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Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Choices booklet

What is PIP?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is the benefit introduced in 2013 to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults aged 16 to 64 years of age. Whether you will be awarded PIP or how much you are awarded, is determined by a points system scored from the answers you give on your PIP claim form. You may also be asked to attend a medical assessment. It is a non-means tested benefit which means you can get it whether you’re in or out of work.

Who can claim PIP?

To claim PIP, all of the below must apply to you

  • Between 16 and 64 years and have a long-term illness or disability that means you require help with your daily living and/or mobility
  • Living in Great Britain for at least two of the last three years
  • Be a habitual resident in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man or Channel Islands
  • Not be subject to immigration control (unless you are a sponsored immigrant)

Can someone help me with my claim?

There are organisations and charities that may be able to help you with your claim. MS-UK is available to support you in completing your claim forms. For further information on this service call our helpline.

Other organisations that can help are

  • Citizens Advice 0344 411 1444 in England
  • Citizens Advice 0344 477 2020 in Wales
  • DIAL – a network of disability information and advice services – 01302 310123
  • Your local authority – ask if they have a welfare rights service that may be able to help you or your local library may have a list of helpful numbers

How much will I get and when?

PIP is made up of two components (parts).

1. Daily living component

2. Mobility component

Whether you get one or both of these depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself.

Payments are usually made every four weeks and are tax free.

In July 2017 people received between £21.80 and £139.75 per week.

In April 2013 a cap was introduced to limit the total amount in some benefits that people of working-age can receive; even if their full entitlement would otherwise be higher. If you or your partner receives PIP you will be exempt from the benefit cap.

How do I claim PIP?

Firstly you will need to call the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) – Personal Independence Payment claims

Call 0800 917 2222

Text 0800 917 7777

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

You will need the following information for the initial phone call

  • All current contact details
  • National Insurance number
  • Date of birth
  • Details of any time you’ve spent abroad in the last three years
  • Details of any time spent in a care home or hospital, now or previously
  • GP or other healthcare professionals name
  • Bank or building society details

Remember

  • You only have one month from requesting the application form to return it back to the processing centre
  • If you have difficulty meeting the one month deadline, you can ask for a 14 day extension. When you request this, get the name of the person you speak to and log the date. You should send a letter confirming the agreement to the extension. There is a template at the end of this leaflet to help you
  • You do not have to say what your condition is at this point
  • They should not say whether you are able to claim or not
  • Someone else can call on your behalf, but you’ll need to be with them when they call

You can also write to the DWP asking for a claim form so you can send the above information by post (though note, this can delay the decision on your claim).

If claiming by post your application should be sent to

Personal Independence Payment New Claims

Post Handling Site B

Wolverhampton

WV99 1AH

If you have any questions, you can call the PIP Enquiry Line

Call 0845 850 3322

Text 0345 601 6677

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

What happens next?

You’ll be sent an application form ‘How your condition affects you’. It comes with notes to help you fill it in. When you have completed your application, return it to the DWP at the address shown.

You must use the PIP application form the DWP send you. Do not use any Disability Living Allowance (DLA) forms you may have.

Tips on completing the forms

1. If someone is helping you to complete your form, decide on the terminology, i.e. do you complete it as yourself or in the third person?

2. Remember the person reading the application does not know you or may not necessarily be very knowledgeable about MS. Try to ‘paint a picture’ of your day to day life. What might be everyday to you, would be considered differently by others

3. Keep a diary of your symptoms/problems/care needs etc. before completing the forms to help you remember

4. Collect your evidence statements from others on your condition (you can have more than one). For example; your GP, neurologist, MS nurse, carer, physio

5. Complete the form with consideration of your most average day not your worst day

6. Two signatures are needed on the form – check you sign both

7. Enclose the copies of all your medical support letters with your application, but not appointment letters

8. Keep a check on the time you take to complete the form, you have one month to complete and return the form and the time runs from the date on the top of the form. This will be the date of your first contact

9. Keep photocopies of the completed form and any documents you send

10. Where you send the form back to is important – check addresses

There are two rates, Standard and Enhanced, within each component of PIP. The components are Daily Living and Mobility. To be entitled to the standard rate of these components you will need to score at least eight points and for the enhanced rate, at least twelve points.

Disability Rights UK have produced a useful guide to completing the forms, this can be found at www.disabilityrightsuk.org/personalindependence-payment-pip (1).

Assessment

The assessment for PIP looks at how difficult you find the activities of daily living, such as washing, dressing and making a meal along with the process of getting around, such as walking to a bus-stop, to the shops, driving a car and understanding instructions to get somewhere, when you are not at home.

You will be assessed on your ability to perform a list of activities concerning daily living and mobility. Points are awarded based on the level of difficulty you have doing each activity.

The assessment is likely to involve a face-to-face meeting with an independent healthcare professional and information will also be gathered directly from you and the people or professionals who support you.

If you score a total of between eight and 11 points for either the daily living or mobility component, you will be awarded the standard rate for that component. If you score 12 points or more you will receive the enhanced rate. If you do not qualify for at least the standard rate you will not qualify for PIP.

If you are awarded the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP you may be eligible to join the Motability Scheme.

If you have 12 months or more remaining on your current allowance then you can apply to lease a car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV), scooter or powered wheelchair (2).

Obtaining evidence for your PIP claim

As part of your application for PIP you will need to provide supporting medical evidence of your condition. To do this you will need to contact any health professional that you have been in contact with such as your

  • Neurologist
  • MS nurse
  • Physiotherapist
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • GP

You will need to ask for a letter from them explaining how your condition affects you.

This is important as qualifying for PIP is based upon the impact the condition has on you and not a diagnosis of the condition in itself or any medication you might be taking.

The Department of Work and Pensions looks at how your condition limits your ability to do the 12 tasks listed in the application form. If you feel it would be beneficial, ask for the health professional to concentrate their answers on the particular tasks you need help with and that you feel are the more important part of your claim, such as care or mobility.

Ask for them to send the evidence letter back to you (include a self-addressed envelope to help things along) this way you can check if the evidence is going to be helpful and whether you want to include it or not in your claim.

If you cannot get all of your evidence together by the time you need to send in your completed form, don’t worry too much, you can send it on later with an accompanying letter. An example of the kind of letter you could send is included at the end of this leaflet.

Changing from DLA to PIP

If you receive DLA and were aged between 16 and 64 on 8 April 2013, you will eventually need to make a claim for PIP.

There will be no automatic transfer of existing DLA claimants to PIP. At some point you will be contacted by DWP and invited to make a claim for PIP. You will need to complete the claim forms and you will be assessed under the PIP criteria. This will probably involve a face to face assessment.

When you make your claim, your DLA will continue to be paid until the PIP claim has been decided. If you do not make a claim for PIP within 28 days of being invited, your DLA will be suspended. If your DLA is suspended because no claim for PIP has been received, the DWP will write to you again. If you do not make a claim for PIP within another 28 days your entitlement to DLA will be terminated.

This content is taken from the MS-UK Choices booklet. 

Visit the Choices booklet web page