Personal Independence Payment
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
DLA claimants are currently being transitioned onto PIP. If you are currently on DLA you do not need to do anything unless the Department of Work and Pensions contacts you.
PIP is for people between the ages of 16 and 64 who need support with personal care or mobility due to a health reason that is expected to be long term (twelve months or longer). For many people, a brain injury can cause long-term or even permanent effects, so it is important to make this clear to anyone conducting a PIP assessment, as the 'hidden' effects might not be apparent.
Components of PIP
PIP is non-means tested. It is also not considered as income for means tested benefits; rather it can increase the amount of means tested benefits payable. There are two 'components' of PIP:
1) daily living component
2) mobility component.
You will be assessed on both of these components to see how much PIP you are eligible for depending on your needs.
This component assesses how capable you are of independently carrying out day to day activities such as cooking, cleaning or bathing yourself. Some people with a brain injury may have difficulties with carrying out these activities, while others may no longer be able to do them safely.
The daily living component of PIP is paid at two rates: standard and enhanced. The rate of the daily living component that you can get is determined by how you score on this part of the assessment stage.
This component assesses how able you are to travel independently outside of the house. Brain injury can affect various physical aspects of mobility, such as causing dizziness and balance problems. It can also result in a variety of cognitive issues that can make planning and following a route difficult or unsafe.
The mobility component of PIP is also at two rates, standard and enhanced. Being on the enhanced rate of the mobility component enables you to access a scheme called Motability, which allows individuals to exchange their mobility component payment for a car, wheelchair accessible vehicle or powered scooter. You do not have to be the driver of the vehicle; up to two other people can be named as drivers for you.
For more information about the Motability scheme, visit www.motability.co.uk or ring 0845 456 4566.
Applying for PIP
You can apply for PIP by either ringing the PIP claims line on 0800 917 2222, or by writing and requesting a How your disability affects you form to be sent to you by post. To request a form, write to:
Personal Independence Payment New Claims,
Post Handling Site B,
You should send your completed form back to the DWP within one month of receiving it, otherwise your claim could be rejected. If you are struggling with filling in the form, you could ask someone to help you fill it in. Do remember that you can ring the DWP on the above phone number if you are struggling to understand any of the questions or would like clarity on the kind of information to include on the form.
You can also consider contacting your local Headway group or branch, as they might be able to offer support with this or could signpost you onto useful local services that could offer assistance.
For support with making a claim for PIP, you can contact your local Jobcentre, Citizen's Advice or ring the PIP Enquiry Line on 0345 850 3322. Many local Headway groups and branches can also offer support.
Following your application, you will usually be asked to attend an assessment. This is where your daily living and mobility skills will be assessed by a healthcare professional in a face-to-face meeting. This is usually done in an external centre, but if you struggle with travelling you can make a request for the meeting to take place in your own home. You can also have a relative or friend present with you at the assessment. In some cases this can be useful, as they may be able to identify and address issues that you are either unaware of or forget to bring up due to memory issues.
The assessment is done on a scoring system to determine whether you are eligible for either or both components of PIP and which rate you are eligible for.
PIP can be backdated to the original claim date. It is paid every four weeks directly into your bank account. There will usually be a period set for how long you will receive PIP for, depending on whether your needs are likely to change over time.
You can spend PIP however you want to. If you have a carer, your receiving PIP might make them eligible for Carer's Allowance (see page 19 for more information on Carer's Allowance).
Challenging a PIP decision
If you disagree with the decision reached regarding your eligibility to PIP, you might wish to apply for a mandatory reconsideration. You can have someone help you with this process, such as a family member or an advocate. Mandatory reconsiderations should be made within a month of receiving the decision letter.
If your reconsideration still states that you are not eligible for PIP you can appeal this decision in an independent tribunal. If you decide to appeal, you have a month from the date of the DWP mandatory reconsideration letter to make an appeal. This is done with an SSCS1 form; you can either download this or request a copy from your local Citizen’s Advice.
PIP (or DLA) will stop being paid if you are in hospital for more than 28 days.
PIP key points
- PIP is replacing Disability Living Allowance
- There are two components of PIP: daily living component and mobility component. Both are paid at two rates: standard and enhanced
- You will be required to undertake an assessment as part of your application process