New points system for new benefit: have your say urges McCausland

SOCIAL Development Minister, Nelson McCausland, is urging people in Coleraine to help shape the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment which will soon replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working age customers.

Over 185,000 people are currently in receipt of DLA in Northern Ireland, including just under 4,300 in the Coleraine district council area.

The new PIP assessment will look at the impact a person’s illness or disability has on their ability to perform a range of everyday tasks, and will replace DLA for all existing and future working age customers from 2013.

Launching a 15-week consultation on the new system for assessing the impact of an individual’s condition on their daily lives, and the proposed scores which will determine eligibility and payment rate, Minister McCausland encouraged people in Coleraine to have their say.

The Minister said: “I welcome this consultation; it provides a vital opportunity for people and organisations in Northern Ireland to study the proposals for the Personal Independence Payment assessment carefully and make their views known.”

The consultation also seeks views on whether further changes are required to the assessment criteria and whether the criteria reflects individual needs, for example, how the criteria will apply to individuals with fluctuating conditions.

The Minister added: “I support the reform of the benefit system where it seeks to support people back into work, and where it offers help to those who are genuinely in need of financial assistance. However, we need to ensure that these reforms take into account the specific circumstances of the people of Northern Ireland.”

An electronic version of the document is available to view or download from the Department’s website at:

Respondents should send comments to: Mrs Diane Clarke, Social Security Policy and Legislation Division, Department for Social Development, Level 1, James House, 2-4 Cromac Avenue, Gasworks Business Park, Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 2JA. The closing date for comments is the 30 April 2012.