If you are facing additional costs due to a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability, you might be eligible for the personal independence payment (PIP). First introduced in 2012, this benefit provides financial aid to those who experience difficulties in performing everyday tasks or getting around due to their condition.

Unlike some other benefits, PIP is not tied to the recipient’s ability to work, nor is it means-tested. Regardless of whether you work, have savings, or already receive other benefits, you may still qualify for PIP.

To claim the payment, you need to meet certain criteria, and will likely have to undergo an assessment.

Who can claim PIP?

To be eligible for PIP, several criteria must be met. You must be 16 years or older and have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability.

As a result of that condition, you should experience difficulty in performing certain everyday tasks or face challenges in getting around, and those difficulties should be expected to persist for at least 12 months from the time they first started.

If you have not previously received PIP, you must be under state pension age. If you have already reached state pension age, you could apply for attendance allowance as an alternative. However, if you previously received PIP, you can still make a new claim if you were eligible for it in the year before reaching state pension age.

Scottish residents should apply to the adult disability payment (ADP) instead of PIP.

It is possible to claim PIP alongside most other benefits. It is also open to people who are currently employed or have savings.

How does the PIP application work?

PIP has two separate elements: the daily living part and the mobility part. The daily living part is for people who need help looking after themselves through personal care, preparing meals, or managing a household. The mobility part is for those who need help with physically moving around, but also who face challenges working out routes or leaving their homes.

The specific amount of support depends on how your life and mobility is affected by your condition. An assessment process is conducted to determine the appropriate level of support needed for each applicant.

Most applications begin with a phone call to the PIP new claims lines on 0800 917 2222. Other numbers are available for those who need help talking on the phone. They will then send you a form that asks about your condition. Once you have competed the form, you might need to have an assessment if more information is needed.

At an assessment, a health professional will ask about how your condition affects you, and what treatments you have had or will have. It might be in person, over the phone, or by video call.

When preparing for an assessment, Disability Rights UK’s welfare and benefits advisor Ken Butler says to bring along any evidence you have related to your condition.

“Take any medication you’re taking to your assessment, along with a list of the aids or appliances you use – for example, glasses, hearing aids, walking stick,” he says. Also bring any evidence about how your condition affects you that wasn’t included in your PIP claim form, such as notes from a health professional, as well as a copy of your claim form, he advises.

“You can refer to it in the assessment and it’s a good way to make sure you tell the assessor everything you want them to know about how your condition affects you.”

You can also take a friend or family member with you if you need support, and you can request accommodations such as an assessor the same gender as you, an interpreter or signer. Mr Butler says to make any such requests in advance

How much is PIP?

The amount of money you get through PIP depends on how difficult you find the types of tasks classified as either daily living or mobility by the scheme.

The lower weekly rate for daily living is £68.10 and the higher weekly rate is £101.75. For mobility, the lower amount is £26.90, while the higher rate is £71.

The payment is tax-free, and sent every four weeks.

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