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Moving from DLA to PIP

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

PIP (Personal Independence Payment) is the benefit that’s gradually replacing DLA (Disability Living Allowance). If you’re on DLA and are 65 or older on 20 June 2016, these changes won’t affect you (you’ll stay on DLA and you don’t need to worry about PIP).

If you’re getting DLA at the moment, you will be contacted at some time between December 2016 and December 2018 and asked to claim PIP instead. This will happen even if you have a ‘lifetime’ or ‘indefinite’ award for DLA. Current DLA claimants between the ages of 16 and 64 will be randomly selected to claim PIP.

You don’t automatically swap from one benefit to the other. You’ll get a letter in the post from the Department for Communities (DfC) to tell you that your claim for DLA will end and that you’ll need to make a new claim for PIP.

Many people on DLA will qualify for PIP but it isn’t guaranteed, and it’s possible that you’ll get a different rate than you do now.

You don’t need to do anything until the DfC writes to you.

If you want to speak to someone about changes to benefits, you can phone the independent welfare changes helpline for free on 0808 802 0020 or contact your local Citizens Advice.

Moving from DLA to PIP if you're terminally ill

If you're terminally ill and have been awarded PIP at a higher rate than your DLA, you'll get that amount from the earliest of these dates:

  • the last day of your DLA payment period
  • the first payday of the next benefit week. Your payday is the day the decision was made, for example if your decision was made on a Thursday, the payday is a Thursday.  

You'll be paid weekly in advance.

If you're already getting the highest rate of DLA when you become terminally ill, you will not need to transfer to PIP until sometime before December 2018.

When you’ll have to make a claim for PIP

If you’re on DLA and were under 65 on 20 June 2016, you’ll be asked to apply for PIP instead of DLA when any of the following happen:

  • your DLA ends on or after 7 November 2016 because it was awarded for a fixed period of time – for example, for 5 years
  • you turn 16 on or after 7 November 2016
  • your care or mobility needs change – for example, your condition changes or you have a long spell in hospital
  • the DfC tells you that you have to

It’s best not to apply for PIP until you’re told to by the DfC – you’re not guaranteed to get it, so you’d risk losing your DLA.

If you’re thinking of applying for it before you have to, get advice from your local Citizens Advice.

What you can do now to prepare for your PIP claim

Thinking about your DLA stopping and having to claim a new benefit can be daunting. If you’re worried about the changes, there are some things you can do to prepare and to give yourself the best chance of getting the rate of PIP you need.

Here are some things you can do to prepare:

  • check if you still have copies of the evidence and forms you submitted for your DLA – you could request this from the DLA Centre if you didn’t keep copies yourself. Contact them on 0800 587 0912.
  • if you have a fluctuating condition, consider keeping a diary of your good days and bad days, and how your condition is affecting you – use our template diary [ 78 kb] to get an idea of what you’ll be assessed on
  • speak to your doctor and any other medical specialists about your condition – you’ll need evidence from them when you send your application

If you’ve been told your DLA claim will close

Don’t ignore the letter. As long as you make a claim for PIP within 4 weeks you’ll continue to be paid DLA until a decision is made on your PIP claim. If your PIP claim is successful, you’ll move from DLA to PIP 4 weeks after the PIP decision.

If you don’t make a claim for PIP within 4 weeks your DLA will be suspended, which means you’ll stop receiving the money. If you still haven’t made a claim for PIP after 8 weeks, your DLA will be stopped.

You start your claim for PIP by making a phone call – you don’t need to fill in the form until later on. If you missed your month deadline, phone the DfC and put your claim in as soon as you can, and explain exactly why you couldn’t make the claim in time. Don’t assume the DfC already has the information and evidence it needs about how your condition affects you. They won’t automatically consider any of the evidence you gave them for your DLA claim, they’ll only look at the information you give them in your new PIP application.

In the PIP phonecall they will ask you if you want the evidence you gave for your DLA claim to go to the PIP team. If you’re happy with your DLA evidence, you can say yes and they will forward it to the PIP team, who will consider it as part of your PIP claim. If you want to see the evidence first, you can ask them to send it to you but not to the PIP team. You can then choose if you want to include some or all of it with your PIP claim.

After you’ve called to make your claim

You’ll receive a pack from the DfC within a few days with a full application form and information about the process.

You should do the following as soon as you can:

  • arrange to get help filling in the PIP application form – an adviser at your local Citizens Advice can help you – call straight away as you’ve only got 1 month to return your form
  • if you’ve asked for your DLA evidence to be sent to you, read it through and decide if you need any new evidence
  • arrange to speak to any medical professionals you deal with (for example, your doctor, consultant or a counsellor) – you can send medical evidence from them about your condition and how it affects you with your application
  • think about details of any aids or appliances you use in your everyday life – you won’t have been asked about this when claiming DLA

Read how to claim PIP for a step by step guide to making a claim.

If you have a motability vehicle

Your mobility will be reassessed when you move to PIP. You’ll only qualify for the Motability Scheme if you’re given the higher rate for mobility (known as the ‘enhanced rate’).

This rate is harder to get on PIP than on DLA, which means you might not be able to keep your vehicle. 

You can talk to an adviser at your nearest Citizens Advice. They’ll make sure you include the right details in your claim to get the rate you need.

If you don't get the enhanced rate, you'll have to return your vehicle.

If you’re asked to return your Motability vehicle

You should return your vehicle within 8 weeks of your DLA payments stopping - or 26 weeks if you joined Motability before 2014.

You might be entitled to a one-off payment from Motability when you return your vehicle, depending on its condition and when you joined Motability. If you keep your car for 26 weeks instead of 8 weeks, you’ll get a smaller payment.

If you got a lower PIP rate than you expected, you can ask the DfC to reconsider the amount of PIP they’ve decided to give you. You need to do this within 1 month of the date on your decision letter. 

You should talk to an adviser at  your nearest Citizens Advice before you ask the DfC to reconsider because there’s a small chance you’ll lose the award that you’ve been given.

You'll still need to return your vehicle within the deadline while you're waiting for a decision.

You can find out from Motability about returning your vehicle and the payment, known as 'transitional support'.

If you are awarded PIP

The DfC will write to you to tell you of their decision. The PIP notification letter will tell you whether you have been awarded PIP, and if you have, it will tell you what rate you have been awarded and for how long. It will give you your score for each activity.

A month after you are awarded PIP your DLA will end and you will get PIP instead. You do not need to do anything more.

If you are turned down for PIP

If you are turned down for PIP you will be paid DLA for another 4 weeks after the PIP decision. You will then get no more DLA payments.

If you don’t agree with your PIP decision

If you don’t agree with your PIP decision, you can challenge it. You have to do this within a month of getting your decision. Your decision letter will tell you how to apply for a mandatory reconsideration of the decision. If it is not changed by mandatory reconsideration, you can then appeal it. You will not receive DLA during the mandatory reconsideration or appeal. If you win your mandatory reconsideration or appeal, you will be paid back to the date of the original decision you challenged.

Extra help you can get if you are turned down for PIP or receive less money - Welfare Supplementary payments

If you were getting DLA but don’t get awarded PIP or get less money, you may be eligible for a Welfare Supplementary Payment from the Northern Ireland Executive. These payments are to help you with your financial loss. They are additional to whatever PIP payment you get, if you get one - they are not DLA payments.

If you are financially worse off because of moving to PIP, the Welfare Supplementary Payment team will contact you automatically a month after the PIP decision.

There are different types of Welfare Supplementary Payments:

  • if you don’t qualify for PIP after your assessment and lodge an appeal, you can get a Welfare Supplementary Payment for the same weekly amount as the DLA you had been getting until your appeal is heard and a decision is made. You have to ask for mandatory reconsideration of the decision before you can appeal it. You will not get a Welfare Supplementary Payment during mandatory reconsideration. 
  • if you are awarded PIP but at a lower rate than you were getting for your DLA, you can get a Welfare Supplementary Payment for up to one year. As long as your loss is more than £10 each week, you will get 75% of the difference. For example, if you were getting DLA high rate care of £329.20 every four weeks and you are awarded standard rate daily living PIP of £220.40 every four weeks, you will get a Welfare Supplementary Payment of £81.60 every four weeks.
  • if you do not qualify for PIP, have got between 4 and 7 points in your assessment and have not appealed the decision, you may be entitled to a Welfare Supplementary Payment equivalent to the standard rate of PIP for up one year if you can show that your disability or illness is as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland. You will be contacted by the Welfare Supplementary Payment team and asked to provide evidence.

Further information on Welfare Supplementary Payment for loss of Disability Living Allowance

  • if you are claiming other benefits, such as Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support, you may be getting an extra amount with them because of your disability or illness. If you no longer get DLA or PIP, you will lose this extra amount. You may be able to get a Welfare Supplementary Payment for up to one year instead.
  • if you do not qualify for PIP and someone has been getting carer’s allowance for looking after you, they will no longer be able to get carer’s allowance or the carer’s premium on their other benefits. They may be able to get a Welfare Supplementary Payment for up to one year instead. The Welfare Supplementary Payment team will contact your carer directly.

These payments are separate from DLA or PIP. They are not social security payments and therefore do not automatically entitle you to other help, such as a reduction in road tax or discounted travel. Even if you get a Welfare Supplementary Payment equal to DLA mobility, you cannot use this to keep on paying for your mobility car, if you have one.

Further information

You can find more information about PIP on the government website at

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