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Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal independence payment (PIP) is a benefit for people who need help taking part in everyday life or who have mobility difficulties. It has replaced Disability Living Allowance for people between the ages of 16 and 64 inclusive. You could get between £23.20 to £148.85 a week to help with the extra costs of your care and mobility needs caused by your condition. How much you get is not based on your condition, but how your condition affects you. You need to have had your disability or illness for 3 months before being able to be awarded PIP and it must be expected to continue for at least another 9 months.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are responsible for PIP and they will make the decision on your claim. PIP is tax free and you do not need to have paid National Insurance contributions to be entitled to it. It is not affected by your earnings or other income or by any capital or savings you have. You can receive it whether you are in work or not. It is almost always paid in full on top of any other benefits, tax credits or Student Finance that you receive. If you qualify for PIP it can enable you to claim other welfare benefits while in full time study

PIP is not affected by studying as long as you continue to have the same care and mobility needs. If your needs increase you may be able to get more PIP but you should get advice before asking for an award to be reconsidered as you could put your existing award at risk.

PIP is for you, not for a carer. You can qualify for PIP whether or not you have someone helping you. What matters is the effect your disability or ill health has on you and the help you need, not whether you actually get that help. You can spend your PIP on anything you like. PIP acts as a ‘passport’ for other types of help, such as the Motability Scheme


Who is eligible?

To be eligible for PIP you must: 

  • need help with everyday living tasks or getting around
  • have needed this help for 3 months and expect it to need it for another 9 months
  • have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 years 

PIP is not based on the condition you have or the medication you take.

It is based on the level of help you need because of how your condition affects you.

You do not need to be getting this help.

You are assessed on the level of help you need with specific activities.

It is often hard to say if the level of help you need will qualify you for PIP but if you get or need help with any of the following because of your condition, you should consider applying:

Daily living needs

You may have daily living needs if you need help doing these things to look after yourself:

  • preparing and cooking food
  • eating and drinking
  • managing your treatments
  • washing and bathing
  • managing toilet needs or incontinence
  • dressing and undressing
  • communicating with other people
  • reading and understanding written information
  • mixing with others
  • making decisions about money
  • planning a journey or following a route


Mobility needs

  • moving around

You may have mobility needs if you need help to get around outside your home independently.

For example, you may count as having mobility needs if you need help to plan and follow a journey because of a learning difference, a mental health issue or a sensory impairment.

You may count as having mobility needs if you need help moving around because of a physical problem.

What help counts?

You count as needing help to do an activity if you need a person or a thing (an aid such as a walking stick or guide dog) to:

  • Do it for you
  • Do it with you
  • Remind you to do it
  • Watch you do it to keep you safe

 You may count as needing help if you need help but do not actually get it.  For example, if you do an activity yourself but:

  • It isn’t safe
  • You can’t do it well enough
  • You can’t do it often enough
  • It takes you a long time 

Find out if you qualify

You can get an idea of whether you qualify for PIP on the c-App website an independent charity that provides an online tool to help you learn more about PIP.

To qualify for PIP, you have to score enough points on the PIP test for daily living or mobility (or both). For more about when points are given, check out the Turn2Us Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Test guide.


In addition:

  • If you are already getting DLA and the DWP asks you to claim PIP there are different rules.
  • If you have a terminal illness the rules about how long you need help for and living in England, Wales or Scotland for 2 years don’t apply.
  • If you are a refugee or in the armed forces (or a close family member) the rules on living and applying in England, Wales or Scotland do not apply.

How is PIP made up?

PIP has two components:

A daily living component – for help participating in everyday life;

A mobility component – for help with getting around.

You can be paid either the daily living component or the mobility component on its own, or both components at the same time.

Each component is paid at two different levels: a ‘standard rate’ and an ‘enhanced rate’. The rate you are paid depends on whether your ability to carry out daily living or mobility activities is ‘limited’ or ‘severely limited’. This is tested under the PIP assessment.


The qualifying conditions

To be entitled to PIP, you must meet the basic qualifying conditions. These relate to your age, where you normally live and whether you have spent time out of the UK during the previous three years.

You must also meet the disability conditions. These look at your daily living needs and your mobility needs. They are considered under the PIP assessment (see next section).

When you are awarded PIP, you must have met the disability conditions for a ‘qualifying period’ of at least 3 months with at least a further 9 months expected.


The PIP assessment

The disability conditions

The PIP assessment aims to test your ability to participate in everyday life. It is points-related and based on your ability to perform 12 activities related to your daily living needs and mobility. The number of points you score will determine whether or not you are entitled to either component of PIP and if you are, at which rate.

These are ten daily living activities:

    • Preparing food
    • Taking nutrition
    • Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition
    • Washing and bathing
    • Managing toilet needs or incontinence
    • Dressing and undressing
    • Communicating verbally
    • Reading and understanding signs, symbols and words
    • Engaging with other people face to face
    • Making budgeting decisions

These are two mobility activities:

    • Planning and following journeys
    • Moving around


Scoring Points

Within each activity is a series of descriptors with scores ranging from 0 to 12. The descriptors explain related tasks of varying degrees of difficulty. You score points when you are not able to complete a task ‘reliably’.

The highest descriptor score from each activity is added together to work out your points for each component (daily living and mobility).


What is ‘reliably’?

When assessing how ‘reliably’ someone can perform a task the following four factors should be considered:

Safely: In a way that is unlikely to cause harm to you or anyone else, either during or after you have done the activity. For something to be seen as unsafe, harm must be ‘likely to occur’ rather than you feeling harm ‘may occur’.

To an acceptable standard: If you can wash yourself but you do not realise you have done so inadequately and are still not clean after you have finished washing, this would be an example of not completing an activity to an acceptable standard.

Repeatedly: Being able to repeat the activity as often as is reasonably required. The combined effects of symptoms such as pain and fatigue are relevant because the effort of completing an activity could make it harder for you to repeat it or to complete other activities. If you are able to prepare a meal once without help, but the exhaustion from doing this means that you could not prepare another meal that day, you should be treated as being unable to prepare a meal unaided. This is because it is reasonable to expect someone to be able to prepare more than one meal a day.

In a reasonable time: No more than twice as long as the maximum amount of time that a person without your physical or mental condition would normally take to complete that activity.


How are your points worked out?

When assessing you against the descriptors to decide how many points you score, the DWP will look at:

    • What you write on your claim form; and
    • Any evidence you submit; and
    • The report from a face-to-face consultation if you are invited to one


How many points do you need?

To be entitled to the standard rate of the daily living component (£57.30 per week), you need to score at least 8 points under the ten daily living activities. To be entitled to the enhanced rate (£85.60 per week), you need to score at least 12 points.

Likewise, to be entitled to the standard rate of the mobility component you need to score at least 8 points under the two mobility activities and at least 12 points under these activities to get the enhanced rate.


Variable and fluctuating conditions

In the PIP assessment, a descriptor will apply to you if it reflects your ability for the majority of days (over 50%). This will be considered over a 12-month period; looking back three months and forward nine months.

Where one descriptor is satisfied on over half the days in that period, you will score points for that descriptor. Where two or more descriptors are satisfied on over half the days, the descriptor which scores the highest number of points will apply.

PIP does not separate your needs into day and night-time needs; your ability to complete each activity will be considered over the 24-hour period of each day during the period under assessment.

If you are waiting for medical treatment (such as an operation), the result of which is difficult to predict, your choice of descriptor should be based on your continued condition as if the treatment were not taking place.


How long can I get PIP for?

The duration of your PIP award will be based on your individual circumstances.

Shorter term awards of up to two years will be given where changes in your needs could be expected in that period.

Longer term awards, of five or ten years, will be given where significant changes are less likely but your award will be reviewed over this time where some change in your needs may be expected.

Ongoing awards will be given in the minority of cases where your needs are stable and changes are unlikely.


The DWP will periodically review awards, regardless of their length, to ensure that everyone continues to receive the most appropriate level of support.

Being a student does not affect your entitlement to PIP or the amount you can receive. PIP also does not affect the amount of Student Finance you can receive.


How do I claim PIP?

If you want to apply for PIP we suggest you contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service. The adviser will be able to talk confidentially with you about how your disability or health condition affects daily living tasks, and explain the process of applying for PIP. The Welfare Adviser can help you think about how your disability or health condition affects the way you live and how best to explain this on the PIP2 application form.

The Legal Advice Centre at Queen Mary runs a fortnightly Social Welfare Benefits Clinic and can help with PIP form filling and Mandatory Reconsideration.

To start a claim for PIP you need to phone the DWP on 0800 917 2222. This is a Freephone number from BT landlines. Check with your mobile provider if they will charge you to call this number. You can call between 8am and 6pm Mon –Fri.

You will be asked questions about your identity and basic information about your health condition or disability. At the end of the telephone conversation you will be asked to agree a declaration which the agent will read out. When you acknowledge this, the agent will submit the claim and this will be your date of claim.

Once the DWP have established that you have met the basic entitlement conditions, relating to age and residence, a “How your disability affects you” (PIP2) claim form and the PIP information booklet is sent to you by post.

For more information see


When filling out the form you may find it useful to have with you:

    • details of your medication or an up-to-date printed prescription list if you have one; and
    • the names of any professionals who might be supporting you on a regular basis

The 'How your disability affects you' form includes a number of questions about your ability to carry out key everyday activities. These will help DWP to understand the impact of your health condition or disability on your everyday life and to assess your entitlement to the benefit.

Other questions also ask about whether you use aids and appliances or have help from another person to carry out the activities. In each section and for each question, there is a tick box for you to state ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘sometimes’.

You will be asked to provide more detail in the “Extra Information” box so that you can explain how your health condition or disability affects your ability to carry out the activities; the difficulties you face and the help you need. Where you need help from another person you can tell DWP what kind of help you need and when you need it. Keep a copy of your completed form and any diary (recording your condition and help you have been receiving over the past few weeks) or other supporting evidence you send back with it. This is both for your own future reference or in case the DWP loses any documents. It is advisable to use Special Delivery to post your form to the DWP.

In addition, a copy will also be useful if you later wish to seek advice from a welfare adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service in relation to the decision made on your PIP claim as they will need to see what you wrote on your claim form and what evidence you provided.

Once you have returned your How your disability affects you (PIP2) claim form (and any supporting medical or other evidence you attach with it), your case will be passed to Atos Healthcare to carry out the PIP assessment. They will allocate your case to a healthcare professional working for them.

This healthcare professional may initially contact your doctor, consultant or other medically qualified person treating you for further information. They may just talk to them on the phone or they may ask them to produce a factual report.


Will there be a medical examination?

In most cases, you will then be asked to attend a ‘face-to-face consultation’ with a healthcare professional. If it is difficult for you to travel, ask to be seen at home.

At the face-to-face consultation, the healthcare professional will identify the descriptors that they consider apply to you with respect to the PIP assessment.

To do this, they will ask you questions about your day-to-day life, your home, how you manage at university, and at work if you have a job, and about any social or leisure activities that you engage in (or have had to give up). They will often ask you to describe a typical day in your life.

When answering, explain your difficulties as fully as you can.

Tell them about any pain or tiredness you feel, or would feel, while carrying out tasks, both on the day of the examination and over time. Consider how you would feel if you had to do the same task repeatedly. Tell them if you need reminding or encouraging to complete the tasks. Don’t overestimate your ability to do things.

If your condition varies, let them know and tell them what you are like on bad days as well as good days. The healthcare professional’s opinion should not be based on a snapshot of your condition on the day of the consultation; they should consider whether your condition is variable, fluctuates or may change over time.

At the consultation, the healthcare professional will be able to observe your ability to stand, sit and move around. They may watch you getting on and off the examination couch and bending down to pick up your belongings. They will check whether you have any aids or appliances, and the extent to which you use them. They will also be able to assess your levels of concentration and your ability to understand them and how well you express yourself.

The healthcare professional may also carry out a brief physical examination. They should explain each stage of the examination and ask your permission before carrying anything out. You should not be asked to do anything that will cause you pain or discomfort either during or after the consultation.

Before the face-to-face consultation ends, the healthcare professional should give you an overview of their findings and invite you to ask questions and add or clarify anything you wish.

When you leave your face-to-face consultation, the healthcare professional will complete their report. Once they have done this, they will send it to a DWP case manager who will decide whether or not to award you PIP and, if it is awarded, at what rate and for how long.


What happens if my claim is refused?

If your claim is refused you can request a mandatory reconsideration and then an appeal. More information is available at:


Further information about PIP

There is information online at


I am already claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - what happens now?

Most people with a current award of DLA will be contacted about PIP and will be reassessed. When you are selected for reassessment, you will first be sent a letter explaining that DLA is ending for people of working age and that you will be invited to claim PIP instead.

You will then be sent a letter, inviting you to make a claim for PIP. You will have four weeks in which to make the claim, which you are normally expected to do by phone. The four weeks can be extended in exceptional circumstances (for instance if you have recently gone into hospital).

If you already get DLA and want information about PIP, call the Disability Benefits Helpline

Telephone: 08457 123 456 Text phone: 08457 224 433

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm


The Motability Scheme

If you are getting the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP you can exchange all or part of it to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair from Motability. For more information telephone: 0800 093 1000 (text phone 0845 675 0009) or go to

Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.

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