Whatever your income or savings, you may qualify for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you find it hard to do everyday tasks or to get around because of a disability, illness or mental health condition.
Who is entitled to PIP?
You need to be between 16 and pension age to receive PIP, which is gradually replacing the earlier DLA (Disability Living Allowance). You must find it hard to get around or take part in everyday life because of your physical or mental condition. You must have found these things hard for 3 months and expect it to continue for another 9 months. You do not need to have paid National Insurance but you must have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 years – unless you are a refugee, a veteran or have a terminal illness.
How much might you get?
The daily living rate is for the extra help you need with everyday tasks. This can include preparing food, washing, getting dressed or communicating with other people. The basic daily living rate is £58.70 a week but you could get the £87.65 enhanced rate if you are seriously incapacitated.
You could also get the mobility rate if you need extra help getting around. This can include moving, planning a journey or following a route. The basic mobility rate is £23.20 a week but some claimants receive the £61.20 enhanced rate.
These payments, usually made every 4 weeks, are not taxed or subject to benefit caps. They can be spent how you choose – for instance they could be used for a guide dog, a walking stick or a person to help. They will be reviewed after a period of time advised at the start by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) – normally 3 years for a terminal illness and every 10 years after pension age.
How to apply
The DWP will decide which of the above rates you are entitled to after considering your application and conducting an assessment (unless you’re terminally ill). Making a claim for the benefit PIP can take a long time. It can often take up to 4 months from starting the application to getting your money (if you’re terminally ill your claim will be processed more quickly).
You start your claim by calling the DWP on 0800 917 2222 Monday to Friday, 8am to 7.30pm (you can’t apply online). Before you call, you’ll need your National Insurance number; your bank account number and sort code; your doctor’s name, address and telephone number; and dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital.
If your application is refused
Government figures suggest that around 58% of assessments result in an award. If your claim is rejected you can ask for a “mandatory reconsideration” by the DWP and then an appeal hearing.
You can find out what other benefits and help you could get using our simple and quick benefit calculators tool at our national website citizensadvice.org.uk. You may be eligible for instance for Attendance Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit.
The application, assessment, reconsideration and appeal processes are very complex but you can find lots of useful information on our national website and you can contact us for advice.