Check if you're eligible for PIP
If you need extra help because of an illness, disability or mental health condition you could get Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
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.
The main eligibility rules
You won’t be able to make a new claim for PIP once you reach State Pension age.
You’ll continue to get PIP if you were getting it before you reached State Pension age, unless your circumstances change.
To be eligible for PIP you must be aged between 16 and your State Pension age. You can check your State Pension age on GOV.UK.
You must also:
- need help with everyday tasks or getting around
- have needed this help for 3 months and expect it to need it for another 9 months
- usually be living in England, Scotland or Wales when you apply
- have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 years - unless you're a refugee or an immediate family member of a refugee
There are exceptions to these rules if you’re terminally ill or in the armed forces.
If you’re already getting DLA and the DWP asks you to claim PIP there are different rules.
If you have a terminal illness the rules about how long you need help for and living in England, Wales or Scotland for 2 years don’t apply. See our advice on how to claim PIP if you’re terminally ill.
If you’re in the armed forces (or a close family member of someone who is) the rules on living and applying in England, Wales or Scotland don’t apply.
Your illness, disability or mental health condition
PIP 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.
You’re assessed on the level of help you need with specific activities. It’s hard to say if the level of help you need will qualify you for PIP. But, if you get or need help with any of the following because of your condition, you should consider applying:
- preparing and cooking food
- eating and drinking
- managing your treatments
- washing and bathing
- managing toilet needs or incontinence
- dressing and undressing
- communicating with other people
- reading and understanding written information
- mixing with others
- making decisions about money
- planning a journey or following a route
- moving around
The help you get may be from a person, an aid (such as a walking stick or guide dog) or an adaptation to your home or car.
If you're in a hospital or care home
You can claim PIP while in hospital or a care or nursing home, however it can affect when your payments start.
If you’re in hospital, payments start when you leave (unless you’re a private patient).
If your care home costs are met privately (for example, by you, a friend or family member) payments can start while you’re in the home. Otherwise only the mobility component of PIP can be paid while you’re in the home.
If you’re in a residential college or school, get help from your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales or in Scotland because your eligibility for PIP can be affected if a local authority pays the fees.
If you already get PIP, stays in hospital or a care home can affect your PIP payments.
If you’ve not lived in England, Scotland or Wales for 2 of the last 3 years you might still qualify if:
- you’ve lived in another EEA country (the time you spent there can sometimes count towards the 2-year rule), or
- you’ve lived in another EEA country but you’re now habitually resident in the UK and you have a genuine and sufficient link with the UK social security system
You’ll need to give evidence to show the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man is your main home and you plan to stay. This is known as being ‘habitually resident’.
Links to the UK social security system
You might have a link to the UK social security system if:
- you’ve spent a significant part of your life in the UK
- you’ve worked and paid National Insurance in the UK
- you’re dependent on a family member who has worked and paid National Insurance in the UK
You might also have a link if you (or a family member you depend on) get any of these benefits:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (contribution based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (contribution based)
- Bereavement Payment or Allowance
- State Pension
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit
- Widow's Pension
- Widowed Mother’s Allowance
If you're from the EU or European Economic Area
You’ll need to prove different things about your life here if you’re from the EU or European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. You’ll need to do this if you’re from Switzerland too.
You’ll need to give evidence to show:
- the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man is your main home and you plan to stay - this is known as being ‘habitually resident’
- you’ve lived in England, Scotland or Wales for 2 out of the last 3 years - this is called the ‘past presence test’
Check if you’re habitually resident
It’s best to check if you’re habitually resident first. You’ll then need to show you can pass the past presence test.
If you have a visa that says “no recourse to public funds” or you’re subject to immigration control, your immigration status could be at risk if you apply for benefits. Contact your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales or in Scotland to get advice.