Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit paid to a disabled person or someone with a long term illness or health condition. It can be spent in whichever way the person you care for chooses.
It is not means tested and physically disabled people, people with a mental illness or learning disability may all be entitled. Eligibility is assessed on how their condition affects them, rather than what the health condition is. There are two components (mobility and daily living) both paid at two rates: standard and enhanced. You can find the rates on the government website.
Daily Living component
Eligibility criteria and making a claim
How do I get help with the forms?
How is the claim assessed?
What happens at the face to face assessment?
What if the claim is turned down?
What happens if the person I care for gets PIP and their needs have changed?
The person I care for has gone into hospital. What happens to PIP?
The person I care for is terminally ill
A mobility component can be paid to people who need help with getting around. This could include someone who:
- gets lost, gets anxious or distressed or may behave inappropriately
- needs help finding their way and talking to people or managing to pay for things
- has physical problems with walking. This could be due to pain, exhaustion, breathlessness or for some other reason
A daily living component can be paid for people who need help with managing daily living. This could include someone who needs help:
- with physical tasks like getting up, showering, using the toilet and dressing
- to make sure that they eat or take medication
- with therapy or monitoring their health condition or cooking for them
- with forms and money
- with emotional support
- with cooking and preparing food and drink
- with therapy and monitoring their health condition
- to be eligible for PIP the person claiming must be aged between 16 and State Pension age when a claim is made. You can check what someone’s state pension age is here https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age
- the person you care for needs to meet the PIP criteria for 3 months before PIP can be paid (but you can apply during this time) and they need to continue to meet the criteria for another 9 months. They do not need to meet these conditions if they are terminally ill and meet the definition of terminal illness under PIP rules.
- the person you care for can work and claim PIP.
- the person you care for will need to meet the UK residence and presence conditions. They will normally need to be a resident in the UK when they claim and will usually have been in the UK for 2 years out of the last 3 years. If the person you care for is terminally ill they only need to be present in the UK and do not need to have been present for two out of the last three years. See the government website for full eligibility conditions.
- the person you care for will need to pass the PIP assessment.
The claim process involves filling in a claim form and usually having a face to face assessment.
Or contact the PIP claim line number: 0800 917 2222.
The lines are open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.
To request a paper form write to:
Personal Independence Payment New claim
Post Handling Site B
It can be hard to get help with filling in the claim form; it is lengthy and can take a long time to fill in. There are places in Bristol and South Gloucestershire that may be able to help with giving information over the phone, or at a drop in. Some places offer appointments to help with filling in the form but often there is a wait and not everyone will be able to get this support. It is always worth trying to talk to someone about claiming PIP before doing the form and reading the information on line if you can. Always take a photocopy of the completed form as you may need it in the future.
A local advice centre may be able to help you with your PIP form. You can search for you local advice centre on the ACFA website.
Disability Rights UK produce a guide to filling in a PIP form.
A decision will be made based on what is put on the claim form and from other medical evidence. Most people will also need to be seen face to face by a health care professional.
In Bristol and South Gloucestershire a company called the Independent Assessment Service (IAS), formerly called ATOS carry out the assessments. The form asks for details of the person’s GP, consultant or other people the person you care for sees. IAS may contact them but there is no guarantee of this. It is worth sending in any letters and reports that support what is being said on the form.
PIP is a points based test. The Citizens Advice Bureau provide useful information about how the PIP points system works.
The person you care for may be asked to travel quite a long distance to a centre for the assessment. They can ask for a home visit but will usually need medical evidence to show this is needed. The claimant can ask for a different date, time or location (maybe somewhere nearer home) but IAS, who carry out Personal Independence Payment assessments on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions in this area, will usually only offer one new appointment. Be sure to let them know as soon as possible if the appointment needs to be changed. You can find out more about IAS and their role on the IAS website.
Some people worry about the assessment and it can be a stressful experience. It is made much easier if you know what to expect and are able to prepare. The claimant can take someone with them to the assessment for practical and emotional support. If you go along with the person you care for, you will not be able to speak on their behalf but can remind of anything they may have forgotten to say. It may be useful later on if you keep notes on what is said at the appointment.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has a guide to preparing for your assessment, and it’s definitely worth reading this.
After the face to face assessment a letter will be sent with the decision. If Personal Independence Payment is awarded, seek a full welfare benefit check as the person you care for may be entitles to other financial help. If the daily living park is awarded you may be able to claim Carers Allowance.
If the claim is turned down or the person you care for is awarded less than you think they should, it may be worth asking for a mandatory reconsideration and, if this is unsuccessful, an appeal. Get advice from a welfare rights specialist. The Citizens Advice Bureau gives guidance on challenging the decision.
There are strict time limits for asking for a mandatory reconsideration and for an appeal and it’s important to stick to them. If you do miss the deadline you can still ask for the decision to be looked at again but you will need to have what the Department of Work and Pensions agree is a good reason for putting in a late request.
Advice Now produce a guide to PIP appeals.
If the persons needs increase, they may be entitled to a higher rate of PIP. They can ask for the claim to be looked at again to try and get a higher rate but it’s always best to seek advice as PIP could be reduced rather than increased.
If the person’s needs decrease and they think that they no longer meet the criteria for PIP they will need to notify the PIP unit of this too.
PIP stops after someone has been in hospital for 28 days. The withdrawal of PIP can affect the amount of means tested benefits that they get so it’s important to inform all the separate offices that pay benefits to the person you care for.
If you get Carers Allowance this will also be affected when PIP is withdrawn so you will need to notify the Carers Allowance Unit.
If you get a means tested benefit this may also be affected so you need to let all the separate offices that pay your benefits know about any changes in your caring role.
There are different rules often known as ‘special rules’ that enable people who are terminally ill to make a PIP claim and receive a decision more quickly than usual. Under these rules someone is considered to be terminally ill if they have a progressive disease and their death can ‘reasonably be expected’ within the next 6 months.
A special rules claim can be made by calling the usual normal PIP claim line on 0800 917 2222. The person you care for will need to get a DS1500 medical report from the GP, hospital consultant or Macmillan nurse. This can be sent to the DWP by you or the person completing the form. The claim should be fast tracked and the person you care for will get an award of the enhanced rate of the daily living component but will only receive the mobility component if the relevant disability conditions are met.
There is more information on the Citizens Advice Bureau’s website about claiming PIP for someone who is terminally ill.