Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people who have a long term physical or mental disability and need help participating in everyday life or find it difficult to get around.
In England and Wales PIP has replaced the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged between 16 and 64.
If you already receive DLA you do not need to do anything until DWP contact you by letter and invite you to apply for PIP. However, if you report a change of circumstances, such as a change in your condition, to the DWP, it will trigger an invitation to apply for PIP. Please be aware the DWP will contact you by letter, so this is something you should look out for, if possible. If you do not respond to the letter your DLA will stop and there may be a delay before you can get PIP.
In some ways PIP has similarities with DLA, for instance they are both made up of 2 components - Daily Living and Mobility (which have 2 rates; standard and enhanced). However, PIP is a different benefit, with a different eligibility criteria, so you may not be able to accurately tell how the transition from DLA to PIP will affect you; you may see an increase in your benefits, or you may see a decrease.
PIP is tax free, is not means tested and you don't need to have paid National Insurance contributions to be entitled to it.
PIP is awarded according to how your illness or disability affects your ability to carry out certain specified activities, and what help you need with those activities, not your diagnosis.
Eligibility for PIP is based on a point system. You get a certain number of points depending on whether you meet certain descriptors for the specified activities.
For example, one daily living activity which is considered is preparing food and there are a range of descriptors which relate to this activity. If you have no difficulties preparing a meal you will score no points for the activity. However, if you can only prepare a meal using a microwave you will score 2 points. If you need supervision or assistance preparing a meal you will score 4 points, and if you are unable to prepare and cook food you will score 8 points.
You need a minimum of 8 points to get the standard rate, and 12 points to get the enhanced rate for daily living and/or mobility.
The PIP rates from April 2017 are:
Daily living component weekly rate
- Standard rate: £55.65
- Enhanced rate: £83.10
Mobility component weekly rate
- Standard rate: £22.00
- Enhaned rate: £58.00
Applying for PIP
It’s a good idea to get supporting evidence from your doctor, social worker, care worker, or other professionals. This evidence should explain how your illness or disability affects you, and the help you need. It should be from people who know you well and who understand your situation. You could even keep a diary of the help you need each day to give a proper understanding of your situation, especially if your condition isn’t the same every day. Don’t be tempted to make light of your difficulties, even if some of the issues are embarrassing, you need to show how your condition really affects you.
Examples of evidence you could provide includes:
- care plans
- diary sheets
- supporting statement or information from family or friends
- information from a social worker
- educational records
- statement from teacher/headteacher
- consultant’s report
- community nurse statement
- GP letters
- existing DLA evidence already on file (you have to specifically ask for this to be included).
The application process
The application for PIP has 4 stages:
1. Initial claim
To start your PIP claim you need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They will collect information from you such as your contact and bank details as well as your accessibility requirements.
Details of the ways to start your application can be found at GOV.uk.
2. Filling in the 'How your disability affects you' (PIP2) form
After you've made an initial claim the DWP will post a form to you.
This is where you describe the impact of your impairments or health conditions, any specialist equipment you use or help that you need.
Always fill in the information boxes on the form to describe how you meet the relevant descriptor for each activity, e.g. if you need supervision or assistance when you cook, say so and explain what help you need and why. What would happen if you did not have the supervision or assistance?
3. An assessment by a health professional from Independent Assessment Services (formerly known as Atos) or Capita
A health professional will then collect all the information from you and write a report for the DWP.
You will likely be invited to a face-to-face consultation at this stage, although in some cases a decision will be made based on the form you've filled in and any further evidence you've provided.
4. Decision made
A case manager at the DWP will look at all the information and make a decision about your award. They'll then let you know what decision they've made.
If your application for PIP is unsuccessful or you are unhappy with the outcome, you should contact the DWP within one month of the date of decision to request a mandatory reconsideration.
This can be done over the phone, but we recommend that you do it in writing so you have a record of your request. If you need more time, contact the DWP and ask for an extension.
If the mandatory reconsideration is unsuccessful you have one month from the date of the mandatory reconsideration decision letter to appeal the decision. The appeal will be looked at by an independent tribunal.
Take a look at our factsheet
We've created a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) factsheet which includes all the information you need about this benefit, including current rates and how to apply.Download resource Personal Independence Payments (PIP) factsheet
Personal Independence Payments (PIP) - FAQs
We've come up with answers to some frequently asked questions about PIP.
These include information about unsuccessful applications, eligibility and how PIP works alongside other benefits you may be receiving.Take me there
We've created the following factsheets to help you with the benefits application, assessment and follow-up process:
- Delays in receiving benefits (PDF, 52 KB) - this factsheet explains the options that may be available to you whilst you're waiting for your first payment.
- Mandatory reconsiderations (PDF, 48 KB) - this factsheet explains what to do if you wish to challenge a benefit decision.
- Reasonable adjustments (PDF, 425 KB) - this factsheet explains what changes should be made by the Job Centre and DWP for people with a learning disability who are looking to claim benefits.
- What happens next (PDF, 367 KB) - this factsheet sets out what should happen after your Care Act assessment.
- Reviews and new assessments (PDF, 219 KB) - this factsheet is for people who already receive care and support through a package of social care and what they can expect from the review and assessment process.