Over 60

Disability Benefits (PIPs)

Help for those with illnesses or disabilities

Personal Independence Payments (PIPs)

There are many implications from living with a disability, illness or suffering mental health problems. Adapting to life often means spending money to help you deal with everyday obstacles such as making changes to your home and paying for specialist equipment. A Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) gives you extra money to meet these demands. Previous to the restructuring of the UK benefits system, this used to be called Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

How it works

When the DWP assesses applications, they don't necessarily compare one illness to another. What they do is factor how your illness affects you and what type of help you need. Two people with the same disability might cope with it differently, just like people who wear prescription glasses need different strength lenses, costing different amounts; or someone with walking difficulties may just need a walking stick, but another may need a wheelchair and assistance from carers.

Eligibility

With the exception of terminal illnesses, how your illness affects you dictates your eligibility. When you're assessed, the DWP will be looking at the disadvantages you face in everyday life. This could include cooking, mobility, social skills, and cognitive behaviour which impacts things like decision-making choices about money. To qualify for PIP you must be aged between 16-64 and have been a UK resident for 2 years. Your illness must be ongoing for at least 3 months and be expected to continue for another 9 months. Those over 64 can apply for attendance allowance. Depending upon the severity of the disability, this can provide £55.65 or £83.10 a week. If you need care for more than 35 hours a week your carer can receive £62.70 carer's allowance too. Age Concern are good people to talk to, and they can advise you on your entitlements.

How much can you receive?

How much PIP can you get? Unlike some UK benefits, how much you can get isn't impacted by your income, National Insurance contributions or your savings.

PIP has two parts, daily living and mobility. The daily living rate is money towards dealing with challenges like getting washed and dressed. The mobility rate can help towards any travel-related costs, including moving home. Both have two set rates for the level of help you need:
1) Daily living standard rate: £55.65
2) Daily living enhanced rate: £83.10
3) Mobility standard rate: £22
4) Mobility enhanced rate: £58

PIP is paid into your account every 4 weeks for a fixed amount of time, set by the DWP. If you're terminally ill, you'll receive weekly payments for 3 years and will automatically qualify for the enhanced daily living rate; mobility will be assessed separately. If you claim other benefits such as Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit, you could also qualify for extra money on top. Speak to your benefits office and ask them. All they'll need is proof of your PIP award.

How to Apply

To claim PIP you need to contact the DWP. You can call for free on 0800 917 2222, or textphone 0800 917 7777. If you use sign language (BSL) you can use an interpreter via a video link. Please note, the application process for PIP is one of the longest in the entire benefits system, taking around 4 months. The fastest way to start your claim is by phone, and the date your award will be calculated from is the day they receive your claim, so avoid claiming by post if possible. If you are over 64 ring the Attendance Allowance Helpline on Telephone: 0345 605 6055, Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 6.00pm.
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