What is Personal Independence Payment?
Personal Independence Payment is a benefit paid to working age adults significantly affected by an impairment, long term health condition or disability. This benefit exists to help cover some of the extra costs that people have when they’re living with a disability. It is not a means tested benefit which means that it is not affected by any other income.
Who can get PIP?
You need to answer yes to all of the questions below to be eligible to get PIP:
- Are you between 16 years old and state retirement age?
- Have you had your impairment, health condition or disability for at least three months and expect it to last at least nine months?
- Have you been resident in the UK for 2 years out of the last three years?
If you are not a British Citizen you should check the additional eligibility on the UK Government website.
If you have an illness or condition which a doctor has said is likely to end your life in six months or less you are automatically entitled to PIP. Your application is usually processed faster to allow you to receive payments. The benefit will be paid for as long as you need it, giving you extra support for your remaining time.
How much is paid?
How much is paid changes each year. You can find the current rates of Personal Independence Payment here.
How do I apply for PIP?
To apply for PIP you must call:
Telephone: 0800 917 2222
Textphone: 0800 917 7777
Full contact details, including services such as the video relay for British Sign Language users can be found here.
Any entitlement to Personal Independence Payment begins on the date you make that phone call.
Once you have made that call you will have a telephone interview that usually takes around 15 minutes. This interview is based on a form called the PIP 1 form. If you would like to see an example of the kind of questions you will be asked you can see a specimen form on the UK Government Website.
After your telephone interview you will be sent an application form called a PIP 2 form. This is a longer form which asks detailed questions about your ability to perform tasks involved in your day to day life and about moving around. The UK Government website has a specimen of the PIP 2 form.
You will be given 28 days from when the form is posted to complete and return it to the DWP. If you need more time you should call them to ask for an extension of this period.
You may be contacted for a further assessment. This could be an invitation to attend an interview in person. During the Covid-19 pandemic your assessment will be by telephone conference instead. Whether in person or by phone, you are entitled to have another person present.
How do I complete the application form (PIP2)?
Here are a few pointers for completing the application form for PIP
- Give as much detail as you can when answering questions.
- Be specific and provide examples if you can.
- A good way to prepare is to keep a daily journal where you note down all of the difficulties you have in completing everyday tasks. This can be included with your application as supplementary evidence,
- When talking about how far you can walk, give the distance in metres. A metre is about three feet.
- Do include details such as how fast you can perform tasks, if they cause you pain or how often you may be able to do them a day.
- Include how your medication affects you in the information you give.
- If you can, ask someone close to you to look over your application and tell you if you have missed anything.
It can be helpful to understand the point system used to calculate what you are entitled to. There is an excellent and clear guide to the PIP Test on the Turn2Us website. You can find it here.
The Benefits and Work website have an excellent self-test where you can get an idea of how the points system could be applied to your circumstances. You can try it here.
Who can help me with my PIP application?
You can get advice and help with your Personal Independence Payment application from welfare benefits advisors who are familiar with the benefits system.
- Citizen’s Advice Scotland have experienced welfare benefits advisors in every area in Scotland. You can search for your local Citizen’s Advice here or call their national helpline number on 0800 028 1456.
- Your local authority (Council) may also have welfare benefits advisors.
- Some organisations such as Housing Associations may have staff who are able to help with applications.
If you are unsure who can help you in your local area then you can contact us at Disability Information Scotland and we will find the local information for you.
The Award Letter
After your PIP assessment you will receive a letter telling you the outcome of your application. This letter is important because it confirms how many points you have been awarded for each part of your assessment
If you have been successful, and you agree with the award, the money will be paid into your bank account every four weeks. Remember to keep your award letter in a safe place and, if you can, take a photograph or scan so you have a digital copy too. This is helpful if you have to provide evidence to other organisations of your entitlement.
If you have been unsuccessful, or you do not agree with the level of PIP you have been awarded you can appeal the decision. The appeal process is in two parts, with the first stage called a “Mandatory Reconsideration”. A mandatory reconsideration is a review of your application and evidence by another decision maker at the DWP. You should contact the Department for Work and Pensions to ask for this within a month of the date or your award letter. You can read more details of how to approach the mandatory reconsideration and appeal process in our info guide called Benefit Appeals and Reconsiderations.
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. 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. To find out if you do have additional entitlements, we recommend that you get a benefits check.
You can get a benefits check at your local Citizens Advice
You can visit the TURN2US website and use their Benefits Calculator online.
Information last updated on 19 February 2021. 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?
It is always a good idea to seek advice when challenging decisions. An advice agency will be able to tell you if you have a good case; how to obtain medical or other evidence; and may be able to represent you at an appeal hearing. In some cases there is a risk of losing a benefit if you challenge a decision. You can also search the Scottish Disability Directory to find your local welfare rights service.
You can challenge a decision if you think it is wrong according to the rules. The decision about your PIP is set out in a letter that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) send you. This is called the decision letter. The date on the letter is the decision date.
A Mandatory Reconsideration is the first step when challenging a PIP decision. It is asking the DWP to look at the decision again. You must normally ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration within one month of the decision date.
Appeal to Tribunal is the second step of challenging a PIP decision. You can normally only do this after you have got a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice.
For more information see our Benefit Appeals & Reconsideration Guide.
How will PIP affect my ability to use the Motability Scheme?
The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to lease a car, powered wheelchair or scooter. Eligibility to use the Motability Scheme is based on receiving one of the following benefits.
- Higher Rate Mobility Component of DLA
- Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
Awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP
For existing Scheme customers, their eligibility to remain on the Motability Scheme will depend on the outcome of their assessment for PIP. If you are awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP you should not experience any disruption to your lease as you move from one benefit to the other.
NOT awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP
If you are not awarded the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP you will not be eligible to use the Motability Scheme. Being forced to leave the Scheme will be a difficult transition for you and your family.
The Motability Scheme has put in place a one-off package of transitional support to those customers who can no longer use the Scheme as a result of their initial DLA to PIP reassessment. This transitional package will include guidance on your mobility options and next steps, financial support if eligible, advice on buying a second hand car, information on insurance, maintenance and other mobility solutions, as well as the purchase price of your vehicle. You will be able to keep the car for eight weeks after the DLA payments stop.
In addition, if you first joined the Scheme before the end of 2013 you will have the option to keep the car for 26 weeks after the last DLA payment. If you choose to keep the car for this extended period your transitional support payment will be reduced.
For further details of the transitional support process please visit the Motability website. Their website has a useful section with more detailed information on the transitional support package. You can also phone the Motability Scheme helpline on 0300 456 4566.
Am I eligible for a reduction on Vehicle tax?
You might be eligible for a reduction or exemption on vehicle tax if you are disabled and meet the eligibility criteria. The vehicle must be registered in the disabled person’s name or nominated driver’s name and must only be used for the disabled person’s personal needs.
You can apply for exemption from paying vehicle tax if you get the:
- higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
You can get a 50% reduction in vehicle tax if you get the PIP standard rate mobility component.
For more information contact our helpline on 0300 323 9962.
How can I find out what benefits might I be eligible for?
A good first step to see whether you are eligible to apply for certain benefits is to have a ‘benefits check’. A benefits check is a calculation that will include an estimate of what and how much you might get. You can get a check at your local welfare rights project, local Council Money Advice or Citizens Advice Bureau. Some housing associations and GP surgeries might also offer them.
You can also use the Turn2us benefit calculator online.
Before doing a benefits check, you will need information about any savings, income, pension, childcare payments or existing benefits (for both yourself and your partner).
To find your local welfare rights service search our Scottish Disability Directory. or contact our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
What support is available to help keep warm this winter?
At this time of year fuel costs increase and it can be difficult to keep yourself warm and cosy!
The good news is there are different grants and schemes available throughout the country to help people improve the heating in their homes and keep heating costs down. Check out our Help to heat your home guide for more information on what you might be eligible for.
Home Energy Scotland is a free impartial energy advice service to help people save money and keep their homes warmer. They offer simple energy saving tips, make referrals to funding schemes and can arrange benefits and tax credit checks to help people access available assistance.
If you would like more information about how you can help heat your home then please call Home Energy Scotland’s free helpline on 0808 808 2282 to check what support you might be entitled to. You can also text ‘warm’ to 81025 for a call back or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From layering up with fleeces and blankets, to keeping refueled with hot drinks, there are ways that you can help keeps yourself cosier and keeps fuel costs down. For some extra tips check out our Get Winter Ready blog and/or the Home Energy Scotland ‘Keeping your home warm this winter’ blog.
Am I eligible for VAT relief on disability equipment?
In general, disabled people do not have to pay VAT on goods and services that are designed/ or adapted solely for use by disabled people. These goods and services are often called ‘zero-rated’ or ‘eligible for VAT relief’.
The majority of suppliers will know if their product has been specifically designed to help disabled people. They will offer their products free of VAT at the point of sale.
You’ll need to confirm in writing that you meet these conditions. Your supplier may give you a form for this.
Most suppliers will use the Notice 701/7 VAT relief for disabled people form.
For further information see our VAT Exemption for Disabled Goods Information Guide or call our helpline on 0300 323 9961.
Money, Benefits & Grants:Search for Local Organisations
Our quick search tool can connect you to over 3000 service providers, suppliers and organisations supporting people across Scotland. To find support near you, simply enter your search term and select your local authority.