PIP: Important rule change may mean millions benefit – are you due over £5,000?

State pension: People 'rely on the DWP' to get sums right

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The rule change has taken into account that deaf and hearing impaired Britons may not be able to hear a standard fire alarm while washing when their hearing aids must be removed. Claims from August 21, 2020 will be reviewed to see if they now qualify for PIP under these rules, with successful claimants supposed to receive backdated claims from this date as well.

The DWP takes into account the ability of applicants to do a range of daily tasks such as washing. 

The amount of assistance, aids or difficulty applicants have with these tasks can change their score during their assessment which ultimately decides whether they can receive the benefit. 

PIP regulations specifically state that a claimant cannot be assessed as fit to carry out a task unless they can do so safely.

Britons whose only health challenge is a hearing impairment may not find a direct impact on their ability to shower or bath.

However, the removal of their hearing aids or cochlear implants to do this can affect their safety, especially if a fire alarm were to go off.

The rule change will see these applicants scoring higher on the assessment as they would need special devices or supervision whilst washing in order to be safe in this type of situation. 

The DWP said: “We are now looking at PIP claims from deaf or hearing impaired people who may be affected by this change. This includes reviewing some claims we decided on or after August 21, 2020, including ones where we did not award PIP.

“We are not planning to ask you to provide any further evidence or invite you for an assessment as part of this review. We will be looking at information we already have about your hearing impairment from your PIP claim.”

They noted claims will not be reviewed if, since August 21, 2020,  applicants received the enhanced rate of the daily living component, had a tribunal decide on their claim or were not awarded PIP prior to this date. 

Britons who will have their claims reviewed will be contacted by the DWP through the post and the DWP has told Express.co.uk they are committed to ensuring people get the full amount of PIP they are entitled to.

The Department is making efforts to process backdated payments “as quickly as possible”.

The DWP will backdate payments for claimants deemed eligible now under the new rule up to the date they started receiving PIP if they claimed after August 21, 2020. 

Britons who believe they are now eligible for PIP can also apply as the new rule will be implemented on all new claims. 

According to hearinglink.org there are an estimated 11 million deaf or hearing impaired Britons who could benefit from this rule change.

The change came as a result of a tribunal judgement.

While the risk of a fire alarm, smoke detector or other emergency alarms going off at the exact moment where the claimants have removed their hearing aids is likely low, the tribunal ruled that the gravity of the potential harm that could occur in this type of situation deserved higher regard and consideration. 

In the tribunal, two claimants were found to need to remove their hearing aids in order to wash and could not sufficiently hear the alarms whilst doing this. 

Additionally, both claimants had bathroom doors that could be unlocked from the outside in case of an emergency and had family members stay in the house when they took a bath or shower.

Because of this it was ruled that these claimants should receive two points for the daily living activity of washing or bathing. 

These points indicate that the claimant needs supervision or prompting to be able to wash or bathe. 

This decision enabled both claimants to go from six points to eight, qualifying them for the standard rate of the daily living component.

Under the new rule claimants could have their award moved from nil award to the standard rate or the standard rate to the enhanced rate of the daily living component.

The current standard rate for PIP daily living component is £60, meaning applicants provided backdated payments from August 21, 2020 now awarded the standard rate could receive £5,040. 

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