3.6 Under current provisions for DLA individuals can re-claim a component or components of the benefit without having to satisfy the qualifying period where they had a previous entitlement to that component within the last two years. The new entitlement to DLA could be on the basis of an existing condition which has fluctuated or deteriorated following a period of remission or where they develop a new condition. Our view is that the provision which allows for a claim based on a new condition to bypass the qualifying period is not consistent with the main policy objectives of the required period condition for Personal Independence Payment and does not adequately establish whether someone has, and will have, a long-term condition.
3.7 For Personal Independence Payment, where someone has a condition that goes into remission, we would expect that their entitlement to Personal Independence Payment will be payable at a lower rate or stop. However, many such conditions can subsequently deteriorate again, sometimes in a pattern of remission and deterioration (for example, certain types of multiple sclerosis). Where people need to re-claim Personal Independence Payment as a result of a deterioration in their condition, our view is that they should not have to re-satisfy a qualifying period for any component they previously received.
3.8 Under the regulation-making powers we have at section 81(4) of the Act we propose that where someone is re-claiming Personal Independence Payment on the basis of a previous condition, or a range of conditions8, the claimant will not need to satisfy the qualifying period for any component or components to which they previously had been entitled. A period of one year can elapse between such claims rather than the two currently used. We believe this time period offers a sensible period over which we can relax the qualifying period; it aligns the rules with those already applying to DLA recipients over the upper age limit and allows for information on the previous claim to be retained for a reasonable period of time thus reducing storage costs.
3.9 Re-claims to Personal Independence Payment by individuals who have developed a new condition or conditions will be treated as a new claim and so have to fulfil a qualifying period of three months. Our view is that this position maintains the integrity of the benefit as one which should only be paid to those who have, and will have, a long-term condition. These proposals are currently within the draft Regulations published in relation to the consultation on the assessment criteria.