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Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

If you have a long term illness or disability – physical and/or mental – and you are aged between 16 and 64 years old then you may be entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP).


This information applies to people living in England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland. 


If you are aged 16 to 64 and are not already getting DLA, you can claim PIP now.

If you are aged 16+ and were under 65 on 8th April 2013 (in England, Wales & Scotland) or were under 65 on 20th June 2016 (in Northern Ireland) and are already getting DLA, then at some point you will be re-assessed for PIP by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) (Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland). This will happen when one of the following conditions applies:

  • you reach 16 years of age (unless you are a child and have been awarded DLA under the special rules for terminal illness)
  • there is a reported change to your care or mobility needs
  • you have a DLA fixed award due to expire
  • you choose to claim PIP instead of your DLA

Note: DLA claimants do not need to take any action regarding their PIP re-assessment until they are told to do so by the DWP (Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland).

PIP can be paid regardless of your income, savings or National Insurance contribution record and is a tax free benefit. You can get PIP even if you are working or studying. If you are a carer who has care needs, you can claim PIP for yourself and this will not affect your Carer’s Allowance.

Getting PIP does not reduce other benefits, it may even increase them. If you have a carer then claiming PIP may help them to qualify for certain benefits (such as Carers Allowance). PIP may also entitle you and/or your carer to further help with council tax.

There are no restrictions on how you can spend your PIP money, and you do not have to spend it on paying for the care that you need. However, your council or trust can take PIP into account when calculating how much you might need to pay for any care services.


Who can claim PIP?

To qualify for PIP you must meet all the following criteria:

  • be aged 16-64 years old (or if you are being reassessed you were under 65 on 8th April 2013 in England, Wales & Scotland or were under 65 on 20th June 2016 in Northern Ireland)
  • satisfy the daily living and/or mobility activities test
  • have satisfied the tests for at least three months and be likely to continue to satisfy the tests for at least nine months after the three month qualifying period (you can make your claim before the three months have passed, but you will not receive any payment until they have)
  • have no immigration conditions attached to your stay in the UK subject to some exceptions (if you have immigration restrictions on your stay in the UK claiming benefits may affect your future right to remain in the UK, so seek specialist immigration advice before claiming – you can search for immigration specialists here)
  • meet the residence and presence conditions

Note: You will not be able to make a new claim for PIP once you are 65 years old. If you are 65 or over and not getting DLA or PIP you can claim Attendance Allowance. However you will be able to stay on PIP if you claimed or received it before you reached the age of 65.

Note: If you are terminally ill there are simpler rules which make it easier to apply - see here for further information.

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How much is PIP worth?

There are two components of PIP:

  • a daily living component
  • a mobility component

Each component can be paid at either:

  • standard rate – where your ability to carry out daily living/mobility activities is limited by your physical or mental condition.
  • enhanced rate – where your ability to carry out daily living/mobility activities is severely limited by your physical or mental condition.

To be awarded the standard rate of the daily living component you have to score at least eight points from the ten activities that assess daily living (activities 1-10 - these are outlined in our PIP factsheet). To be awarded the enhanced rate of the daily living component you have to score at least 12 points from the ten activities that assess daily living.

To be awarded the standard rate of the mobility component you have to score at least eight points from the two activities that assess mobility (activities 11-12 - these are outlined in our PIP factsheet). To be awarded the enhanced rate of the mobility component you have to score at least 12 points from the two activities that assess mobility.

For 2017/18 the rates are:

  Standard  Enhanced 
Daily Living component   £55.65 £83.10 
Mobility component £22 £58
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How to claim PIP

Making an initial claim

The initial claim will generally be done by phone although paper claim forms are available in exceptional circumstances (form PIP1).

England, Wales & Scotland

To start a new claim for PIP you should telephone the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222 (textphone 0800 917 7777). 

Northern Ireland

To start a new claim for PIP you should telephone the PIP Centre on 0800 012 1573 (textphone 0800 012 1574).

The phone call can be made by someone else but they will need to be with you. The phone call sets the date of the claim.

The information you will need for this phone call is:

  • your full name and date of birth
  • your address and telephone number
  • your National Insurance number
  • your bank or building society account details
  • your GP or other health professional’s details
  • details of any recent stays in hospitals, care home or hospices
  • details of any time you’ve spent out of the country
  • nationality or immigration status
  • if you are terminally ill you will need to discuss your conditions during this initial claim

The DWP (PIP Centre in Northern Ireland) will then check basic eligibility conditions. If these are met an individually barcoded form is sent to you (How your disability affects you – form PIP2). If these are not met a disallowance letter is sent to you.

Note: If you are terminally ill you will not have to complete the ‘How your disability affects you’ form and will not need a face-to-face consultation - see here for further information.

How your disability affects you (PIP2)

The form sent to you will ask for information about how your condition affects you. Additional evidence can be sent in with this form. On the form there is a section for ‘additional information’. In this section, carers, friends or family could also provide information. It does not have to be filled in if you feel like you have included everything in the rest of the form.

You have one month to return the completed ‘How your disability affects you’ form. Failure to return the form without good cause can result in the claim being terminated. If you are unable to complete the form within the given timescales you should contact the DWP (PIP Centre in Northern Ireland) by phone to ask for an extension. If the form has not been received and the DWP (PIP Centre in Northern Ireland) have identified that you need additional support you may be invited to a face-to-face consultation.

Completing the claim form

  • the form is long and complex so take your time to complete the claim form, and remember that you don’t have to complete it all in one go
  • look at the 12 activities and work out which tests you satisfy before you fill in the form - it may be a good idea to get your carer to do the same to make sure that you don’t miss anything out
  • what matters is whether you need the help, not whether you are already getting it
  • if you are not sure about how much help you need, or how long things take, keep a diary for a week or so - this would be particularly useful with fluctuating conditions
  • if you are applying for the ‘moving around’ activity (activity 12), do make a proper measurement of how far you can walk and how long it takes you to walk that far before you fill in the form
  • evidence is important - it is a good idea to collect evidence and submit it either with the claim pack or as soon as you can afterwards - evidence might include a report from an occupational therapist or consultant, information from your doctor or a support worker, or a statement from a carer/friend/ family member
  • keep a copy of your form and any evidence you send
  • you could ask for help to complete the claim form from a local advice agency - to find out about advice agencies in your area, please contact the Carers UK Adviceline

Assessment

The form and any additional information are then sent to a health professional.

If there is enough information the assessment can be completed at this stage but most people will be asked to attend a face-to-face consultation.

Claimants will be encouraged to take someone along with them to the consultation.

Failure to attend the consultation without good cause can result in the claim being terminated.

The health professional then sends a report to the decision maker.

Note: If you are terminally ill you will not have to attend a face-to-face consultation - see here for further information.

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If you have a terminal illness

Special rules allow people who are terminally ill to get help quickly. You are considered to be terminally ill if you have a progressive illness that is likely to limit your life expectancy to six months or less. It is impossible to say exactly how long someone will live and some people who receive PIP under these rules live much longer than six months.

Under these special rules you do not have to satisfy the qualifying period (ie that you have had the disability or been in ill health for at least three months, and that you are likely to have the disability or been in ill health for a further nine months). You also do not have to have been present in Great Britain for 104 weeks out of the last 156 weeks before claiming – you only need to be present at the time of claiming.

If you are claiming PIP under these rules, your claim should include a DS1500 form which is available from your GP or consultant. You (or the person making the claim on your behalf) will be given a freepost address for the DS1500 when you make the claim over the phone.

You will not have to complete the 'How your disability affects you' form and will not need a face-to-face consultation. Instead, you or the person claiming on your behalf will be asked some extra questions whilst you are on the phone about your condition and how it affects your ability to get around.

You will automatically qualify for the enhanced rate of the daily living component, however payment of the mobility component will depend on whether you need help to get around, and if you do how much help you need.

The way to claim for terminally ill people is by telephone on 0800 917 2222 (England, Wales & Scotland) or 0800 012 1573 (Northern Ireland).

The phone call can be made by someone supporting you without you needing to be present. However, you should be told about the claim because the DWP (PIP Centre in Northern Ireland) may need to contact you to verify your details and the DWP (PIP Centre in Northern Ireland) will send notifications and any payment to you.

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What happens if you already get DLA?

What happens if an adult is claiming DLA?

For existing DLA claimants that are transferred to PIP, the claim process is similar to that described above, except it will start with you being sent a letter informing you that your DLA is due to end and inviting you to claim PIP. There is no option to remain on DLA.

If you are transferring from an existing DLA claim to PIP you do not have to meet the PIP three month qualifying period. You will have 28 days to claim PIP – generally this will be done by phone (although paper claim forms are available in exceptional circumstances). This is the initial claim only. If you do not claim within the 28 days, your DLA will be suspended. A letter will be sent saying that the suspension will be lifted if you claim within the next 28 days. If no claim is made the DLA claim is terminated. In these circumstances DLA will continue to be paid for a further 13 days following your next payday.

If the claim is made the 'How does your disability affect you' form is sent to you. Failure to return the form will result in the claim being terminated. If the form has not been received and the DWP (PIP Centre in Northern Ireland) have identified that you need additional support you may be invited to a face-to-face consultation.

When the form is received, an independent assessor determines whether further evidence is needed and whether a face-to-face consultation is required. The majority of people will have a face-to-face consultation on the first claim. If the face-to-face consultation is missed without good cause the PIP claim will be rejected.

A decision maker will then decide the claim. Once a decision is made DLA will continue to be paid for 28 days after your next payday until the PIP decision comes into force.

What happens if a young person under 16 is claiming DLA?

When a young person reaches their 16th birthday they will need to transfer to PIP (unless DLA is being claimed under the special rules for terminal illness – in which case they will be invited to claim PIP at the end of their existing DLA award). The DWP (PIP Centre in Northern Ireland) will contact the parent or guardian before the young person’s 16th birthday to make them aware of the change and establish if the young person needs an appointee. A number of attempts will be made to engage the young person in the claiming process if they do not respond.

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The decision

The decision maker will review the report from the health professional and any other evidence and make a decision.

The DWP (PIP Centre in Northern Ireland) will send you a letter giving a decision on the PIP claim and a clear reasoned explanation of how that decision has been reached.

If you have been awarded PIP, the letter will detail the amount of the award, the length of the award and the reasons for making that decision. Specific details of PIP payments including the date payments will start and their frequency will also be included in the letter.

Shorter term awards of up to two years could be given, or longer term awards of five or ten years could be given. On-going awards will be given in the minority of cases where needs are stable and changes are unlikely. However, all claimants will have their award periodically reviewed, regardless of the length of the award, to ensure that everyone continues to receive the most appropriate level of support.

If you have not been awarded PIP, the letter will give all the same information as the award letter and will include a full statement of reasons for the decision.

Note: In Northern Ireland some measures have been put in place for people who were receiving DLA and who are financially worse off after they have been assessed for PIP. For further information contact Carers NI (028 9043 9843 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or the Welfare Changes Helpline (operated by the Welfare Reform Advice Services Consortium - 0808 802 0020).

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Challenging the decision

If you are refused PIP or it is awarded at a lower rate than you expected (including where the decision on PIP follows your transfer from DLA), you can ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) (England, Wales & Scotland) or the Department for Communities (DfC) (Northern Ireland) to look at the decision again. You must do this before you appeal. This is called a mandatory reconsideration.

If you still disagree once they have done this you must lodge an appeal with the Tribunal Service (England, Wales & Scotland) or the Appeals Service (TAS) (Northern Ireland) and attach a copy of the mandatory reconsideration notice with the appeal.

It is important to challenge a decision or get advice as quickly as possible because there are time limits that generally mean you must take action within one month. If you fall outside of this time limit then it may still be possible to challenge the decision. Contact the Carers UK Adviceline for further information.

For more information you can see the "challenging a benefit decision" section of our website. 

How to make a complaint

If you are unhappy with the way your claim has been dealt with, eg long delays or lost forms, you should first contact the PIP enquiry line on 0345 850 3322 (England, Wales & Scotland) or 0300 123 9221 (Northern Ireland).

If you’re unhappy with their response you’ll be asked if you want your complaint sent to a Complaint Resolution Manager. They aim to deal with complaints within 15 working days.

If you’re still unhappy, you can then ask the Independent Case Examiner to investigate – they’ll be impartial and this is free.

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What to do if your circumstances change

Any change in your daily living or mobility needs may affect your entitlement to PIP or the amount you receive. You should let the DWP (Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland) know about the change as soon as you can so that they can review your PIP award and make sure you are receiving the right support.

If you ask for a PIP award to be looked at again there is always the risk that the award could be decreased rather than increased, therefore it is always best to get help from a local advice agency before you contact the DWP (Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland). To find out about advice agencies in your area, please contact the Carers UK Adviceline.

Going into hospital, a care home or a hospice

You or someone acting on your behalf should also tell the DWP (Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland) if you have been admitted to a hospital, a care home or a hospice, or have been imprisoned, as this may also affect your benefit. You can report a change in circumstance by contacting the PIP enquiry line on 0345 850 3322 (England, Wales & Scotland) or 0300 123 9221 (Northern Ireland).

Going into hospital

If you are aged 18+ when you go into hospital then both the daily living and mobility components of PIP are not payable after 28 days in hospital (including payments of the mobility component under an existing Motability contract).

If you are under 18 when you enter hospital, your PIP can continue to be paid for the whole time you are there.

Going into a care home

The daily living component of PIP is not payable after the first 28 days in a care home unless you are completely self-funding. The mobility component of PIP can continue to be paid.

The linking rule

Any stays in hospital or a care home separated by 28 days or less are added together when working out when PIP should stop.

Going into a hospice

PIP will generally still be payable if you are terminally ill and in a hospice.

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Other help you may qualify for

Means-tested benefits

If you are already receiving means-tested benefits or tax credits (such as Income Support, income related Employment and Support Allowance, income based Jobseekers Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Working Tax Credits) getting PIP may mean that you become entitled to an increase in your benefits or tax credits.

However, if you are receiving Universal Credit, getting PIP will not entitle you to any increase in benefit.

If you are responsible for a child or qualifying young person and they are awarded PIP, this might mean that you become entitled to an increase in your means-tested benefits or tax credits (such as Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Tax Credits).

If you or your partner get means-tested benefits or tax credits, notify all of the offices which pay them to you that you or a child or qualifying young person are now getting PIP.

An award of PIP for you or for a child or qualifying young person can also mean that you become eligible for means-tested benefits or tax credits for the first time, so it would be a good idea to get a benefit check.

Any deductions that are being made from means-tested benefits because other adults share your household may be removed if you get PIP.

You can find out what benefits you are entitled to and how much you should be paid by getting an online benefit check (see note below) or by contacting the Carers UK Adviceline.


Note: You can get a benefits check online by visiting either of the following websites:

It will take about 20 minutes to complete. These online tools are not suitable for everyone. Special rules apply to some groups of people, for example students, people under 18, people in permanent residential care, UK nationals who live abroad and people who are not British or Irish citizens.


Exemption from the benefit cap

Households will be exempt from the benefit cap where you, your partner or a qualifying young person is entitled to PIP.


Help with transport costs

Motability

If you are awarded the enhanced rate mobility component of PIP then you may be able to apply to the Motability scheme. Through this scheme you can use your mobility component to lease or buy a car, wheelchair or scooter. If you’re unable to drive and need help to pay for lessons, or require help getting a deposit for a car through the scheme, then you may qualify for a grant. To find out more contact Motability.

Blue Badge scheme without further assessment

The Blue Badge scheme allows people with severe walking disabilities to park in parking restricted areas. For example, if you have a badge, you can park free and for any length of time at on-street parking meters and on-street pay and display areas.

In England, if you have been awarded eight points or more in the ‘moving around’ activity of PIP you can get a Blue Badge.

In Scotland you can get the badge if you have been awarded eight points or more in the ‘moving around’ activity or 12 points in the ‘planning and following journeys’ activity.

In Wales you can get the badge if you have been awarded eight points or more in the ‘moving around’ activity or 12 points in the ‘planning and following journeys’ activity.

In Northern Ireland you can get the badge if you have been awarded eight points or more in the ‘moving around’ activity.

The scheme is run through your local council or trust and you should contact them for further information.

Road tax

You may be exempt from paying road tax if you get the enhanced mobility component of PIP. You may also get a 50% discount on your road tax if you receive the standard mobility component of PIP. For information on how to apply contact the Carers UK Adviceline.

Public transport concessions

In England, if you score eight points or more under the ‘moving around’ activity or under the ‘communicating verbally’ activity you may be eligible for transport concessions. You should contact your local authority for further information or see here for more information on the England National Concession.

If you live in Wales see here for more information on the Welsh National Concession.

In Scotland, if you receive the daily living or mobility component of PIP you will be eligible for the Scottish National Concessionary Travel Scheme. If you apply for PIP and are not successful, you may still qualify for a concessionary travel through other qualifying criteria, including certain disabilities or if you are disqualified from driving on medical grounds. Contact Transport Scotland on 0141 272 7100 or your local council for more information.

In Northern Ireland, if you receive the mobility component of PIP you may be eligible for the Half Fare SmartPass. If you apply for PIP and are not successful, you may still qualify for concessionary travel through other qualifying criteria, including certain disabilities, or if you are disqualified from driving on medical grounds. Contact Translink on 0845 600 0049 or your local trust for more information

Companion entitlement (Scotland only)

If you receive the standard or enhanced rate of the daily living component of PIP, you will be eligible for a Companion Card, allowing a companion to travel with you for free. Contact Transport Scotland on 0141 272 7100 or your local council for more information.

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Residence and presence

To satisfy the residence and presence tests you must meet both the following conditions:

  • you must have been present in Great Britain (which for this purpose also includes Northern Ireland) for 104 weeks out of the 156 weeks before claiming (two out of the last three years)
  • you must be habitually resident

‘Present’ means physically present in Great Britain. Some people may be treated as being in Great Britain while abroad, eg members of the armed forces. Special rules apply to countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) and several others who Britain has agreements with. If you think this applies to you, you should seek advice. The AIRE Centre can provide advice on individual rights in Europe and can be contacted on 020 7831 4276 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also contact the Carers UK Adviceline.

The habitual residence test is a test to see if you normally live in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Republic of Ireland or the Isle of Man. The test will be applied if you have been living abroad. There is no precise legal definition of ‘habitual residence’. Relevant factors are where you normally live, where you expect to live in future, your reasons for coming to this country, the length of time spent abroad before you came here, and any ties you still have with the country where you have come from.

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