Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for working age people who have a disability or long-term health problem and have difficulty or need help with daily living activities and/or getting about.

PIP replaces DLA for people aged 16-64. In Great Britain this process started in April 2013 and in Northern Ireland it started from 20 June 2016. From these dates no new claims for DLA can be made by people aged 16-64, you have to claim PIP instead. The Government plans to have ended all existing DLA claims for people aged 16-64 by the end of 2018.

No one will be automatically transferred onto PIP. Everyone will have to make a new claim, including people already receiving DLA. Please see our information the abolition of adult disability living allowance for more detail about how people already getting DLA will be affected by PIP.

What is PIP?

  • PIP is a benefit for people with disabilities. The Government has produced an easy read guide to what it is and how to claim it.
  • PIP is a cash benefit and can be spent however you need to spend it.
  • PIP can be paid to people regardless of whether they are working or in education.
  • PIP can be paid to people who are also getting other benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker's Allowance or Universal Credit.
  • PIP is not means-tested (it doesn’t matter how much money you have).
  • To claim PIP you need to complete a claim form.
  • You cannot make a new claim for PIP after you turn 65, but if you are already receiving PIP you are still eligible for the benefit after the age of 65. 

How is PIP assessed?

Some parts of PIP are similar to DLA, for example it has two components which are "Daily Living" and "Mobility". You can qualify for either or both components and each can be paid at different rates. However, much of PIP is different.

  • The criteria and assessment process are different.
  • The assessment, for most people, includes a face-to-face appointment with a health care professional.
  • You must have met the criteria for three months before the payments start, and you must be likely to continue to meet the criteria for a further nine months. This is to prevent people being entitled on the basis of short-term conditions.
  • Awards of PIP are generally for fixed periods of time (rather than indefinite or lifetime awards).
  • When your fixed term award ends, you will need to make another claim.

What are the criteria for PIP?

PIP awards are based on a points criteria. For each component (Mobility and Daily Living) there is a list of statements known as descriptors. Each descriptor is worth a certain number of points and if that descriptor applies to you, you score that number of points. You can score points in a number of different sections. Your overall point score determines whether you are entitled the Mobility and/or Daily Living components.

The score also determines which rate you receive. If you score between eight and 11 points, you are eligible for the standard rate of that component. If you score 12 points or more, you are awarded the enhanced rate. For example, if you score eight points under the Daily Living descriptors and 12 points under the Mobility descriptors you are paid the standard rate Daily Living component and the enhanced rate Mobility component. If you score ten points for Daily Living and five points for Mobility, you get standard rate Daily Living and no award of Mobility. 

The criteria consider the difficulties you have and the help you need in the following areas.

Daily living

  • preparing food (including needing prompting or supervision to cook)
  • taking nutrition (which means eating, including needing prompting or supervision)
  • managing therapy or monitoring a health condition (including needing reminding to take medication)
  • washing and bathing (including needing prompting or supervision to wash) 
  • managing toilet needs or incontinence (including needing prompting or supervision)
  • dressing and undressing (including needing prompting) 
  • communicating verbally (including needing communication support) 
  • reading and understanding signs, symbols and words (including needing prompting to read or understand written information)
  • engaging with other people face-to-face (which means being able to interact in an appropriate manner, understand body language and establish relationships)
  • making budgeting decisions (which includes the need for assistance when planning a budget or managing and paying bills).

Mobility

  • planning and following a journey (including needing prompting or assistance to make a journey)
  • moving around (this looks at physical ability to move around).

For more information see Personal Independence Payment Points Based Criteria.

How do I claim PIP?

There are three stages to claiming PIP.

1) The phone call

The Government expects that most PIP claims will be started by you making a phone call.

  • If you live in Great Britain, ring the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222.
  • If you live in Northern Ireland, ring the Social Security Agency on 0800 012 1573.

When you phone, you will need to give your basic personal details. It must be the claimant, the appointee or the prospective appointee who makes the call. An appointee is someone formally appointed by the DWP to manage the benefits of a person who lacks the capacity to do so themselves. If someone else calls on your behalf then you will need to speak on the phone and pass a "quick identity check".

If you are unable to claim by phone, then paper claim forms are available. This initial claim form is called a PIP1. You can see a copy of this form on the DWP website but you cannot print a copy to use. If you live in Great Britain and want to use a paper claim form then you must write to the address below to claim a PIP1.

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

We have a template letter that you can use to request a paper claim form.

The Northern Ireland government have not to our knowledge published an address you can write to to ask for a paper claim form.

2) The form

After you have completed the initial claim form (PIP1) by either phone or in writing, a further detailed form is sent to you. This form is called a PIP2. You must complete and return this form. Read our tips on how to complete it.This asks about your disability and about the difficulties you have and the help that you need. You can see a copy of this form on the DWP website. Again, you cannot print off a copy to use. You must use the PIP2 that is sent to you following your initial application.

3) The face-to-face assessment

Most people are asked to attend an assessment with a health professional. In Wales, Northern Ireland and central England, a company called Capita Business Services Ltd has been awarded the contract to carry out these assessments. In the rest of England and in Scotland, a company called Atos Healthcare has been awarded the contract. Atos also call themselves ' Independent Assessment Services'. They may ask you to attend an appointment at an assessment centre, or they may arrange for the assessor to visit you at home.

If you are not able to attend an assessment centre you can request a home visit. You should explain why it is not possible for you to travel to the assessment. They should not demand evidence that you are "housebound" in order to have a home visit and if they do, we suggest you quote this extract from the PIP Assessment Guidance, which states:

"As a minimum they (Capita or Atos) should consider whether a home consultation is necessary where a claimant indicates that they are unfit to travel to a consultation in a location other than their home or where travel would require high levels of support."

If you can provide enough evidence about your difficulties and support needs, such as reports and assessments, they can make a decision without a face-to-face assessment.

The decision

A decision about your entitlement is made by a decision maker at the DWP. A formal decision letter is posted to you. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to challenge it. If you still disagree after the reconsideration, you have the right to appeal to an independent tribunal.

The NAS welfare rights service regularly hears from people who have received a decision letter about their PIP claim and have phoned the PIP office to ask for a reconsideration. They are told that you cannot ask for a reconsideration yet, instead they must wait to receive a phone call from the PIP office to explain the decision. This is not true. Once you have received the PIP decision letter, you have a legal right to request a reconsideration and there is no need to wait for any phone call. 

How long will I have to wait for my claim to be assessed?

There have been major problems with delays. In 2014 it was common to wait between 9 and 12 months between claim and PIP decision. These delays seem to be reducing now, and based on the experiences of the people contacting the NAS welfare rights service, 3 months is a common wait at the time of writing (October 2015). For new PIP claims, no payment will be made while you are waiting for a decision but if PIP is awarded, the payments will be backdated to the date initially claimed.

How much is PIP?

Daily living component

  • Standard rate: £55.65 per week.
  • Enhanced rate: £83.10 per week.

Mobility component

  • Standard rate: £22.00 per week.
  • Enhanced rate: £58.00 per week.

Carer's Allowance

Entitlement to either rate of the Daily Living component of PIP means that a carer can claim carer's allowance (as long as they meet the other Carer's Allowance criteria).

Motability

People who are eligible for the enhanced mobility component of PIP will be able to access the Motability scheme.

Payment of PIP whilst you are living in a care home or hospital

If you are in hospital and are aged 18 or over, payment of both the Mobility and the Daily Living components are suspended after 28 days. People aged under 18 can continue to receive PIP in hospital. If you are in a care home or other residential service funded by certain public funds, you are paid the Mobility component, but payment of the Daily Living component is suspended after 28 days.

Resources

Personal Independence Payment assessment guide for assessment providers, Department for Work and Pensions.

The Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013

Personal Independence Payment, Northern Ireland.

Further information

Our Welfare Rights Advisor provides advice and information about benefits. 

 

Last reviewed: June 2017