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Claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

A guide for claiming Personal Independence Payment, the different stages of the claim process and what to expect

1. Start your PIP claim

To start a claim for Personal Independence Payment, call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to check that you are eligible. If you are eligible, the DWP will send you a form within two weeks.

When you call, you will be asked for the information in the list below. It is a good idea to have this information ready before you start:

  • Your date of birth
  • Your address and phone number
  • Your national insurance number
  • Your bank or building society account details
  • Your doctor or health worker’s name
  • Dates you’ve been abroad
  • Dates you’ve been in a care home or hospital

In England, Scotland and Wales, start your PIP claim by calling:

  • Telephone 0800 917 2222
  • Textphone 0800 917 7777

Or write to:

Personal Independence Payment New Claims
Post Handling Site B
Wolverhampton
WV99 1AH

In Northern Ireland, start your PIP claim by calling:

  • Telephone 0800 012 1573
  • Textphone 0800 012 1574

Or write to:

Castle Court
Royal Avenue
Belfast
BT1 1HR

Claiming under special rules

If you are terminally ill, you may be able to claim under special rules. Special rules mean you can automatically get the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment without filling out the daily living activities part of the claim form or going to a medical assessment.

Special rules do not let you get the mobility component automatically. So you would have to fill out the mobility activities part of the claim form and attend a medical assessment to get the mobility component. 

Claiming for someone else

Adult

You can start the claim for someone else if you are with them when you phone or they are terminally ill

Child

You can start the claim for your child if they are getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA), they have just turned 16 years old and they do not have the mental capacity to manage their own money.

When you call the DWP, tell them that you would like to be your child’s appointee. The DWP will arrange a meeting to:

  • Check that your child needs an appointee
  • Check that you are a suitable appointee
  • Complete the BF56 application to become an appointee

You will only become your child’s appointee if and when you receive the BF57 confirmation letter.

As long as you apply for PIP on time, your child’s DLA will continue until their PIP claim has been decided. You can find out more about what happens when you claim PIP instead of DLA on the When will I move from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) onto Personal Independence Payment (PIP)? page of our PIP guide.

 

Updated May 2017

2. Get PIP documents

You might want to get documents to put with your claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). 

You don’t have to put papers with your PIP claim (unless you are claiming under special rules because you are terminally ill). The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should contact your doctor on the details you give them. 

However, the more evidence you give of how your disability affects your everyday life, the easier it will be for the DWP to make the right decision about your claim.

If you want to put supporting evidence in your claim, these are good papers to include:

  • Medical records
  • Sick notes
  • Prescriptions
  • Diary of daily routine
  • Letters from medical professionals
  • Letters from other professionals
  • Letters from other people who help you

It can take a long time to get medical records or letters so ask for them as soon as you can, so you have them ready to send in with your claim form. There is normally only five or six weeks between your phone call to start the claim and the date you have to return your form by.

If you can, make a copy of your documents. Keep one for yourself and one to send with your claim form. It is also a good idea to write your national insurance number on each sheet you send, in case it gets separated from the rest of your claim after the DWP receives it.

Medical records

You can ask your doctor or GP for a copy of your medical records. You may have to pay for them. The maximum your GP can charge is £50.

If you are claiming under the special rules because you are terminally ill, ask your doctor for a DS1500 form.

Diary of daily routine

You can make a diary to show how your disability affects you in day-to-day life. Keep a very detailed diary for at least one day to show how long everyday things take you and how you do them differently because of your disability.

Letters from medical professionals

You can include letters from any medical professionals you deal with. Medical professionals include the consultant you see at hospital, your community psychiatric nurse (CPN), your GP, health visitor, nurse, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, psychiatrist or your psychologist. 

You may want to include letters you have already received and/or ask your medical professional for a letter to support your claim. They can say what your condition is, how it affects your everyday life and what your treatment is. If you can’t find medical letters you already had, you can ask your doctor or GP for a copy.

Letters from other professionals

Letters from another professional who helps you, like your healthcare assistant (HCA), social worker, support worker or a teacher, can also be helpful. They can say how your condition affects your everyday life.

Letters from people who help you

Letters from any friends or family who you rely on are helpful too. They can say how they help you and what would happen if they weren’t there to help you.

 

Updated May 2017

3. Fill in the PIP form

When you start your claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) sends you a form to fill in. You usually get the form within two weeks of your phone call to start the claim.

You have to fill the form in and send it back within one month for your PIP claim to go ahead.

You will get the form and an information booklet in the post. The form is called “PIP2: How your disability affects you” and it is 33 pages long.

You can see what the form looks like on the “PIP2: How your disability affects you” page of the gov.uk website

You can see the information booklet on the “PIP2: How your disability affects you: information booklet” page of the gov.uk website

One month deadline

The DWP gives you one month to fill in the form and send it back. Ask the DWP for more time if you need it. You will need to phone them and tell them why you need more time.

If you don’t send the form back in time, the DWP will refuse your claim unless you have a good reason for sending it in late. You will need to tell them why you sent the form late.

If the DWP refuse your claim because you sent the form back too late and they don’t think that you have a good reason, you can start again with a new claim.

What to put

Answer all of the questions on the form.

Fill in the extra information, especially when you have ticked that you have difficulty or need help with an activity. Don’t be afraid to point out the obvious. The DWP does not know how your disability affects you unless you tell them.

When you answer the questions about your day-to-day activities, think about the help you need (from a person or a thing) to do each activity:

  • Safely
  • Well enough
  • Often enough
  • Fast enough

Your form does not have to be perfect. You can check what is important to put by:

Take care

It can be hard to fill out the form yourself. Make it easier by following these tips:

  • Don’t do it all at once
  • Get more time
  • Get help

You don’t have to do all of the form in one go. Do a bit each day and take rests. Answer the easy questions and come back to the ones you need to think about.

You don’t have to write all of your answers on the form. You can write them on separate sheets. Or you can type your answers and print them off. Do whatever is easiest for you.

Ask the DWP for more time if you need it. You will need to phone them and tell them why you need more time. Use the phone number on the letter that came with your form.
 
You don’t have to do the form on your own. You can ask someone else to help you. They can help by keeping you company while you do it, talking to you about your answers before you write them or they can fill in the form for you. It can be someone you know or you can find a benefits adviser near you using our Find an Adviser tool.

 

Updated May 2017

4. Send in the PIP form

Once you have filled in your form, you will need to send it back to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Get ready to send your form

Before you send your form, check that you have answered all of the questions.

You can read the form yourself or you can ask someone else to check it. It can be someone you know or you can find a benefits adviser near you using our Find an Adviser tool.

Remember to put all the other papers that you want to include together with your form. See the Get documents section of this guide for which papers you might want to put in with your form. Put your national insurance number on any paper that is not the form. This makes it easier for the DWP to keep it together with your claim.

The DWP gives you one month to fill in the form and send it back. Ask the DWP for more time if you need it. You will need to phone them and tell them why you need more time.

If you have filled in your form but you are still waiting for other papers, you should still send in your form before the deadline. You can send in your form and then send your other papers later. Remember to put your national insurance number on them so they will be put with your claim.

Send your form

Your form came with an addressed envelope. Use the envelope or the address on it to send your form to the DWP with any documents you have. The address you need to use is also on the back of the form.

If you can, send your form and documents recorded delivery. If you can’t send it recorded delivery, make a note of the date you post it so you can follow it up later if you need to.

Sending your form in late

If you don’t send the form back in time, the DWP will refuse your claim unless you have a good reason for sending it in late. If your form is late, the DWP will tell you it is late and ask you to give a reason. If the DWP thinks you have a good reason, they will accept your claim.

If you don’t give a reason or the DWP don’t think that you have a good reason, they will refuse your claim. If the DWP refuses your claim, you can start again with a new claim. You will need to fill in another form but you can use your previous form as a guide.

 

Updated May 2017

5. Get ready for the PIP medical assessment

Most people have to go to a medical assessment to claim PIP.

Your medical assessment is done by Atos or Capita, depending on where you live. Atos and Capita are private companies which have been contracted by the government to do the medical assessments.

Appointment letter

Once you have sent back your form, you will get a letter confirming they have received your claim.  This will be followed by an appointment letter from Atos or Capita, which you should receive in a few weeks, though in some areas there are delays and it could take longer.

The appointment letter will ask you to go to an appointment at an assessment centre. The appointment should be at least one week away.

If you can’t go to the appointment, make sure you contact Atos or Capita straight away. Their phone number is on the appointment letter that they send you.

If it is impossible for you to go to the assessment centre, for example because you are housebound, you might be able to have the assessment done at home. You need to contact Atos or Capita to ask for a home visit. Atos or Capita might ask you for medical evidence to show that you can’t get to the assessment centre.

Get ready for the assessment

If you are not sure what to say at the assessment, you can use the c-App website to help you get ready. On the c-App website you can answer questions to get a checklist of important answers which you can print off and take with you.

You can take someone with you to the medical assessment. It can be someone who cares for you, or a friend or a member of your family.

Plan how you will get to the assessment centre before the day of your assessment. Your appointment letter includes a map and directions. If you are not sure how to get there call Atos or Capita on the number in your appointment letter.

Make sure you have the money you need to get to the assessment centre. You can get money back later if you use public transport (bus, tram or train). You can get some money back later for fuel if you, or the person who goes with you, drives to the assessment centre. You cannot get money back later if you get a taxi, unless Atos or Capita agree that they will pay for it before you go.

 

Updated November 2018

6. Going to the PIP medical assessment

Most people have to go to a medical assessment to claim PIP.

Your medical assessment is done by Atos or Capita, depending on where you live. Atos and Capita are private companies which have been contracted by the government to do the medical assessments.

Go to the assessment centre

Take with you:

  • Your appointment letter
  • Medical evidence – see the Get documents section of this guide to read about which papers would be helpful.
  • Two proofs of identity – you have to take two from this list:
    • Passport
    • Foreign national ID card
    • UK driving licence
    • Birth certificate
    • Marriage certificate
    • Council tenancy agreement
    • Housing association tenancy agreement
    • Letter saying you are entitled to a benefit
    • Council Tax bill

If you are running late, or you can’t go to the assessment, or you can’t find the assessment centre, call Atos or Capita using the phone number on the appointment letter.

Keep your tickets and receipts from the bus or train and ask for a travel expenses claim form at the assessment centre.

What happens at the assessment

You will be seen by a Health Professional. Appointments usually last for about one hour but may be longer or shorter.

Conversation

The Health Professional will ask you questions about how your health affects your everyday life. The Health Professional should have read your completed form and any other papers you sent with it. Make sure you tell them if anything has changed since you sent in the form.

You may want to use a checklist to make sure you tell the Health Professional everything they need to know. On the c-App website you can answer questions to get a checklist of important answers which you can print off and take with you.

Examination

The Health Professional may ask you to do simple things such as:

  • Remember three items in the room just from the Health Professional saying their names (and not pointing at them)
  • Say how much change you would get from £1 when you buy something that is 75p
  • Count back from 100, taking away 3 each time

The Health Professional may do a physical examination. They will only ask you to do simple movements like:

  • Put your finger in your hand
  • Push against the Health Professional’s hand with your hand or foot

If you force yourself to do the movements in the assessment, you may be treated as if you can do them all of the time. Make sure you do not strain yourself and tell the Health Professional if you are in any pain.

If you refuse to do the movement, tell the Health Professional why you can’t do it. For example, tell them if it is too painful now or it will cause you problems later.

Keep a record

The Health Professional will type their observations in the appointment. You can ask them to tell you what they have typed and ask them to correct it if it is wrong.

You can take your own notes in the assessment or ask the person who is with you to take notes.

Missed the assessment

If you don’t go to the medical assessment, the DWP may refuse your claim unless you have a good reason for not going.

If you miss your medical assessment, the DWP will contact you to ask you to give a reason. Tell them why you could not attend. If you have any documents to show why you could not attend, give the DWP a copy. If the DWP thinks you have a good reason, they will rearrange your medical assessment.

If you miss your medical assessment and you don’t give a reason, or the DWP decides that you don’t have a good reason, they will refuse your claim. If the DWP refuses your claim, you can challenge their decision or start again with a new claim (or you can do both).

If you make a new claim you will need to fill in another form but you can use your previous form as a guide for what to put. You can read more about challenging a PIP decision in our Challenging a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decision guide.

 

Updated May 2017

7. Getting a PIP decision

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will make a decision on your PIP claim after the medical assessment has been completed.

The DWP’s decision about your PIP entitlement is based on the information in:

  • Your claim form
  • The documents you sent with your claim form
  • The Health Professional’s notes from the medical assessment

On average, it takes the DWP 12 weeks from the date you started your claim to make a decision. Some claims take less time, some take more.

Decision letter

The DWP will send you a letter to tell you their decision. The letter confirms whether you will get PIP, which PIP components you get and which rate, and the amount of points you score in the PIP test.

Keep the letter in a safe place. You may need to give people a copy when you claim other benefits. You may want to show it to an adviser if you disagree with the decision.

If you disagree with the decision, you have one month from the date you received the letter to challenge it. You can only challenge the decision after one month if you have a good reason for challenging it late.

You can read more about challenging a PIP decision in our Challenging a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decision guide or you can look for an adviser near you using our Find an adviser tool.

Qualify for PIP

To qualify for PIP, you have to score enough points on the PIP test for daily-living or mobility (or both).

If you score between eight and 11 points for the daily-living activities, you get the standard rate of the daily-living component. If you score 12 or more points, or you are terminally ill, you get the enhanced rate of the daily-living component.

If you score between eight and 11 points for the mobility activities, you get the standard rate of the mobility component. If you score 12 or more points, you get the enhanced rate of the mobility component.

Check the decision

If you’re not sure how many points that you should have scored, you can look at our Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Test guide or do the PIP self test on the Benefits and Work website.

 

Updated May 2017

8. When do PIP payments start?

Your Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will start being paid after you receive your decision letter. Your decision letter tells you whether you qualify for PIP and how much you will get.

PIP is usually paid every four weeks.

Paid to you

PIP is paid directly into your Bank, Building Society or Post Office account. If you don’t have an account, you can get your PIP by Simple Payment.

Paid to someone else

Motability

If you qualify for the enhanced rate of the mobility component and you take part in the Motability scheme, some or all of your mobility component will go directly to Motability.

Depending on how much it costs to lease your vehicle, you may have to pay Motability extra on top of your mobility component, or Motability may get some of your mobility component and you will get the rest.

Appointee

If you are an appointee for someone claiming PIP, for example you claimed PIP on behalf of your disabled child, their PIP will be paid into your account.

As an appointee, you have responsibility for the claim. That means you make decisions about how the money is spent, which must be in the best interests of the person who the benefit is for.

 

Updated May 2017

9. Review or renew a PIP claim

It is important that you tell the DWP if and when anything changes which might affect your entitlement to PIP. If your health is getting worse or better, the DWP may want to reassess you to check you are getting the right amount.

Review

Your award of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) may be reviewed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at any time, even if you have an award for a fixed amount of time. The DWP will usually start to review your claim one year before your award ends.

When the DWP reviews your claim, they send you a letter with a PIP review form. The DWP gives you 4 weeks to fill in the form and send it back. Ask the DWP for more time if you need it. You will need to phone them and tell them why you need more time.

If you don’t send the form back in time, the DWP will stop your claim unless you have a good reason for sending it in late. You will need to tell them why you sent the form late.

If the DWP stop your claim because you sent the form back too late and they don’t think that you have a good reason, you can start again with a new claim or challenge their decision (or both).

You don’t have to do the form on your own. You can ask someone else to help you. It can be someone you know or you can find a benefits adviser near you using our Find an Adviser tool.

If something has changed, the DWP may need more information to let the claim continue. You may need to complete another claim form and attend another medical assessment.

In a review, the DWP will decide whether to:

  • Make your PIP award longer
  • Change your entitlement
  • End your PIP claim

Renew

It is a good idea to renew your claim early to avoid any gaps in your PIP claim.

You can ask to renew your claim in the last six months before your PIP award ends. You will need to complete another form and go to another medical assessment.

Three months before your PIP ends, if the DWP has not already reviewed your claim and you have not already started to renew, the DWP will contact you about renewing your claim.  To renew, you will need to complete another form and go to another medical assessment.

For more about when your PIP payments may stop, see our When does Personal Independence Payment (PIP) stop? page.

 

Updated May 2017