Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common long-term health condition that affects the digestive system which can cause pain or discomfort in your tummy and a change in your bowel habits.
You can develop IBS at any age, but according to research by Bupa, you usually develop your first symptoms when you are between 20 and 30. Women are twice as likely as men to report having symptoms of IBS and it’s unusual to get them for the first time after the age of 50.
Common symptoms of IBS include stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation and although there’s no cure for IBS, lifestyle changes, medication and other treatments can help.
Most people’s symptoms fluctuate over time – some may improve, while others may get worse.
However, IBS is usually a lifelong condition which can be frustrating to live with and may have a big impact on your everyday life – inside and outside the home.
If this is the case, you may be eligible for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and receive financial support.
The latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that there are 1,693 claimants across the UK receiving PIP for IBS.
- Scotland claimants: 166
- England claimants: 1,268
- Wales claimants: 261
You do not need to have a carer or have someone helping you to qualify for PIP and you could receive between £23.70 and £152.15 every week – as PIP is paid every four weeks this to amounts between £94.80 and £608.60 every pay period.
Find out if you can claim PIP by looking at the criteria set out by the DWP below.
Who is eligible for PIP?
If you are over 16 and under State Pension age, you could be eligible for PIP.
You do not need to have worked or paid National Insurance contributions to qualify for PIP, and it does not matter what your income is, if you have any savings or if you’re in or out of work – or on furlough.
You must also have a health condition or disability where you:
The DWP will judge the eligibility of your PIP claim on a period of 12 months, looking back for three months and forward for nine months – they must consider if your illness changes over time.
You usually need to have lived in Scotland for at least two of the last three years and be in the country when you apply.
PIP daily living and mobility test
If you get or need help with any of the following because of your condition, you should consider applying for PIP:
preparing, cooking or eating food
managing your medication
washing, bathing or using the toilet
dressing and undressing
engaging and communicating with other people
reading and understanding written information
making decisions about money
planning a journey or following a route
moving around – outside the home
What is classified as ‘help’ for a PIP claim
You are classified as needing help to do an activity if you need a person or a device to:
You may also be classified as needing help if you do an activity yourself but:
PIP test scoring criteria
The PIP scoring criteria awards points for a statement which applies to you for each activity
The DWP will decide which statement best fits your situation most of the time. You will get a set amount of points ranging from 0 -12 for each activity.
The total number of points you get for each group of activities will decide whether you are entitled to PIP, and how much money you will receive.
To get the standard rate daily living component, you need to score between 8 to 11 points in total for the daily living activities. You need 12 points to get the enhanced rate.
To get the standard rate mobility component, you need to score between 8 to 11 points in total for the mobility activities. You need 12 points to get the enhanced rate.
How is PIP paid?
PIP is usually paid every four weeks unless you are terminally ill, in which case it is paid every week.
PIP will be paid directly into your bank, building society or credit union account.
Current PIP payment rates
PIP is made up of two components – daily living and mobility.
Whether you get one or both of these and how much depends on how severely your condition affects you.
You could receive the following amounts per week depending on your circumstances:
Standard rate – £60.00
Enhanced rate – £89.60
Standard rate – £23.70
Enhanced rate – £62.55
PIP payment rates will rise by 3.1% in April, you can find out more about this here..
How are you assessed?
You will be assessed by an independent healthcare professional to help the DWP work out the level of help you need.
Face-to-face assessments restarted in May and may be offered alongside telephone and video based consultations. All assessments will follow strict public health guidelines and put the safety of the claimant first – we have a full guide on how to prepare for assessments here.
How do you make a claim for PIP?
You can make a new claim by contacting the DWP, you’ll find all the information you need to apply on the GOV.UK website here.
Before you call, you’ll need:
your contact details, for example telephone number
your date of birth
your National Insurance number – this is on letters about tax, pensions and benefits
your bank or building society account number and sort code
your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number
dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital
Once you have contacted the DWP, they will send you a document to complete which consists of 14 questions and a section for any additional information.
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The questions focus on how your condition affects you – put as much relevant detail in as you can to help the assessor understand your physical and mental health needs.
If you have difficulty filling in your form or understanding the questions, contact your local council and ask for help or Citizens Advice Scotland.
We have a breakdown of all 14 questions here and you can take an anonymous self-test online at Benefits and Work to see how many points you would be awarded for each response.
For more information about PIP, visit GOV.UK here.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.