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 2019 are:
Daily living component weekly rate
- Standard rate: £58.70
- Enhanced rate: £87.65
Mobility component weekly rate
- Standard rate: £23.20
- Enhanced rate: £61.20
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 a 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 DWP have made the following video to help you once you've decided to make your claim for PIP:
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?
We've created this factsheet you help you with filling in your PIP2 - 'How your disability affects you' form. It contains detailed advice on how to answer some of the questions on the form, and the criteria that the DWP will use to assess your case.
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.
You can watch the following video from the DWP for more information about your face-to-face PIP assessment:
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.
The DWP have made the following video to explain some of the key things you should know about your PIP decision:
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.
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.
We've created some factsheets and precedent letters (which are designed to address complex legal situations) to help you know your rights and when to get advice about a problem.
You can access these on our Information and advice resources page.
If you require advice on completing a letter, please contact the Learning Disability Helpline.
Click the heading below to reveal the links to further information:
- PIP Assessment Support - This website gives a lot of information on how to prepare for the PIP assessment.