What is Personal Independence Payment (PIP)?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people aged 16 to State Pension age. It is for people who have problems with daily living or moving around. If you have cancer, you may be able to get PIP.

If you have reached State Pension age and you are making a new claim, you should claim Attendance Allowance instead of PIP. If you have received PIP before reaching State Pension age, you can continue to get it.

PIP has replaced an older benefit called Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults. If you have not yet reached State Pension age and are making a new claim, you will need to apply for PIP.

You will also have to apply for PIP if you are getting DLA, unless you were born on or before 8 April 1948. It is important to tell the Department for Work and Pensions if your circumstances change.

In some cases, it is best not to claim PIP if you already get DLA because you may be worse off as a result. For more information about this, call our welfare rights advisers on 0808 808 00 00

If you live in Northern Ireland and get DLA, and you were aged 65 or over on 20 June 2016, you will continue to get DLA if you are still eligible. It is important to tell the Department for Communities if your circumstances change.

Find out more about the benefits and financial support available.

Can I claim PIP?

To get PIP, you must have problems with daily living or moving around. You must have had these problems for 3 months, and expect them to last for at least another 9 months.

This does not necessarily mean you will need to wait 3 months to claim. The qualifying period starts when your needs started, not when you make a claim.

However, there are special rules for people who are terminally ill.

To claim PIP, you must also meet these requirements:

  • You must be in the UK when you apply.
  • You must have lived in the UK for at least 2 of the last 3 years (unless you are terminally ill).

There are additional rules if you live abroad or are not a British or Irish citizen.

It is also important to know that:

  • you can claim PIP whether you are working or not
  • you do not need to have paid National Insurance to claim PIP
  • your income and savings will not affect your claim
  • if you are awarded PIP your other benefits will not be reduced – they may even increase
  • PIP payments are tax-free
  • PIP is based on how your condition affects you, not on the condition you have
  • it does not matter if you do not have a carer.

PIP has two parts. They are:

  • the daily living component
  • the mobility component.

You may get one or both parts.

The daily living component

You might be entitled to the daily living component if you need help more than half of the time with things like:

  • preparing food
  • eating and drinking
  • taking medication and managing treatments
  • monitoring a health condition
  • washing and bathing
  • using the toilet or managing incontinence
  • dressing and undressing
  • communicating with other people
  • reading and understanding signs, symbols and words
  • engaging with others face to face
  • making decisions about money.

The mobility component

The mobility component is for people who have problems with:

  • going out – for example planning and going on journeys 
  • moving around – for example, walking.

Terminal illness and special rules

If you are terminally ill, and your doctor thinks you may be reasonably expected to live for less than 6 months, you can apply using a fast-track process called special rules. You should get your payment within two weeks of applying.

Claiming PIP under special rules means:

  • you do not need to have had mobility or care problems for the last 3 months
  • you do not need to have a face-to-face consultation
  • your claim will be dealt with quickly
  • you will get the daily living component at the enhanced rate the money is paid weekly
  • you may also be able to apply for the mobility component, depending on your needs
  • someone can make the claim on your behalf.

How will I be assessed?

If you apply for PIP, you will need to complete a form that asks personal questions about how your health problems affect your daily life. It has a list of day-to-day activities on it. For each one, there is a list of descriptors. These are statements that describe how much and what type of support you need to do the activity. For example, one descriptor is ‘Cannot cook a simple meal using a conventional cooker, but is able to do so using a microwave’.

Each descriptor has a point score. The number of points you get will depend on how much help you need. Your scores for the activities are added together and the total will affect how much benefit you get.

You will only be considered able to do an activity if you can do it:

  • safely
  • as often as you need to
  • to an acceptable standard
  • within a reasonable period of time without any help.

The claim form is long and you should set aside a good amount of time to fill it in. You may find it helpful to read through the form before you start filling it in, so that you can get all the information you need before you start. It will help your application if you include as much detail as possible.

It is a good idea to get evidence about your illness from the people looking after you. You could ask for evidence from your doctor, cancer specialist, support worker or carer. You should submit this evidence with your claim, or soon afterwards.

You will have one calendar month, or four weeks in Northern Ireland, to complete and return the form. If you cannot complete the form within the month, you can call the PIP helpline and ask for an extension.

Recording the problems that you have every day in a diary can help you show how your disability or illness affects your daily life. We have a diary that you can use to record this.

Face-to-face assessments

A health professional will then look at the information you have given in your form. Sometimes they can assess you using just the written information. But most people also have a face-to-face assessment. This may be at a PIP assessment centre. You can take someone with you for support if you want to.

If you need to travel to an assessment centre, you can claim help with your travel costs. You can find out more about this from the assessment centre.

If you are too unwell to travel, you can ask for a home visit for the assessment. You may need a letter from your doctor or consultant to support your request.

If you miss your face-to-face assessment, or you cannot make your appointment, contact the assessment centre straight away to ask if they can reschedule it. The number to call is on your appointment letter. Missing an appointment could mean your PIP claim will be rejected and you will have to start the application process again.

You will not need to have a face-to-face assessment if you are claiming under special rules.

How can I claim PIP?

  • If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims line on 0800 917 2222 or use textphone 0800 917 7777.
  • If you live in Northern Ireland, you can call the Department for Communities (DfC) Personal Independence Payment (PIP) centre on 0800 012 1573 or use textphone 0800 012 1574.

Someone else can call on your behalf to apply, but you will need to be with them when they call. You will need to give your permission for the DWP or DfC to speak to that person about your claim. You will not need to do this if you are claiming under special rules.

It is important to have the following information with you when applying:

  • your National Insurance number
  • your full address, including postcode
  • your date of birth your bank or building society account details that payments can be made into a daytime contact number your GP or other health professional’s details details of any time you have spent abroad in the past 3 years details of any recent time you have spent in a care home or hospital.

You will not have to answer any detailed questions about your health when you call.

The DWP or DfC will then post you a claim form to fill in.

Who can help me apply for PIP?

You have a better chance of a successful application if you get help from an experienced welfare rights adviser.

You can speak to a Macmillan welfare rights adviser free by calling the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00. Or visit macmillan.org.uk/inyourarea to find out whether you can see a Macmillan welfare rights adviser in person near to where you live.

You could also contact your local Citizens Advice or benefits advice centre.

How much could I get?

Each component is paid at either a standard rate or an enhanced rate, depending on your needs:

  • The weekly daily living component is £59.70 at the standard rate, and £89.15 at the enhanced race.
  • The weekly mobility component is £23.60 at the standard rate, and £62.25 at the enhanced rate.

The point score you were given at your assessment will affect how much benefit you get.

If you get 8 to 11 points, you will get the standard rate of each component. If you get 12 points or more, you will get the enhanced rate.

If you get under 8 points in either the daily living or the mobility component, you will not be able to get that part of PIP.

What happens if my claim is approved?

You will be sent a decision about your claim in writing. If your claim is approved, you will be told how much you will get and for how long. You will also be told when this decision will be reviewed to make sure that it still meets your needs.

The money is paid directly into your bank, building society or credit union account. It can also be paid to someone on your behalf if you are unable to make a claim yourself.

The benefit you get is worked out at a weekly amount. It is usually paid as a lump sum every 4 weeks.

If you have applied for PIP under special rules, it can be paid weekly. If you are entitled to PIP, you may also be entitled to other benefits. You can speak to a welfare rights adviser for more information. They can also check that you are being paid the right amount.

What happens if my situation changes?

If your situation changes, your PIP claim may be affected. For example, if your condition gets worse, you might be able to get the higher rate.

Your benefit payments may be affected if you go abroad, or if you go into hospital or a care home for more than four weeks. This can be either one stay, or several stays where the gap is less than four weeks each time.

The rules are complicated, so it is a good idea to get advice from a welfare rights adviser. You can speak to one of our welfare rights advisers at the Macmillan Support Line by calling 0808 808 00 00. Or visit macmillan.org.uk/inyourarea to find out whether you can see a Macmillan welfare rights adviser in person near to where you live.

You should let the benefits service know if anything changes.

  • If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can do this by calling the PIP helpline on 0800 121 4433 or use textphone 0800 121 4493.
  • If you live in Northern Ireland, you can contact the PIP centre on 0800 587 0932 or use textphone 0800 587 0937.

What can I do If I am refused PIP?

If you are refused PIP, or are given less money than you previously got for Disability Living Allowance (DLA), you can ask the DWP or DfC to reconsider its decision within one month of the decision being made. This is known as mandatory reconsideration.

You can also ask for a mandatory reconsideration if your PIP is reduced after a review or renewal claim.

You will need to explain why you think the decision is wrong and provide more evidence if you can.

If you miss the deadline, your request might still be accepted if you have a good reason. For example, if you were unable to contact the DWP or DfC earlier because you were in hospital. If you are unsure, speak to a welfare rights adviser about your situation.

If the DWP or DfC will not change the decision, you can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. You need to do this within one month of receiving a mandatory reconsideration decision letter. Time limits for appeals are very strict, but if there are special circumstances, it is possible to appeal up to 13 months after the date of the original benefit decision. If you are unsure, speak to a welfare rights adviser about your situation.

If you live in Northern Ireland and are moving from DLA to PIP, you might be able to get a Welfare Supplementary Payment. This is for people who have lost money because of changes to the benefits system. You can contact the Welfare Changes Helpline on 0808 802 0020 for more information, or speak to a Macmillan welfare rights adviser by calling the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00.

For more information about appealing a benefits decision, visit:

You can also speak to a Macmillan welfare rights adviser by calling the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00. Or visit macmillan.org.uk/inyourarea to find out whether you can see a Macmillan welfare rights adviser in person near where you live.