Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people aged over 16 and under State Pension age who need extra help to cover the costs of daily living tasks or getting around as a result of a physical or learning, long-term illness or mental health condition.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) could give you between £23.70 and £152.15 per week to help with these additional costs, usually paid into your bank account every four weeks.
It is important to understand that the amount of PIP you receive will depend on how your condition affects you in your day-to-day life, which means there are no ‘guaranteed’ health conditions that will automatically qualify you for the benefit.
However, many new and existing claimants are unaware of a list of changes in circumstances that must be reported or risk serious repercussions – which could result in a fine or a court appearance.
The DWP sends out annual PIP and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) award letters before the new financial year begins in April to confirm the uprated payment awards for the next 12 months.
This is often the perfect opportunity for everyone receiving PIP or DLA to check that the DWP holds correct information on them, especially if they have been receiving the benefit for some time.
So, if you tucked the letter away at the back of a drawer, now is a good time to have a look at it and make sure the details are correct – and fix them if they are not.
PIP changes that must be reported to DWP
Guidance on the GOV.UK website states that claimants must contact the PIP inquiry line if:
Your personal details change – for example, your name, address or doctor
The help you need or your condition changes
Your condition has worsened and you’re not expected to live more than six months
You go into hospital or a care home
You go abroad for more than four weeks
You’re imprisoned or held in detention
Your immigration status has changed, if you’re not a British citizen
The GOV.UK website also contains an important warning that states: “You could be taken to court or have to pay a penalty if you give wrong information or do not report a change in your circumstances.”
Which means that if you have recently moved home or switched to a new health practice, do not put off reporting the change any longer.
You may have to repay money you have received if you:
Find out how to repay the money you owe from benefit overpayment here.
How to report a change of circumstances to the DWP
Before making the call you will need your National Insurance number, bank account details and your GP name and address in order for the DWP to verify your identity.
The busiest times to call are on Mondays and weekday evenings between 4pm and 5pm. Calls after 10am, Tuesday to Friday usually have a shorter hold time.
The PIP inquiry line is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, although hours may differ over the New Year period.
Telephone: 0800 121 4433 (option 5)
Textphone: 0800 121 4493
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 4433
Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users – check you can use the service here.
Find our more information on the GOV.UK website 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.