Personal Independence Payment Frequently Asked Questions

How do I score enough points to get Personal Independence Payment?

When you are assessed to see if you qualify for Personal Independence Payment, your difficulties with daily life and your mobility problems are looked at as separate “activities”. For each activity, there is a list of ‘descriptors’, which are sentences that describe different levels of support. Each descriptor has a point score. The greater the need for support, the higher the points scored.

There are 10 “daily living” activities; these are:

  • Preparing food
  • Eating or taking nutrition any other way (eg through a tube)
  • Managing medication or therapy, or monitoring your health condition
  • Washing and bathing
  • Managing your toilet needs or incontinence issues
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Communicating verbally
  • Reading and understanding signs, symbols and words
  • Making budgeting decisions
  • Engaging with people face to face.

There are two “mobility” activities; these are:

  • Planning and following a journey
  • Moving around.

The Personal Independence Payment Assessment Guide gives guidance to assessors on the points that should be given - see page 97 onwards.

When you fill in the medical questionnaire, and when you see a medical assessor (see below), you will be asked about your abilities to do these activities and what problems you have in completing them.  If you have no problems, you score no points for that activity. But if you need some support you score points – and the more difficulty you have, the higher your points for each activity. If you score enough points on one or a combination of activities, you will be awarded Personal Independence Payment – this could be the daily living component or the mobility component or both.

Won’t this just reduce other benefits I am entitled to?

No! In fact, it may have just the opposite affect - an award of Personal Independence Payment can sometimes mean extra money is awarded in other benefits – so if you do get an award of Personal Independence Payment it is important to let all the benefit authorities know.

For example, if you are affected by the Benefit Cap, an award of Personal Independence Payment to anyone in the benefit family will mean that the Benefit Cap will no longer apply.

And if you are getting Housing Benefit or help with your rent through Universal Credit and you or your partner are awarded a daily living component of Personal Independence Payment this will remove any non-dependant deductions (due to you having, for example, a grown-up son or daughter living with you).

I get Disability Living Allowance – how does this change affect me?

If you were 65 or over on 8th April 2013 then you will stay on Disability Living Allowance.

But if you were under 65 on 8th April 2013 then you will need to be assessed to see if you can be awarded Personal Independence Payment instead. The DWP will write to you to let you know when you need to do this. Your Disability Living Allowance award will then be brought to an end – even if you have an indefinite or life award.

No-one on Disability Living Allowance is guaranteed an award of Personal Independence Payment – it depends how many points you score on the assessment. So when you receive the letter from the DWP telling you your DLA is due to end it is important that you get advice from an experienced adviser.

If you don’t make a claim for Personal Independence Payment within 4 weeks of this letter your Disability Living Allowance payments will stop.

If you do make a claim for Personal Independence Payment, then your Disability Living Allowance will continue to be paid until a decision on your Personal Independence Payment claim is made.

The decision could be that you are entitled to Personal Independence Payment, and this could be at the same rate, a higher or a lower amount than your current Disability Living Allowance award.

The decision could be that you are not entitled to Personal Independence Payment at all – your Disability Living Allowance award will end at this point. You will be sent a letter explaining why you do not qualify, and you can write back, within a calendar month, asking the DWP to reconsider their decision. If they still disagree you can then appeal. It is very important to seek advice if you decide to challenge the decision. Please contact the Financial Inclusion Team on 0300 111 000 or 0800 633 5500 .

Isn’t Personal Independence Payment a harder benefit to get than Disability Living Allowance?

The rules on who will get an award are different - this means that some people currently getting Disability Living Allowance may not get awarded Personal Independence Payment or get it awarded at a lower amount.

But it also means that some people who could not claim Disability Living Allowance may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment. And that some people who do currently claim Disability Living Allowance may be awarded Personal Independence Payment at a higher rate. This could include:

  • People who use aids and appliances.
  • People who have support needs due to literacy and / or numeracy problems.
I’m on Disability Living Allowance at the moment - what will happen if I’m not awarded Personal Independence Payment?

The rules on who will get an award are different - this means that some people currently getting Disability Living Allowance may not get awarded Personal Independence Payment or get it awarded at a lower amount.

If, when the time comes for your Disability Living Allowance claim to end and for you to claim Personal Independence Payment, it is decided that you do not qualify for Personal Independence Payment then your claim for Disability Living Allowance will come to an end.

If you are told that you do not qualify for Personal Independence Payment, you can write to the DWP, within a calendar month, asking them to reconsider their decision. If they still disagree you can then appeal. It is very important to seek advice if you decide to challenge the decision.

If you are 65 or over at this time you could try for Attendance Allowance.

If you were on Disability Living Allowance but now don’t qualify for Personal Independence Payment, it might be that you had been getting extra benefits or services because you were on Disability Living Allowance. In this case these would also come to an end. These could include: extra money via other benefits including Tax Credits, exclusion from non-dependant deductions, bus pass, blue parking badge, exclusion from the Benefit Cap. If you lose your motability car, you may qualify for a one-off payment from Motability.

So when you are invited to make a claim for Personal Independence Payment  seek advice immediately and get help from an experienced adviser.

I have been awarded Personal Independence Payment but it is less than I was expecting – can I ask for the decision to be looked at again?

It is best to get specialist advice first. This is because you would be asking another decision maker (or an appeal tribunal) to look at your award again and it is possible that they may decide your award should actually be lower, or they may decide you are not entitled to any PIP!

A specialist adviser will be able to assess your chances of getting an increase and the risks of you losing what you have so you can make an informed decision about what you want to do.

I have an award of Personal Independence Payment – it is not due to run out for another year, but I have received another questionnaire – do I have to fill it in?

Yes! The DWP can review your PIP award at any time, to check you are getting the correct award. If you do not send this form back by the deadline, your current award may be terminated – well before it was due to end!

I have heard in the news that the DWP are reviewing 1.6 million PIP decisions - is that correct?

Yes. The DWP have started trawling through cases to check for anyone who was awarded less (or no) PIP, due to two separate legal judgements not having been taken into account by the decision maker at the time the decision was made.

The first judgement, made on 28th November 2016, ruled that those who suffer from overwhelming psychological distress should not be precluded from scoring higher points for ‘planning and following journeys’. This exercise should, therefore, identify claimants who have been underpaid the mobility component, eg. those with severe anxiety who cannot go out unaccompanied, who were not awarded any mobility component or who were only awarded the standard rate but should have got the enhanced rate.

The second judgement, made on 9th March 2017 ruled that, when assessing whether someone can carry out an activity safely, or without supervision, it is necessary to consider both the likelihood of the harm occurring and the severity and nature of the harm that might occur. This change will mainly affect claimants with uncontrolled conditions which put them in danger, such as epilepsy.

The DWP will be checking PIP claims which were in payment on the date of whichever of the above decisions applies to the claimant. All decisions which were made after the judgement date will also need to be checked, as will any decisions not to award PIP made since the judgement.

If you are affected by this, the DWP will write to you when they have reviewed your claim.

However, if you are not currently receiving PIP, and you were previously refused an award of PIP and the decision on your claim was made before the date of the judgement which could apply to you, the DWP will not review your claim and you should make a new claim as soon as possible.

 

© 2017 Housing Systems Ltd