There are currently 2.9 million people across the UK currently claiming support through Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and accessing a whole range of additional assistance including Council Tax Reductions, benefit top-ups and free or discounted public transport.
Of that total figure, 305,279 people living in Scotland are 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.
PIP is a benefit currently delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which is designed to help people with the extra costs of daily living or getting around as a result of a long-term illness, mental health condition or disability.
However, many people are put off claiming this essential benefit, wrongly assuming that they are not eligible or have heard negative stories about the application process.
We have compiled a list of the most common PIP myths that stop people making a claim and a quick guide to making one.
Myth: PIP will not be paid to people who are working
Fact: PIP can be claimed by people who are in or out of full or part-time work. You also do not need to have paid National Insurance contributions to qualify.
Myth: Working will affect the amount of PIP you receive or stop payments completely
fact: PIP is not means-tested or taxable and is not affected by income gained from employment.
Myth: People with savings cannot claim PIP
Fact: PIP is not affected by savings, however large or small.
Myth: The eligibility criteria for PIP is the same as Disability Living Allowance
Fact: PIP has different eligibility criteria and is not based on the health condition or disability someone has.
Claims are assessed based on how that condition or disability affects someone’s ability to safely carry out day-to-day living tasks such as cooking, washing and communicating or moving around outside their home.
Myth: Everyone who receives DLA will automatically be eligible for PIP
Fact: There is no automatic transfer from DLA to PIP – people aged over 16 and under State Pension age will receive a letter inviting them to apply.
Myth: PIP is only for people with physical disabilities
Fact: This is wrongly assumed by many people, but the most common reason for a claim is for support with a ‘hidden’ disability.
There are hundreds of thousands of people across the UK receiving PIP to help them cope with a mental health condition, including stress, anxiety and depression.
The assessment criteria for PIP reflects a more complete consideration of the impact of individuals’ health conditions or impairments whether it’s physical, sensory, mental or cognitive.
Myth: PIP claims will not be considered for three months
Fact: If you want to claim PIP for the first time there is a three month qualifying period (this is the period during which you have had a health condition or disability) and the needs arising from your condition or disability must be expected to last for a further nine months.
The qualifying period starts from when your eligible needs arise and not from when you make a claim.
Myth: PIP claims take months to process
Fact: The ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic has meant that a new PIP claim can take up to 22 weeks from the point of initially contacting the DWP to register a new claim until an award letter is received.
Myth: There will be a break in payments between moving from DLA to PIP
Fact: There are no breaks in payment and the award letter will explain what payments you will receive and when.
Myth: You cannot send additional information with the ‘How your disability affects you’ application form
Fact: The ‘How your disability affects you’ form gives you the opportunity to tell the DWP how your disability affects your daily life, both on good and bad days and over a range of activities.
You should return the form with supporting evidence already held on file.
Examples of evidence that is important for you to provide include:
- prescription lists
- care plans or diary of daily care needs
- GP or outpatient clinic letters
- medical test results
- hospital discharge letters
- statement of special educational needs
certificate of visual impairment
reports or information from professionals such as a GP, hospital doctor, specialist nurse, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, social worker, support worker or counselor
The supporting evidence you send should be relevant to your condition and not be more than two years old – always send photocopies, never originals.
Myth: If you disagree with the DWP decision you cannot present any further evidence
fact: You can discuss the reasons for the decision with the DWP Decision Maker and identify whether you have any further information that hasn’t been considered.
If you disagree with the decision you can ask the DWP Decision Maker to look at it again, this is known as a Mandatory Reconsideration.
PIP is currently delivered by the DWP, but that is set to change for Scottish claimants this year as Social Security Scotland is replacing it with the Adult Disability Payment – find out more about the changes here.
Who is eligible for PIP?
You do not need to have worked or paid National Insurance to qualify for PIP, and it doesn’t matter what your income is, if you have any savings or if you are working.
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.
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 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 are now offered 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’ll find all the information you need to apply on the GOV.UK website here.
Before you call, you will 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.
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.
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.
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