If your loved one needs help with day-to-day tasks, whether that includes problems with mobility or just daily living, they may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This useful benefit could provide crucial financial aid to help them get the support they need.
But what exactly is Personal Independence Payment and how do you claim it. We look to answer this question and more in this handy little guide.
What is a Personal Independence Payment?
A Personal Independence Payment is designed to help with the extra costs caused by ill-health or disability. It consists of two parts, each of which can be at the standard rate or the enhanced rate:
First part: Daily living component
The daily living component is for people who need help with day-to-day tasks. The eligibility criteria for the two rates are:
- Standard rate. This is for those who have a limited ability to carry out daily living activities.
- Enhanced rate. This is for those who have a severely limited ability to carry out daily living activities
Second part: Mobility component
The mobility component is for people who need help getting around. The eligibility criteria for the two rates are:
- Standard rate. This is for those who have limited mobility.
- Enhanced rate. This is for those who have severely limited mobility.
Each of these components entitles the claimant to a regular benefit payment and it is possible for a person to receive both parts. The amount received is based on the severity of the person’s condition or disability.
Who can get a Personal Independence Payment?
People claiming Personal Independence Payments must satisfy two tests – the activity test and the residence and presence test.
The Activity Test
Most people will have a face-to-face consultation with a health professional to assess their daily living and mobility needs as part of the activity test. The person’s circumstances are compared with a set of criteria to determine if they are entitled to help.
In order to qualify for PIP a person has to score a certain number of points in relation to 12 activities. These are:
- Preparing food
- Taking nutrition
- Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition
- Washing and bathing
- Managing toilet needs or incontinence
- Dressing and undressing
- Communicating verbally
- Reading and understanding signs, symbols and words
- Engaging with other people face to face
- Making budgeting decisions
- Planning and following journeys
- Moving around
Each of these activities has a set of descriptors which, if they describe a person’s condition, grant them a points score. The number of points awarded are used to decide what type of PIP a person is entitled to and what level of award they receive. The person claiming must have the required number of points for the three months before they made their claim, and they must be expected to have them for the following nine months.
The Residency and Presence Test
The second test is the residency and presence test. To be ‘present’ a person must be currently living in Great Britain and have been living there for two of the last three years. If they are terminally ill, they just have to currently be living in Great Britain.
Do I have to have paid National Insurance to receive a personal independence payment?
You don’t need to have worked or paid National Insurance to qualify for PIP, and it doesn’t matter what your income is, if you have any savings or you’re working.
What are the eligibility criteria for getting a PIP?
To get PIP you must find it hard to do everyday tasks or get around because of a physical or mental condition. You must have found these things hard for 3 months and expect them to continue to be hard for another 9 months.
Personal Independence Allowance is not based on the condition you have or the medication you take. It is based on the level of help you need because of how your condition affects you.
Other criteria include:
- You must be living in England, Wales or Scotland when you apply – unless you or a close family member are in the armed forces.
- You must be at least 16 years old.
How much is Personal Independence Allowance?
The Department for Work and Pensions makes the decision about how much PIP you will get and for how long. It’s not possible to say exactly what you’ll get before you apply because the DWP bases the amount on your application, and the length of your award on the likelihood of your condition changing.
As mentioned previously, PIP payments are made up of 2 parts:
- The ‘daily living component’ is for the extra help you need with everyday tasks. At the standard rate you will receive a maximum of £61.85. The enhanced rate for those with severe needs is a maximum of £92.40.
- The ‘mobility component’ is for the extra help you need getting around. At the standard rate you will receive a maximum of £24.45. The enhanced rate for those with severe needs is £64.50.
Are Personal Independent Payments taxable?
No, they are not. You won’t be charged tax on any PIP you receive.
Do PIP payments affect the Benefit Cap?
If you or any dependants who live with you get PIP, you won’t be affected by the Benefit Cap.
How long will I receive Personal Independence Payments for?
The DWP will give you PIP with no end date if either:
- They think your condition will never get better.
- You’ve reached State Pension age.
This is called an ‘indefinite award’. If you have an indefinite award the DWP will usually review it every 10 years.
If you don’t get an indefinite award, you’ll get PIP for a fixed amount of time. Your decision letter will tell you for how long. If you’re terminally ill the award will be for 3 years.
If you’re awarded PIP for a fixed time of more than 2 years, the DWP will usually review your award before it ends and may renew it if your situation hasn’t changed.
How often are Personal Independence Payments paid?
PIP is paid every 4 weeks unless you have a terminal illness in which case it’s paid every week.
How can I claim PIP?
There are 3 stages to claiming a Personal Independence Payment:
- Contact the Department for Work and Pensions and fill in the PIP1 form. They can help you do this over the phone.
- Fill in the ‘How your disability affects you’ form. You can choose to receive this as a paper form by post or get an email with a link to an online form.
- Go to a medical assessment.
Being unable to work due to ill health can lead to hardship, but Personal Independence Payments can help lessen financial worry.