Personal Independence Payment explained

If you have a disability or illness that means you have difficulties with day to day tasks or getting around, you may be eligible for the Personal Independence Payment, or PIP.

Here, we explain what PIP is, how it works and how to apply for it.

What is Personal Independence Payment (PIP)?

PIP was introduced in 2013 to gradually replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged between 16 and the State Pension age who have long term physical or mental health conditions or disabilities which mean they need additional care or mobility assistance. DLA is still the key benefit payment for children aged under 16 with long term conditions or disabilities.

Unlike other benefits related to illnesses and disabilities, such as Employment and Support Allowance, your eligibility for PIP is not based on your ability to work. Instead, it is designed specifically to help you with the extra costs associated with your condition or disability.

PIP is non-means tested and non-contributory, so if you are applying, your income won’t be assessed and you don’t need to have made National Insurance contributions to qualify.

Who is eligible for PIP?

You may be eligible for PIP if you are between 16 and the State Pension age and you have a physical or mental health condition or disability which means you have difficulty with getting around and/or your daily living needs. You will need to usually have had these issues for at least three months before you can submit a claim, and expect them to continue for at least nine months. You will be considered to have problems with your daily living needs if you need help with or struggle to do the following:
  • preparing or eating food
  • washing, bathing and using the toilet
  • dressing and undressing
  • reading and communicating
  • managing your medicines or treatments
  • making decisions about money
  • engaging with other people
If you are over State Pension age, you may be able to get Attendance Allowance, which you can find more about here.

How much PIP can you get and for how long?

There are two parts to the PIP payment, a Daily living part and a Mobility part, both of which have a standard and enhanced rate. The amounts you can receive from each part in the 2021/22 tax year are as follows:

Daily Living PartWeekly amount
Standard rate£60.00
Enhanced rate£89.60
Mobility PartWeekly amount
Standard rate£23.70
Enhanced rate£62.55

The amount you get, how long you get it for and whether you get both parts, or just one will depend on the outcome of your PIP assessment (see below for more information on this). During the assessment, your ability to carry out the 12 different activities outlined in the eligibility section will be scored on a scale of 0-12, which generally fall into whether you can do the activity:

  • Safely
  • Well enough
  • More than once
  • In a reasonable time

Your assessment score will also determine whether you get the standard or enhanced rate. If your total score is between eight and 11 points for either your daily living or mobility needs, you will get the standard rate, and if your total score is 12 points or more, you will get the enhanced rate.

When you are assessed, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will also tell you how long your PIP payment will be awarded for, usually for one, two, three, five or ten years. Your claim will usually be reviewed in the final year of your claim, during which the DWP will decide whether you are still eligible for support, whether to extend your claim or whether to stop payments.

How do you apply for PIP?

Request a PIP application form

To start your PIP application process, you will need to get a ‘How your disability affects you’ form. The quickest way to get this is by phoning the DWP PIP claims helpline: 0800 917 2222. You can also request a PIP application form by writing to the following address, however it’s important to know that the postal application process is slower and may delay the decision on your claim:

Personal Independence Payment New Claims
Post Handling Site B
Wolverhampton
WV99 1AH

Once you’ve requested it, you will be sent the form and you will have three months to complete it and send it back to the DWP (if you need more time, contact the PIP enquiry line).

Complete your PIP claim form

The form is fairly long and can be confusing in places. Citizens Advice has a guide to help you fill out your PIP claim form, which explains the form section by section, letting you know exactly what each question means, what to include in your answers, example answers and help explaining how your illness or disability affects you.

Once you’ve completed the form, send it back to the DWP at the address provided on the form.

Gather Supporting Information

While this is not a mandatory step, gathering information that supports your claim can boost your chances of having it accepted.

The DWP is obliged to review all medical information provided when considering your claim, but may not have specific knowledge of your condition or disability and the impact it has on your life.

Some examples of supporting information include:

  • Letters from health professionals with their opinion on how your condition affects your ability to carry out the 12 core tasks listed in the eligibility section – ask them to send this information to you and not directly to the DWP so you can make sure you are happy with the information you are providing and that it supports your claim and doesn’t just state the facts of your condition or disability.
  • Statements from family and friends – particularly if they help you carry out daily tasks or assist with your mobility, this can help build a picture of the help you require.
  • A PIP Diary – this is something you can fill in on a daily basis to show how your condition or disability affects you. Each day can be very different with long term illnesses and disability, so this can help to provide an overview of what your day to day life looks like. Citizens Advice have a template PIP diary that you can use for this.

Supporting information can be provided to the DWP at any point during your claim, but it’s important not to delay submitting your claim because you are waiting on a piece of evidence. It is better to submit your claim with a note saying that you will send on the information later as it can take some time to process claims.

Complete a PIP Assessment

Unless you have a terminal illness, you will usually be invited to an assessment (due to COVID-19 and depending on your individual circumstances this may be carried out over the phone) to gather more information for your claim. If you need an assessment, you will get a letter from an independent health professional inviting you to one. 

During your assessment, you will be asked about your ability to carry out activities and how your condition affects your daily life. As mentioned above, your assessor will assign you a score between 0-12 for each activity, depending on your ability to carry it out by yourself, or whether you need support, or someone to do it for you. This score will determine how much money you get and for how long.

Being assessed can feel nerve wracking, but remember that this assessment is not a medical review of your condition, it’s a chance for you to talk about how you are affected by your condition or disability. Citizens Advice has a guide on how to prepare for this assessment.

PIP claim outcome

When you’ve completed your assessment, your claim will be processed and you will get a letter telling you whether you’ll get PIP, which parts and rate you will get and your PIP assessment score. The decision takes into consideration all elements of your claim, including:

  • Your initial claim form
  • Supporting information
  • PIP Assessment Report from the independent health professional

If your claim has been successful, you will be told how much you will get, when you will be paid and the date your PIP will be reviewed. Most PIP payments are paid straight into your bank account, every four weeks.

If your claim has been unsuccessful and you disagree with the decision you can challenge the decision.

Challenging your PIP outcome

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your PIP claim, either you were not granted PIP or you think you have been given the wrong amount, you can ask for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’.

You will need to request the mandatory reconsideration within a month of the decision date outlined on your decision letter.

While you can ask for mandatory reconsideration over the phone (the contact details will be on your decision letter), the best way to submit a request is usually by letter or by completing the Form CRMR1 – ‘If you disagree with a decision made by the Department for Work and Pensions’ as you will be able to keep a record of your request. Although, if you are nearing the end of the one month deadline, you may want to call and follow up with a letter.

If you are writing a letter you will need to be specific about the reasons why you disagree with the decision. The decision letter will outline the outcome of your assessment and claim, so use each of these statements as a starting point to outline exactly what you disagree with. Provide any additional information, facts, examples and evidence to support what you are saying.

Once you have submitted your request, the DWP will reconsider your claim and you will get a mandatory reconsideration notice letter that will let you know if they have changed the decision and the reasons for it.

If you still disagree with the outcome of this, you will need to take your case to a tribunal.

Will PIP affect your other benefits?

PIP will not affect any of your other benefits, and may actually mean you are eligible for more support (i.e. increased elements of Universal Credit, carers allowance or help with council tax).

The rules surrounding your entitlement to benefits can be extremely complicated, so seek advice if you’re not sure whether you’re eligible for support.

Charity Turn2us, for example, can assess your eligibility for benefits through its Turn2us benefits calculator or if you’d rather speak to someone, you can contact them by phone on 0808 802 2000. The site Entitledto.co.uk also has a free benefits calculator which you can use to work out whether you qualify for financial support.

Alternatively, you can get help from Citizens Advice. You can search for your local Citizens Advice here or you can telephone their customer service helpline on 0344 411 1444.

Have you recently made a PIP claim for the first time or do you have any tips for those applying for PIP? If so, we’d be interested in hearing from you. You can join the money conversation on our Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.

Links with an * by them are affiliate links which help Rest Less stay free to use as they can result in a payment or benefit to us. You can read more on how we make money here.

Comments

Loading comments...

    Leave a reply

    Thanks, your comment has been saved. We will review it shortly, check back soon.

    Sorry, there was a problem saving your comment. Please refresh and try again.

    Get the latest ideas, advice and inspiration​

    No spam. Just useful and interesting stuff, straight to your inbox. Covering finance, learning, jobs, volunteering, lifestyle and more.

    By providing us your email address you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the link in our emails.