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Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that will gradually replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for those aged between 16 and state pension age. People aged under 16 or who have reached state pension age will not be affected by these changes and can continue to receive or claim DLA for children or Attendance Allowance.

All new claims for those aged between 16 and state pension age are for PIP instead of DLA.

Do you live in Scotland?

The Personal Independence Payment is gradually being replaced with the Adult Disability Payment which is being rolled out in the following phases:

  • 21 March 2022 – Dundee, Perth & Kinross, the Western Isles
  • 20 June 2022 – (in addition) Angus, North & South Lanarkshire 
  • 25 July 2022 – (in addition) Fife, North Ayrshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Moray, Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire
  • 29 August 2022 - all other areas in Scotland

The two benefits currently provide the same support, so all the information below applies if you are claiming the Adult Disability Payment instead of the Personal Independence Payment.

What is Personal Independence Payment?

A Personal Independence Payment is designed to help with the extra costs caused by ill-health or disability. It consists of two parts, each of which can be at the standard rate or the enhanced rate:

Daily living component

  • Standard rate – if you have a limited ability to carry out daily living activities
  • Enhanced rate – if you have a severely limited ability to carry out daily living activities

Mobility component

  • Standard rate – if you have a limited mobility
  • Enhanced rate - if you have a severely limited mobility

Each of these components entitles the claimant to a regular weekly award.

Who can get a Personal Independence Payment?

People claiming a Personal Independence Payment must satisfy two tests - the activity test and a residence and presence test.

Most people will have a face to face consultation with a health professional to assess their daily living and mobility needs as part of the activity test. The person’s circumstances are compared with a set of criteria to determine if they are entitled to help. In order to qualify for PIP a person has to score a certain number of points in relation to 12 activities. These are:

  • 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
  • Planning and following journeys
  • Moving around

Each of these activities has a set of descriptors which, if they describe a person’s condition, grant them a points score. For example, under the Preparing Food activity if someone “Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal” they are awarded two points, but if they “Need supervision or assistance to either prepare or cook a simple meal” the award is four points.

The number of points awarded are used to decide what type of PIP a person is entitled to and what level of award they receive. The person claiming must have the required number of points for the three months before they made their claim and they must be expected to have them for the following nine months.

The second test is the residency and presence test. To be ‘present’ a person must be currently living in Great Britain and must have been living there for two of the last three years. If they are terminally ill, they just have to be currently living in Great Britain.

To be ‘habitually resident’, a person must be able to prove that their main home is in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or the Channel Islands. This particularly applies to people who have moved to the UK within the last two years or have been living abroad, even if they are British citizens.

How to claim Personal Independence Payment

PIP is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions.

In Great Britain you can make a PIP claim by phoning the PIP claim line: 

  • phone 0800 917 2222
  • textphone 0800 917 7777

Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

In Northern Ireland you can make a PIP claim by phoning the PIP Centre:

  • phone 0800 012 1573
  • textphone 0800 012 1574

Someone else can call on your behalf, but you’ll need to be with them when they call.