Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that can help you to meet the additional costs of having a disability.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA), although you will continue to receive DLA if you were born on or before 8 April 1948, or if you are under the age of 16.

PIP is made up of two components:

  • Daily living, for people who need help in everyday life.
  • Mobility, for those who find it difficult to get around.

Each component has two levels, standard or enhanced, and is assessed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) using a points system.

PIP is not a means-tested benefit and isn't affected by your earnings, other income or savings.

PIP is also not affected by any other benefits you claim.

How to apply for PIP

PIP is awarded according to how your disability affects your ability to carry out certain activities, and the help you need with these activities.  In your assessment for PIP you will be awarded different numbers of points for each activity depending on how you do the activity and how much support you need to do it.

The PIP application process has four stages

Stage One

To start your PIP claim you need to contact the DWP. There are a number of ways of making contact, depending on your preferred method of communication.

In England, Scotland and Wales:

By telephone: 0800 917 2222 or textphone 0800 917 7777.  Someone else can call on your behalf, but you’ll need to be with them when they call.

By post: if making a phone call is not possible, you can request a paper form at this address:

Personal Independence Payment New Claims

Post Handling Site B

Wolverhampton

WV99 1AH

By Next Generation Text relay system: dialling 18001 then 0800 917 2222.

By video relay service, if you are a BSL user.

In Northern Ireland:

By phone: 0800 012 1573

You will need to share your:

  • Contact details

  • Date of birth

  • National Insurance number

  • Bank details

  • GP's details

  • Accessibility requirements

Remember: it is important to let the Department for Work and Pensions know your preferred communication method as early as possible. This will make the process easier for you.

Stage Two

Once you have contacted the DWP they will send you a form called “How your disability affects you”

This is where you describe the impact of your impairments or health conditions on your ability to complete day to day activities, let them know of any specialist equipment you use, and any help that you need.  At this stage you may also send in further evidence to support your claim, for example reports from medical specialists Enclose any medical reports, doctor’s letters or other specialist documentation you already have to support your claim. If you do not have any, always provide the full details of all specialists involved with you so that the DWP can contact them.

You shouldn’t need to spend any money gathering evidence, and should only send what you already have available.

Sense has produced a detailed guide on filling out the ‘How your disability affects you’ form for people with complex disabilities.

The DWP have also produced a video with audio and subtitles about supporting evidence for PIP.

There is also a BSL version. 

Stage Three

A health professional will collect all the information and write a report for the DWP.  Most people will be invited to a face-to-face consultation at this stage, though in some cases a decision will be made based on the form you have filled in and any further evidence you have submitted.

If you are asked to go to a face-to-face assessment, you can take someone with you. You could take a friend, family member, support worker or anybody else who you would feel comfortable with.

The focus of the face-to-face assessment is “How your disability affects you”. It will assess the extent to which your disability affects you by asking questions about topics such as mobility, getting out of the house and socialising, managing medication, accessing information and the ability to get to support groups/appointments.

The DWP have produced a video with audio and subtitles about the face-to-face assessment for PIP:

There is also a BSL version:

Stage Four

A case manager at the DWP looks at all the information, makes a decision about your award and communicates their decision to you.

If you are unhappy with your decision you can ask for the DWP to rethink their decision. This is called Mandatory Reconsideration, and you must ask them within one month of the date of your decision letter. Further information can be found on their website here.

Remember:

  • Be as clear as possible about how your disability affects your ability to go about daily life at all stages of the application process.
  • If you have a fluctuating condition, make sure you explain this to your assessor and give as many examples as possible.
  • If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification.
  • If you disagree with your decision, you can ask for it to be reconsidered, Remember, you only have a month after receiving your decision.
  • You can take someone with you to your interview who you think may be able to support you. This could be a family member, friend, or support worker.
  • DWP have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for you when you apply. Make sure you are clear to them about any requirements you have so that these can be provided for you.

How does the change from DLA to PIP affect me?

If you already receive DLA you do not need to do anything until the DWP invites you to apply for PIP.

If you report a change of circumstances or condition before you receive this invite, then you will be asked to move to PIP.

If you do not currently receive DLA but want to make a new claim, you will now need to apply for PIP.

Did you know?

If you are 65 or over, you can apply for Attendance Allowance instead of PIP.

More information

Further information about PIP can be found on the Gov.UK website.

Our Sense Policy and Campaigns team are working to make sure that the PIP application and assessment process is fair and accurate so that you get the right support. Learn more about our campaigns work on welfare benefits.