments on account of benefit regulations 2013 – replace interim payments and some crisis loans with Universal Credit Advances and Short Term Benefit Advances and replace Budgeting Loans with Budgeting Advances.

Decisions and appeals regulations for Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance 2013 – update existing provisions on how decisions are made, including a new requirement for decisions to be reconsidered before claimants can appeal.

Claims and payments regulations for Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance 2013 – update existing provisions and makes new provisions, for example to pay Universal Credit 1 month in arrears.

Employment and Support Allowance regulations 2013 – remove income-related rules and brings contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance into line with Universal Credit on labour market requirements Jobseeker’s Allowance regulations 2013 – remove income-related rules and bring contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance into line with Universal Credit on labour market requirements.

Universal Credit regulations 2013 – set out the main rules for Universal Credit, including entitlement, elements of the award, calculation of income and capital, and claimant responsibilities, and also allow for a benefit cap.

Employment and Support Allowance sanctions amendment regulations 2012 – align the Employment and Support Allowance sanctions regime with Universal Credit and introduce hardship payments prior to introduction of Universal Credit.

Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions amendment regulations 2012 – introduce a new sanctions regime for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance

Personal Independence Payment amendment regulations 2013 – make clear that, when assessing whether an individual can carry out an activity, we must look at whether they can do so safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly and in a reasonable time period

Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance amendment regulations 2013 – allow for changes to certain rules on residence, absences abroad, age limits and hospital and care homes

Personal Independence Payment supplementary provisions and consequential amendments regulations 2013 – allow for Personal Independence Payment claimants to qualify for certain other schemes and benefits (known as ‘passporting arrangements’)

Personal Independence Payment transitional provisions regulations 2013 – set out the transitional arrangements for assessing existing Disability Living Allowance claimants for Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment regulations 2013 – set out the main rules for Personal Independence Payment, including the assessment criteria, and payment amounts

Housing costs

Claims and payments amendment regulations 2013 – make changes to the cost mortgage lenders pay towards the mortgage interest direct scheme

Rent officers (Universal Credit functions) order 2013 – allow for rent officers in England, Wales and Scotland to make decisions about housing costs relating to Universal Credit

Housing Benefit amendment regulations – introduce a requirement to set a maximum rent in the social rented sector using the local housing allowance size criteria, and also make changes to the time and circumstances in which a case subject to the local housing allowance is reviewed

Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit) regulations 2012 – amend the Housing Benefit regulations to introduce a benefit cap

Council Tax Benefit

Council Tax Benefit abolition (consequential provision) regulations 2013 – remove or amend references to Council Tax Benefit in various statutory instruments

Fraud and overpayments

Loss of benefit amendment regulations 2013 – change the reduction applied to some means-tested benefits and to hardship arrangements, and also sets out the ‘serious fraud’ offences which attract an immediate 3 year loss of benefit

Overpayments and recovery regulations 2013 – set out rules for calculating and recovering overpayments of Universal Credit, certain Tax Credits and contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance

Sharing information with other organisations

Information-sharing in relation to welfare services etc amendment and prescribed bodies regulations 2013 – allow DWP and other bodies responsible for certain local welfare services, such as Housing Benefit, council tax and local welfare provision, to share information

Appendix 6: introducing Personal Independence Payment

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

This page explains the government’s policy on introducing Personal Independence Payment. If you are looking for information about how Personal Independence Payment will affect you, see information for Personal Independence Payment claimants.

We are committed to supporting disabled people to lead independent and active lives. We started to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for eligible people aged 16 to 64 with Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from 8 April 2013.

PIP helps towards some of the extra costs arising from a long term ill-health condition or disability and is based on how a person’s condition affects them, not the condition they have. It is not means-tested or subject to tax and it is payable to people who are both in and out of work.

We have run a number of consultations to help us develop PIP.

What the change means

PIP:

  • involves a more objective assessment, with a face-to-face consultation with an independent health professional for most people
  • includes regular reviews so that individuals continue to get the right support

There are no plans to replace DLA for children under 16 or for DLA recipients who were aged 65 and over on 8 April 2013.

PIP is based on an assessment of individual need. It will not consider what impairment an individual has, labelling them simply on this basis. Instead it will consider how their impairment affects their life, considering their ability to carry out a range of everyday activities.

Information will be gathered from the individual, as well as health, social care and other professionals who work with and support them. Most people will be asked to attend a face-to-face consultation with an independent health professional as part of the assessment process. The health professional will ask questions about the claimant’s circumstances, their health condition or disability and how this affects their daily life.

Including consideration of reliability in the PIP regulations

On 5 March 2013 the Regulations on Personal Independence Payment (PIP), were amended to make clear that, when assessing whether an individual can carry out an activity, we must look at whether they can carry out that activity:

  • safely
  • to an acceptable standard
  • repeatedly
  • in a reasonable time period

We call this the ‘reliability criteria’. This concept had always been integral to the department’s proposals for the PIP assessment, but ministers agreed to include it in the regulations to make the policy intent clear in legislation.

We recognise that the reliability criteria are an important protection for claimants. As a result of feedback received during the consultation on the PIP moving around criteria, we will put in place measures to ensure that the reliability criteria are properly and consistently applied as part of the assessment.

The full PIP regulations are published on the legislation.gov.uk website.

Timetable for introducing PIP

New claims

We initially started taking new claims to PIP in parts of the north of England in April 2013. We extended this to cover all parts of Great Britain from June 2013.

We have taken a controlled approach to the introduction of PIP, continuously testing and reviewing the processes to ensure they are right.

Existing DLA claimants

We are introducing PIP in stages over a number of years for existing DLA claimants who:

  • were aged 16 to 64 on 8 April 2013
  • reach age 16 after 8 April 2013

From October 2013 we started a phased approach of re-assessing existing claimants of DLA for PIP if:

  • we receive information about a change in care or mobility needs
  • their fixed term award is due to expire
  • children turn 16 years old (unless they have been awarded DLA under the Special Rules for terminally ill people)
  • an individual chooses to claim PIP instead of their DLA

This is similar to how we introduced PIP to new claimants from April 2013 and is the way we have been introducing all our other programmes of change.

The table shows the areas for the phased approach.

From Areas
28 October 2013 Wales, East Midlands, West Midlands, East Anglia
13 January 2014 Postcodes beginning: DG (Dumfries and Galloway), EH (Edinburgh), TD (Galashiels), ML (Motherwell)
3 February 2014 Postcodes beginning: CA (Carlisle), DL (Darlington), HG (Harrogate), LA (Lancaster), YO (York)
17 November 2014 Postcodes beginning: CH (Chester), HD (Huddersfield), L (Liverpool), M (Manchester)
26 January 2015 Postcodes beginning: DH (Durham), G (Glasgow), IV (Inverness), NE (Newcastle), SR (Sunderland), WA (Warrington), WN (Wigan)
23 February 2015 Postcodes beginning: AB (Aberdeen), BB (Blackburn), BD (Bradford), DD (Dundee), DN (Doncaster), EX (Exeter), HX (Halifax), KA (Kilmarnock), KY (Kirkcaldy), LS (Leeds), PH (Perth), PL (Plymouth), PO (Portsmouth), PR (Preston), S (Sheffield), SO (Southampton), TS (Cleveland), WF (Wakefield)
30 March 2015 Postcodes beginning: BL (Bolton), CW (Crewe), FK (Falkirk), FY (Fylde), HU (Hull), OL (Oldham), SK (Stockport), TA (Taunton), TQ (Torquay), TR (Truro)
25 May 2015 Postcodes beginning: BS (Bristol), CB (Cambridge), CM (Chelmsford), CO (Colchester), DA (Dartford), GL (Gloucester), MK (Milton Keynes), PA (Paisley), RM (Romford), SN (Swindon), SP (Salisbury), SS (Southend)
22 June 2015 Postcodes beginning: BA (Bath), BH (Bournemouth), BN (Brighton), BR (Bromley), CT (Canterbury), CR (Croydon), DT (Dorchester), E (London East), EC (London East Central), GU (Guildford), HP (Hemel Hempstead), IG (Ilford), LU (Luton), ME (Maidstone), OX (Oxford), RG (Reading), RH (Redhill), SE (London South East), SG (Stevenage), SW (London South West), WC (London West Central)
27 July 2015 Postcodes beginning: AL (St Albans), EN (Enfield), HA (Harrow), HS (Hebrides), KT (Kingston), N (London North), NW (London North West), KW (Kirkwall), SL (Slough), SM (Sutton), TN (Tonbridge), TW (Twickenham), UB (Uxbridge), W (London West), WD (Watford), ZE (Lerwick)

We’ve published a postcode map for these areas.

Alongside the phased introduction of reassessment activity, we will continue to take new claims for PIP across Great Britain.

We’ll start to ask the majority of existing DLA claimants to claim from later in 2015 and onwards. We will write to individuals in plenty of time and they do not need to contact DWP now. We expect to have contacted everyone who needs to claim PIP by late 2017.

Providing information about PIP

Information for claimants

We have published information about PIP for both new and existing DLA claimants.

We have sent information about PIP directly to DLA claimants with the annual DLA uprating letter. We will continue to do this each year until we have reassessed all DLA claimants for PIP.

Information for support organisations and advisers

We have published general information about PIP for support organisations and advisers in the Personal Independence Payment toolkit. This includes fact sheets and copies of PIP forms and letters.

Common questions and misunderstandings

We have published clarification on some common misunderstandings and questions about PIP in the PIP myth buster.

Policy briefing notes

We have published a series of policy briefing notes that set out important elements of policy and strategy relating to PIP and provide greater clarity on our proposals. They are intended to help people understand the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the regulations.

Guide for assessment providers

We have produced guidance for providers carrying out assessments for PIP.

PIP statistics

We have published statistics about PIP claims.

Independent review of PIP assessments

Section 89 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 commits the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to publish 2 independent reports on how the PIP assessment is working. The first was due within 2 years of PIP starting in April 2013.

First review – 2014

On 10 April 2014, the Minister of State for Disabled People appointed Paul Gray to lead the first independent review of the PIP assessment. We published Paul Gray’s independent review on 17 December 2014.

Paul Gray ran a call for evidence to inform his review from 23 June 2014 to 5 September 2014.

The government published its response to the review on 27 February 2015.

Appendix 7: improving the Work Capability Assessment

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

Anyone claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will have a Work Capability Assessment to assess their capability for work.

The assessment:

  • was developed in consultation with medical and other experts alongside specialist disability groups
  • looks at an individual’s physical and mental capabilities and concentrates on the functional effects of an individual’s condition rather than the condition itself
  • looks at an individual’s ability to work, taking into account the modern workplace and developments in healthcare
  • is based on evidence which shows that work can benefit individuals with health conditions and disabilities and may even help recovery

Independent review of the Work Capability Assessment

To make sure that the Work Capability Assessment is as fair and accurate as possible, we have set up a process of ongoing review and improvement.

Section 10 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007 commits the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to publish an independent report each year for the first 5 years of operation.

Year 5 review – 2014

We announced the re-appointment of Dr Paul Litchfield to carry out the fifth and final independent review of the Work Capability Assessment on 6 March 2014.

We published the fifth independent review of the Work Capability Assessment on 27 November 2014. We published the government’s response to the review on 27 February 2015.

Dr Litchfield ran a call for evidence to inform the fifth review from 10 June 2014 to 15 August 2014.

Year 4 review – 2013

In February 2013 the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions appointed Dr Paul Litchfield to undertake the fourth independent review of the Work Capability Assessment. Dr Litchfield replaced Professor Malcolm Harrington, who carried out the first 3 independent reviews of the Work Capability Assessment.

We published the fourth independent review of the Work Capability Assessment on 12 December 2013. The government published its response on 27 March 2014.

Dr Litchfield issued a call for evidence to inform the fourth independent review (1 July 2013 to 27 August 2013).

Year 3 review – 2012

Professor Harrington’s third independent review of the Work Capability Assessment and the government’s response to the third review were published on 20 November 2012.

Professor Harrington issued a call for evidence to inform his third independent review from 12 July 2012 to 7 September 2012.

Year 2 review – 2011

We published Professor Harrington’s second independent review of the Work Capability Assessment and the government’s response to the second review on 24 November 2011.

Professor Harrington ran a call for evidence to inform his second independent review from 4 July 2011 to 16 September 2011.

Year 1 review – 2010

We published Professor Harrington’s first independent review of the Work Capability Assessment and the government’s response to the first review on 23 November 2010.

Professor Harrington ran a call for evidence to inform his first independent review from 28 July 2010 to 10 September 2011.

Interim report on year 1 recommendations

In May 2011 the Minister for Employment asked Professor Harrington to provide an interim report on the implementation of his year 1 recommendations.

Audio recording pilot

In his year 1 review Professor Harrington recommended that Atos Healthcare pilot the audio recording of face-to-face assessments to see if this approach would be helpful to claimants and improve the quality of assessments. A pilot was undertaken in spring 2011. We published the findings of the audio recording pilot in April 2012.

Guidance on the audio recording facility is available in Work Capability Assessment: audio recording of face-to-face assessments FAQs

Evidence based review of the Work Capability Assessment

On 12 December 2013 we published the Evidence based review of the Work Capability Assessment. This is a study to examine the performance of the assessment criteria for Employment and Support Allowance and alternative criteria that were developed by specialist disability representative groups. The study arose from a recommendation in Professor Harrington’s second independent review of the Work Capability Assessment. It looks at the validity and reliability of the assessment criteria.