Around 5.9 million people across the UK are receiving financial support from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) through Universal Credit, a benefit intended to help those out of work or on a low income with daily living costs.
As financial uncertainty becomes a bigger reality for many households with the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit ending this month and the furlough scheme drawing to a close on September 30, 2021, it is essential for people to be aware of additional financial support they may be eligible to claim – on top of current benefits and even if they are working full-time.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for those over 16 and under State Pension age, that can help with daily living costs and mobility needs as the result of a long-term illness, disability or mental health condition – and it could be worth hundreds of pounds each month.
There are over 2.7 million people in the UK receiving financial support of between £94.80 and £608.60 a month through PIP.
You don’t need to have worked or paid National Insurance to qualify for PIP. It isn’t means-tested either, so it doesn’t matter what your income is, how much you have in savings, or whether you’re currently employed.
The biggest misconception about PIP is that the DWP will only award the benefit to people with outwardly visible physical, long-term health conditions or disabilities.
In fact, PIP is a benefit aimed at providing support for people with an ever-evolving list of ‘hidden’ conditions, including stress, anxiety and depression.
To be eligible for PIP, 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.
Even though the country is opening up again as restrictions begin to ease, if you have been struggling with your physical or mental health since lockdown first began in March 2020, it may be worthwhile looking into claiming extra support through PIP.
Below is our quick guide to PIP including what it is, who is eligible, how much you could get each month and how you are assessed.
We also have a dedicated section on the Daily Record website which offers help in understanding the process from start to finish and includes questions on the form, what happens during an assessment and a comprehensive breakdown of the questions you will need to answer – these and more can be found here.
What is PIP?
PIP is a benefit which is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
If you need extra help because of an illness, disability or mental health condition you could be eligible for PIP.
You could receive between £23.70 and £152.15 a week if you are aged 16 or over and have not reached State Pension age, which is now 66 for everyone in the UK.
It is important to be aware that the amount you receive depends on how your condition affects you – not the condition itself.
You will be assessed by a health professional to work out the level of help you can get and your rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you are getting the right support.
Who is eligible for PIP?
In addition to what we have outlined above 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 outside the home
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.
What are the PIP payment rates?
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: £60.00
Enhanced rate: £89.60
Standard rate: £23.70
Enhanced rate: £62.55
How you are 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 for health-related benefits resumed in May, however, the DWP may also invite you to attend a telephone or video call assessment instead.
You can find help on preparing for a PIP assessment here.
How do you make a claim for PIP?
Before you call, you will need:
your contact details
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
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The questions focus on how your condition affects you, so put as much detail in as you can to help the assessor understand your physical or mental health needs.
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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