Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Calls to the PIP Contact Number cost 7p per minute, plus your operator’s access charge. You will be connected to the Personal Independence Payment claims helpline where you can make enquiries about a new or existing application. This is a call forwarding service; the official number can be found on the Gov UK website.
PIP Contact Number
The Department for Work and Pensions have a team dedicated to helping you with PIP claims and enquiries. Whether you need to start a claim, inform the DWP of a change in circumstances or whether you just need the answer to a question you can’t find online, call the PIP Contact Number on 0843 168 0460 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.
What is PIP?
The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a welfare benefit designed to help with the costs associated with long term illness and disability. PIP is non-means tested and non-contributory, meaning that anyone assessed as eligible can access the benefit regardless of economic status or tax contributions. Introduced in 2012 in the Welfare Reform Act, the benefit has begun to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and was expected to be rolled out across Great Britain in 2013. However, due to delays in assessment from the contracted company Atos, the roll out has happened more gradually than was planned.
How to claim
If you are already on DLA, then you will continue to receive payments for this benefit until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) writes to you to tell you when you will stop receiving DLA payments and invites you to apply for PIP. Your claim will normally begin over the phone (In order to start a claim or find out more information, you can call 0843 168 0460).
You will be required to undergo a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), the test designed and used by the DWP to determine whether the claimant is entitled to PIP. The assessment will assess you in terms of three groups, into one of which you will fall: fit for work, unfit for work but fit for pre-employment training, or fit for neither work nor training. This assessment is seen by the DWP as the first step in getting people who are disabled off benefits and into work.
The assessment is carried out by a registered healthcare professional employed by the outsourcing company Maximus, which took over the assessment process from Atos in 2015. The healthcare professional assesses whether or not the claimant is fit for work. Afterwards, a DWP official will decide on eligibility for PIP and then on whether the claimant is still able to engage in work related activity.
The claimant is tested on a number of criteria, also called “descriptors”, such as ability to use a computer, ability to stand and sit, ability to understand others, etc. If the claimant is capable of carrying out a descriptor but unable to do so reliably, repeatedly or in a timely and safe manner, they are treated as incapable of carrying out that action. Groups of abilities are ranked and scored, with other information about day to day activities being taken into account. The conditions that affect the claimant’s life at the present moment are taken into account but not the known changes in conditions which people with particular disabilities may undergo. Thus the assessment is based on a “snapshot” of the claimant’s condition at the time of the assessment. For more information on the claims process or to apply for the benefit, contact the team using the telephone number listed on this page.
The standard of proof of assessment is the legal “balance of probabilities”, if the claimant is more likely than not to be unfit for work then the claim is accepted.
How to Contest a Decision About a Claim
Sometimes assessment recommendations from a health professional are overruled by a DWP official, because the ultimate decision about the eligibility of the claim rests with the DWP. In the event that you disagree with a decision, you can ask the DWP to reconsider, though the responsibility is yours to initiate this request. If the result of a formal review is unfavourable, you can appeal to an independent tribunal, consisting of a judge, a doctor and a layperson. During the panel, the tribunal takes evidence and statements but the doctor does not examine the appellant. At the reconsideration stage, the DWP reverses 20 to 25% of its own fit for work decisions, while a further 15% are reversed later by tribunals (See here for details). You can also call the phone number directly for more information about your options if your claim has been declined.
Rates of payment
The PIP, similar to the DLA, has two components. The first is the daily living component, while the second is the mobility component. The daily living component is meant to help with everyday needs including washing, getting up, preparing food or communicating with people. The mobility component is to help with getting around, and includes access to transportation, planning a route or preparing for a journey. Both of these components have a standard rate and an enhanced rate. The enhanced rate is available for anyone with a terminal illness, based on your application. The current standard rate for the daily living component is £55.10 per week, while the enhanced rate is £82.30 per week. The standard rate for the mobility component is £21.80, while the enhanced rate is £57.45 per week.
How long you are eligible for will depend on the expected length of time of your disability, while people who are terminally ill automatically get PIP for 3 years. Payments are made every 4 weeks unless you are terminally ill in which case payment is every week.
The PIP Helpline
The contact number for the PIP helpline is 0843 168 0460. You may wish to call this helpline for a number of reasons:
- After you’ve been told that your benefit is being transferred from DLA to PIP, this means that you have a window of 28 days to make a new claim for PIP before your benefits are stopped, so you will need to call to begin the process of making the new claim
- Anyone who is terminally ill with 6 months to live or less is automatically eligible for PIP, and a claim of this kind can be fast tracked without the need for an assessment
- If you qualify for PIP, you also qualify automatically for other benefits. For example, you could qualify for as much as 50% off your vehicle tax
- Another example of an auxiliary benefit is that if you have a carer, they may qualify for a carer’s allowance if you qualify for PIP
Hopefully you are now ready to consider applying for, or understand who is eligible for and how to apply for, Personal Independence Payment. If you want to call the PIP helpline, you don’t have to make the call yourself if you feel unable. You can have a family member or carer call on your behalf, but you need to be in the room while the call is being made.