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Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - who can get it?

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.

PIP is 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.

This page tells you about the conditions that you have to meet to qualify for PIP.

What are the conditions for getting PIP?

Before you can get PIP, you must meet a number of conditions. These relate to other things as well as to how your disability or health condition affects you. They include:

  • your age
  • time you've spent abroad
  • whether you usually live here
  • your immigration status
  • how long your health condition or disability has affected your ability to live independently
  • how long it's expected to last.

To get PIP, you must meet all the following conditions.

The age condition

You must be aged 16 to 64.

If you're already getting PIP when you reach age 65, you can continue to get it if you meet all the other conditions. You can also get it if you claimed before you were 65 but your claim had not yet been decided by the time you were 65.

The presence condition

You must be present in Great Britain for each day that you get PIP. This means that you are physically present in England, Wales or Scotland. Great Britain doesn't include Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

There are some exceptions to meeting the presence condition. For example, you're allowed to leave the country for certain periods of time. These are called temporary absences.

People who work abroad in certain occupations, such as the armed forces, do not have to meet the presence condition. This also applies to their families.

The past presence condition

You must have been present in Great Britain for at least 104 weeks, or periods adding up to104 weeks, out of the previous 156 weeks. This means that you must have been in Great Britain for at least two years in total during the previous three years.

Some people don't have to meet the past presence conditions. For example, you don't have to meet them if you’re terminally ill or you work abroad in certain occupations, such as the armed forces.

The habitual residence condition

You must be habitually resident in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands. This is known as the Common Travel Area.

Habitual residence means that you have been living in the Common Travel Area for a period of time and that you intend to make it your home for the time being. However, the DWP decision maker should take all the facts of your case into account when deciding whether you are habitually resident.

If you're a serving member of HM forces, you and your family are automatically treated as habitually resident.

The immigration condition

You must not be subject to immigration control. If you are subject to immigration control, making a claim for benefit could affect your right to stay in the UK.

For PIP, you're not subject to immigration control if you're a British citizen or other EEA national. Some family members of EEA nationals are not subject to immigration control either. However, this is not a complete definition of who is not subject to immigration control.

You are subject to immigration control if you:

  • need permission to enter or remain in the UK but you don’t yet have it. For example, you're an asylum seeker waiting for a decision on your application for asylum
  • have permission to enter or remain in the UK on the condition that you don't have 'recourse to public funds'. This will usually be written in your passport. It means there are certain benefits that you can't claim, including PIP.

If you were given permission to stay in the UK because someone made a formal agreement to support you financially, you're not prevented from claiming PIP by your immigration status. This is sometimes referred to as being a 'sponsored immigrant'. The person who agreed to support you is your sponsor.

The disability conditions

You must have a physical or mental condition that limits your ability to carry out certain activities. These are:

  • daily living activities, such as preparing food, washing yourself and communicating
  • mobility activities, such as planning a journey and moving around.

If your ability to carry out these activities is severely limited, you may qualify for the enhanced rate of PIP.

Different rules apply if you're claiming PIP because you're terminally ill.

The required period condition

The required period condition is about how long you've had limited ability to carry out the daily living activities and the mobility activities, and how long your abilities are likely to be limited in the future. It has two parts:

  • the qualifying period
  • the prospective test.

The qualifying period

It must be likely that you met the disability conditions for at least three months before the date on which you become entitled to PIP. This is known as the qualifying period. It can include periods either before or after you make the claim for PIP. This means that you can make a claim for PIP during the qualifying period, but you won't get PIP until the end of it.

When you don't have to meet the qualifying period

You don't have to meet the qualifying period to get PIP if:

  • you're getting DLA at the time you claim PIP, or
  • you were aged under 65 on 8 April 2013 and you were entitled to DLA at any time in the two years before you claimed PIP, or
  • you're aged 65 or over on the day you claim PIP and you were entitled to DLA at any time in the 12 months before you claimed PIP.

The prospective test

It must be likely that you'll continue to meet the disability conditions for at least nine months after the date on which you become entitled to PIP. This is known as the prospective test.

If you're waiting for treatment or an operation, it may be difficult to predict whether your condition is likely to improve or even if the operation is likely to take place within nine months. In this case, you should be assessed as if the treatment or operation does not take place.

If you're claiming PIP because you're terminally ill, you don't have to meet either part of the required period condition.

Who can't get PIP?

You may not be able to get PIP under some circumstances, even if you meet all the conditions of entitlement, if you're a:

  • hospital in-patient
  • care home resident
  • prisoner.

Next steps

Other useful information

  • DWP PIP Fact sheet Conditions of Entitlement, at on the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk

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