Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people between 16 years and state pension age.
Children turning 16 who receive DLA will be reassessed under PIP – even if their DLA award is not due to run out at 16. This also includes young people with an indefinite award of DLA.
Before your child turns 16, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will write to you to find out if your child needs an appointee (a person responsible for making claims on their behalf). If you want to become an appointee, the DWP will arrange a home visit to talk to you and your child.
You can’t become an appointee simply because it is more convenient for you or your child. The DWP can only agree to you becoming their appointee if they believe that your child lacks the capacity to manage their affairs.
After your child turns 16, the DWP will send a letter to your child (or to you if you have been made their appointee) inviting them to make a claim for PIP.
Just because your child gets DLA, it doesn’t mean that they will automatically qualify for PIP. They/you must make a claim for PIP within 28 days of being invited to do so by the DWP or their DLA payments will stop.
To make a claim for PIP, your child or their appointee needs to call the DWP (0800 971 2222) and complete a claim form (PIP1 form). This should take no more than 20 minutes. If they/you have difficulties using the phone, a paper form can be requested, or you can ask someone from the DWP to make a home visit to help fill in the form.
Once the PIP1 form has been completed, and the DWP have established that your child meets the basic qualifying conditions, you will then be sent a questionnaire called How Your Disability Affects You (PIP2).
This questionnaire gathers information about your child’s ability to get around (mobility) and carry out a range of daily living activities. Use the “extra information” boxes to give as much detail and examples as possible. You can also send additional evidence (e.g. health or therapy reports, EHCP or MyPlan, diary to show how their day-to-day life is affected, prescriptions) as long it supports what you have written on the form. The more supporting evidence you provide, the better the chance that a decision can be made without the need for a face-to-face assessment.
You must complete and return the questionnaire within a month or the claim for PIP may be turned down and any existing DLA payments will stop.
As well as having to complete the claim forms, most people will be asked to attend a face-to-face assessment. In Sheffield, a health professional working for Independent Assessment Services (formerly known as Atos) will carry out this consultation.
Most consultations take place in an assessment centre, but they can be carried out at home if your child’s condition makes it difficult for them to travel or attend.
At the consultation, the healthcare professional will ask your child about their condition, their day-to-day life and how they manage at home and out of doors. The assessor’s questions will be based on the information provided on the PIP claim form, but they will also draw opinions from what you say and do on the day. They may also carry out a brief physical examination. You or someone else can attend the consultation to support your child.
The DWP will send a letter with their decision. If your child’s claim is turned down or you are unhappy with the level of benefit awarded, you have one month to ask the DWP to reconsider their decision. This is called a mandatory reconsideration.
Tips for forms
- Always make a photocopy of the completed form and any additional evidence.
- Label additional sheets with the child’s name, date of birth and National Insurance number.
- Ask for help (see links below) and take your time completing the form – writing on separate sheets of paper first can help.
Tips for the face-to-face assessment
- Assessments can be cancelled and re arranged once only! If you miss your appointment without good reason, the DWP may end the PIP claim.
- Know what was written on the claim form by reading through it together before the assessment.
- Let your child answer the questions first but prompt them when it is clear that they haven’t understood what is being asked or to provide more information and examples.
For official information about PIP visit the government website.
For help with filling in the PIP claim form, contact Citizens Advice on 03444 113111 or visit their website. Citizens Advice have published guides to filling in the PIP claim form and to preparing for a PIP assessment.
Contact have published a detailed guide to PIP for families of children with disabilities.
Benefits and Work offer detailed guides to claiming a range of benefits at a cost of £19.95 for a year’s subscription.
Many national disability charities (e.g. National Autistic Society, Epilepsy Action, Down’s Syndrome Association) also offer information and support.
You can find information and photographs of the PIP assessment centres in Sheffield on the Independent Assessment Service website.