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DLA-Review - epetition reply

9 June 2008

We received a petition asking:

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Protect DLA recipients with chronic conditions from the Right Payment Programme."

Details of Petition:

"Right Payment Programme The RPP was introduced in May 2007 with no prior consultation and no publicity to replace Periodic Review (PR) Under PR, a large proportion of DLA recipients with chronic health/disability were exempt from PR. However, without any prior warning or consultation these exemptions have been withdrawn, and the only exempt groups under RPP, are those with terminal illness, or those awarded DLA in the last 12 months. The effect of the above is that many chronically sick/disabled people with chronic and incurable conditions will face having their award reviewed, and possibly reduced or removed altogether. We feel that this a retrograde step, and will lead to the errors which resulted from the Benefits Integrity Project (BIP), the predecessor of Periodic Review, which was halted by the government in 1999 as a 'disaster'. We respectfully request the Prime Minister to review the highly likely effects that RPP will have on many DLA claimants and call on him to instruct the Sec of State for Work and Pensions to afford the same exemptions as were in Periodic Review to the Right Payment Programme."

Read the Government's response

Firstly, we would like to assure you that where customers continue to satisfy the entitlement criteria they will not lose benefit.

Our customers expect to be paid the correct amount of money when they claim benefit based on their entitlement. Taxpayers expect the Government to ensure that the right benefits are paid to the right people at the right time as efficiently as possible.

The objectives of the Right Payment Programme are to measure and correct any error in the caseload, to ensure that our customers receive the benefit they are entitled to, and protect the public purse by identifying and addressing the causes of error in the benefit system. Correction of the error applies equally to identifying underpayments of benefit as well as overpayments. Therefore, some customers could see an increase in their Disability Living Allowance (DLA) awards.

The Right Payment Programme involves a random selection of cases from the DLA caseload and it has been decided that there cannot be exemptions from the programme. This is fairer, but it also reflects research which indicates that disabled customers have broadly similar potential for a change of circumstances.

It is accepted that changes of circumstances can occur during the lifetime of a claim. Often these changes can be so subtle that the customer does not realise that there is an impact on their entitlement. There can also be changes in a customer's circumstances which are not necessarily related to care or mobility needs but which still affect payment of benefit, such as hospitalisation.

Any changes could result in an increase or decrease in a customer's award of benefit. However, we must stress that no customer will have a reduction in benefit unless there has been a material change in their circumstances. If customers are unhappy with a decision following Right Payment Programme activity then they have the normal reconsideration and, if necessary, appeal rights to an independent tribunal.

We have put information about the Right Payment Programme on the DWP website to ensure that customers, their advisors and other interested parties have access to accurate information. The Helpline (0845 712345) also has information for anyone wishing to contact it.