Anxiety, stress, depression and a wide range of conditions have hit a lot of people hard as a knock-on effect of the coronavirus pandemic, with some developing symptoms for the first time and others who were already struggling feeling the effects more so than ever.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit in-place to support those who are struggling with mental and physical health conditions and is a scheme that was introduced in April 2013.
It was put in place to eventually replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16 to 64 and it helps towards some of the extra costs of having a long term ill-health condition or disability.
However, over the past few years it is becoming increasingly hard to be accepted onto the scheme, which gives over £600 a month for those who score highly in the criteria tests.
You could get paid between £23.6 and £151.4 a week if you’re aged 16 or over, and have not reached state pension age.
PIP is paid every four weeks, so that amounts to between £94.40 and £605.60 per month, Daily Record reports.
PIP isn't only for those who don't work, and isn't means tested, meaning that the money will be given on top of any other earnings.
Hidden conditions are covered under the scheme, with an extensive list which includes mixed anxiety and depressive disorders, mood disorders, stress, and anxiety.
And many could be entitled to the payment as a result of their mental health condition if they have daily additional needs.
Find out if you can claim PIP by looking at the criteria set out by the DWP below.
Who is eligible for PIP?
You don’t need to have worked or paid National Insurance contributions to qualify for PIP, and it doesn’t matter what your income is, if you have any savings or if you’re in or out of work – or on furlough.
You must also have a health condition or disability where you:
- have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for three months
- expect these difficulties to continue for at least nine months
The DWP will evaluate the eligibility of your PIP claim over a period of 12 months, looking back for three months and forward for nine months – they must consider if your illness changes over time.
To qualify, a claimant usually needs to have lived in the country for at least two of the previous three years, and currently be in the country at the time of the application.
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The guidelines state that anyone who needs help with the following as a result of their condition should consider applying for PIP, but they will need to prove it:
- Preparing, cooking or eating food
- Managing your medication
- Washing, bathing or using the toilet
- Dressing and undressing
- Engaging and communicating with other people
- Reading and understanding written information
- Making decisions about money
- Planning a journey or following a route
- Moving around outside the home
What is classified as "help" for a PIP claim
You are classified as needing help to do an activity if you need a person or a device to:
- Do it for you
- Do it with you
- Remind you to do it
- Watch you do it to keep you safe
You may also be classified as needing help if you do an activity yourself but:
- You aren’t safe
- You can’t complete the task well enough
- You can’t complete the task often
- It takes you a long time
PIP test scoring criteria
The PIP scoring criteria awards points for a statement which applies to you for each activity
The DWP will decide which statement best fits your situation most of the time. You will get a set amount of points ranging from 0 -12 points for each activity.
The total number of points you get for each group of activities will decide whether you are entitled to PIP, and how much money you will receive.
To get the standard rate daily living component, you need to score 8 to 11 points in total for the daily living activities. You need 12 points to get the enhanced rate.
To get the standard rate mobility component, you need to score 8 to 11 points in total for the mobility activities. You need 12 points to get the enhanced rate.
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How is PIP paid?
PIP is usually paid every four weeks unless you are terminally ill, in which case it is paid every week.
PIP will be paid directly into your bank, building society or credit union account.
What are the PIP payment rates for 2020/21?
PIP is made up of two components – daily living and mobility.
The two components are assessed separately from one another, as some conditions might not have any effect on your daily living but will affect mobility greatly, and vice versa.
Whether you get one or both of these and how much you'll get depends on how severely your condition affects you.
If you score enough points through the assessments, you'll receive either the standard or the enhanced weekly rate for each section.
You can get the following amounts per week depending on your circumstances:
- Daily living : standard rate – £59.70
- Daily living: enhanced rate – £89.15
- Mobility: standard rate – £23.60
- Mobility : enhanced rate – £62.25
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How you are assessed
The DWP says you’ll be assessed by an independent healthcare professional to help the work out the level of help you need.
Face-to-face assessments have been suspended since March 17 2020 and continue to be replaced by telephone and paper-based assessments.
How do you make a claim for PIP?
You can make a new claim by contacting the DWP, you’ll find all the information you need to apply on the gov.uk website here.
Before you call, you’ll need:
- Your contact details, for example telephone number
- Your date of birth
- Your National Insurance number – this is on letters about tax, pensions and benefits
- Your bank or building society account number and sort code
- Your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number
- Dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital
Once you've contacted the DWP, they will send you a document to complete which consists of 14 questions and a section for any additional information.
Each of the questions focus on how your particular condition affects you – and it is important to include as much relevant details in as possible to ensure the assessor of the claim can understand your physical and mental health needs.
Those wanting to put in a speculative claim can also take an anonymous self-test online at the Benefits and Work website to see how many points you could be awarded for each response in your application.
Those successful with their claim could receive between £23.60 and £151.40 a week in support if you’re aged 16 or over and have not yet reached the current State Pension age (66).
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