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Watch our webinars on benefits for young people aged 16 and above

Wednesday 2nd September 2020


Last week, one of our benefits experts, Derek Sinclair, ran two webinars for parents covering benefits for young disabled adults aged 16-19.

Covering the move from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), how long child benefit and tax credits can continue for and claiming Universal Credit for a young person these webinars are essential viewing for parents with a young person in transition.

You can now watch back both of these webinars. One webinar is aimed at families in Scotland and includes the new rules extending DLA payments to 18 in Scotland. You can watch this at https://youtu.be/e3_3I-jU6WE

The other webinar is aimed at families in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can watch this here https://youtu.be/9wvOTgnVzy4

These webinars were hugely popular, with large numbers of families taking part. Our adviser was asked more questions than he was able to answer during the session. The questions he wasn't able to answer on the day have been set out below along with answers. Where similar questions were raised we have merged them into a common enquiry.

See questions about:

Appointees

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP points system

Blue Badge entitlement

Continuing to receive benefits for your child as a dependent during a temporary interruption in education

Claiming Universal Credit for a young person

Other questions

Appointees

What is an Appointee?

If your son or daughter is unable to deal with their own benefit claim then you can become their Appointee. If you already have 'deputyship' or 'power of attorney', you won't need an Appointeeship as you already have the power to manage their financial affairs.

What evidence to I need to show that my child needs an Appointee and when should I contact the DWP about this?

If you wish to become their Appointee you have to show that your son or daughter is unable to deal with their own benefit claim. This includes being able to make a claim, knowing when to claim and which benefit to claim, being able to deal with money and knowing when to report any change that may affect benefit entitlement.

Usually a Visiting Officer from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) would visit your home to assess whether an Appointee is needed, although no home visits have been carried out over the last five months due to the Coronavirus. They may ask for written evidence, for example from a health professional or social worker. An Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan might be helpful as well as any other reports that you may have about your child's condition.

If your child already gets Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the DWP should automatically contact you before your child turns 16 to ask if you think an appointee will be necessary. If your child claims other benefits such as Universal Credit you can ask to be treated as their appointee at the same time as you help them to claim that benefit.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

My daughter is over 16 and still gets DLA. When will she be asked to claim PIP?

A young person would usually be asked to claim PIP shortly after their 16th birthday. However, during the Coronavirus outbreak PIP assessments have been temporarily suspended. As a result she might not be asked to claim PIP until a later date. The DWP should have written to your daughter (or to you are her appointee) explaining when she is likely to be asked to claim.

My 15 year old son does not get DLA; can he claim PIP?

A claim for PIP can only be made for someone who is at least 16. He can claim DLA now and will be asked to claim PIP when he is 16 or shortly after that. While he is awaiting for a decision on his PIP claim, any DLA he has been awarded will continue temporarily.

Is it possible to get one component of PIP without the other?

PIP has two components - daily living and mobility. It is possible to get just one of either component or both. What happens in your child's case will depend on their individual needs.

Will my child's DLA stop as soon as we make the claim for PIP?

As long as you make a claim for PIP when asked to do so, your child's DLA will continue to be paid until the decision on PIP is made. Once a PIP decision has been made this will then replace any DLA award.

How long does it take for a decision on PIP to be made?

It is not possible to give a definite answer but most claims take 2-3 months. Delays can be caused by the DWP waiting for further evidence on your child's condition, or waiting for an assessment by one of their health professionals. It is a good idea to phone and ask how long the decision is likely to take. During the Coronavirus outbreak claims may take considerably longer to be decided.

My son would be unable to cope with a face-to-face interview. Are these always necessary?

Some decisions are made without the need for a face-to-face assessment especially if sufficient evidence is sent with the claim and it is made clear that an interview would cause distress. It is also possible to ask for a home based assessment if travelling to a medical centre would be too difficult.

During the Coronavirus outbreak, face-to-face assessments have not been taking place although you may still be asked to take part in an assessment via the telephone.

My daughter does not see any health professionals now so how can I get evidence for her PIP claim?

You can send in evidence from other sources, for example, she may have an EHC plan or a social care assessment. A claim still needs to be accepted and a decision made, even if you have no additional evidence.

How long is PIP awarded for?

Most awards are for a set period of time e.g two or five years and can be renewed before the award runs out. An indefinite award can be made if it appears to be unlikely that your child's condition will improve. Indefinite awards are checked every 10 years.

It is important to tell PIP about a change in your child's condition especially one that may affect the level of their award.

How do I claim PIP?

If your child is aged 16 or over and does not already get DLA, you can make a new claim for PIP by phoning the PIP claims line on 0800 917 2222 or text phone 0800 917 2222. If you are unable to use the phone you can ask for the form to be sent out to you. There is no on-line version of the form.

PIP points system

Can points be awarded if my son can use the microwave but not safely?

If your son cannot use a cooker or microwave without the possibility of causing harm then he should be awarded points under the 'preparing food' descriptor. Similarly, if someone cannot carry out an activity within a reasonable time scale, repeatedly and to a reasonable standard, they should get points for the descriptor in question. More information can be found in our free guide to claiming PIP.

My daughter is on medication for anxiety. Does this mean she won't get any points?

Assessments are carried out taking into account a person's abilities while on medication or when using any aids or appliances. If your daughter can carry out all of the activities for over half of the time, safely, repeatedly, within a reasonable time frame and to a reasonable standard then she may not get points for these activities. However, it could be that she does need prompting or supervision with some activities. It is worth getting further advice and looking at our free guide.

Does the 'moving around' activity include no awareness of danger?

There are two activities relating to the mobility component of PIP.

The 'moving around' activity is about physical difficulties in moving around. If someone can physically walk but is unable to plan or follow a journey they can get points under the 'planning and following journeys' activity. It is possible to score points under this descriptor where a young person cannot follow the route of a journey safely if unsupervised.

How does the scoring system work?

There are two rates for each component, standard and enhanced. To get the standard rate your child needs to score 8 points and to get the enhanced rate they need 12 points.

The DWP will take each activity in turn and decide whether your child scores points for that activity and if so how much. For the daily living component the points your child scores in each of the ten activities are added together to determine their overall score. For the mobility component the points from both of two activities are added together. More detailed information about the scoring system is available in our free guide.

Blue Badge entitlement

Can you explain the links between the blue badge and PIP as it seems that there's a two tier system now. It was an automatic right to a blue badge on higher rate DLA mobility but not on PIP. Is this right?

Anyone who gets the higher rate mobility component of DLA automatically meets the criteria for the blue badge. Unfortunately, the rules are much more complex if the disabled child gets PIP.

In England a young person on PIP will only be automatically entitled to a Blue Badge if they score eight points or more in the PIP activity of 'moving around' or if they score 10 points for planning and following a journey - but only if this is awarded on the specific basis that they 'cannot undertake any journey because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress'.

In Scotland and Wales PIP claimants are automatically eligible for a Blue Badge if they either get eight points or more for the PIP activity of 'moving around' or 12 points or more under the PIP activity of 'planning and following a journey'.

If your child doesn't get the appropriate points under a PIP assessment to qualify automatically, they can still apply for a blue badge via a local authority assessment. See our website more details.

Continuing to receive benefits for your child as a dependent during a temporary interruption in education

My daughter whose 17 is only currently capable of attending school 4 hrs a week due to their health problems. Can I still claim Child Benefit and tax credit for them on the basis that they are in a temporary interruption in education?

Yes, this is feasible. So long as your daughter intends to return to full time non advanced education she can argue that she is in a temporary interruption of her education. These rules can be used where someone has stopped attending education temporarily or where they are temporarily attending on a part-time rather than a full time basis.

My son is 16 and hasn't attended school for eight months. We are still waiting for a suitable education placement to be identified. How can we prove this is a temporary interruption in education?

You should provide HMRC with details of the steps that are being taken to try and get your son back into full time non-advanced education. Perhaps you will be able to get a letter from your child's local education authority or if you have a social worker or support worker they may be able to provide a letter confirming what plans are being made for your child's education.

Claiming Universal Credit for a young person

If my son claims Universal Credit does this mean his PIP stops?

No. PIP continues alongside any Universal Credit he gets. Instead a Universal Credit claim will bring to an end any payments that you get for him as part of your family. This means things like Child Benefit and any tax credits you get for him. It may also effect other means tested benefits like housing benefit or council tax reduction.

I'm having great difficulties claiming benefits for my son aged 16 who is still in education. I attended the job centre but the advisors there were unclear of the process. The barrier seems to be getting a work capability assessment done. What should happen?

Where a child is treated as 'receiving education' they will not be able to get Universal Credit unless they first are put through a medical assessment called the work capability assessment by the DWP. Some parents report difficulties in getting the DWP to agree to this. If this happens you should make a 'credits only' claim for new style ESA, arguing that you have a right to have your child's capability for work assessed under Regulation 8B of the Social Security (Credits) Regulations 1975.

Please note that unless your son or daughter has worked and paid national insurance contributions in the past they have no chance of actually being paid new style ESA. Despite this it is still worth making a claim - not in order to get payments of ESA but as a way of ensuring that a work-capability assessment takes place. This in turn will allow your son or daughter to get Universal Credit despite being in education.

It can take many months for a work capability assessment to be organised so it is a good idea to make a credits only claim for new style ESA before you think you will want to claim Universal Credit.

If you lodge a credits only claim for ESA and the DWP still refuse to organise a work capability assessment, get in touch with Contact for help in challenging this.

My child is 20 and is still in non-advanced education. Will I need to lodge a credits-only claim for new style ESA before she can claim Universal Credit?

Possibly not. If a child has passed the September after their 19th birthday and remains in full time non advanced education they shouldn't be refused Universal Credit on the basis they are receiving education, unless the DWP believe that their course is incompatible with any work related conditions attached to their Universal Credit.

It will be worth making a claim for Universal Credit and arguing that the course is not incompatible with a claim. This may be because their course is flexible enough to allow them time off to meet any DWP conditions or because the DWP agree that your child shouldn't have many conditions attached to their claim because of their condition.

However, if this does not work you will need to lodge a credits only claim for Universal Credit. It may be worth doing this anyway to guard against the possibility that your son or daughter's course is treated as incompatible with a Universal Credit claim.

My son turns 19 in January. What will happen when he leaves education next summer?

Once your son leaves education, any child benefit or other benefits you get for them as a dependent child (e.g. tax credits) will stop. However, they should be able to make a claim for Universal Credit as a young disabled adult instead. If they are not in education this should be a more straightforward process.

Some of the benefits that you mention are means-tested. Whose income and capital is counted - mine or my child's?

If your child is claiming benefit in their own right as a young disabled adult your income and capital are completely ignored. It's only their income and savings that are taken into account. The situation

is different if you are getting benefit payments for your son or daughter as part of your family e.g. you get tax credits for them as a child or you claim Universal Credit as a family and are getting extra amounts for them as a dependent child. If you are claiming means tested benefits or tax credits as a family, it's you and your partner's resources that are taken into account.

What is the limit in savings a young disabled person can have so that it does not affect their benefits? Does it make any difference if this money is held in trust?

If a young person claims Universal Credit in their own right, capital below £6000 is ignored. If they have capital above £16,000 they cannot get Universal Credit. If their capital is above £6000 but below £16,000 their Universal Credit payments are reduced. For every £250 they have above £6000, £4.33 per month is deducted from their monthly Universal Credit payments.

Whether money held in a trust counts as capital for Universal Credit will depend on the type of trust. It's possible for money that is held in a discretionary trust to be ignored.

Other questions

To continuing getting child benefit my son has to be in non-advanced education. What does this mean?

In order to continue getting benefits for your son as a dependent he needs to be in education that is both full-time and non-advanced. Full time normally means more than 12 hours a week although different rules can apply to some study programmes in England.

Where a course is classed as non-advanced depends on the type of course. HMRC provide details of which types of course are advanced and non-advanced. Non advanced courses include GCSEs, A levels, National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers, B-Tec and SVQs/NVQs below level 4. If the course does not lead to a qualification (e.g. a life skills course) it will be non-advanced.

What's the website mentioned during the webinar that parents and advisers can use for more information about the PIP scoring system?

The PIP scoring system is replicated in Contact's free guide to PIP. You can also access detailed information from the website www.pipinfo.net

Can you still claim child maintenance for a child after they turn 16?

A young person continues to be treated as a child for child support purposes so long as they are aged between 16 and 19 and remain in full-time non advanced education.