The North East is part of a pilot for a change to the disability benefit. New claimants will receive Personal Independence Payment instead of the current Disability Living Allowance.
The government says the old system is "outdated", but some say the change will cause unnecessary worrying for those who rely on the benefit.
More top news
The Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat has tonight left the club.
Plans are underway to transform Auckland Castle into a major tourist destination with the help of a £10 million grant.
A look ahead at the forecast for the Tyne Tees region.