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Check if you're eligible for PIP

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

From 20 June 2016, if you need extra help because of an illness, disability or mental health condition you can apply for 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

To get PIP you must:

  • be aged 16 to 64
  • 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 Northern Ireland when you apply
  • have lived in the United Kingdom for at least 2 years out of the last 3 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 Department for Communities (DfC) 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 the United Kingdom 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 Northern Ireland 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 because your eligibility for PIP can be affected if your Health and Social Care Trust 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 the country for 2 years

If you’ve not lived in the United Kingdom 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

The rules in this area are complicated and it’s best to get advice before you apply. You can get advice from your local Citizens Advice.

Habitually resident

You might be habitually resident in the UK if you’ve returned to the UK with the intention to stay for the foreseeable future. For example, you’ve registered with your local doctor, moved your bank accounts to the UK, joined clubs and societies, or given up ties or your life in the other country.

Check if you're habitually resident

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 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 to get advice.

If you’re not eligible for PIP

Find out what benefits and extra help you could get using our simple and quick online tool. You may be eligible for Attendance Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

Further information

You can find more information on the government website at

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