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The PIP assessment guide

An important part of the process for claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a medical assessment, known as the ‘PIP assessment’. We explain what it involves and how to prepare.
5 min read
In this article
What is the PIP assessment? Coronavirus and PIP assessments What happens at the PIP assessment? PIP assessment activities
PIP assessment tips PIP: how long does it take for a decision after the assessment? What is PIP reassessment?

What is the PIP assessment?

The PIP assessment (also known as the PIP test) involves a series of short activities so that health professionals can decide whether you’re entitled to Personal Independence Payment.

The tests are split into two sections – one to assess daily living needs and the other to assess your mobility. You’re awarded points for each activity, based on your ability to carry them out and how much help you may need with each.

PIP test scores and weekly payment

To be eligible to receive PIP, you must score at least eight points in either test.

Test Score

Rate per week

(2020-21)

Daily living needs test 8-11 points £59.70
Daily living needs test 12 points + £89.15
Mobility component 8-11 points £23.60
Mobility component 12 points + £62.25

For more information about PIP rates and the application process, read our simple guide to Personal Independence Payment.

Coronavirus and PIP assessments

Face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits claims were suspended in March 2020 due to the pandemic. This included Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance and Universal Credit. Some reviews and reassessments for PIP and DLA were due to resume gradually from July 2020.

All disability benefits remain open and assessments will take place by telephone or on paper, where appropriate.

Contact the Department for Work and Pensions helpline for more information or to make a new claim.

What happens at the PIP assessment?

During the assessment, the assessor will ask you questions about how your condition affects your daily life. This conversation will be based on the information that you gave on your claim form. Be prepared with examples of what you find difficult, such as remembering your medication or dealing with public transport.

They will also ask you to carry out a number tasks based on everyday activities and your condition. You’ll be given points for each activity, based on your ability to carry out the task and how much help you need to do it. If you don’t feel capable of completing a task safely, explain this to the assessor.  

PIP assessment activities

At the assessment you’ll be asked to carry out tasks based on some of the following activities.

For the daily living assessment

  • Preparing and cooking food: you’ll be asked to make a simple meal, such as pasta and sauce or an omelette.
  • Eating: how well can you cut your food, put food and drink into your mouth, chew and swallow it.
  • Washing and bathing: how well can you wash yourself and your hair, and do you need the help of additional aids to do so?
  • Managing your treatment: if you’ve been prescribed medication, such as tablets, creams or injections, the assessors will look to see if you can take or apply these yourself. They will also assess your ability to do any exercises or other activities that your health professionals have advised you to do.
  • Going to the toilet: are you able to get on and off the toilet, go to the toilet and clean yourself afterwards without any special aids? If you’re incontinent, are you able to manage it yourself?
  • Dressing and undressing: you’ll be assessed on how well you can dress yourself, including tasks such as getting socks on and off, and using buttons.
  • Speaking and hearing: do you need any special aids to help with your speaking or hearing?
  • Socialising: assessors will look at how well you can talk to others, understand their moods, get along with others and behave appropriately.
  • Reading and comprehension: do you need any special help or aids to read and understand written sentences?
  • Managing your money: you’ll be assessed on how well you can plan and budget your money, and pay your bills.

The mobility tests involve:

  • Planning and following a journey: this task looks at how well you can find your way to a certain place, and whether it causes you any anxiety or stress.
  • Moving around: this task assesses how well you can stand and then move a distance of up to 200 metres, and whether you need help to do so.

PIP assessment tips

Checklist (ticks)
  • Bring your PIP form: you will be asked questions about your condition, so it’s a good idea to take a copy of your claim form with you as a reminder of the information that you’ve already supplied.
  • Take someone with you: it’s a good idea to take someone along with you for moral support. This can be anyone over the age of 16, such as a relative, friend or carer.
  • Take your time: there’s no need to rush, so stop and think about your answer. Try to avoid yes and no answers, and respond as fully as you can, explaining how each task makes you feel afterwards.
  • Act normally: don’t try to do things on the assessment day that you wouldn’t normally be able to do – tell the assessor if you don’t feel comfortable doing a certain activity.
  • Check the assessment centre is suitable: for example, will there be a lift if you need to go upstairs, or do you need an interpreter? If you need any adjustments, or have any special requirements, always request these in advance.
  • Claim your travel expenses: you (and the person coming with you, if you travel together) can claim back travel expenses after the assessment – ask the receptionist at the assessment centre for a form, and keep all your tickets and receipts. If you are travelling by taxi, you’ll need to get this approved by the centre before your appointment.
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PIP: how long does it take for a decision after the assessment?

There is no set time to receive a decision after the PIP assessment. However, it generally takes around 12 weeks from the date you started your claim, although some claims can take longer, and some may be quicker.

You’ll be sent a letter by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which will state whether or not you’ll receive PIP and, if so, which components and rates you’re entitled to.

If you disagree with the decision, you can challenge it up to one month after the date of the letter.

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What is PIP reassessment?

People receiving PIP are currently required to have regular reviews. These usually take place annually or every few years, although less severe or temporary disabilities can be checked more frequently.

People of pension age receiving PIP continue to get payments indefinitely and without further assessments.

Further reading

Last updated: 30 Oct 2020