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How to fill in your PIP claim form

The PIP claim form is a really important part of your application because it’s your chance to show why your illness, health condition or disability means you should get Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Your application is more likely to be successful if you take your time and make sure you don't miss out any details about how your condition affects you.

You’re sent the claim form by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They'll send it to you in the post after you've phoned them to start your claim.  You must use the form the DWP send you - you can’t get it online or pick one up from an advice centre. If you’re terminally ill, you won’t be sent a claim form because the claims process for people who are terminally ill is different.

Help filling in your PIP claim form

The claim form is a long form to fill in and the questions ask you about your ability to carry out everyday tasks. You can take a look at a blank sample PIP claim form to see how it’s laid out and the questions you’re asked.

It can take an hour or more to fill in the form. When you fill in your claim form:

  • don’t ignore the extra information text boxes - they’re very important (see below)
  • if you need someone to help you complete the form, explain this on the form (using question 15) and include their contact details
  • if you can only fill in the form slowly or with pain, or if filling in the form has caused you anxiety or stress, explain this on the form (using question 15)
  • if you can, ask someone who knows you to check your answers to make sure you’ve not overestimated or underestimated your abilities
  • read the notes on the form before you answer the questions

It’s a good idea to keep a copy of your completed form. You can then take it with you to your assessment and use it to make sure that you don’t forget anything you want to mention at your assessment.

Hints, tips and example answers

How to answer the tick box questions

Each question has a series of tick boxes with the options yes, no or sometimes.

Here’s an example of a tick box.

Question 6a from the PIP claim form showing 3 tick box options (yes, no, and sometime) which you have to use to answer the question: "do you use an aid or appliance to wash or bathe yourself in the bath or shower?"

If possible, try not to answer sometimes because either you do or you don’t use an aid or appliance. If you tick '"sometimes" the DWP might think you can manage more than you can. You can explain when you do and don’t use an aid in the extra information text box for the question.

Often the tick box questions will ask you if you need help doing a particular task.

Here’s an example of a tick box that asks if you need help preparing a meal.

Question 6a from the PIP claim form showing 3 tick box options (yes, no, and sometime) which you have to use to answer the question: "do you need help from another person to prepare of cook a meal??"

Even if you don’t always need help to prepare a meal, it may be more appropriate to tick "yes" if you can’t do it reliably, safely or if it takes you twice as long as someone who doesn’t have your condition. If you tick "no" or "sometimes" the DWP might think you can manage more than you can. 

Don’t ignore the extra information text boxes

Each question has an extra information text box. It’s the most important part of the question and it’s more than just ‘extra information’. It’s your opportunity to tell the DWP in your own words how your condition affects you - they’ll use this to assess whether or not you can get PIP.

Each time you fill out an extra information text box:

  • think about your good and bad days
  • don’t underestimate the help you need
  • include as much detail as you can, especially on how your condition or medication affects you (even if you think it’s obvious)
  • explain how performing a task on a repeated basis may impact you, eg causing you pain, dizziness or tiredness
  • explain whether there’s a risk to your health in carrying out a task

You’re not limited by the size of the text box because you can attach additional sheets of paper to your application.

Example extra information for question 14

Aleem has severe arthritis in his hips. He's on the waiting list for hip replacements. Because of his arthritis, he finds it difficult to walk long distances. He has to use a walking stick when walking around.

This is how Aleem answers question 14 extra information on mobility. He includes:

  • how often he has good days and bad days

  • how unreliable the bad days are

  • how performing an activity on a repeated basis may affect him, eg causing pain or tiredness

  • risk to his health in carrying out the activity

"I always have to use a walking stick when I walk because I don't have enough strength in my legs to walk without it. The pain in my hips varies from day to day, so I can't reliably walk any particular distance.

I have good days and bad, on average about 20 days out of 30 are bad. On a bad day I might be able to walk 50 metres. On a good day I might be able to walk 200 metres. The level of pain and how far I can walk is unpredictable and can't be easily managed with medication or pain relief. On days when I can walk 200 metres, I would need to sit down and rest for a while after that as it would make me really tired and I would be in some pain. So even on good days, I wouldn't be able to walk the longer distance repeatedly in a day, or even day after day.”

Don’t underestimate the help you need

When you’ve lived with an illness or condition for some time, you may have adjusted and adapted and forgotten what it’s like not to have that condition. This can mean you underestimate the problems you have completing the tasks.

When you answer a question, try to:

  • think about how you used to do the task

  • think about how someone without your condition would do the task

  • say what would happen if you tried to do the task, even if you think it’s obvious

The information you give is confidential and it won’t be shared with social services. The form is simply a way for you to apply for extra money so that you have more choices and resources to help you cope.

Worth knowing

Try not to feel embarrassed, omit information or put on a brave face about your ability to do a task because the DWP won’t get a true picture of how your condition affects you and this can make it harder for you to get PIP.

Think about your good days and bad days

When you answer a question, don’t just think of how you do it on a good day. It’s really useful to think about how you’d do it on a bad day. This gives the DWP a truer picture of how your condition affects you.

Try to give an estimate of how frequent the bad days are compared to your good days, how often you could perform the task on a bad day and what the impact on your health would be.

Keep a diary

A health condition can often fluctuate so it’s a good idea to think about the good and bad days over a long period of time. A diary is a handy way to record your bad days and how they affected you. You could use a diary as evidence and to help you fill in your PIP claim form. To help you, you can use our template diary. You can also record your diary in audio format or ask someone to help you write it. 

Download: template diary to help you keep a record of how your condition affects you [PDF 78 kb].

Example answer for question 6

Kelly is 57 and has multiple sclerosis. She tries to be independent and uses a variety of aids and adaptations and has a walk-in shower cubicle with a seat where (once in) she can wash herself.

This is how Kelly would answer question 6a on washing and bathing. She would tick “yes” and include the following in the extra information for question 6:

  • how often she has good days and bad days

  • how performing an activity on a repeated basis may affect her, eg cause pain or tiredness

  • any risks she faces during the activity

Question 6b from the PIP claim form showing 3 tick box options (yes, no, and sometime) which you have to use to answer the question: "do you ned help from another person to wash or bathe??"

“I have on average 12 bad days a month when I need a lot more help from my husband to wash myself.

On a bad day my husband will keep checking on me while I wash because I have fallen from the shower cubicle seat before.

It takes me so much longer to wash on a bad day. On a bad day it takes 1 hour and 20 mins. On a good day it takes 40 mins. Because it takes so much longer I am very tired afterwards and feel very low in myself.

On a good day I am able to help my husband prepare breakfast but on a bad day I am so tired after washing that I often lie or sit down and am too tired to help my husband in the kitchen.”

Getting free help and advice from a support agency

If you’re having problems and need help filling in the form, you can contact your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales or in Scotland. They can help you fill out the form and give you advice on:

  • what the questions mean and what they are asking for

  • what sort of things you can say on the form and what you can leave out

  • what to do if you find it difficult to fill in the form because of your disability or health condition

You can also get help from your local disability or mental health support agency. Find disability support agencies in England and Walesfind disability support agencies in Scotland and find mental health charities in the UK or find mental health support in England.  

Deadline for sending your PIP claim form

You must send back the form within 1 month of the date on the DWP’s letter that comes with your claim form (the actual deadline will be on the letter too). If you don’t, the DWP will assume you no longer want to apply for PIP. 

If you need more time

Contact the PIP claim line immediately and ask for an extension (telephone: 0800 917 2222 or textphone: 0800 917 7777). If you have a good reason, they’ll agree a new deadline over the phone. Unfortunately, there aren’t any rules on what counts as a good reason but don’t let this put you off trying.

If you get an extension, it’s a good idea to write to the DWP and confirm this. You should then send a copy of this letter with your PIP claim form. To help you, use this template letter to confirm to the DWP that you have an extension.

If you don’t get an extension, you’ll have to start the claims process from the beginning.

Worth knowing

Don’t delay sending your PIP2 claim form if you’re waiting for the DWP to approve an extension or for supporting documents (like a hospital or doctor’s letter). You should send the form so it’s on time and include a letter telling the DWP you’re waiting on their response to your extension request or that more information will follow. 

To help you, you can use this template letter to tell the DWP that more information will follow to support your application