Dla reform and Personal Independence Payment – completing the detailed design

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6. Award durations and reviews

6.1 Section 88 to the Act makes provision for award durations for an award of Personal Independence Payment to be for a fixed term, except where Decision Makers consider it inappropriate. The Act requires that the Government sets out details on award durations in guidance. This section includes details on the link between decisions on award durations and the individual’s ability to participate in society. It also provides information on the frequency and format of Personal independence Payment reviews.

6.2 Our intention for Personal Independence Payment has always been that benefit entitlement will be based on the degree to which individuals are able to participate in society, not on their health condition or impairment. Health conditions and impairments, including degenerative ones, can affect people in a range of different ways. For this reason, decisions on award durations will be based on individual circumstances, following appropriate consideration of all the evidence that has been provided. Decisions on award durations will be taken by DWP Decision Makers following advice from assessors. In some cases awards may be fixed for a short period of time such as one or two years. In others, longer term awards of five or 10 years may be more appropriate. We anticipate that ongoing awards would be used in cases where changes, either positive or negative, are unlikely. For example, where improvement over time or in response to treatment or rehabilitation is unlikely and where the needs of the individual are also likely to remain broadly the same. This approach will help to ensure that claimants are not required to go through unnecessary or inappropriate assessments.

6.3 We want to ensure that everyone continues to receive the correct level of award and that Personal Independence Payment reflects further changes in our society and advances in medicine or support, including changes in treatments. There is a duty to both claimants and the taxpayer to ensure awards stay correct throughout. All Personal Independence Payment awards will therefore be reviewed at appropriate intervals.

6.4 The frequency and format of reviews will vary depending on the individual’s needs, the likelihood of their health condition or impairment changing and potentially the successful use of aids and appliances. These reviews could involve gathering evidence from various sources, including self-report forms, information from relevant professionals who support the individual and face-to-face or telephone discussions. This will depend on the individual circumstances.

6.5 The Act includes a requirement to produce guidance on the duration of an award, including when an ongoing award would be appropriate and with what frequency that awards will be reviewed. This guidance will be evidence based and we are committed to co-producing it with the appropriate experts in relevant fields. We are also keen to involve disabled people and their representatives where possible to ensure that we get the detail right. As we will be engaging and involving interested parties in the development of this guidance we are not consulting on the detailed proposals.

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