Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a new benefit designed to help people with disabilities live more independently and to support those in greatest need. Subject to the Welfare Reform Bill for Northern Ireland becoming law, PIP will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for eligible people of working age (16 to 64 years old).
PIP will help towards some of the extra costs that come from having a long term health condition or disability. This means ill-health or a disability that is expected to last 12 months or longer. If you are eligible for PIP you can choose to spend it in a way that suits you best.
Entitlement to PIP will be based on the effect a long term health condition or disability has on your daily life. PIP will be made up of two parts (components), a Daily Living component and a Mobility component. Each component will have two rates, standard and enhanced.
Like DLA, PIP isn’t affected by income or savings, it is not taxable and you can get it whether you are in work or not.
What will happen to my DLA award/payments?
PIP will not be introduced to Northern Ireland until the Welfare Reform Bill becomes law here. If you are an existing DLA customer, when the Welfare Reform Bill becomes law you will be affected by the introduction of PIP if you were aged 16 to 64 on 8 April 2013, even if you have an indefinite or lifetime award of DLA. You will receive information on the introduction of PIP as part of your annual uprating letter. These letters are for information only and you are not required to do anything.
PIP will be introduced in stages over a number of years. If your existing DLA award is due to end or there are changes in the impact that your health condition or disability has on your daily life, you will be asked to make a claim for PIP.
If you currently have an indefinite or lifetime award of DLA you will be invited to claim PIP later. You will be contacted with plenty of notice and given a full explanation about what will happen next and what you need to do.
If you are entitled to PIP there will be no gaps in payment as you move from DLA, as long as you provide the information required when requested.
PIP will not apply to children under 16 and people who were aged 65 or over on 8 April 2013. The current arrangements for DLA will apply to these age groups.
Eligibility for PIP
PIP will not be introduced in Northern Ireland until the Welfare Reform Bill becomes law.
Entitlement to PIP will be based on the effect a long-term health condition or disability has on your daily life. There will be a three-month qualifying period and the health condition or disability must be expected to last for at least a further nine months. The qualifying period starts when your eligible needs arise and not from when you make a claim.
You will be asked to complete a form describing how your health condition or disability affects you. You’ll also be asked to include any supporting evidence you have, and to indicate who might be able to advise on your situation.
Most people will be asked to attend a face-to-face consultation with a health professional as part of their claim, but this may not be needed in all cases.
All this information will be used to decide if PIP can be awarded. Many people claiming DLA will continue to be entitled to PIP, though you may get more, the same or less benefit than you currently get.
If you are awarded PIP, your award will be reviewed over time to make sure it remains correct and continues to help meet your needs.
The PIP Assessment
The assessment for PIP, when introduced, will look at your ability to carry out a range of everyday activities and will be carried out by an independent health professional (assessor).
The assessor will consider all the evidence, including any evidence available from professionals that support you on a regular basis. They will then write their assessment report.
What happens next?
The assessment report will be sent to the Social Security Agency (SSA). A Case Manager will review the evidence including the report from the assessor. A decision will then be made on entitlement, and if applicable, level of award and the length of the award.
You will receive your decision letter by post. The letter will give you more information about the decision, how it was reached, details of the first payment if appropriate, and also explains other sources of support available to you.
If your claim has been disallowed, or your existing award reduced, then the SSA Case Manager will try to contact you by telephone to explain the decision. You will receive a written notification of the decision.
If you disagree with the decision, you can ask for your case to be looked at again. This is known as a reconsideration.