Advice about new benefits changes from AgeNI

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Age NI is urging local people who are unsure about the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit and how it may affect them to call the AgeNI Advice Service for help.

The introduction of the Welfare Reform Act has meant significant changes to many benefits in Northern Ireland - some will be replaced and some will apply different rules when claiming.

Deborah Hughes-Johnston, Age NI outreach advisor said: “PIP is a new benefit that is designed to support people dealing with the challenges of a disability or a long term health condition. From June 20, PIP will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for those of working age. However, the uncertainty and confusion around the introduction of this new benefit has caused anxiety for many older people, their families and carers.

“As long as you meet the requirements, DLA will remain for anyone aged 65 and over on this date. If you are currently claiming DLA, and you’re aged between 16 and 64 from June 20, 2016, you’ll be assessed to find out if you’re eligible for PIP, and you will no longer be able to receive DLA. Everyone will be invited to claim PIP by December 2018. A phased approach will be undertaken for claimants. We would urge everyone to read any official correspondence they receive through the post relating to welfare changes or benefits.”

For more information, call the Age NI Advice Service on freephone 0808 808 7575.