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Information and advice hub frequently asked questions

I am currently in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA); can my wife also make a claim for DLA?

No DLA was replaced by Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in 2013. Your wife must be aged 16 to 64 and have a health condition or disability where there are:

  • difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for at least 3 month;
  • and are expected to continue for at least 9 months (unless there is a terminal illness and are likely to have less than 6 months to live)
  • You must also have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years, and be in one of these countries when you apply.

A claim form can be obtained by calling 0800 917 2222.

What will happen at the Tribunal Hearing for my appeal?

The Hearing

On arrival at the location where the Tribunal will be held you will be shown to a waiting room. Unless you are appealing an industrial injuries decision there will be no a medical examination. A clerk will introduce themselves and will sort out any claim for expenses you have, they will also deal with any enquiries about the arrangements for the hearing. The clerk may also be present in the hearing.

The Panel

There are usually three people on the panel for Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment appeals (a Judge, a Doctor, and a Disability Adviser) and two people for Employment and Support Allowance appeals (a Judge and a Doctor). However some appeals will be before the Judge only. It is possible a representative from the Department of Work and Pensions could be in attendance and although they have the right to ask questions, they will not be part of the decision-making process.

The Questions

Although the tribunal process is a legal and therefore formal process, it is not the same as going to Court. You are not on trial. The panel will be asking you question to ascertain if they agree with the decision that has been made in relation to your claim. This is your chance to make sure they have the right facts about you, remember they expect you to answer in relation to how you were at the time when the decision was made, not how things are for you now. If your condition has deteriorated since the original decision, you will need to make a new claim (about a different set of circumstances, this is not something that can be included in the appeal.

The Evidence

You should bear in mind the following:

  • The tribunal will focus on the issues that surround the parts of the decision you disagree with, do not worry if the panel does not ask about every part of your case
  • If there are big differences in the evidence provided by you, the benefits office or the council, the panel will ask detailed questions to try to resolve this.
  • The panel will try to make sure that you do not forget all the issues you have in your appeal
  • In disability appeals, the tribunal may have to ask personal questions, but it will try to do this in a sensitive way
  • The tribunal will try to ensure you get your chance to speak. If you think anything has been missed out, let the Judge know.

Adjournments

Sometimes a tribunal panel cannot reach a decision on the day and there will have to be an adjournment. When adjourning, the tribunal will aim to set a date for the next hearing, but they may have to notify you by post.

After the hearing

If you are not happy with the decision that has been made in your case, you have the right to ask for a Statement of Reasons, which will give you a full explanation of how they came to their decision. You would need to request this in writing.

Am I entitled to working tax credits?

Working tax credits are for people on a low income. To be eligible you must be over 16 and ordinarily live in the UK. You can make an individual claim or a joint claim with your partner, or spouse. To receive working tax credits, you must be in paid employment, or starting paid employment within 7 days of making your claim. For an individual claim, you must work 16+ hours per week, and for a joint claim you and your partner must collectively work 24+ hours per week, with at least one of you working 16+ hours per week.

What do I need to do to get ready for Universal Credit?

There are two main things that you could do to get the most from Universal Credit:

  1. Go online
    Universal Credit is designed to be claimed online. Your claim starts on the day that you submit it to DWP. Getting online and building your confidence in using digital services will also help you to access more job vacancies and get into work more quickly.
  2. Sort out the best way to manage your money
    Universal Credit is paid monthly into a single account for you and your household. If you are making a joint claim, this will usually be paid into a joint account to help you and your partner manage your money together. However, you can nominate an individual account if you prefer. Your Universal Credit payment provides a month’s support for your household and may include an amount for your housing costs which you will be responsible for paying to your landlord yourself.

How much will I get from Universal Credit?

Your Universal Credit payment will be made up of different amounts depending on your circumstances.

You can earn a certain amount before your Universal Credit payments are reduced. This is known as your work allowance. If you earn less than this, anything you earn is additional income which you get to keep.

If you earn more than your work allowance your Universal Credit payments will be reduced. The amount of Universal Credit you get will gradually reduce as you earn more, but unlike Jobseeker’s Allowance your payment won’t stop when you work more than 16 hours a week. This will help ensure that you are better off in work.

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