Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for those who are aged between 16 and State Pension age. It replaced DLA for new claims in June 2016.
PIP is a tax free benefit and it isn't dependent on your earnings, savings or national insurance contributions. You can still work and receive PIP or you can receive it along with other benefits such as Universal Credit.
PIP is for people who are aged between 16 and State Pension age. If you have reached State Pension age and don't receive DLA then you will need to make a claim for Attendance Allowance instead. You can't make a new claim to DLA and you cannot claim DLA and PIP at the same time.
What happens if you already receive DLA
PIP was introduced to Northern Ireland on 20 June 2016.
If you were 65 or over on this date and receive DLA then you will continue to do so as long as you continue to meet the eligibility criteria. You won't be asked to apply for PIP.
If you were between 16 and State Pension age on 20 June 2016 then you will be asked to apply for PIP regardless of whether your award is time limited or indefinite. You will receive a letter from the Department for Communities outlining what you need to do to start your claim. If you choose not to claim PIP then your DLA award will end and your payments will stop.
You will continue to receive your DLA payments until a decision on your PIP claim is made.
PIP is split into two components - Daily Living and Mobility. You can receive one or both components depending on how your disability/illness affects you.
There are two rates for each component - Standard and Enhanced.
PIP is different from DLA as it is a points based benefit. You need to be awarded between 8-11 points to receive the Standard rate of each component or 12+ points to receive the Enhanced rate.
The two components cover a range of activities.
For example, the Daily Living component consists of things such as preparing food, eating and drinking, managing your medication or treatment, getting washed, getting dressed, managing toilet needs, communicating, reading, mixing with other people and making decisions about money.
The Mobility component looks at how you cope when going out as well as how well you can physically move around.
What are the PIP Rates
The PIP rates for 2023 - 2024 are:
Standard Rate - £26.90
Enhanced Rate - £71.00
Standard Rate - £68.10
Enhanced Rate - £101.75
How to claim PIP
If you already receive DLA and were under 65 on 20 June 2016 then you will be contacted by the Department for Communities who will ask you to apply for PIP.
There are 3 stages to the PIP claiming process.
Stage 1 - Phone call
You need to make the initial application for PIP over the phone by contacting the Personal Independent Payment Contact Centre. The number is 0800 012 1573 or 0800 012 1574 (text phone).
You will need to have your personal information available when making this call as you will be asked:
- your contact details
- your date of birth
- your National Insurance number
- your bank or building society details
- the name and contact details of your GP or other healthcare professionals
- details of any time you’ve spent abroad, or in a care home or hospital
Someone else can make the call for you however you need to be with them. You can also get assistance and advice throughout the PIP process from a local advice agency. Have a look for an Advice NI member in your area.
Stage 2 - Claim Form
You will then be sent a claim form to complete called ‘How your disability affects you’. This is your opportunity to explain in detail how your condition impacts you in relation to the PIP criteria and you can include any medical evidence that supports your claim.
You will have a deadline to send this form back to PIP so it is important that you adhere to the time limits as your PIP claim may be stopped if it is returned late. The form can be confusing and it is worth getting assistance from an experienced adviser to help you complete it.
Stage 3 - Assessment
Your claim will be referred to an independent health professional and you may be called for a face to face assessment.
You can request that the assessment takes place in your own home and you can have someone with you for support.
The health professional will ask about how your health conditions impact your life and they may carry out a basic physical examination as well. You can find out more information about the PIP face to face assessment on Turn 2 Us.
Stage 4 - Decision
The assessment report will be sent back to PIP and a decision marker will look at this report, your claim form and any other medical evidence that you have supplied to make a decision on your claim.
You will be notified of the decision by letter.
If you are unhappy with the decision then you can ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration and then submit an appeal if the decision isn't changed.
PIP and terminally ill claims
If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness there are different rules when applying for PIP.
This applies to claimants who are not expected to live for more than 6 months and if you meet the criteria then:
- you will not have to complete the form ‘How your disability affects you’
- you will not need a face-to-face consultation
- you will be entitled to an award of the enhanced rate of the daily living component of PIP without having to satisfy the normal qualifying period
- you may also be entitled to the mobility component of PIP depending on your mobility needs
You or someone you know will still need to contact the PIP Centre to start the claim. It is helpful if you can get a form called a DS15000 which you can get from your doctor, specialist or consultant. You don't need to pay for this form and it is used to support a terminal illness diagnosis.
Supplementary Payments for current DLA claimant’s
If you receive DLA and you are not awarded PIP or awarded a lesser amount of PIP than you were receiving on DLA then there are support measures in place to provide assistance. This also applies to people who were receiving Carer's Allowance and are no longer entitled due to the person they were claiming for being refused the PIP Daily Living component.
You can find out about these mitigation payments on NI Direct.
If you want to find out more information about PIP, need help with the PIP claiming process or have any questions around welfare reform in Northern Ireland, contact our freephone helpline on 0800 915 4604.