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Living with a disability or long-term illness can put a strain on your life in many different ways, not to mention the effect it can have on your finances. There can be a lot of extra expenses related to your condition – having to make adjustments to your home, travel costs if you’ve got visit the hospital frequently and needing help from a carer to name just a few.

The Government can provide some financial help towards these costs in the form of Personal Independence Payments (PIP). Let’s take a look at what this is, whether you’re eligible and how you could claim the benefit.

Are you eligible?

If you currently receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or have received it in the past, this benefit is now gradually moving to PIP. At some point soon, you’ll be sent a letter and asked to apply for PIP and you’ll be told when your DLA will end. You can also apply for PIP even if you’ve not received DLA before. The benefit is for anyone aged between 16 and 64 who needs help with health costs related to a long-term illness or disability. Anyone outside of this age range can continue to claim DLA.

To be eligible for PIP, you’ll need to have a long-term health condition or disability that causes difficulties in day-to-day life. You’ll need to be assessed by an independent healthcare professional to see whether they think your condition means you need financial help – we’ll explain more about this below.

What you could claim

The amount you’ll be able to get depends on how your condition affects you, which will be decided in your assessment. You can get help if you need assistance with your daily living needs, such as preparing food, getting dressed or communicating with others. You may also be able to get extra help if you have mobility needs, if you can’t get around or have trouble with a journey.

The daily living allowance is £55.10 for the standard weekly rate or £82.30 if you’re eligible for the enhanced rate. If you’re eligible for the mobility allowance, you’ll be able to claim an extra £21.80 at the standard rate or £57.45 at the enhanced rate. Whether you’ll receive the standard or enhanced rate of either component of the benefit will depend on how your needs are assessed.

Claiming the benefit

To claim PIP, you’ll need to ring the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and give them some information about yourself, including your name and address, your National Insurance number and your doctor’s name. You’ll then be sent a ‘How your condition affects you’ form where you’ll be able to detail the ways in which your disability or illness causes you difficulty, along with any supporting evidence.

After this, you may have to have a face-to-face assessment to discuss your claim, and this is when the healthcare professional will decide whether you’re eligible for PIP and how much you should get. Don’t be worried about this – they just want to hear some details about how your condition affects and what it prevents you from doing. For example, if you can’t walk to the shops alone or you need help getting dressed, you should tell them about this.

If your claim is rejected and you feel that this decision is unfair, you can appeal to the DWP. They’ll be able to discuss their reasoning with you and you can make a formal request to be assessed again.

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