Personal Independence Payment
If you are living with tremor you may have some concerns about how you'll manage financially.
There is some financial support available.
This information explains what Personal Independence Payment is, who qualifies, how to claim and what information you need to supply when you claim.
If you need extra help with day-to-day activities or have trouble getting around due to your condition, you may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
PIP is for you, not for a carer (if you have one), and you don't need to have someone supporting or caring for you to qualify. If you're awarded this benefit, it's entirely up to you how you use it.
PIP isn't taxable and you don't need to have paid National Insurance contributions to get it. You can claim PIP whether you're in or out of work. PIP is not means-tested. In other words, it's not affected by your earnings, other benefits you receive or by any savings you have.
Getting PIP may increase the amount of any means-tested benefits you receive, such as Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit or income-related employment and Support Allowance.
To qualify for PIP, you must meet the following basic conditions.
- If you're making a new claim for PIP, you must be 16 or over and under State Pension age. You won't be able to make a new claim for PIP if you've reached State Pension age, but you will be able to stay on PIP if you claimed it for the first time before you reached State Pension age. If you've reached State Pension age and have care or supervision needs, then you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance instead.
- You must have been present in Great Britain (or Northern Ireland, if you live there) for 2 out of the last 3 years before claiming. If you're terminally ill, you need to be present in Great Britain but the time conditions don't apply.
- You must normally live in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Republic of Ireland or the Isle of Man. Your immigration status must not prevent you from claiming.
You must also meet the disability conditions. These look at your daily living needs and your mobility needs. They're worked out by the PIP assessment (see below).
You must have met the disability conditions for at least 3 months before a PIP award can be made (you won't have to wait a further 3 months for payment if you've already met the conditions for 3 months or more before making the claim).
You must also be likely to continue to meet the disability conditions for a period of 9 months in the future. If you're terminally ill, the 3- and 9-month rules don't apply.
PIP has 2 parts – a 'daily living component' and a 'mobility component'. You can get either component or both together, depending on your needs.
The daily living component
The daily living component helps cover extra costs to help you carry out your daily living activities. It's paid at 2 different rates – a standard rate and an enhanced rate.
The rate you're paid depends on whether your ability to carry out daily living activities is limited or severely limited. This is tested under the PIP assessment.
The mobility component
This component helps cover the extra costs that you may face if you have difficulties getting around. It's paid at 2 different rates – a standard rate and an enhanced rate.
The rate you're paid depends on whether your ability to carry out mobility activities is limited or severely limited. This is tested under the PIP assessment.
If you qualify for the enhanced rate, you may be able to join the Motability scheme. This lets disabled people use the enhanced rate to obtain a new car, powered wheelchair or scooter.
You also automatically qualify for the Blue Badge scheme, which allows people with mobility problems to park closer to places, services or facilities you may want to visit or use.
The PIP assessment is a test of your ability to take part in everyday life. It's a points-related assessment and is based on your ability to perform different activities relating to certain daily living needs and your mobility.
The number of points you score will determine whether or not you're entitled to either component of PIP and, if you are, at which rate.
The daily living activities
Your ability to carry out daily living activities is assessed by looking at 10 types of activity. These are:
- preparing food
- taking nutrition (eating and drinking)
- 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
The mobility activities
Your ability to carry out mobility activities is assessed by looking at 2 types of activity:
- planning and following journeys
- moving around
Within each of the above activity headings are a series of 'descriptors' with scores ranging from 0 to 12 points. The descriptors describe related tasks of various levels of difficulty and the different types of help you need to complete each task.
You score points for the descriptor that best describes the level at which you can complete the task safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly and in a reasonable amount of time.
The highest descriptor scores from each activity heading are added together to work out your points for each component.
How many points do you need?
To be entitled to the standard rate of the daily living component, you need to score at least 8 points under the 10 daily living activity headings. To be entitled to the enhanced rate, you need to score at least 12 points.
Likewise, to be entitled to the standard rate of the mobility component, you need to score at least 8 points under the 2 mobility activity headings, and at least 12 points for the enhanced rate.
What if my condition fluctuates?
A descriptor will apply if you're unable to complete a task on the majority (more than half) of days. This will be considered over a 12-month period, looking back 3 months and forward 9 months.
Where 1 descriptor is satisfied on over half the days in that period, that descriptor will apply. Where 2 or more descriptors are satisfied on over half the days, the descriptor which scores the highest number of points will apply.
If you're not sure which descriptors apply to you, keeping a diary over a week may help you to choose.
Each component of PIP has 2 rates: a standard rate and an enhanced rate. The rate you receive depends on how many points you score in the PIP assessment.
Daily living component per week:
- standard rate - £60
- enhanced rate - £89.60
Mobility component per week:
- standard rate - £23.70
- enhanced rate - £62.55
PIP can be paid in addition to other social security benefits. It's not counted as income in the calculation of means-tested benefits.
However, your local authority can take PIP into account when considering whether you need to contribute towards the cost of any care and support services you receive.
PIP is not taxable. It's not based on National Insurance contributions. Any income or savings you have won't affect it.
To make a claim call 0800 917 2222 (textphone 0800 917 7777). In Northern Ireland call 0800 012 1573 or textphone 0800 587 0937.
Someone else can make this call on your behalf, but you need to be with them when they do so.
During this call, you'll need to provide basic details including your personal and contact details, National Insurance number and details of your bank or building society (for payment purposes). It will help if you have this information ready when you make the call.
You'll be asked for details of your GP and hospital specialist, and if you have a mental health or behavioural problem (you're asked this in case you need help to complete the claim form). You should not be asked what your medical condition is or how it affects you at this stage.
If you find it difficult to use the phone, and don't have someone to help give the answers, it's possible to use a paper claim form (although this can delay the decision on your claim). To request the PIP1 form, write to:
Personal Independence Payment New Claims
Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton
In Northern Ireland the address is:
Personal Independence Payment Centre
Castle Court, Royal Avenue, Belfast
What happens next?
If you meet the basic qualifying conditions for PIP (see previous section 'Do I qualify?'), you'll be sent a form to complete called 'How your disability affects you'.
If it's clear from the information you provided when you started the claim that you don't satisfy the basic qualifying conditions for PIP, the Department for Work and Pensions will send you a letter stating that your claim has been disallowed.
If you're awarded PIP and there's a change in your condition sometime in the future, you can ask for the award to be looked at again due to a change in your circumstances.
This is worth doing if you think you might qualify for another component or a higher rate of either component.
Be aware that the Department for Work and Pensions will look at the whole award and they can take away the rate of PIP you've already been granted.
Before you do anything, make sure that you meet the conditions for the new component or the higher rate.
You need to have satisfied the conditions for the new component or the higher rate for at least 3 months and expect it to last for at least 9 months more before your award can be increased.