In order to qualify for Personal Independence Payment an individual must have met the entitlement conditions for a past period (we call this the qualifying period) and be expected to meet the entitlement conditions for a future period (the prospective test) – this is known as the required period condition. In the DLA reform consultation5 the Government set out its proposals to restructure the existing qualifying period and prospective tests for Personal Independence Payment so that the overall period covered by the tests more closely align with the general definition of long-term disability used within guidance for the Equality Act 20106. Under those proposals the qualifying period and prospective test would each have been set at six months, making for an overall required period condition of 12 months.
Since then we have continued to work with disabled people and their representative organisations, and have listened to the views of Parliamentarians on this and other issues as the Act passed through Parliament. We are grateful for the views expressed. During discussions, the consensus has been that an overall required period condition of 12 months is appropriate, but there should be some rebalancing of the qualifying period and the prospective test to ensure it works effectively. Our view is that a three-month qualifying period and a nine-month prospective test offers the fairest solution, both to claimants and to the sound administration of the benefit. Amendments were therefore made and accepted to the Act as it passed through Parliament7. These provisions are now in section 81 of the Act; we are not consulting on these arrangements.