The fact that PIP acts as a passport to increased means-tested benefits and tax credits can make more difference to household income than PIP itself for claimants on low incomes.
Those already entitled to means-tested benefits should not have any difficulty in asking for the awarding decisions to be superseded effective from the date of claim.
In extreme cases of delay, there is always the threat of judicial review.
However, this is prohibitively expensive for many claimants.
Advisers should check any letters sent to DLA claimants carefully to see whether they are in fact invitations to claim PIP, 5and check at the earliest possible stage if expected DLA renewal forms have not materialised.
Probably the most pragmatic approach is to consider whether evidence is available (or may be requested) which the DWP and/or the assessment provider may accept as sufficient to make a decision without a face-to-face assessment.
The PIP (Transitional Provisions) Regulations provide that any DLA claimant who complies with the process of transferring to PIP will keep her/his DLA entitlement for at least four weeks after the decision on the PIP claim is made.18 This offers limited protection to those not entitled to PIP (a projected 608,000 claimants by 2018), but also catches those seeking a DLA supersession in the transfer areas.
Any DLA claimant reporting an increase in care or mobility needs in these areas will not be paid any increased entitlement until a PIP claim has been invited, made, assessed and decided, as the change is treated as not relating to DLA,19 and instead triggers an invitation to claim PIP.
It is only possible for current DLA claimants to voluntarily claim PIP if they live in a transfer area.
It is important to remember that the DWP still has the to invite any eligible DLA claimant to claim PIP, wherever s/he lives.3 The only groups completely excluded from the transfer are under 16s, and those who reached 65 before 8 April 2013.4 It is particularly important to be aware of this, given the confusion and conflicting information given to some claimants.