Personal Independence Payment

What is Personal Independence Payment?

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is to help towards some of the extra costs arising from a health condition or disability. It is based on how a person’s condition affects them, not the condition they have.
  • It is for eligible working age people, aged 16-64.
  • It is not means tested or taxed and is payable to people in or out of work.
  • National Insurance contributions are not essential.
  • You must have been in the UK for 2 out of the last 3 years, and must normally live in the UK.
  • You must not be subject to immigration control.

How does Personal Independence Payment work?

  • Claimants must have had ill health or a disability for three months before they claim, and be likely to continue to have these issues for nine months after the claim.
  • PIP is made up of two parts (know as components), Daily Living Component and a Mobility Component. Awards will be made up of one or both of these components. Each component can be paid at either a standard or enhanced rate.
  • PIP is paid every 4 weeks, not monthly.

Daily Living component

  • You may get the daily living component of PIP if you need help with things like: preparing or eating food, washing and bathing, dressing and undressing, communicating, managing your medicines of treatments and making decisions about money.
  • Weekly rates: Standard- £58.70, Enhanced- £87.65
  • To qualify for the standard rate of the daily living component you will have to score at least 8 points in total on the daily living part of the assessment.
  • To qualify for the Enhanced rate of daily living component you will have to score at least 12 points in total on the daily living part of the assessment.

Mobility Component

  • You may get the mobility component of PIP if you need help with going out and moving around.
  • Weekly rates: Standard – £23.20, Enhanced- £61.20
  • To qualify for the Standard rate of the mobility component you will have to score at least 8 points in total on the mobility part of the assessment
  • To qualify for the Enhanced rate of the mobility component you will have to score at least 12 points in total on the mobility part of the assessment

Assessment Activities

Daily Living Activities:

1. Preparing food
2. Taking nutrition
3. Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition
4. Washing and bathing
5. Managing toilet needs or incontinence
6. Dressing and undressing
7. Communicating verbally
8. Reading and understanding signs, symbols and words
9. Engaging with other people face to face
10. Making budgeting decisions

Mobility activities:

11. Planning and following journeys
12. Moving around

How it works

Each activity  has a set of descriptors. Claimants will receive a point score for each activity, depending on how well they can carry them out, whether they need to use aids and equipment to do so and whether they need help, supervision or prompting from another person.

You can score points for more than one activity but if more than one descriptor applies in an activity you will be awarded whichever descriptor gives you the most points.

if your condition fluctuates such that you meet a descriptor for only some of the time, it would be wise to speak to an experienced adviser as the rules are quite complicated.

The assessment will consider your ability to reliably complete each activity. This means that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should take account of your ability to carry out each activity:

  • safely- in a way that is unlikely to cause harm to you or another person
  • to an acceptable standard
  • repeatedly- as often as is reasonably required
  • in a reasonable time period- no more than twice as long as the maximum period that would normally take to complete that activity

Assessment Criteria and Scores

Daily living activities and descriptors

Activity 1 – Preparing food

a. Can prepare and cook a simple meal unaided -Score 0
b. Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal -Score 2
c. Cannot cook a simple meal using a conventional cooker but is able to do so using a microwave -Score 2
d. Needs prompting to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal -Score 2
e.Needs supervision or assistance to either prepare or cook a simple meal -Score 4
f. Cannot prepare and cook food -Score 8

Activity 2 – Taking nutrition

a. Can take nutrition unaided -Score 0
b. Needs either (i) to use an aid or appliance to be able to take nutrition; or (ii) supervision to be able to take nutrition; or (iii) assistance to be able to cut up food -Score 2
c. Needs a therapeutic source to be able to take nutrition -Score 2
d. Needs prompting to be able to take nutrition -Score 4
e. Needs assistance to be able to manage a therapeutic source to take nutrition -Score 6
f. Cannot convey food and drink to their mouth and needs another person to do so -Score 10

Activity 3 – Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition

a. Either (i) does not receive medication or therapy or need to monitor a health condition; or (ii) can manage medication or therapy or monitor a health condition unaided -Score 0
b. Needs either (i) to use an aid or appliance to be able to manage medication; or (ii) supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage medication or monitor a health condition -Score 1
c. Needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes no more than 3.5 hours a week -Score 2
d. Needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes more than 3.5 but no more than 7 hours a week -Score 4
e. Needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes more than 7 but no more than 14 hours a week -Score 6
f. Needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes more than 14 hours a week -Score 8

Activity 4 – Washing and bathing

a. Can wash and bathe unaided -Score 0
b. Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to wash or bathe -Score 2
c. Needs supervision or prompting to be able to wash or bathe -Score 2
d. Needs assistance to be able to wash either their hair or body below the waist -Score 2
e. Needs assistance to be able to get in or out of a bath or shower -Score 3
f. Needs assistance to be able to wash their body between the shoulders and waist -Score 4
g. Cannot wash and bathe at all and needs another person to wash their entire body -Score 8

Activity 5 – Managing toilet needs or incontinence

a. Can manage toilet needs or incontinence unaided -Score 0
b. Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to manage toilet needs or incontinence -Score 2
c. Needs supervision or prompting to be able to manage toilet needs -Score 2
d. Needs assistance to be able to manage toilet needs -Score 4
e. Needs assistance to be able to manage incontinence of either bladder or bowel -Score 6
f. Needs assistance to be able to manage incontinence of both bladder and bowel -Score 8

Activity 6 – Dressing and undressing

a. Can dress and undress unaided
-Score 0
b. Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to dress or undress -Score 2
c. Needs either (i) prompting to be able to dress, undress or determine appropriate circumstances for remaining clothed; or (ii) prompting or assistance to be able to select appropriate clothing
-Score 2
d. Needs assistance to be able to dress or undress their lower body-Score 2
e. Needs assistance to be able to dress or undress their upper body-Score 4
f. Cannot dress or undress at all -Score 8

Activity 7 – Communicating verbally

a. Can express and understand verbal information unaided – Score 0
b. Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to speak or hear – Score 2
c. Needs communication support to be able to express or understand complex verbal information – Score 4
d. Needs communication support to be able to express or understand basic verbal information – Score 8
e. Cannot express or understand verbal information at all even with communication support – Score 12

Activity 8 – Reading and understanding signs, symbols and words

a. Can read and understand basic and complex written information either unaided or using spectacles or contact lenses -Score 0
b. Needs to use an aid or appliance, other than spectacles or contact lenses, to be able to read or understand either basic or complex written information -Score 2
c Needs prompting to be able to read or understand complex written information -Score 2
d. Needs prompting to be able to read or understand basic written information -Score 4
e. Cannot read or understand signs, symbols or words at all -Score 8

Activity 9 – Engaging with other people face to face

a. Can engage with other people unaided -Score 0
b. Needs prompting to be able to engage with other people -Score 2
c. Needs social support to be able to engage with other people -Score 4
d. Cannot engage with other people due to such engagement causing either (i) overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant; or (ii) the claimant to exhibit behaviour which would result in a substantial risk of harm to the claimant or another person -Score 8

Activity 10 – Making budgeting decisions

a. Can manage complex budgeting decisions unaided -Score 0
b. Needs prompting or assistance to be able to make complex budgeting decisions -Score 2
c. Needs prompting or assistance to be able to make simple budgeting decisions -Score 4
d. Cannot make any budgeting decisions at all -Score 6

Mobility activities and descriptors

Activity 1- Planning and following journeys

a. Can plan and follow the route of a journey unaided – Score 0
b. Needs prompting to be able to undertake any journey to avoid overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant – Score 4
c. For reasons other than psychological distress, cannot plan the route of a journey – Score 8
d. For reasons other than psychological distress, cannot follow the route of an unfamiliar journey without another person, assistance dog or orientation aid – Score 10
e. Cannot undertake any journey because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant – Score 10
e. For reasons other than psychological distress, cannot follow the route of a familiar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid – Score 12

Activity 2 – Moving around

a. Can stand and then move more than 200 metres, either aided or unaided – Score 0
b. Can stand and then move more than 50 metres but no more than 200 metres, either aided or unaided – Score 4
c. Can stand and then move unaided more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres – Score 8
d. Can stand and then move using an aid or appliance more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres – Score 10
e. Can stand and then move more than 1 metre but no more than 20 metres, either aided or unaided – Score 12
f. Cannot, either aided or unaided, (i) stand; or (ii) move more than 1 metre – Score 12

Face-to-face assessment

In most cases you will be asked to attend a face-to-face assessment with an Independent Healthcare Professional (HCP). At the assessment the HCP looks at your ability to carry out the PIP activities. The HCP will look at your claim form and any medical evidence from your GP or consultant, if you have one. You will be able to take someone with you to the assessment such as a family member or carer.

If you are unable to attend the Assessment Centre it may be possible to arrange a home visit, this will usually need a letter from your GP explaining that you are unable to travel on health grounds.

Following the assessment the HCP will advise a benefit decision maker at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who will be the one who actually decides if you are entitled to PIP, and which component applies.

The award

  • Depending on your circumstances you may get a short award of up to 2 years or a longer award lasting up to 5 or 10 years.
  • If you are given a longer award you may still be contacted, during this time, to see if your needs have changed.
  • You must report any hospital stays to the DWP. Your PIP payments will stop after 28 days, including the mobility component. If you have a Motability car, you need to contact Motability to discuss what arrangements they can perhaps make. It will depend on your individual circumstances.
  • If you have to go into a care home, and you pay your own fees without help from the local authority or health service, your Personal Independence Payment can continue to be paid. If the local authority helps with the fees, the daily living component will stop after 28 days. It can restart if you return home.
  • The mobility component is not affected even if the local authority helps with the fees.
  • If a nursing home is paid for by the health service, both the daily living and mobility components will usually stop after 28 days and can restart when you return home.

Special rules claims

If you’re terminally ill, you won’t have to meet all the usual conditions for getting PIP and your claim will be dealt with more quickly than other claims. You won’t have to have a face-to-face assessment. For the purposes of claiming PIP, you’re terminally ill if you have an illness that is getting worse and you’re likely to die within six months. Your claim won’t be affected if you actually live longer than this. Under the Special Rules:

  • You will get the enhanced rate of the daily living component of PIP.
  • You may also be able to get the mobility component. You don’t have to meet the required period condition for it, but you do have to show that you score at least 8 points.

Existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants

Existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants aged 16-64

  • All existing DLA claimants aged 16- 64 on 8 April 2013 or age 16 after that date will eventually be asked to apply for PIP.
  • There will be no automatic transfer of existing DLA claimants onto PIP.

From July 2015 – all the remaining claimants in receipt of a DLA award – including those with an indefinite or lifetime award of DLA – will be invited to make a claim for PIP.

DWP will select DLA claimants in receipt of an indefinite award or a fixed term award, and notify them about what they need to do to claim PIP.

By late 2017 – most existing DLA claimants (aged 16 to 64 on 8 April 2013) will have been invited to claim PIP.

New claims

  • Since June 2013 – the DWP will no longer accept new claims for DLA from anyone aged 16 to 64. Instead all new claims from 16 to 64 year olds must be for PIP.
  • There are no current plans to replace DLA for children under 16 and people aged 65 and over who are already receiving DLA.

How to claim PIP

1.  When making a claim for benefits it is always advisable to speak with an expert that understands the entire benefits system. As well as help with completing benefit forms, an expert can help you work out what you’re entitled to or to appeal a decision you disagree with. Use our Scottish Disability Directory to search for your local welfare rights project.

2.  All initial claims for PIP have to be made by telephone. To start a claim, the claimant or those supporting them (as long as the claimant is present) should telephone the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Tel: 0800 917 2222 Textphone: 0800 917 7777

3.  The initial call does not involve an assessment but you will be asked to confirm that you are a UK resident and if you are likely to be affected by your disability or health condition for at least the next 9 months. You will also be asked for information such your full name, contact details, National Insurance number, bank or building society account details, GP or other health professional’s details, details of any recent stays in hospitals.

4.  The DWP will then send a form “How your condition affects you”. This is your chance to give the DWP a true picture of how your condition affects your ability to carry out the point scoring activities, whether you need any aids or help from another person, whether it takes you a long time to carry out the activity, or whether it causes you pain.  You can also explain how your condition fluctuates.  As the form can be complicated to complete effectively, our Helpline can give details of advice agencies near you who can help.

5.  It is essential to return the form within the one month deadline otherwise the DWP may disallow your claim. If you cannot meet the deadline, then you must notify the DWP and ask for an extension, for example if you have an appointment with Citizens Advice Bureau.

What if I am unhappy with the decision?

If you disagree with the decision you need to ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to look at the decision again. This is called mandatory reconsideration. Contact DWP by telephone or in writing within one month of the decision, and make it clear that you’re asking for mandatory reconsideration. The telephone number and address will be on your decision letter.

For further information please see our Appeals and Mandatory Reconsiderations Information Guide

Extra money and help that PIP entitles you too (Passported benefits)

An award of PIP may enable you to access means-tested benefits even if you have previously been told you are not entitled. You should get an up to date benefit check.
Depending on the level of your award, you may also be eligible for a Blue Badge, concessionary bus travel, road tax discount or exemption, Motability car, or someone may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance.

You can get a benefits check at your local Citizens Advice

You can visit the TURN2US website and use their Benefits Calculator online.

Useful contacts

Scottish Disability Directory

Search for details of local disability information services and welfare rights services.

Citizens Advice Scotland

Tel: 0808 800 9060

Department for Work and Pensions

Personal Independence Payment contact centre Tel: 0345 850 3322 Text: 0345 601 6677

Government Information Service website

Information last updated on 3 August 2020. Please note that information may be subject to change. All information is provided in good faith but Disability Information Scotland does not endorse any product or service referred to within this resource.

If you would like this information guide in another version then please contact us and we will post or email you a copy.

Money, Benefits & Grants:Frequently Asked Questions

Through our helpline we receive enquiries spanning a wide range of different topics. Here is a selection of those most asked:

How can I appeal a PIP decision?

How will PIP affect my ability to use the Motability Scheme?

Am I eligible for a reduction on Vehicle tax?

How can I find out what benefits might I be eligible for?

What support is available to help keep warm this winter?

Am I eligible for VAT relief on disability equipment?

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