Skip to main content

Disability benefits

People with a disability have previously applied for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – a non-means-tested, non-taxable benefit to help them with the extra costs of living with a disability. This is being replaced by the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).


While DLA awards are made on a mixture of self-assessment and medical evidence, under PIP fewer people will be exempt from assessment and there will be periodic reviews of entitlement of all claimants.

As a result, the Department for Work & Pensions’ original impact assessment predicted there would be 500,000 fewer people receiving PIP than would have received DLA under the existing rules.

DLA and PIP both play an important role in assessing eligibility for a number of council- and DWP-administered benefits and services including Blue Badges and Freedom Passes. 

Managed reassessment

While new claimants in London will be assessed for PIP, under current plans existing recipients of DLA (other than those who turn 16) will not begin to be reassessed until October 2015.

Assessment and reassessment in London is and will be carried out by Atos Healthcare, frequently through sub-contracted smaller organisations. 

London Councils' work

The replacement of DLA with PIP will have a number of significant implications for boroughs.

It is possible that relatively large numbers of residents who are currently automatically eligible for a Blue Badge or a Freedom Pass as a result of their DLA award could lose that eligibility, forcing them to apply directly to their borough.

Receipt of a DLA award by a claimant, partner or qualifying young person acts to exempt a household from the benefit cap. So if a significant proportion of households currently exempt from the cap for this reason were to lose their award once they have been reassessed for PIP, this could potentially lead to a significant increase in the numbers of capped households within a borough.

London Councils produced an extended briefing exploring some of these issues and other implications for boroughs of the move from DLA to PIP