What is Personal Independence Payment (PIP)?
PIP is a non-means tested benefit that helps people deal with some of the extra costs associated with long-term illness or disability.
PIP was introduced in 2013 to replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). All new applicants must apply for a PIP.
There are two parts to PIP.
Daily living component: you’ll be assessed on things such as your ability to prepare food and drink, wash, dress, go to the toilet, manage health conditions and make financial decisions.
£60 a week
is the standard rate (2021-22)
£89.60 a week
is the enhanced rate
Mobility component: you’ll be assessed on ability to ‘plan and follow a journey’ and ‘move around’.
£23.70 a week
is the standard rate (2021-22)
£62.55 a week
is the enhanced rate
You might be eligible for one or both components depending on your level of need and how much you’re affected by your condition. You’ll be assessed to work out what level of help you need.
PIP payment days are usually every four weeks and will be paid directly into your bank account.
PIP Christmas bonus
This is a one-off tax-free £10 payment that you receive before Christmas if you get certain benefits, such as state pension or PIP, in the qualifying week, which is normally the first week of December. You should get it automatically, so there’s no need to claim.
To apply for PIP, you must:
- be aged between 16 years and state pension age
- have an illness or disability that means you need help with personal care or getting around
- have had the condition or disability for three months, and expect it to continue for at least nine months (unless you’re terminally ill with less than six months to live).
If you’re over state pension age and are making a new claim, you must apply for Attendance Allowance instead. But if you’re already claiming PIP when you reach state pension age, you can continue receiving PIP as long as there’s no change in your condition.
The benefit isn’t means tested, so it doesn’t matter if you have a job or another source of income.
To qualify in England, Scotland or Wales, you usually must have lived in one of these countries for at least two out of the last three years and be in the country when you claim. There are some exceptions, so visit gov.uk for more details on eligibility.
In Northern Ireland, the process is different – you can find more information about PIP eligibility on NI Direct.
PIP: some key facts
- If you’re currently claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and you’ve reached pension age, you should be invited to make a PIP claim.
- If you have mobility problems and you’re approaching state pension age, it’s worth applying for PIP as soon as possible, as this can include an additional payment for mobility problems, which Attendance Allowance does not. You can no longer apply for PIP after you’ve reached state pension age.
- If you have a terminal illness and you’ve been told you are not expected to live for more than six months, you’ll get the enhanced daily living component rate (see ‘PIP rates’ section). The rate of mobility component will depend on your needs.
- If you move into a care home and your local authority pays some or all of your care home fees, the daily living component of PIP or the care component of DLA will stop after 28 days.
Personal Independence Payment number
When you fill in the form, you’ll be asked for information such as:
- 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 spent abroad or in a care home or hospital.
If someone is caring for you, they can call on your behalf if necessary, but you’ll need to be with them when they call.
Make sure you have the above information to hand.
After the initial call, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will post you a form called ‘How your condition affects you’, which you or your carer will need to complete and return.
They will next arrange for you to be assessed by an independent health professional at a local PIP assessment centre. The assessment will be used to decide what level of help you need and whether you may be eligible for PIP.
Following the assessment, the professional you met will write up a report and send it to the DWP. The DWP then makes its decision about your claim based on the results of the assessment and the details on your application form.
See our PIP assessment guide for more detailed information and tips on the assessment process.
What is PIP reassessment?
If you receive PIP, you’re required to go through regular reviews to check your eligibility. These usually take place annually or every few years, although less severe or temporary disabilities can be checked more frequently.
PIP recipients who are over the state pension age will continue to receive the payments indefinitely without further assessments.
Claims for PIP can’t be backdated before the date of your claim. It may also take a number of weeks to process your claim, so make sure you make a claim as soon as possible.
You can make a claim up to three months in advance – this means you can put it in before you’re able to fulfil the qualifying conditions of having difficulties for three months.
Appealing against a claim decision for PIP
If you apply for PIP and don’t agree with the decision you receive, you may be entitled to appeal against it – this is known as a ‘mandatory reconsideration’. See our article on Appealing against a benefits decision for more advice on how to appeal.
If you have any problems with your claims, Citizens Advice can help you.
The Citizens Advice Consumer Service helps you stand up for your consumer rights and gives you the information you need to solve problems with goods or services. For Scotland and Northern Ireland, click through from the CA home page.
The ‘PIP assessment’ is an important part of the process for claiming Personal Independence Payment.
Read about the benefits available in later life: Attendance Allowance, PIP, Winter Fuel Payment and more.
Download our simple guide to paying for care. It explains different ways to fund care and how to get financial support.