Communities Minister Paul Givan MLA has announced an advertising campaign to raise public awareness of the new Personal Independence Payment benefit.
Personal Independence Payment is replacing Disability Living Allowance for people of working age, and the campaign will begin on 24 October 2016 and will run for six weeks. It aims to inform claimants of the changes and to let them know that they will be contacted in advance if they are affected.
Minister Givan said: “Personal Independence Payment was introduced in Northern Ireland on 20 June 2016 as part of the changes to the welfare system. From December 2016 until December 2018, existing Disability Living Allowance claimants, aged 16 to 64 years, will receive a letter from the Department inviting them to make a claim for Personal Independence Payment. It is important that we make existing claimants, future claimants and the general public aware of the introduction of this new benefit."
Minister Givan continued: “The aim of Personal Independence Payment is to help people with a disability live more independently and to ensure support for those with the greatest need.
“The Northern Ireland Executive has committed to provide support for those people who may be affected by the changes to the welfare system and any impacted claimants will be contacted by my Department.”
Claimants aged 65 years or over on 20 June 2016, and children up to 16 years, will continue to be entitled to Disability Living Allowance where they meet the eligibility criteria.
Over the next two years, any existing Disability Living Allowance customers affected will receive a letter in advance of any change to their benefit explaining what they need to do and by when. Personal Independence Payment has been designed to help towards some of the extra costs arising from having a long-term health condition or disability that is expected to last for 12 months or longer.
The campaign will include online, television, radio and press advertising along with various forms of outdoor poster advertising including billboards.
More information about Personal Independence Payment, including audio and British and Irish Sign Language versions, is available at the nidirect website.
Notes to editors:
- For more information on the changes to the welfare system visit the nidirect website.
- As part of the Northern Ireland Executive’s ‘Fresh Start’ agreement a Welfare Reform Mitigations Working Group, led by Professor Eileen Evason, was established to develop proposals to assist people through the implementation of the changes to the welfare system. The group produced a report which detailed a mitigation strategy that included the provision of additional independent advice services to support people through welfare changes.
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