MILLIONS suffering from long-term health conditions or disabilities get extra help through personal independence payments (PIP).
The payments can be worth up to £156.90 a week, so if you don't claim already it's well worth seeing if you're eligible.
We explain who qualifies for the payments and how to appeal and overturn a decision if you think it's not correct.
Who can get PIP?
PIP is available to those aged 16 or over but not yet at the state pension age.
The current state pension age is 66 but this is set to rise to 68.
You must have lived in England or Wales for at least two of the last three years, and be in one of these countries when you apply.
The process is different in Northern Ireland, and there are additional rules if you live abroad or if you’re not a British citizen.
In Scotland you will need to apply for Adult Disability Payment (ADP) instead.
Crucially, you must also have a health condition or disability where you either have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for three months, and you expect these difficulties to continue for at least nine months (unless you’re terminally ill with less than six months to live).
Difficulties with daily living can include:
- preparing or eating food
- washing, bathing and using the toilet
- dressing and undressing
- reading and communicating
- managing your medicines or treatments
- making decisions about money
- engaging with other people
You can claim PIP at the same time as other benefits, except the armed forces independence payment.
If you receive constant attendance allowance you will receive less of the daily living part of PIP.
If you get war pensioners' mobility supplement you will not get the mobility part of PIP.
Do I have to be in work to get PIP?
No, you can get PIP whether you’re working or not.
How much do I get from PIP?
PIP is made up of two parts and whether you get one or both of these depends on how severely your condition affects you.
How much you get also depends on how your condition affects you.
You may get the mobility part of PIP if you need help going out or moving around. The weekly rate for this is either £24.45 or £64.50.
While on the daily living part of PIP, the weekly rate is either £61.85 or £92.40 – and you could get both elements, so up to £156.90 in total.
You’ll be assessed by a health professional to work out the level of help you can get and your rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you’re getting the right support.
Payments are usually made every four weeks directly into your bank account, and they're tax free.
Just bear in mind that if you get PIP and constant attendance allowance or war pensioners' mobility supplement, the daily living part of your PIP will be reduced.
How do I apply for PIP?
You can make a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim by calling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222.
This is the government department tasked with paying out benefits to millions every year.
There are also other ways to claim if you find it difficult to use a telephone. See Gov.uk for more information.
When you claim, you'll need:
- Your contact details
- Date of birth
- National Insurance number
- Bank or building society account number and sort code
- Your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number
- Dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital
Someone else can call on your behalf, but you’ll need to be with them when they call.
You'll then be sent a form to fill in, after which you'll be invited for an assessment or your health or social care worker will be asked for information.
After this you'll be sent a letter telling you if your claim has been successful.
You can read Citizens Advice’s help on preparing for an assessment.
How do I appeal or overturn a decision on PIP?
If your application for PIP has been turned down or you don't think you've been offered enough cash you can appeal the decision.
You first need to ask for a “mandatory reconsideration notice” – this is where the DWP looks at the decision again.
If you are still unhappy with this outcome, you can then appeal to an independent tribunal.
You must send your appeal form in within one month of the date shown on the mandatory reconsideration notice.
Be warned that it usually takes up to six months for an appeal to be heard by the tribunal.
If you’re unhappy with the decision you get from the tribunal, you may be able to get the decision cancelled – known as “set aside”. You’ll be told how to do this at the time.
You may also be able to appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) if you think the tribunal wasn’t able to give you proper reasons for its decision, or back up the decision with facts, or if it failed to apply the law properly.
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