Personal Independence Payment: Advice on how to claim
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Paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), PIP is a non-means tested benefit and means that the aspect that is taken into account when deciding a person’s eligibility is their disability or condition and how it affects their life. To get financial help, the DWP has to do an assessment in order to complete a person’s PIP application. Citizens Advice state that the assessment is “not a diagnosis or a medical examination”.
It is however an opportunity for a person to talk about how their condition affects them.
If a person has a terminal illness, then they do not have to do an assessment to be eligible for PIP.
In preparing for the assessment, Citizens Advice states that it is “important that you prepare” as the DWP will use the evidence from the assessment to make their decision.
This includes collecting the relevant medical evidence of the condition, a list of the aids or appliances a person uses, and the forms that are needed which includes the ‘How your disability affects you’ form.
Citizens advice also issues a warning on its website which states: “You must go to your assessment otherwise your PIP claim will be rejected and you’ll have to start the application process all over again.”
If a person can’t make their appointment or has already missed it, they are directed to contact the assessment provider straight away.
The charity added: “If you’ve a good reason for not going they may reschedule it. The number to contact is on your appointment letter.
“There are no rules on what is a good reason for missing an assessment but the DWP should take into account your health and things that may affect you like a family bereavement.”
The assessment provider will either be Independent Assessment Services or Capita and people will receive a letter which tells them which one it will be.
A health professional will carry out the assessment and they will then write a report and send it to the DWP.
For the assessment, Citizen’s Advice said that people should be open and honest and tell the assessor everything that is relevant to their condition, even if it has already been mentioned on one of their claim forms.
The charity highlights that the situation can be stressful for some but that people can ask for adjustments to the assessment to make it easier for them.
People can request that the assessor is the same gender as themselves, and can also ask for an interpreter or a signer.
Citizens Advice highlights that this needs to be done at least two days before the assessment date.
Other adjustments can be made to make the process easier, for example, if a person struggles with small spaces, the assessment can be done in a larger area. A person can also ask if the assessment space has stairs and if there is a lift that can accommodate a wheelchair if one is needed.
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To ask for an adjustment, a person will need to phone their assessment provider using the number on their appointment letter.
If a person asks for an adjustment and it’s not made, Citizens Advice highlights that this could be discrimination and they should contact the charity for further advice.
People are also able to bring someone they know to support them in the process.
This support can be anyone who makes a person feel more comfortable, like a friend, relative or carer and if they want, these people can also take part in the discussion and take notes.
The charity also recommends that people should “take their time” and not be rushed by the assessor.
The assessments usually determine the rate of PIP a person will be awarded. PIP is made up of two parts which are called “components” and consist of the “daily living” component and the “mobility component”.
The daily living component is for extra help with everyday tasks such as preparing food, washing, getting dressed or communicating with other people.
The mobility component is for the extra help people may need for getting around and includes things such as moving, planning a journey or following a route.
Each component can be paid at either a standard or enhanced rate.
The standard weekly rate currently sits at £61.85 for the daily living component and at £24.45 for the mobility. The enhanced weekly rate sits at £92.40 for daily living and £64.50 for mobility.
People may be able to claim one or both of these, at either rate, depending on their circumstances.
Currently, the DWP is doing many assessments via phone or video call, but when this is not possible applicants will be invited to an in-person assessment.
Citizens Advice also highlights that travel expenses for a person going to a physical assessment appointment, such as parking, fuel, bus or tax costs, can be reimbursed.
However, it does fall under certain criteria and people should check if they are entitled to it first.
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