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Personal Independence Payment – an introduction

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that helps people aged 16 and over with the extra costs of a long-term health condition or disability. It’s gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA). It’s important to know how to claim it, how you’ll be affected if you already get DLA and how much you might get.

What is Personal Independence Payment?

PIP helps with the extra costs of disability or long-term health conditions for people aged 16 and over.

It’s a non means-tested benefit. So you can get it regardless of how much you earn, or whether you have savings or capital.

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Who can get PIP?

To get PIP, you must:

  • Need help with everyday tasks or getting around, or both because of a physical or mental condition.
  • Have needed this help for at least three months and expect to need it for at least another nine months. Unless you’re terminally ill with less than six months to live.

PIP when you’ve reached State Pension age

You’ll no longer have your payment reviewed when you reach State Pension age.

Instead, you’ll get an ongoing payment and a light touch review after ten years.

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If you’re over State Pension age, you won’t be able to make a new claim for PIP. Instead, you’ll have to claim Attendance Allowance. Find out more on the Turn2us website

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Children under 16

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You can’t make a claim for PIP for children under 16.

But you can still make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance for a child aged under 16 who has difficulty getting around or who needs more care than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability.

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PIP rates

Personal Independence Payment is based on the level of help you need because of how your condition affects you and how able you are to do certain activities.

It is made up of two components:

The Mobility component might be paid if you need help getting about. This includes physically moving around and leaving your home. It’s also referred to as the mobility allowance.

The Daily living component might be paid if you need help with carrying out everyday activities, such as:

  • preparing and cooking food
  • eating and drinking
  • managing your treatments
  • washing and bathing
  • managing toilet needs or incontinence
  • dressing and undressing
  • communicating with other people
  • reading and understanding written information
  • mixing with others
  • making decisions about money
  • planning a journey or following a route.

Each component can be paid at either a standard or an enhanced rate.

Depending on how your condition affects you, it’s possible to get one component or both, and either the standard or the enhanced rate.

This is worked out using the results of an assessment.

Weekly rates
-
Standard weekly rate (2021/22)
Enhanced weekly rate (2021/22)

Mobility component

£23.70

£62.55

Daily living component

£60

£89.60

How to claim PIP

You can claim by calling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222. Find other ways to claim on the GOV.UK website

If you’re in Northern Ireland, call 0800 012 1573 or go to nidirect website

They’ll then check you qualify to claim. If you qualify, DWP will send you a form called ‘How your disability affects you’.

It’s important you fill in this form carefully and give as much detail as you can about your condition.

For help filling in your PIP claim form, go to the Citizens Advice website

When DWP gets your form, they’ll decide whether you need a medical assessment. Or they might decide to ask your health or social care worker for more information.

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Your assessment will instead be carried out by telephone, textphone or post. If further information is needed, your GP might be contacted.

If you need an assessment, this is usually a face-to-face consultation with an independent, trained health professional.

The assessment is designed to work out what your individual needs are.

It will focus on how well you can carry out a range of activities you need to do to cope with everyday life.

For guidance on preparing for your PIP assessment, go to the Citizens Advice website

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You’ll receive a letter inviting you to your assessment which makes it clear if you fail to attend your telephone assessment your PIP claim will be ‘disallowed’.

If your claim is ‘disallowed’ you'll either need to follow the appeal process (see more on this below) or start a new claim. After your assessment, you’ll get a letter with a decision about whether you can get PIP and how much it will be.

If you get PIP, your award will be regularly reassessed to see if your condition has changed.

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If you’re already claiming Disability Living Allowance

If you’re already claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA), you’ll get a letter from the DWP inviting you to make a claim for Personal Independence Payment. In Northern Ireland, the Social Security Agency will contact you.

This will happen even if you have an indefinite or lifetime award of DLA.

The only exception is if you were born on or before 8 April 1948. In this case, you’ll continue to get Disability Living Allowance as long as you qualify for it.

Moving from DLA to PIP

The DWP expects most people who are getting DLA should qualify for PIP.

But the two benefits have different qualifying conditions. So it’s possible you might be entitled to a higher or lower rate of payment, or you won’t be entitled to anything.

How to challenge a PIP decision

If you’re unhappy about a decision on your PIP claim, you can challenge it – but it’s important to follow the correct process.

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