PIP has replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people who, because of an impairment, need help to participate in everyday life or get around. Fresh claims can only be made for PIP. Existing DLA claimants aged over 16, (except for those who were 65 or more before April 2013, who will remain on DLA) are being sent a letter inviting them to apply for PIP. They must do so within 4 weeks to ensure their DLA claim continues until the PIP application is decided. .
- PIP is intended to meet some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or disability.
- The amount you get depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself.
- PIP is paid regardless of whether claimants are working or not, on top of other benefits.
- It is tax free and not means-tested
- It is for a disabled person between 16 and 64, not their carer, and is paid regardless of whether person has care or not
- It can be spent on whatever the claimant likes.
- It may be a ‘passport’ to other benefits including Motability.
- Although in its structure, PIP appears to be similar to the DLA, the criteria for eligibility are quite different.
There are two components to PIP, a Daily Living component and a Mobility component. Each is considered separately, and each has two levels of benefit: a Standard Level, and an Enhanced Level. It is possible to have a different level of benefit (or none at all) in the separate components.
Eligibility is established through a face-to-face assessment with a “health professional” (not a doctor) of physical, mental and cognitive functions for 12 different types of activity. You score points for what you can or cannot do. Generally the more help you need, the more points you get.
Activities – Daily Living
1. Preparing food
Your physical or mental ability to prepare and cook a simple one-course meal.
2. Taking nutrition
Your ability to eat and drink by cutting up food, moving it to your mouth, chewing etc, or using a food tube or similar device.
3. Managing therapy or monitoring a medical condition
The support you need from others (not medical professionals) to actively manage your medication taken at home, or monitor your health condition (when failure to do would cause health to deteriorate.)
4. Washing and bathing
Your physical or mental ability to wash and bathe in a standard un-adapted bathroom
5. Managing toilet needs or incontinence
Your ability to manage your own toilet needs or incontinence condition using an un-adapted WC
6. Dressing and undressing
Your ability to select, put on and take off un-adapted clothing which is suitable and appropriate, including socks and shoes
7. Communicating verbally
Your ability to communicate using words in your native language and whether you need specialist support to express or understand verbal communication.
8. Reading and understanding signs, symbols, words and dates
Your ability to read and understand signs, symbols, words and dates, in your own native language, not including an ability to read braille
9. Engaging with people face to face
Your ability to engage with other people in an appropriate way, without causing distress, to understand body language and establish relationships and whether you need specialist support.
10. Making budgeting decisions
Your ability to spend and manage your money, including complex and basic budgeting decisions without prompting or assistance.
Activities – Mobility
1. Planning and following journeys.
Your ability to work out and follow a route safely and reliably, and whether you can do so with an assistance dog or orientation aid.
2. Moving around
Your physical ability to stand and then move around without severe discomfort, on normal types of outdoor surfaces such as streets and pavements. Standing means on your own biological foot or feet, so amputees cannot ‘stand’ under this test.
Each of the 12 Activities has several descriptors of varying degrees of difficulty worth differing numbers of points. Within the separate components, ‘Daily Living’ and ’Mobility’, the highest points score from each Activity, is combined with that from other Activities in that component. This indicates which, if any, level of benefit for Daily Living or Mobility you may be eligible for.
Generally, if you need aids, assistance, prompting or supervision, you score more points.
If you cannot do a task/descriptor –
- safely – because harm is likely to be caused to you or another if you do it
- repeatedly – because you are not able to do it as often as is reasonably required
- within a reasonable time period – because it takes you twice the time of somebody who is not disabled
- to an acceptable standard
Furthermore, if you can’t do a descriptor on more than half the days of a year, looking 3 months back and 9 months forward, then you can’t do it at all! Whether or not you can do a descriptor is measured over a whole 24 hour period, (unlike DLA), as night and day needs are not treated differently.
Making a PIP application
• An application for PIP starts with a phone call to DWP (0800 917 2222) with information about the claimant. The claimant must normally do this themselves, or be present if someone else is doing it.
• Claimant completes PIP2 form with medical and other evidence related to descriptors
• A PIP Assessment is undertaken by a ‘Health Professional’ working for a private company (ATOS) under contract to DWP
• ATOS will make an assessment and pass it to DWP for a decision.
• If you are not happy with the outcome, ask in writing, within 28 days for a Mandatory Reconsideration.
• If you are still not happy with that, appeal to Independent Tribunal within a further 28 days.
How can prospective claimants prepare ?
• Find out what you can about the PIP assessment now.
• Start collecting evidence linked to descriptors (can they be done repeatedly ? safely? etc.) It may be helpful to keep a diary.
• Find a source of help and further advice (e.g. DRUK’s PIP factsheet)
• Act promptly when DWP letter arrives