CarersLorna Whitecarer, advice

What is the Personal Independence Payment?

CarersLorna Whitecarer, advice
What is the Personal Independence Payment?

If you suffer from long-term ill-health or disability you may be eligible for financial help to cover some of the costs caused by the health condition. This is known as Personal Independent Payment and is often referred to as PIP. This was previously known as the disability living allowance. 


How much could I get from PIP?

Between £22 and £141.10 a week, depending on how your condition affects you.

Am I eligible to claim PIP?

  • You must be aged between 16 and 64.
  • You must have a health condition where you have difficulties living and getting around and have been experiencing this difficulty for over three months. You should also expect these difficulties to be long-term (at least nine months).
  • You must have lived in the UK for at least the last two years.  

Can I claim PIP if I don’t live in the UK?

  • If you are British but live abroad in the EU, EEA counties (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden) or Switzerland, you may still be eligible.
  • You may also be eligible if you are a member or family member of the Armed Forces.   
  • The process is different in Northern Ireland.

If you’re not a British Citizen but live in the UK, you must normally live in the UK or show that you intend to settle here. You also cannot be subject to immigration control.

What is meant by daily living difficulties?

If you need help with more than half of the below things, you may be able to get help:

  • Preparing or eating food
  • Washing, bathing, using the toilet
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Reading and communicating
  • Managing your medicines or treatments
  • Making financial decisions
  • Engaging with people

If you need help moving around, you may also be eligible.

How do I make a PIP claim?

You will need to call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) PIP claims on 0800 917 2222. If you’re calling from abroad, dial +44 191 218 7766. Phone lines are open Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm. Someone can call on your behalf however you must be with them when they call.

Before you call, you will need:

  • Your contact details (eg. Telephone number)
  • Your date of birth
  • Your national insurance number
  • Your bank or building society account number and sort code
  • Your doctor or health workers name, address and telephone number
  • Dates and addresses for anytime you have spent abroad, in a care home or at hospital

What if I am unable to call the DWP?

If you struggle to use the telephone or cannot hear or speak very well, you can apply for PIP via post. Write a letter to ask for the form to the below address:

Personal Independence Payment New Claims, Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton, WV99 1AH

You can also contact them via text relay or Next Generation Text (NGT relay service). To use this service dial 18001 then 0800 917 2222. You can find more information on this service here:

If you are deaf and use British Sign Language (BSL) you may be able to use the video relay service. Watch this video for more information:

Is the process the same if I am terminally ill?

If you are suffering from a terminal illness and are not expected to liver more than six months, you can get PIP more quickly. You can call DWP to start your PIP claim and explain to them about your terminal illness.

Alternatively, you can ask your GP or healthcare professional for form DS1500. They will either fill it in and send it themselves or ask you to send it. Following this, you won’t need to complete the ‘How your disability affects you’ form or go to a face-to-face consultation.

What happens after I have called the DWP?

After making your claim, you will be sent a ‘How your disability affects you’ form. If you need it in an alternative format such as braille, large print or audio, call the PIP enquiry line on 0800 121 4433. Again, this phone line is open Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm.


What if I need some help filling in the form?

There is a lot of help on filling out the PIP claim form on the citizens advice website at 

What happens after I have filled in the form?

You will need to send the completed form back to the DWP. The address is provided on the form.

What happens once the DWP have received my form?

To assess the level of help you need, you will either be invited to a meeting with an independent health professional or as your health or social care worker for more information. The meeting can either be at your home or at an assessment centre and will take about an hour.

The amount of time you will need to wait for an assessment depends on your area and how busy it is. It is usually around one to two months to wait for an assessment. 

What happens at the assessment meeting?

You’ll be asked questions about your ability to carry out activities and how your condition affects your daily life.

How should I prepare for an assessment meeting?

It’s important to tell the assessor everything about your condition. It’s a good idea to take a copy of your PIP claim form with you and keep the points below in mind.

  • Tell them everything you have difficulty with and the things you can’t do at all. This might be walking upstairs for example.
  • How does your condition affect you from day to day? It might help to talk about all the difficulties you face from morning to night on a typical day.
  • Explain what a bad day is like for you.
  • Don’t let the assessor rush you.
  • Go through every point you made on your PIP claims form.
  • Ask for any changes or help you may need to help you during the assessment, this could be an assessor who is the same gender as you or an interpreter maybe, depending on your specific needs. You should make these needs clear at least two working days before your assessment.
  • Don’t just answer with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ explain to the assessor how something makes your body feel.

What should I take with me to my assessment?

As well as a copy of your PIP claim form, you should take:

  • Any medication you currently take.
  • A list of the aids or appliances you use such as hearing aids, glasses, walking stick etc.
  • Any evidence about how your condition affects you that you didn’t include in your PIP claim form.

What if I’m having a good day on the day of my assessment?

It’s important to make clear during your assessment that you are not always this able or mobile. You may be asked to complete a physical task. If you normally wouldn’t be able to do something, make this clear to the assessor, otherwise they may believe you could do this task everyday.

Can I take someone with me?

Yes. They must be 16 or over and can be anyone who makes you feel more comfortable. If you want, they can take part in discussions and take notes for you.

If you have not included their information on the PIP claim form, you should phone the assessment centre and let them know you will have someone with you. You should do this within two working days before your assessment.


Can I make adjustments to my assessment?

Yes. It might be worth calling the assessment centre prior to your appointment to check that the centre has everything you need such as:

  • A lift if you can’t get up the stairs.
  • If you suffer from anxiety in enclosed spaces, ask how roomy the centre is. If they say the rooms and corridors are quite small, you can ask what alternatives they can offer you.
  • Ask for an interpreter or signer if you need one (do this at least two working days before your assessment).
  • You can also ask for the person carrying out the assessment to be the same gender as you. Again make this request at least two days before your assessment.
  • You can also ask for your assessment to be audio recorded. Ensure you ask about this at least three days before your assessment.

Can I change the location of my assessment?

If the location of the assessment is over 90 minutes away on public transport, you may be offered an alternative location or home visit.

How do I contact the assessment centre?

You should call the centre on the number on your appointment letter.

What if I ask for an adjustment and it isn’t made?

This could be discrimination – call your local Citizens Advice for more help.

What if I can’t make my appointment?

You should contact the assessment centre straight away using the number on your appointment letter and ask to reschedule.

What if I miss my appointment?

Contact the assessment centre and explain why you missed your appointment. If you have aa good reason for missing your appointment, they may reschedule. You should remember if you miss your appointment they can reject your application and your application process will have to start again.

If your claim is rejected because you missed an assessment, you can ask the DWP to change this decision. You must have been given at least seven days’ written notice of the assessment date.

Will they cover my travel expenses?

The cost of the journey, whether this be fuel costs (up to 25p per mile), parking costs or public transport costs, they can be reimbursed. Also, if you take someone with you to your assessment, as long as they have travelled with you, their travel costs can be reimbursed too.  

If you are travelling by taxi, you must get the centre to approve this before your assessment or they may not reimburse the taxi fare.

When will I receive my decision letter?

Again, this varies depending on how many cases the DWP in your area are dealing with. Some people wait up to two months for their decision letter however. If you do feel like you have been waiting for a while, you are able to contact the DWP and let them know how long you have been waiting for your decision to come through. 


What if I disagree with a decision?

You can ask for the decision to be looked at again – this is called mandatory reconsideration. It’s important to consider this if you think the office dealing with your claim has made an error or missed important evidence, if you disagree with the reasons for the decision or if you want the decision to be looked at again. However, some decisions cannot be reconsidered – it’ll say this on your decision letter.

How do I ask for mandatory reconsideration?

You’ll need to phone the DWP regarding the decision made about your PIP claim and tell them you want to ask for mandatory reconsideration. Make sure you ask for this within one month of the date on your decision letter.

You can also write to them and address it to the address on your decision letter. Ensure this will arrive with them within the one month of receiving your decision letter.

On the phone, you will need to tell them the date of your original decision, your name and address, your date of birth, your National Insurance number and explain which part of the decision is incorrect and why.

Can I send more evidence?

Yes, this evidence needs to show why the decision was wrong and not have already been sent. It could include:

  • New medical evidence
  • Reports or care plans from specialists, therapists or nurses
  • Bank statements or pay slips

Write your name, date of birth and national insurance number at the top of all the new evidence and send it to the address on your decision letter.

Is there anything I shouldn’t send as evidence?

Yes, including the following will not help your claim:

  • Information about your condition such as medical certificates or sick notes
  • Letters about medical appointments
  • Letters about future medical tests

If you’re not sure about what to send, call the number on your decision letter.

Can I apply after the one month period?

Yes, but there must be a good reason as to why you have left it so late and didn’t apply for the mandatory reconsideration sooner such as being in hospital or had bereavement.

What happens next?

Once your claim has been reconsidered, you will receive a mandatory reconsideration notice telling you whether they have changed their decision with reasoning. Following this, your benefit may increase but be warned that your benefit could also decrease or even stop.

What if I still disagree with the outcome?

You can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal if you still disagree with the decision. You will need to appeal within one month of receiving your mandatory reconsideration decision.

How do I appeal?

You can find the form to appeal here: this is referred to as the SSCS1 form. For help filling out the form, take a look at the guide linked below or call 0300 123 1142 (open Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5pm).

It may be helpful to read about the appeals process here:

Make sure you send your appeal within a month of receiving your decision. However, you can appeal up to 13 months after the date of the original decision if you were, for example; in hospital or coping with bereavement. The tribunal can however reject late appeals.

You then have to choose between a hearing (where you present your case to a tribunal) or if you want your appeal to be decided on by your application or supporting documents.

What happens after that?

Your application will be sent to the other party. They will then respond and you must take your response with you to the hearing. The tribunal will then write to you with your hearing date. This will usually take place at the nearest tribunal to where you live.

It is important to send your evidence to the tribunal as soon as you can before the hearing so it can be sent to all parties.

What if I want to change the date of my hearing?

Write to the tribunal to see if you can change the date. The address should be on the letter confirming your hearing date. The tribunal will make a decision and let you know.

What if I want to withdraw my appeal?

You don’t need permission to withdraw an appeal if the hearing is yet to start. If the hearing has started, you must write to the tribunal for permission if you want to withdraw your appeal mid-hearing.

What happens if I am granted PIP?

The amount you are paid will depend on the results of your assessment. Your PIP is usually paid every 4 weeks. The payment is tax free and you can get it whether you are in or out of work.


What if my circumstances change?

If any of the below change, you must contact the PIP enquiry line on 0800 121 4433 and inform them of the change. Phone lines are open 8am to 6pm.

  • Your name, address or doctor
  • Your condition changes and you need more or less help
  • You go into hospital or a care home
  • You go abroad
  • You’re imprisoned

What financial support could I receive with PIP?

For your daily living allowance, you could receive either £55.56 per week or £83.10 per week depending on your condition. This will be higher if you are living with a terminal illness and not expected to live more than six months.

To assist with your mobility, you could receive a weekly rate of £22 or £58.

These payments will be paid into a bank account of your choice.

What if I am in work and claim PIP?

You might also be able to the disability element of working tax credit. Contact the Tax credit helpline for more advice on this on 0345 300 3900.