Personal Independence Payment – Financial Support for Disabled People
Personal Independence Payment will replace Disability Living Allowance. Over a period of 4 years it is assumed that all existing awards of DLA for the age group 16-64 will be either cancelled or transferred to PIP.
It’s important to note that the criteria to qualify for PIP is different to DLA because it’s a points based system and a medical assessment rather than the subjective process in place at present. In reality the government want to reduce the bill by 20% which means that qualifying for PIP has been made much harder than qualifying for DLA, they are saying this is to ensure the money goes to the people who need it the most.
Over the coming weeks I will be creating an eBook to help you claim PIP, it will cover every part of the claiming process including ideas and suggestions to help you complete the application form, what to discuss with the medical assessor and what action you can take if your claim is unsuccessful. If you would like to be notified by email when “How to Claim Personal Independence Payment” is published sign up to my free PIP newsletter on the right hand side of the page or visit this page to join.
Can I also request that you share this information with your friends, followers and colleagues, around the UK hundreds of thousands of disabled people are terrified about losing this vital support, anything we can do to help them is vitally important. You can join me on Twitter and Facebook where I often post useful information about living with a disability.
Below you can see an overview of Personal Independence Payment, I have tried to write this in plain English too help you understand what’s involved but please remember it’s an overview not a definitive document. I have included the points based system, time table of the proposed roll out, how to claim PIP, the application forms, collecting medical evidence, attending the medical, appealing the decision if you’re refused and what a successful award means. There is simply too much information to put in one blog post so please sign up for my email newsletter and you’ll get much more information to help you claim PIP.
The Points System
In order to make a successful claim you’ll need to score at least 8 points for the standard rate and 12 points for the enhanced rate; more details here.
Your claim form, medical evidence and the medical assessors report will all be considered and you’ll be awarded a set amount of points for each descriptor, these points are then added up and you’ll be awarded PIP or not depending on the amount of points you get. In practice what this means is that some will fail to get an award, some will get a lower award and some will have higher awards than they currently receive under DLA. Ultimately it will be a DWP decision maker who decides what award you get but as with the controversial ESA benefit they are led by the medical assessor.
You can see the mobility descriptors here and the daily living descriptors here, there is also a glossary of what some of the terms mean to help you understand what’s being asked of you. In order to be awarded points you need to demonstrate that you cannot complete an activity “repeatedly, reliably, safely and in a timely manner” or at all, this means that if you can do something but only once, slowly and it’s unsafe you should be awarded points for that descriptor.
There will be much more information on the points system in my eBook so if you haven’t already sign up to find out when it’s published.
The Time Table
The introduction of PIP has been met with many objections from disabled people and their supporting organisations, this has meant that descriptors have been changed and certain wording has been clarified to ensure that there can be no confusion or ambiguity when it comes to who qualifies and who doesn’t. As a result the government have decided to roll it out in a controlled manner to hopefully figure out what works, what doesn’t and what needs to be changed before it becomes the mainstream disability benefit.
Here is the Time Table
If you currently have an “indefinite” or “lifetime” award of DLA your claim will not be reassessed until October 2015 at the earliest, this is correct at the time of publication .
From the 8th April 2013 new claims from the following limited postcodes will be taken, the idea is to test the process however if I was being cynical you will notice that these postcodes are predominately the North West and North East of England; historic high claim areas:
CA, CH (except CH5, CH6, CH7 and CH8), LA (except LA27, LA28, LA62 and LA63), CW, FY, L, PR, WA, WN, BL, DH, DL (except DL6, DL7, DL8, DL9, DL10 and DL11), M, NE, SR, and TS (except TS9).
All new claims from working aged (16-64) disabled people will be for PIP instead of DLA.
The only exception will be renewal claims from a fixed term DLA award which is due to expire before the end of February 2014, where the renewal claim will still be for DLA rather than PIP.
Starting in October 2013 certain existing DLA claimants will have to claim PIP instead of DLA, in these circumstances:
Children who’s fixed term DLA claim will finish because they turn 16 will have to claim PIP not DLA as they are now classed as working age.
Existing DLA claimants who report a change in their circumstances, changes which might affect their award, this could be your condition get’s worse or if your needs have decreased meaning your payment rate could change. There are some exceptions to this so for example if your change in circumstances is going into a care home or hospital or simply changing your address then you would continue with DLA.
From October 2015
The plan is from October 2015, anyone still in receipt of DLA will be invited to make a claim for PIP. Claimants will be selected at random, although the DWP say that they will “invite claims as early as possible from recipients who have turned 65 after 8 April 2013, when PIP was first introduced.”
The DWP have also stated that it is unlikely the full reassessment of DLA recipients will be complete until March 2018.
*note – correct at the time of publication but could be subject to change.
The Claimants Journey
The DWP have produced a helpful document called “The Claimants Journey“, it explains the process of claiming Personal Independence Payment and I’ve broken it down by section below. Please be aware that this was published in December 2012 so parts of the claiming process may be different when it’s time to make your claim.
Thinking About Your Claim
The first part of the claiming process is “thinking” about it before you claim. This should involve keeping a diary or journal of what life is like for you, how are you affected by your disability, what problems do you have with mobility or daily living. I have written various posts about this before and it could be beneficial if you read them to help you think about your claim.
There are also plenty of helpful articles and websites to help you think about your PIP claim, I would recommend the Citizens Advice Bureau and We Are Spartacus as trusted sources of information and of course this site and my PIP eBook when it written.
Of course you can also talk to your medical professionals, support groups, friends and family to help you consider information that’s important to your claim.
Making Your Claim for PIP
It is envisaged that initial claims will be made over the phone using an 0800 number, this phone call is the start date for your PIP claim and can be by you, a family member or adviser as long as you are with them to pass the security questions. This process has been challenged as not everyone can use a phone so paper claims will be allowed in exceptional circumstances.
The basic information you need to start the claim is as follows:
- Personal and Contact Details
- Residency Details
- Relevant Periods in Hospital or Care Home
- Details if you are claiming under “Special Rules” terminal illness
- Your Bank details for Payment
At this stage the DWP will use this information to check you qualify to make a claim, they will also consider if you need additional support to make a claim and facilitate this where possible.
Telling Your Story
Assuming you’ve passed the initial criteria you’ll be sent a form aptly called “Telling Your Story”, in short this is your opportunity to tell them how your disability affects you on a day to day basis. If you’ve followed the advice above you should already have written down this information so completing the form should be easier. Make sure you tell them about how your condition fluctuates, good days and bad days and how your life is affected by these problems.
Here is a draft copy of the “Tell us Your Story” form, this is the form you will be sent if you made your claim over the phone.
If you’ve been sent a paper claim form because you couldn’t use the phone the form is different, here is a draft copy.
When you return these forms it’s very important you send any and all supporting medical evidence in relation to your claim as this will be considered by the medical assessor in the next stage of your claim.
The Medical Assessment
All of the information you’ve returned will be sent to a health professional, it’s their job to decide if they need any further evidence and if so request it from you or your medical team.
At this stage the assessment could be completed if you are claiming under special rules or if the health professional feels that you’ve supplied sufficient evidence to enable them to make a decision about your claim.
Everybody else will be invited to a “face to face” medical assessment to establish the level of difficulty you have, this is where the points system is relevant You can take somebody with you to the assessment for support, they’ll be allowed to speak if it’s relevant to your claim.
Whether you are invited to attend a “face to face” assessment or not the health professional will compile a report about your difficulties and return it to the DWP to be reviewed by a Case Manager.
Armed with your claim form, medical evidence and health professional report the case manager will make a reasoned decision and determine if you qualify for PIP, at what rate and the length of your award.
You will be sent a decision notice explaining the outcome of your claim, it should also give you a clear explanation of how the decision was made and direct you to further sources of support if necessary.
If you disagree with the decision you can ask the DWP to reconsider their decision.
Appealing The Decision
It used to be that if you disagreed with a decision you could appeal it, this will change and you must ask for a reconsideration first before being allowed to appeal. Once a Case Manager has reviewed the decision and given you an outcome you can then progress to appeal if you still disagree with the decision.
I am not entirely sure if this is a good thing or bad, I guess when we see it in practice we will know! What does concern me is there is no definitive time frame for these reconsideration’s to take place just a “Code of Practice” for the Case Managers?
Successful PIP Claim
Obviously if your claim is successful you could be entitled to further support like a blue badge, Motability vehicle and other welfare benefits, ask your local Citizens Advice Bureau or free advice agency to do a full entitlement check for you.
WOW! that was a mammoth writing session and I cant help thinking I’ve missed something out. What I’ve tried to do is give you an overview of claiming Personal Independence Payment but please seek professional advice before claiming and treat the information above as a guide only.
If you’ve found it useful then please share it with everyone you know as the more information out there the better, why not leave me a comment and also please consider signing up for my free newsletter where I often send out useful information and ideas for making living with a disability that little bit easier. I will be announcing the publication of my eBook “How to Claim Personal Independence Payment” in the newsletter so there’s no better time to join the list and the the first to know when it’s available.
All that’s left for me to say is; thank you for reading this post I appreciate it’s very long but hopefully worth it and I wish you every success claiming PIP.