3.15 A young person will only be able to apply or be assessed for Personal Independence Payment when they reach the age of 16. Our commitment is to ensure that when a claim is made by someone already in receipt of DLA the transition to Personal Independence Payment is effective with no gaps in payments, subject to their meeting the eligibility criteria.
3.16 To understand Personal Independence Payment design and delivery requirements and to meet the needs of young people we have set up a sub-group of the Implementation Development Group (IDG) called the Personal Independence Payment Young Persons Panel10. We have also begun work with focus groups and held one-to-one interviews with young people as part of our design method which considers the needs and behaviours of users throughout all stages of project design and delivery.
Schedule 10 to the Act provides a power to consider transitional arrangements. Following our early engagement with the IDG and the Young Persons Panel, we will ensure that provision is made in our regulations to enable DLA payments to continue until a determination of a Personal Independence Payment claim has been made, and subject to the individual satisfying the eligibility criteria.
3.18 To ensure that there are no gaps in payment for young people approaching age 16 we intend to write to the parent or guardian before the individual reaches that age to tell them that their DLA award is due to end. This process will also apply to those currently on indefinite awards. Our starting point will be that the young person themselves will be the recipient of the benefit and we will therefore ask if they intend to claim Personal Independence Payment. Where individuals tell us that they do wish to claim the benefit we intend to contact them to tell them what they need to do. We will also confirm that, if the young person intends to claim, they are able to manage their own affairs when they are 16 and that their disability does not require a nominated adult to be appointed to act on their behalf. Our intention is that Personal Independence Payment will help meet the aspirations of young people as they start to move to adulthood and make decisions about other aspects of their lives.
3.19 If we are unable to establish contact or cannot determine if a Personal Independence Payment claim will be made the individual will no longer receive benefit payment from age 16 when their DLA award will come to an end. We will not be inviting claims to Personal Independence Payment until age 16.
John was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of 8 and has been using a powered wheelchair since the age of 12. He is now 15, attends mainstream school and is looking forward to going to Sixth Form College when he is 16. He was in receipt of the middle rate care component and highest rate mobility component of DLA. When John was aged 15 years and 7 months his mother received a letter from DWP advising her that John's DLA was going to end when he reached 16 and that he would be able to make a claim to Personal Independence Payment in his own right. John's mother was also asked to return to DWP a "intent to claim" form for PIP and confirmation that John would or would not need an appointee when he reached 16.
As John's mother had returned the "intent to claim" form in good time DWP were able to issue an invitation to claim Personal Independence Payment to John on his 16th birthday and ensure that his DLA continued in payment until John's claim had been processed. John claimed immediately and provided details of all the people who helped him, including his school, to DWP.
Once the claim for Personal Independence Payment was received by DWP it was passed to an independent assessor who decided he would like some more information. John was asked to go to a face-to-face consultation with the assessor to discuss his circumstances in more detail and decided to take his mother with him as well. John was able to tell the assessor how his condition affected him on a day to day basis. Following the consultation John received a letter from DWP saying that he was entitled to the enhanced rate for both the daily living component and the mobility component. John was delighted as this meant that he could start taking driving lessons at age 16 and could consider getting a car under the Motability scheme when he had passed his test. Having a car would mean he could travel independently to his Sixth Form College.