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. 

When will my child be asked to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP)?

If your child is under 16 and on DLA, they are normally invited to claim PIP shortly after their 16th birthday (18th birthday in Scotland). 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.  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 your child gets DLA under the special rules for the terminally ill they will continue to get DLA until their current award ends. They should be invited to claim PIP 20 weeks before that happens.  

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 coronavirus outbreak, different rules have applied. For a temporary period the Department of Work and Pensions have not been asking young people to claim PIP as soon as they turn 16. Instead their existing awards have been temporarily extended, and they will be invited to claim PIP at a later date.

It is not clear how long these temporary arrangements will remain in place. If you have a child on DLA who is approaching 16 you should have been told in writing when your child will be expected to claim PIP. If this has not happened 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, 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.  

How is a claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) made?

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.

How much Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will my child receive? 

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
  • reading
  • 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. 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and its impact on other benefits

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.  

Related information

Did you find this advice useful?

This information was written by our invaluable Family Finances Helpline team. Although all our information is free to access, we depend on donations to keep our charity going. If you can, please donate to our Lifeline Appeal to help us continue to fund our helpline team.


< Back to Benefits & tax credits

Next to Universal Credit >