DLA / PIP
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is ending and people are starting to be 'invited' to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Even people with a lifetime or indefinite award for DLA will be 'invited' to apply for PIP.
It is important that an application for PIP is made as DLA will end unless you are under 16 or were born on or before 8 April 1948 and have an existing claim.
What is Personal Independence Payment (PIP)?
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability if you are aged 16 to 64.
You could get between £23.60 and £151.40 per week.
The rate depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for PIP you must:
- be aged 16 to 64
- have a long-term health condition or disability and difficulties with 'daily living' or getting around
- be in Great Britain when you claim - there are some exceptions, for example members and family members of the Armed Forces
- have been in Great Britain for at least two of the last three years
- be habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands
- not be subject to immigration control (unless you're a sponsored immigrant)
You might get PIP if you're living in or coming from another EEA country or Switzerland.
You can get PIP whether you're in work or not.
Your disability or health condition
You must have a long-term health condition or disability and face difficulties with 'daily living' or getting around.
You must have had these difficulties for three months and expect them to last for at least nine months, unless you are terminally ill (you don't expect to live more than six months).
Daily living difficulties
You could get the daily living component of PIP if you need help with things like:
- preparing or eating food
- washing, bathing and using the toilet
- dressing and undressing
- reading and communicating
- managing your medicines or treatments
- making decisions about money
- engaging with other people
You could get the mobility component of PIP if you need help going out or moving around.
Stage 1 - the initial application
What you will be asked
During the call you will be asked for information like:
- contact details and date of birth
- National Insurance Number
- bank or building society details
- doctor's or health worker's name
- details of any time you've spent abroad, or in a care home or hospital
DWP - Personal Independence Payment claims
Telephone: 0800 917 2222
Textphone: 0800 917 7777
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Stage 2 - complete the form
You will be sent a 'How your condition affects you' form. It comes with notes to help you fill it in but we can help you with this so please contact us.
You will need to return the form to DWP by the date given - the address is on the form.
Stage 3 - the assessment
You will need to attend an assessment to complete your application.
Unless you have a terminal illness you will usually have to have an assessment to complete your Personal Independence Payment (PIP) application. It's an opportunity for you to talk about how your condition affects you.
It's important that you prepare for your assessment because it is how the DWP decides whether or not you can get PIP.
Assessments are carried out by a health professional who will write a report and send it to the DWP.
You should be prepared to talk about how your condition affects you even if you have already detailed it on your PIP claim form. It can be hard to do this but it will really help if you can talk about:
- the kind of things you have difficulty with, or can't do at all - for example, walking up steps without help or remembering to go to appointments
- how your condition affects you from day-to-day
- what a bad day is like for you - for example, 'On a bad day I can't walk at all because my injured leg hurts so much' or 'On a bad day I'm so depressed I can't concentrate on anything'
It's a good idea to take a copy of your PIP claim form with you. That way you can refer to it in the assessment and make sure you tell the assessor everything you want them to know about your condition.
During the assessment
The assessor will use the information you gave on your PIP claim form but also draw opinions from what you say and do on the day. For example, they might ask you how you got to the assessment centre. If you say you came on the bus, they will make a note that you can travel alone on public transport.
You might also be asked to carry out some physical tasks during the assessment. Don't feel you have to do things in the assessment that you wouldn't normally be able to do. If you do them on the assessment day, the assessor may think you can always do them. If you are not comfortable with something - say so.
Take someone with you for support
You can take someone with you into the actual assessment if they are 16 or over. This could be anyone who makes you feel more comfortable, like a friend, relative or carer. If you want, they can take part in discussions and take notes for you.
Include this person’s details on your PIP claim form. If you’ve already sent the form, phone the assessment centre and tell them you will have someone with you. Try to do this at least two working days in advance.
Ask for an adjustment
Check with the assessment centre that it has everything you need (if it doesn’t, you can ask for it). This can help make you feel more comfortable on the day. For example:
- ask if you'll have to go upstairs, and if there's a lift that can accommodate a wheelchair if you need one
- ask how roomy the centre is if you get anxious in enclosed spaces - if the rooms or corridors are small, tell them this could make you anxious and see what they can offer you
- ask for an interpreter or signer if you need one - do this at least two working days before your assessment so they have time to organise it
- ask for the person carrying out the assessment to be the same gender as you, if that's important to you
- ask if you can make an audio recording of the assessment - you must ask to do this before your assessment and ask the centre about the rules for using recording equipment
Changing the venue
If the location of your assessment is more than 90 minutes away by public transport you may be offered an alternative location or home visit.
You might be offered a home visit instead of a having to go to an assessment centre if your GP normally visits you in your home.
Warning: you must go to your assessment
You must go to your assessment otherwise your PIP claim will be rejected and you will have to start the application process all over again.
Contact the assessment centre straight away if you are not able to make your appointment or if you have already missed it. If you have a good reason for not going they may reschedule it. The number to contact is on your appointment letter.
There are no rules on what is a good reason for missing an assessment but the DWP should take into account your health and things that may affect you like a family bereavement.
If your PIP claim is rejected because you missed your assessment, you can ask the DWP to change this decision. You must have been given at least 7 days’ written notice of the assessment date (unless you agreed to a shorter notice period).
The cost of the journey from your home to the assessment centre (and back again), parking and fuel can be reimbursed. If you take someone with you to the assessment, their travel costs can be reimbursed but only if they travel with you.
You cannot get your travel expenses paid before the assessment and you cannot be reimbursed for things like meals and loss of earnings.
If you travel by taxi, you must get the centre to approve the use of the taxi before your assessment. If you don’t, they may not reimburse the fare.
If you travel by car, the cost of parking can be reimbursed and 25p per mile can be paid towards the cost of fuel.
How to claim travel expenses
Ask the receptionist at the assessment centre for a travel expenses claim form and pre-paid self-addressed envelope. Include all your tickets and receipts with the claim form.
After your assessment you will receive a letter giving you a score based on how much help you need. The more help you need, the higher the score you will get.
DWP makes the decision about your claim based on your original application form, the results of the assessment and any supporting evidence you provide.
You will usually get a decision three weeks after your assessment.
You can appeal if you are unhappy with the decision. We can help you with this.
For the latest benefit figures, please follow this link.
Change of circumstances
You must contact the PIP enquiry line to let them know if:
- your personal details change, for example your name, address or doctor
- the help you need or if your condition changes
- you go into hospital or a care home for more than four weeks
- you go abroad for more than 13 weeks
- you are imprisoned or held in detention
You could get a £50 fine and have to repay overpaid benefits if you don't report changes and are overpaid as a result.
PIP enquiry line
Telephone: 0800 121 4433
Textphone: 0800 121 4493
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
If you are terminally ill
You can get PIP more quickly if you are not expected to live more than six months.
Call DWP to start your PIP claim and then send them form DS1500 (you can only get this form from a doctor or other healthcare professional).
You will not need to complete the 'How your condition affects you' form or go to a face-to-face consultation.
Unhappy with the decision
Follow these steps if you are unhappy with your Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decision.
- Discuss the decision with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and explain why you think the decision is wrong.
- If you are still not happy with the decision you can make a formal request to have it looked at again. This is known as a 'mandatory reconsideration', this must be done within one month of the date of your decision letter. We can help you with this. You will receive a 'mandatory reconsideration notice' as a response.
- The final stage is to make a formal Appeal. Fill in the form 'Notice of appeal against a decision of the Department for Work and Pensions' (SSCS1) and send it to the address on the form. We can help with this.
You must send within one calendar month of the date on the mandatory reconsideration decision letter and include your mandatory reconsideration notice.
Stephen received help from the One Money Team to understand the change from Disability Living Allowance to PIP, here is his story.