Personal Independence Payments explained (PIPs)

PIP is a benefit paid to people who have daily living and/or mobility needs to help with the extra costs of long-term illness or disability.

Getting PIP does not reduce other benefits, it may even increase them. If you have a carer then claiming PIP may help them to qualify for certain benefits (such as Carers Allowance). PIP may also entitle you and/or your carer to further help with council tax. There are no restrictions on how you can spend your PIP money, and you do not have to spend it on paying for the care that you need. However, your council or trust can take PIP into account when calculating how much you might need to pay for any care services you receive.

PIP can be paid regardless of your income, savings or National Insurance contribution record and is a tax-free benefit. You can get PIP even if you are working or studying. If you are a carer who has care needs, you can claim PIP for yourself and this will not affect your Carer's Allowance. How much is PIP worth?Your PIP could amount to between £21.80 and £139.75 per week - this depends on how your condition affects you specifically, and not just the condition itself.

For specific queries contact the PIP Government Helpline.

There are two components of PIP:

The daily living component: This helps to cover the extra costs that you may face if you need help doing everyday tasks.

The mobility component: This helps to cover extra costs that you may face if you have difficulties in getting around. It's paid at two different rates - a standard and an enhanced rate. The rate you are paid depends on whether your ability to carry out mobility activities is limited or severely limited. Each of the two components can be paid at either:

Standard rate: Where your ability to carry out daily living/ mobility activities is limited by your physical or mental condition Enhanced rate: Where your ability to carry out daily living/ mobility activities is severely limited by your physical or mental condition.

What to expect

“Fatigue/brain fog/pain/low mood it can be difficult for some to articulate themselves as to how difficult things are. On top of that, we want to appear positive. I found when helping people with their appeals that what has been said by an individual can be interpreted very differently to what is meant, perhaps, to fit the assessors' own perceptions."

At the face-to-face consultation the health care professional will ask questions about your day-to-day life, your home, how you manage at work if you have a job, and about any social or leisure activities that you engage in (or have had to give up). They will often ask you to describe a typical day in your life and go through a list of activities, descriptors and pointers and it is worth looking at these and formulating your answers before you go. When answering, explain your difficulties as fully as you can, including ALL symptoms at their worst and try to word answers in a way that leaves no room for misinterpretation.

  • Tell them about any pain or tiredness you feel, or would feel while carrying out each activity, and after you have carried it out.
  • Consider how you would feel if you had to do the same task repeatedly
  • Tell them if you need reminding or encouraging to complete each activity.

Don't overestimate your ability to do things. If your condition varies, let them know about what you are like on bad days as well as good days. The health care professional's opinion should not be based on a snapshot of your condition on the day of the consultation. They should consider the effects of your condition over time. Before the consultation ends, the health care professional should give you an overview of their findings and invite you to ask questions and add or clarify anything you wish. You will not receive a formal decision at the consultation on whether you will be awarded PIP. DWP makes the decision about your claim based on the results of the assessment, your application and any supporting evidence you include, you'll be given a score based on how much help you need. The more help you need, the higher the score you'll get, so it's important to really stress how the condition affects your daily life, in the worst scenarios. DWP will send you a letter once they've made their decision, explaining why you do or don't get PIP. You will usually be notified of the outcome around 3 weeks after your assessment. If your claim is successful, you will get paid from the date the claim is registered, so it's important to begin proceedings as soon as possible, as the whole process can often take up to 4 months from starting the application to getting your money.

You can appeal if you're unhappy with the decision, the steps for this can be found on the DWP website, or in the documentation you were sent with your application form. There's also some useful information on our website with a link to 'Advice Now' an organisation specifically set up to assist with Mandatory Reconsiderations and appeals. A copy of the table, activities and points used by the assessors is available online. For further information, a guide to applying for PIP and information on other health care schemes you may be eligible for, please visit UK Welfare benefits section.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013.

When applying you must be of working age (64 years and under) and will be assessed on your daily living and mobility needs.

You have to satisfy a daily living and/or mobility activities test for three months beforehand, and be likely to satisfy the test for a further nine months following making the claim.

Like DLA, you can receive PIP irrespective of work status and can spend it as you wish. There are two components – a daily living component and a mobility component. Each component has two rates – 'standard rate' for limited ability and 'enhanced rate' to reflect severe limitation.

To receive PIP you will need to undertake 11 test activities, which you will be scored on. To obtain the 'standard rate' for a PIP component you must score eight points, and 12 points for the 'enhanced rate'. These activities consider your ability to undertake daily living activities such as your mobility, preparing food, managing your health conditions, washing and bathing, dressing and undressing and communication.

View a detailed list and the point scoring system here

Having a lifetime DLA award will not exempt you from undergoing a PIP reassessment.

The PIP assessment resembles the Work Capability Assessment. To begin with, an independent health professional will look at your claim and accompanying medical evidence. You will usually have to attend a face-to-face interview with this assessor, and can take someone with you.

The assessor will then inform the Department for Work and Pensions who will decide if you are entitled to PIP and, if so, your rate, the length of your award and the date when it will be reviewed. You could get a short award of up to two years or a longer award lasting up to five or 10 years. If given a longer award you are likely to be contacted to see if your needs have changed.

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