Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that has replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults aged 16-64. DLA will continue as a separate benefit for children aged under 16 years.
Our helpline adviser Lesley explains what happens when a child on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) turns 16. Once they reach this age your son or daughter will be invited to claim a benefit called Personal Independence Payment.
PIP is not means-tested and can be paid both in and out of work. Whether your son or daughter qualifies will depend on the difficulties they have in carrying out certain tasks essential to independent living and the problems they have in getting around out of doors.
As part of being assessed they may be asked to attend a face to-face meeting with a health professional.
If your child is under 16 and on DLA, they are normally invited to claim PIP shortly after their 16th birthday. If your child is older and still gets DLA they are likely to be asked to claim PIP at some point in the near future.
Children turning 16
Children turning 16 who currently claim DLA are normally asked to claim PIP after their 16th birthday. Young people turning 16 who get DLA under the special rules for the terminally ill are exempt and will continue to get DLA. If your child is in hospital when they turn 16 they will not be asked to claim PIP until after they have been discharged.
If you live in England or Wales the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will write to you when your child is 15 years and 7 months. They will explain what will happen and check whether your child has the mental capacity to deal their own benefit claims or whether they will need an appointee to act on their behalf.
They will follow this up with a second letter once your child is 15 years and 10 months. Finally the DWP will contact them shortly after their birthday to invite them to claim PIP.
During the current coronavirus outbreak, different rules apply. It is our understanding that for a temporary period the Department of Work and Pensions will no longer be asking young people to claim PIP as soon as they turn 16. Instead their existing award will be temporarily extended, and they will be invited to claim PIP at a later date.
However, please note that the government hasn't yet provided new guidance confirming these arrangements. In the interim we advise that if your son or daughter is approaching 16, you should call the DLA Unit to ask when they will be invited to claim PIP and to confirm that their existing DLA award will be temporarily extended.
If you live in Northern Ireland and your child turns 16, the Social Security Agency will contact you before your child's birthday to tell you what you must do to claim PIP.
In Scotland the rules are currently the same as in England and Wales, with young people on DLA being asked to claim PIP shortly after their 16th birthday. However this will change in September. New rules mean that young people in Scotland who turn 16 on or after 1st September 2020 and who are getting DLA immediately before their 16th birthday will be able to continue getting DLA until they turn 18.
Children aged over 16 who are still on DLA
If you have an older child who is still getting DLA, they are likely to be invited to claim PIP at some point in the near future. This will happen automatically if:
- They are aged 16 or above and who report a change in their care or mobility needs. They will not have their DLA reviewed - instead they will be assessed under PIP.
- They are aged 16 or above and volunteer to claim PIP.
- They are aged over 16 and their existing DLA award is coming to an end. They will not be sent a DLA renewal claim, instead they will be asked to claim PIP.
The DWP is also re-assessing all other adult DLA claimants under the PIP rules, i.e. those who have long-term or indefinite awards. The DWP will write to you or your child when they want them to claim PIP.
Once your son or daughter is invited to claim PIP, they (or you if you are their appointee) must do so within 28 days by phoning the PIP claim line on 0800 917 2222 (or 0800 012 1573 in Northern Ireland).
When your child telephones the PIP claim line they (or you if you are their appointee) will be asked to complete a simple claim form over the telephone. This asks basic questions such as your child's name, contact details and nationality. It doesn't ask for detailed information about your child's care or mobility needs.
This detailed information is instead gathered in a separate paper questionnaire that will be posted to them after they have made their initial telephone claim.
Most young people are also asked to attend a face to face consultation with a health professional working on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. However, all face-to-face assessments were suspended for a three-month period commencing in March 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Department for Work and Pensions will instead contact claimants to explain how their PIP assessment will be taken forward.
Your child's DLA payments will continue until a decision is made on their PIP claim. This applies even if their existing DLA award was scheduled to end when they turned 16. However, if your child fails to claim PIP when invited to do so, their DLA payments will stop.
Like DLA, PIP is made up of two parts. There is a mobility component based on your ability to get around and a daily living component based on your ability to carry out key activities necessary to participate in daily life.
Depending on their circumstances your child might qualify for one or both.
PIP uses a points-based system to decide whether someone qualifies for the benefit, and if so, at what rate. You receive points depending on the level of difficulty you experience in the following areas:
- preparing food
- eating and drinking
- managing treatment
- washing and bathing
- managing toilet needs
- dressing and undressing
- communicating verbally
- mixing with other people
- making decisions about money
- planning and following journeys
- moving around.
The number of points you score in the last two categories are added together to decide if you get the mobility component, and at what rate. Your scores in the other categories are added together to decide whether you get the daily living component.
Both components of PIP are paid at either a standard rate or an enhanced rate depending on the level of your child's needs.
The daily living component weekly rates are:
- Standard rate - £59.70
- Enhanced rate - £89.15
The mobility component weekly rates are:
- Standard rate - £23.60
- Enhanced rate - £62.25
Some people may get the same amount of PIP as they previously got in DLA. However, others may find that their payments are either higher or lower than before. Other DLA claimants may be refused PIP altogether.
If you live in Northern Ireland and your child is refused PIP or awarded less than they previously got in DLA, they may qualify for supplementary payments to compensate them for up to a year.
PIP is never treated as income for other benefits. Instead, your child getting PIP can help you or them qualify for extra amounts within any means-tested benefits or tax credits you receive. It may also help you qualify for other benefits such as Carer's Allowance.
Detailed advice about what other help you or your child might get as a result of a PIP award is available via our free helpline.
- See our detailed guide to Personal independence payment [PDF]
- Sign up to our What's New e-newsletter to receive the latest updates about benefit changes.
- Advice about any aspect of PIP is also available from our freephone national helpline.
Did you find this advice useful?
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