Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

7 mins read

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit to help with the extra costs of disability for adults aged 16 to pension age. It replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children when they turn 16.

In this article

What is 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.

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. 

Starting in March 2022, new claims for Personal Independence Payment in Scotland will be replaced by a new Adult Disability Payment. Initially this will be trialled in a number of Scottish local authority areas before being rolled out nationally from last August. From August, Social Security Scotland will also start the process of moving existing PIP claimants onto Adult Disability Payment.

When will my child be asked to claim PIP?

If your child is under 16 and on Disability Living Allowance (DLA), they are normally invited to claim Personal Independence Payment (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

Except for in Scotland, children turning 16 who currently claim DLA are normally asked to claim PIP shortly 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 with 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.

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, young people who were getting DLA immediately before their 16th birthday can continue getting DLA until they turn 18. A young person in Scotland can still opt to move onto PIP before age 18 if they want. To do this, they will have to make an application for PIP. Any 16-year-old on DLA who considering this should first seek detailed advice from a benefits adviser, as many disabled people are worse off under PIP. Claiming PIP will end the DLA award – even if you later try and withdraw the PIP claim. 

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 to claim PIP

Once your son or daughter is invited to claim Personal Independence Payment (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 initially suspended during the coronavirus outbreak although they are expected to restart during May 2021.

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 PIP will my child get? 

Like Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is made up of two parts. There is a mobility component based on your child’s ability to get around and a daily living component based on your child’s 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. Your child receives points depending on the level of difficulty they 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 your child scores in the last two categories are added together to decide if they get the mobility component, and at what rate. Their scores in the other categories are added together to decide whether they 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 – £61.85
  • Enhanced rate – £92.40

The mobility component weekly rates are:

  • Standard rate – £24.45
  • Enhanced rate – £64.50

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. Similarly you may be able to get a supplementary payment if you stop qualifying for Carer’s Allowance because your child doesn’t get the daily living component of PIP after they have been moved from DLA. 

PIP and its impact on other benefits

Personal Independence Payment (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.