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Personal Independence Payment – An Overview for New Claimants

A guide for RCN members on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and how to apply.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was introduced in April 2013 to replace Disability Living Allowance. The benefit provides an extra income to assist with the extra costs of living with a disability or long term health condition. You are able to claim the benefit whether you are in or out of work as it is non means tested and is awarded on the basis of your ability to manage the tasks of everyday living.

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How do I qualify?

To qualify to make an application you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • aged 16 – 64
  • to be counted as ‘normally’ resident in the UK and be in the UK at the time of your claim
  • to have been resident in the UK for 2 of the last 3 years
  • to have no restriction under immigration control
  • have a disability or long term health condition that causes you difficulty with everyday living.

Additionally you must meet the conditions of disability for the ‘qualifying period’. This means that you have had your condition for 3 months and are likely to endure it/its effects for at least the following 9 months.

If you satisfy this basic criteria you are entitled to make a claim. You will be required to make your application to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). This can be daunting as there is a lot of information to go through but there are a number of guides available in the public domain or local advice agencies that can help you to make a successful application. 

Please note: There are some exceptions to the residency test such as if you are a member of the armed forces. Please contact the Department of Work and Pensions if you feel you may have grounds for exemption.

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How does Personal Independence Payment (PIP) work?

PIP has two components:

  • mobility component – this assesses your ability in ‘getting around’
  • daily living component – this looks at your ability to carry out activity in ‘everyday life’

The claim is broken down into ten daily living activities and two mobility activities. You will be asked a number of questions relating to each activity and asked to indicate the level of difficulty in which you have carrying out certain tasks. You will then be scored against your answer (points range between 0 and 12). Only the highest score from each activity will be counted. They are then added together to give an overall score. It may be that you will qualify for an award under only one of the components or you could qualify for an award from each component. 

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Qualification and Payment

PIP is paid at two rates, the standard rate and the enhanced rate. You will need to score a minimum of the following points to receive an award: 


  • standard rate – 8 Points
  • enhanced rate – 12 points

Daily Living

  • standard rate – 8 points
  • enhanced rate – 12 points

For both components to be awarded you will need to score the minimum amount of points in both sections. Remember, only the highest score from each activity is counted.

If successful, you will be paid the following rates:

Component  Standard Rate (weekly)  Enhanced Rate (weekly) 

Mobility             £21.80                           £57.45

Daily Living       £55.10                           £82.30


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How do I claim?

To make a claim contact the Department of Work and Pensions. Claims can be started over the phone or you can ask to have a paper form sent to you. You do not have to make the call yourself but you will need to be present to give permission for the DWP to speak to your nominated representative. Alternatively you can ask the DWP to visit you and help you complete a claim form.

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Unfortunately sometimes an application for PIP may prove unsuccessful. Your next step should be to discuss the decision with the DWP. If you are still unhappy there are steps you can take to ensure your application has been judged fairly. 

Mandatory Reconsideration

The first step is mandatory reconsideration. This a where you make a formal request to the DWP to have the decision looked at again. You will have one month from the date of your decision letter to request this. You must explain why you agree with the decision. You may wish to include additional supporting evidence if you are able.


If the mandatory reconsideration is unsuccessful and you are still unhappy, you can lodge a formal appeal to the Tribunals Service. You will need to fill in a SSCS1 form – 'Notice of appeal against a decision of the Department for Work and Pensions'. This can be found here or you can contact the Department of Work and Pensions and ask that a form be sent to you. Again you will have 1 calendar month from the date on your mandatory reconsideration decision letter to lodge the appeal. You will be able to provide additional evidence right up to the time the appeal documentation is passed to the Tribunal Members. 

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Other Information

Terminal illness: If your life expectancy is 6 months or less your application for PIP will be fast tracked under special rules. You will not need to complete the application form or attend a face to face interview. If you qualify, enhanced rates of the daily living component will apply. Enhanced rates of the mobility component may apply but will be dependent on individual need. To make an application under these rules call the DWP.

Benefits: If you are awarded PIP, it may give you ‘passported’ access to other benefits or higher rates of other benefits. If you are given an award, remember to check if you may be entitled to further assistance from the DWP.  

Carers: Those caring for people who receive the daily living component of PIP may be entitled to Carers Allowance subject to meeting the further criteria of this benefit. If you have someone caring for you for more than 35hrs a week advise them to look into applying through the DWP.

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Call the RCN on: 03457726100

Page last updated - 25/01/2018