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Help claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – everything you need to know

25.07.18

Personal Independence Payment (known as ‘PIP’) is the benefit that replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA). New claimants claim PIP. People who were already claiming DLA in 2013 (when PIP began), are gradually being ‘migrated’ over to PIP. Unfortunately, because PIP has much stricter qualifying criteria, some people are not making the transfer to PIP successfully and must go through stressful appeals to retain their benefit.

This blog will tell you about the basics of what PIP is, how it works, and what to do if you are not happy with the decision you receive. Our aim is to give you all the facts if you are looking for help claiming PIP.

What is PIP?

PIP is a benefit for people who need help with the extra costs of disability or long-term health conditions. It is available to people who need help with everyday tasks or getting around, or both.

Who is eligible?

There are some general qualifying conditions. You must be aged 16-64 when you claim (but payments can continue past this age). You must normally live in Great Britain and not have been out of the country for more than 1 out of the last 3 years. You must also have had your needs for 3 months and expect to have them for the following 9 months (unless terminally ill).

There are also disability qualifying conditions. These assess your daily living needs and your mobility needs. More about how this works later.

Claiming PIP

To make a claim for PIP, phone the PIP claim line 0800 917 2222 or look on www.gov.uk.

If you are eligible to claim PIP, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will then send out a form called ‘How your disability affects you’.  This form (called a PIP2) needs to be completed very fully, to give the PIP assessor as much information as possible about your needs. Look at the Citizens Advice website  httpss://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/help-with-your-claim/fill-in-form/ for advice on how to complete the claim form.

When completing the PIP claim form, it is very important to give lots of detail and examples. Some claimants keep a diary for a week detailing what help they need, which they then attach to the PIP claim form. This gives the PIP assessor a good insight into what an average week is like for the claimant. What help do they need? What things don’t happen if the claimant is left alone?

Living with a disability can be difficult, and you may be used to trying to focus on the positives. However, it is essential that the PIP assessor understands all the things that are difficult or cause problems for the claimant – so focusing on these things is crucial to the claim.

Once you have sent the form in, it is likely that you will be called in for an assessment – with an independent trained health professional. This assessment will focus on how well you can carry out various daily living / mobility activities.

Look at the Citizens Advice website httpss://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/help-with-your-claim/your-assessment/ for advice on how to prepare for your PIP assessment.

What rates of PIP are payable?

There are two different components within PIP:

Daily Living component – Standard rate £57.30 or Enhanced rate £85.60

Mobility Component – Standard rate £22.65 or Enhanced rate £59.75

Daily Living Component

The daily living component is awarded to people who need help with everyday living tasks. When the PIP assessor decides whether an award of the daily living component is payable, they will assess your ability to perform a range of tasks under 10 activity headings. These all relate to your daily living needs. They are:

  • Preparing food
  • Taking nutrition
  • Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition
  • Washing and bathing
  • Managing toilet needs / incontinence
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Communicating verbally
  • Reading/understanding signs, symbols and words
  • Engaging with other people face to face
  • Making budgeting decisions

Mobility Component

The mobility component is awarded to people who need help with mobility.

When the PIP assessor decides whether an award of the mobility component is payable, they will assess your ability to perform a range of tasks under 2 activity headings. These relate to your mobility needs. They are:

  • Planning and following journeys
  • Moving around

The ‘planning and following journeys’ descriptor focuses on your ability to be mobile out of doors due to anxiety, safety issues, agoraphobia, and lack of road safety awareness. The ‘moving around’ descriptor focuses on the ability to be physically mobile.

How the DWP assess your ability to carry out these daily living or mobility tasks

Under each activity heading, there are a list of ‘descriptors’ with scores ranging from 0-12. The descriptors explain degrees of difficulty and different types of help which might be needed. You score points when you are not able to complete a task safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly, or within a reasonable time. You can see a copy of the points score sheet here: httpss://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/Migrated_Documents/adviceguide/pip-9-table-of-activities-descriptors-and-points.pdf

How do points get awarded?

The DWP are responsible for PIP, and one of their decision makers will look at all the evidence and will then score it against the descriptors. They will look at your claim form and any evidence that you sent in with it, together with the medical report from the assessment you attended with a health care professional.

How many points do you need to score for a PIP award?

To be awarded the standard rate of the either component, you need to score at least 8 points in total from the appropriate descriptors.

To be awarded the enhanced rate of the either component, you need to score at least 12 points in total from the appropriate descriptors.

Getting your PIP decision

When your PIP decision is sent out, it will tell you whether you have been awarded the Daily Living and/or the Mobility Component. It will give you the breakdown of the scores you have been given – which can help you decide whether you think your award is correct.

What to do if you are happy with your PIP decision

If you are happy with your award, then no further action is needed regarding your PIP. However, you will want to think about whether your carer might now be able to claim Carer’s Allowance or whether the fact you now have PIP may mean that other means-tested benefits (ESA or Housing Benefit) might be able to pay you even more! You should let all the other benefits you receive know about your PIP award.

What to do if you are unhappy with your PIP decision

If your PIP award is not what you hoped for, you can challenge the decision.

First, you must ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration. This requires the PIP office to look at their decision again – and you might want to send in more evidence to try and persuade them to change their mind.

If this is unsuccessful, you can appeal to a First Tier Tribunal – which is an independent body who will look at the decision and decide whether they think it is correct. This is a formal Tribunal hearing and can be stressful, so it is advisable to get help with this.

At both these stages of appeal, the whole PIP decision is looked at again, so if there is a partial PIP award already in place, you will need to be convinced that it is not at risk of being lost.

Need help claiming PIP?

As you can see, PIP can be a difficult benefit to claim and receive the correct award.

The Benefits Team at Renaissance Legal are happy to get involved with help claiming PIP, preparing Requests for Mandatory reconsiderations or PIP Appeals. We can also help and advise people who are undergoing the transfer from DLA to PIP.

Contact benefits@renaissancelegal.co.uk if you want to ask about what help we can offer.

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