Welfare Reform: PIP Will Have Three Month Qualifying Period
The government has decided not to press ahead with plans to increase the qualifying period for a new disability benefit to six months.
Ministers said the current three-month qualifying period will be retained when the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013.
The government said that without reform, the number of people claiming DLA would increase by around 150,000 by 2015/16, with the total number of claims rising to 3.5m.
This equates to an increase of 218% since the benefit was introduced in 1992.
Ministers said that without reform, there would be 2.2m people on DLA by 2015/16, but with the introduction of PIP, this figure falls to 1.7m.
Around £12.6bn a year is spent on DLA, the same as the entire budget for the Transport Department, the government said.
Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller said: "In the past DLA has been poorly managed so we now have a situation where there are hundreds of millions of pounds of overpayments and the vast majority of people get the benefit for life without systematic checks to see if their condition has changed.
"We are replacing DLA with Personal Independence Payment and introducing a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews - something missing under the current system.
"Under PIP, support will be focused on those who need it most, with a greater proportion getting the higher rates compared to DLA."
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope, said: "We're delighted that the Government has chosen to listen to disabled people's concerns over the qualifying period for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
"It means the Government has recognised that asking disabled people to wait for six months before they can claim much-needed financial support, following the development of a condition or impairment, is unfair and unreasonable.
"However, we continue to have concerns over other aspects of PIP, including the tick-box-style assessment the Government plans to use, which will repeat the same mistakes as the Work Capability Assessment."