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Personal Independence Payment

If you want to speak to someone about changes to benefits, you can phone the independent welfare changes helpline for free on 0808 802 0020 or contact your local Citizens Advice.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a new benefit for people aged 16 to 64 with a long-term health condition or disability. From 20 June 2016 it will gradually replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age.

This page explains more about PIP, who can qualify, how assessments will be done and how it will be worked out.

What is Personal Independence Payment?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is intended to help with the extra costs of having a long-term health condition or disability. You can choose to spend the money on whatever you want.

PIP is not means-tested which means that it will be paid on top of other benefits you may be getting, including Universal Credit when it's introduced. You can get PIP whether you are in or out of work.

How will Personal Independence Payment be worked out?

PIP will be made up of two parts known as components:

  • a daily living component
  • a mobility component.

You could be entitled to both components. Within each component there’ll be a standard rate and an enhanced rate.

In order to qualify for either component, you'll need to be assessed by a healthcare professional and score a certain number of points. Special rules apply if you're terminally ill.

Assessments for Personal Independence Payment

You’ll usually have to attend a face-to-face assessment before you can get PIP. This will be carried out by a health professional. They’ll look at your ability to carry out certain key activities that are considered essential to daily living and getting around.

They’ll also look at evidence from other health professionals who support you, such as your doctor or a specialist nurse.

If you’ve got a very severe health condition or you’re terminally ill you probably won’t be asked to do a face-to-face assessment. The SSA will decide if you need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The healthcare professional will consider how able you are to carry out 12 activities. To qualify for either component of PIP you'll have to score a certain number of points according to how well you can carry out the activities. These are:

  • preparing food
  • eating and drinking
  • managing therapy or monitoring a health condition
  • washing and bathing
  • managing toilet needs or incontinence
  • dressing and undressing
  • communicating verbally
  • reading and understanding signs, symbols and words
  • engaging with other people face to face
  • making decisions about money
  • planning and following a journey
  • moving around.

Who can get Personal Independence Payment?

You can get PIP if you have a long-term health condition or disability and are aged between 16 and 64. You will also have to meet certain conditions about living in Northern Ireland. There are no particular health conditions or disabilities that give you automatic entitlement to PIP. A decision will be made about whether you get PIP depending on your personal circumstances.

You must have had a health condition or disability for at least three months before you can get PIP and the condition or disability must be expected to last for a further nine months.

If you have a terminal illness

If you have a terminal illness, you’ll be fast-tracked to a guaranteed payment of PIP at the enhanced rate of the daily living component. You won’t have to meet the three-month qualifying period or prove that your condition is likely to last a further nine months. However, you will need to be assessed for the mobility component.

When will Personal Independence Payment be paid?

PIP will be paid every month in most cases. It’s likely that if you qualify for PIP, you’ll only get it for a fixed period. After that, you’ll have to re-apply.

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