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Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - a brief guide to the claims and assessment process

This advice applies to Scotland

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people aged 16 to 64 with a disability or long-term health condition.

It's being introduced in stages from 8 April 2013. Eventually, it will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for all new claims and for existing DLA claimants who were aged 16 to 64 on 8 April 2013 or who reach age 16 after that date.

This page gives a brief summary of how you claim PIP and how your claim is assessed.

Top tips

PIP is being introduced in stages, so you may not be able to claim it immediately. If you can't claim it yet, you can claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) instead. If you're already getting DLA, you don't need to make a claim for PIP until the DWP asks you to do so.

More about the timetable for the introduction of PIP and when you can claim

Summary of the claims and assessment process

You start by telephoning the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) PIP claims line:

  • the DWP collects information from you on the phone to check whether you meet the basic conditions for getting PIP
  • if you’re eligible to claim, the DWP sends you the ‘How your disability affects you’ form to complete
  • you complete and return the form together with any evidence to support your claim
  • the DWP passes your claim to a health professional who decides if further evidence is needed and arranges to get it
  • in most cases, you’ll be asked to attend a face-to-face assessment with the health professional
  • the health professional reviews all the evidence and writes a report for the DWP
  • a DWP decision maker checks that all the evidence has been taken into account in the report and decides whether you’re entitled to PIP and, if so, at what rate
  • the DWP sends you a decision letter with reasons for the decision
  • if you disagree with the decision, you can ask the DWP to reconsider it
  • if you disagree with the outcome of the reconsideration, you can appeal to an independent tribunal.

A different procedure applies if you're claiming because you're terminally ill, but you still start your claim by phoning the DWP.

When can you claim PIP?

If you're not getting DLA, you can claim PIP now. You can no longer make a new claim for DLA.

If you're getting DLA and you have a fixed term award that ends before 17 March 2014, you will usually be able to claim DLA again. However, from 28 October 2013, the DWP will ask some DLA claimants to claim PIP instead.

If you're getting DLA, you will eventually have to claim PIP instead, but you don't need to do anything until the DWP contacts you to ask you to claim. If you then choose not to claim PIP, your DLA will stop.

From 28 October 2013, you can choose to claim PIP even if you're already getting DLA, although you can't get them both at once. However, unless your circumstances have changed, you may be better off waiting until the DWP asks you to claim PIP. This is because you might not be entitled to PIP or you might get it a lower rate than the DLA you're getting now.

Next steps

Other useful information

  • DWP 'Personal Independence Payment: the claimant journey', at
  • DWP PIP fact sheet 'The PIP assessment process and providers', at
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