Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment is a non-means tested benefit available to those who need extra financial help to deal with a long-term illness, mental health condition or a disability. It is available to those aged 16 to 64 and is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA). It is tax exempt, so any savings, income or capital will not be taken into consideration when you make a claim. Furthermore, if you or any dependents in your home are receiving PIP, the awarded amount will not be impacted by the Benefits Cap.

Eligibility criteria

In order to claim PIP you must…

  • Be aged between 16 to 64
  • Require assistance with daily tasks
  • Have needed this assistance for at least 3 months
  • Haved lived in Great Britain for at least 2 years (refugees are exempt from this rule)

How much will I get?

There are two tiers of payment available for those claiming PIP.

  • The Mobility component which is designed for those who need assistance getting around.
  • The Daily Living component which is designed for people who need help with daily tasks such as getting in and out of bed or getting dressed

Both tiers have two rates; the standard rate or the enhanced rate (the latter is for those with the greatest need). Depending on your condition, you could be eligible for one or both components at the standard or enhanced rate.

PIP Rates table

The amount you will get will depend on your individual circumstances but below are the rates for each component, both standard and enhanced.

Component Weekly rate
Daily living - standard rate£55.65
Daily living - enhanced rate£83.10
Mobility - standard rate£22.00
Mobility - enhanced rate£58.00

How long will my claim last for?

Awards for PIP are time limited, which means you will need to be reassessed at some point in the future, depending on your individual circumstances. Once you have been awarded a PIP the DWP will notify you by post on how long your award will last. Similarly they will also remind you around 90 days prior to when your current award is due to end that you are due to be reviewed for future PIP entitlement.

When is the money paid?

PIP is paid every 4 weeks directly into your bank account or building society, unless you are terminally ill in which case it’s paid every week.

Paid to someone else

There are two instances where your PIP payment will go to someone other than yourself.

(i) Under the motability scheme a partial or full amount of your enhanced mobility component payment will be paid directly into the scheme. Depending on how much it costs to lease the vehicle under the scheme, you may have to top up the payment OR alternatively, you may receive the difference if the cost is less than the total component award amount.

(ii) For those claimants who have a legal appointee, the money will go direct to them. In this instance, the appointee themselves has control over how the money is spent.

How do I apply?

All claims for PIP are done via the DWP. The process may include attending a medical assessment and/or the DWP getting in touch with your local health or social care practitioner.

Below are the steps you need to undertake in order to start a claim…

  • You need to obtain a PIP2 claims form, this can be done over the phone by calling the DWP on 0800 917 2222. This may take upto 2 weeks to arrive
  • You will also be sent information entitled “How your disability affects you” which you should read prior to completing the form
  • You should then carefully complete the form, ensuring you give accurate information and answers to each question asked. The CAB have published some useful guidance on filling in the PIP claims form.
  • Post the form back to the address stated on the form, which can vary depending on where you live in the country
  • You may be invited to attend an assessment and/or the DWP will contact your local healthcare professional to provide supporting information
  • At the assessment you will be asked questions about your ability to carry out everyday tasks.
  • Following your assessment the DWP will notify you by post as to whether you have been successfully awarded a PIP

If you are unsure about whether you will be entitled to claim PIP there is a handy free online tool from the charity c-app which you may find useful. It asks a series of questions that will help you to better understand if you are likely to be successful in making a PIP claim.

What do I do if I am already claiming DLA?

For those individuals who are already claiming DLA a letter will be sent from the DWP asking them to apply instead for PIP (regardless of the length of the award for your current DLA claim).

What if I am terminally ill?

If you have a terminal illness and are not expected to live for more than 6 months you can expedite your PIP claim. You should call DWP without delay and contact your local health care professional to ask them to complete a DS1500 form. You will not need to undergo any medical assessments as you would with a regular PIP claim

Impact on other benefits

Anyone awarded a PIP may also be entitled to enhancements on other benefits they are claiming. Additional income maybe sought on some or all of these other benefits…

  • Housing Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance – (PIP daily living component)
  • Pension Credit – (PIP daily living component)

Once awarded a PIP you can also immediately apply for…

  • Disabled person’s railcard
  • Blue Badge parking badge
  • 50% off your car tax (standard mobility rate)
  • 100% off your car tax (enhanced mobility rate)
  • A free local bus pass

What is the PIP test?

This is what the DWP use to decide upon whether or not an individual should be awarded PIP. The test is based over two sections, one for each component part of PIP (daily living and mobility). Under each part of the test the claimant is awarded points based on their ability to complete everyday tasks. The more support an individual needs to complete a task, the higher the number of points (known as descriptors) they are awarded. Below are the amount of points required to make a successful claim for both PIP components.

Daily Living Component Mobility Component
8 to 11 points - Awarded the standard rate8 to 11 points - Awarded the standard rate
11 points or more - Awarded the enhanced rate11 points or more - Awarded the enhanced rate

Your test scores will be based upon the health care professionals notes from the assessment, your original PIP2 claims form as well as the medical documentation you will have submitted as part of the application process.

Preparing for the Assessment

PIP assessments are undertaken by private companies on behalf of the DWP.

You will need to bring with you two proofs of identity, your appointment confirmation letter plus any relevant medical documentation.

The assessment will usually take no more than an hour and will be split into two sections, a conversation about your ability to undertake everyday tasks as well as a physical examination. It is important you prepare for the assessment and that you tell the assessor everything that is relevant to your condition. It may help to prepare some notes in advance.

Questions/Tasks

You maybe asked questions that are designed to test your memory, for example remembering items in the rooms or be asked to complete simple mental arithmetic. Take your time and answer the questions calmly.

You may also be asked to undertake some physical tests, for example placing your hand against the assessor’s hand. It is important you can complete these requests without having to strain. If you feel you are in pain when doing so, or in fact if you feel you cannot undertake a task due to discomfort, you should let the assessor know.

You may find it useful to keep a record of the assessment, particularly if your claim is unsuccessful and you want to launch an appeal.

Renewing a Claim

The DWP maintain the right to review your PIP award at any point in time. However, it is your responsibility to inform them if your condition improves or deteriorates as this could impact your right to continue to claim. However, in most cases the DWP will want to review your claim around 12 months before you existing claim is due to expire.

You will be sent a PIP review form which you must return within 4 weeks. If you do not return the form, the DWP has the right to terminate your PIP claim. After you complete the renewals form the DWP will either…

  • Extend your PIP award into the future
  • Change your entitlement
  • End your claim

You will also need to attend another assessment as well as submitting supporting medical documentation. As with your original claim, the DWP may also contact your local healthcare professional.

How do I challenge a decision (Mandatory reconsideration)

If you are not happy with a decision made by the DWP (including the number of components awarded and the level of financial support you have been offered) you have the right to launch an appeal. However it is extremely important you follow due process.

Mandatory reconsideration

This is the first step in challenging a decision on PIP but it must be done within one month of your original decision date from the DWP (note – not the date you received the letter). Recent reports have indicated that almost half of PIP appeals have been successful, so it is worth taking the time to challenge the DWP if you think they have made a mistake in your case.

You should write to the DWP and explain why you think they got their decision wrong and give specific instances on where you disagree. You should reference your original claims form, the medical assessment notes and also your supporting medical documentation to illustrate why you disagree with their decision.

Challenging a decision not to award the Daily Living Component

It maybe helpful to look forensically at the Daily Living component activities which the DWP use to assessment claimants ..

  • making food
  • eating and drinking
  • managing your treatments
  • taking a wash / having a bath
  • going to the toilet
  • getting dressed
  • verbal communication
  • reading
  • mixing with others
  • making financial decisions

For example if the DWP argue you can make yourself a meal but in reality you can only put food in the microwave, e.g you cannot chop vegetables, then you could argue this point to them.

Challenging a decision not to award the Mobility Component

In order to be awarded the Mobility Component you must prove you have difficulty moving around and getting from A to B.

If you have the ability to walk short distances but it causes immense pain and means you cannot walk for the rest of the day, you can also argue this point to the DWP. You may want to support your claim with a letter from a local physiotherapist for example.

It is worth noting that if you submit your claim for mandatory reconsideration the DWP will look at your entire award again from scratch. This means you could lose one or both of your existing components if your condition has altered since your original application.

When will I hear back from the DWP?

There isn’t a fixed amount of time by which the DWP has to reply to your appeal, although you should receive what is known as a mandatory reconsideration notice within a few months. If your appeal is successful, you will start to receive PIP payments without any further delay. If you challenged the rate you were awarded and are successful, the DWP will pay the difference in lost PIP payments covered by the time they took to process the appeal.

How do I challenge a decision (Tribunal hearing)

If after you have submitted a mandatory reconsideration the DWP did not alter their original decision you have the option of instead appeal to an independent tribunal. Individuals typically appeal to a tribunal because…

  • They were not awarded a PIP
  • They did not get the level of income they thought they would
  • They disagreed with the length of the award

It should be noted that the tribunal will look at the DWP decision based on your condition at the time of the original application, not your current condition.

Getting Support

The tribunal’s process can be long and arduous, so it is worth getting as much support as possible. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to offer assistance and advice. You may want to go one step further and enlist the help of a legal representative such as a solicitor. However, there will of course be costs associated with doing this as you cannot claim legal aid when challenging a DWP decision.

Completing the SSCS1 Form

In order to get a tribunal hearing for you should complete a SSCS1 form, which must be completed in full.

With the form you should include…

  • A photocopy your mandatory reconsideration letter
  • Any additional medical evidence

When filling in the form you need to layout in detail why you think the decision from the DWP is wrong in the same fashion as you did when completing your mandatory reconsideration letter. You should also look again at the DWP descriptors (points system) as see where you believe you should be awarded more points. If you can, substantiate your claims with written evidence from healthcare professionals.

Beware that as with mandatory reconsideration, the tribunal will look at your entire award again which means you could risk losing your total current entitlement. For example if you were awarded the Daily Living component but feel you should also have been given the Mobility component, the tribunal could in theory decide you are eligible for neither.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service will request a response from the DWP within 28 days. Once the DWP’s response has been submitted you will be sent a copy of this with a date and time of your tribunal hearing.

Attending a Tribunal Hearing in Person

You have the option to attend an oral hearing in person by ticking section 6 on the tribunal form. We recommend you do this as this will offer you the maximum chance of success in overturning the original DWP decision. You need to state what dates you are NOT available to attend a hearing, for example if you have children that need picking up from school or you are away. Failure to do this means you may be given a tribunal date which cannot be changed.

If you win your appeal

You will be notified by post and your new award amount will be paid every 4 weeks (in addition to the money you have missed backdated to the original date of your claim)

If you lose your appeal

If you lose you do still have the option to appeal to what is known as an Upper Tribunal if you feel you the tribunal made a mistake by law. However you cannot simply appeal to the Upper Tribunal because you disagree with your tribunal’s decision.

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