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Government to reassess Personal Independence Payment awards

Wednesday 6th November 2019

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is to reassess some Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims following a change to the law.

Following an Upper Tribunal decision, changes have been made to the meaning of PIP Activity 3, which looks at "managing therapy and monitoring a health condition."

What do the changes to Activity 3 mean?

People needing help with a special diet

Some people who need help with a special diet may qualify for extra points under Activity 3 and in some cases this could lead to a higher award of the daily living component of PIP.

As a result of an Upper Tribunal decision made in 2016, it has been made clear that where a child needs supervision, prompting or assistance with the management of a special diet, this can be classed as therapy, leading to points being awarded under PIP Activity 3. However, this only applies where the diet:

  • Has been recommended by a registered health professional and.
  • Help is needed with both the nature and timing of the food or drink.
  • Failure to follow the diet would lead to a deterioration of your child's health condition, immediately or within a short space of time.

Time spent preparing and cooking food or help to eat the food do not count towards management of the special diet (separate points can be awarded for these activities under different parts of the PIP test).

Instead, it is the additional time needed for things such as weighing out food or checking food for nutritional value or which ingredients are included, as well as making sure food is eaten at the correct time.

The government accepts that these rules may not have been applied in many cases including decisions made since the Upper Tribunal decision in 2016. As a result, some PIP claimants may be entitled to an increase in their current award and to arrears of benefit.

People needing help with medication and help to monitor a health condition

The government has also accepted that another group of claimants were awarded fewer points than they should have been in the past. This applies to disabled people who needed help with managing their medication as well as with monitoring their condition.

The Upper Tribunal found claimants who needed this sort of help should have been treated as needing help with therapy and as a result should have scored more points - but only during the period 28 November 2016 and 15 March 2017. From 16 March 2017 the law was changed to stop points from being scored on this basis.

Because of this, some PIP claimants may be entitled to arrears for the period 28/11/16 to 15/3/17.

How can I make sure my child is getting the correct award?

The DWP has said that it will automatically reassess claims made on or after 28 November 2016 that are most likely to be affected by the changes to Activity 3, and this will include some claims where PIP was not awarded.

They are not planning to use face-to-face interviews. No timetable has yet been provided for when these reassessments will take place.

What if my child already gets the enhanced daily living component of PIP?

The DWP has said that it will not reassess cases where the enhanced rate of daily living component has been in payment continuously since 28 November 2016 or since the date of first application for PIP if later.

Will any extra payments affect other benefits for my child?

If your child is awarded PIP daily living component for the first time following reassessment, or if they are awarded the enhanced rate, you may qualify for extra payments, including backdated payments, in certain other benefits and tax credits.

You should tell the Tax Credit and other benefit offices, such as Universal Credit and housing benefit, about the change to your child's PIP award as soon as you receive the decision letter.

If you have any questions about this change in the PIP rules or any other aspect of PIP, you can get advice by calling our free Helpline on 0808 808 3555.