The latest statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that in January 2022 there were 5.6 million people across the UK receiving financial support through Universal Credit, a benefit intended to help those out of work or on a low income with daily living costs.
That figure could rise following changes to the taper rate and work allowance rule in November now means that an estimated 500,000 more people may now be eligible for support through Universal Credit.
However, many new and existing benefit claimants may not be aware that they could also be eligible for additional support on top of a Universal Credit claim through Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
What is PIP?
PIP is a benefit for those over 16 and under State Pension age, that can help with daily living costs and mobility needs as the result of a long-term illness, disability or mental health condition – and it could be worth hundreds of pounds every month .
There are nearly 2.9 million people in the UK, including more than 305,000 living in Scotland, receiving financial support of between £24.45 and £156.90 each week – the benefit is paid every four weeks so this amounts to between £97.80 and £627.60 every payment period.
You don’t need to have worked or paid National Insurance to qualify for PIP. It isn’t means-tested either, so it doesn’t matter what your income is, how much you have in savings, or whether you’re currently employed.
The biggest misconception about PIP is that the DWP will only award the benefit to people with outwardly visible physical, long-term health conditions or disabilities.
In fact, PIP is a benefit aimed at providing support for people with an ever-evolving list of ‘hidden’ conditions, including stress, anxiety and depression.
To be eligible for PIP, you must have a health condition or disability where you:
You usually need to have lived in the UK for at least two of the last three years and be in the country when you apply.
Below is our quick guide to PIP including what it is, who is eligible, how much you could get each month and how you are assessed.
We also have a dedicated section on the Daily Record website which offers help in understanding the process from start to finish and includes questions on the form, what happens during an assessment and a comprehensive breakdown of the questions you will need to answer – these and more can be found here.
Who is eligible for PIP?
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
There are different rules if you are terminally ill, you will find these on the GOV.UK website here.
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.
PIP payment rates for 2022/23
You will need an assessment to work out the level of financial help you will receive and your rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you are getting the right support.
PIP is made up of two components:
Whether you get one or both of these and how much depends on how severely your condition affects you.
You will be paid the following amounts per week depending on your circumstances:
Standard rate: £61.85
Enhanced rate: £92.40
Standard rate: £24.45
Enhanced rate: £64.50
How are you assessed?
You will be assessed by an independent healthcare professional to help the DWP determine the level of financial support, if any, you need.
Face-to-face assessments for health-related benefits, including PIP, are now offered by the DWP alongside telephone, video call and paper-based consultations.
You can find help on preparing for any type of PIP assessment here.
How do you make a claim for PIP?
You can make a new claim by contacting the DWP, you will find all the information you need to apply on the GOV.UK website here.
Before you call, you will need:
your contact details
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. This includes space for any additional information you feel is relevant to your claim.
The questions focus on how your condition affects you, so put as much detail in as you can to help the assessor understand your physical or 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.
There is also an online PIP toolkit with examples of all the questions to help you answer fully with the most relevant information, find out more about this here.
Even if you don’t qualify for financial support, you could be eligible for a National Entitlement Travel Card, which offers free or reduced travel across Scotland on most public transport links.
For more information about PIP, visit GOV.UK here.
To keep up to date with the latest PIP news, join our Money Saving Scotland Facebook group here, follow Record Money on Twitter hereor subscribe to our twice weekly newsletter here.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.