Personal Independence Payment: Advice on how to claim
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PIP is designed to assist individuals who are living with health conditions or a disability in the long-term. Many people have to navigate additional costs due to their needs, and thus the payment can provide assistance. The amount someone will receive in terms of PIP will depend on how their condition affects them, rather than the specific condition itself. But people can expect to be assessed by a health professional in this regard, who will work out the level of help they can get. PIP is currently replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA), an older payment, for most adults. People will not have to do anything as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should invite them to claim PIP and then help them switch over if it is deemed necessary.
But for those who are thinking of claiming support through PIP perhaps for the first time, there is a vital update to consider. It may mean more people are eligible for this kind of support to help them with any developing needs they might have.
Certain individuals who are living with what is known as long-Covid and its associated symptoms could find they are eligible for formal support through Personal Independence Payments as the DWP has updated its guidance on these health matters.
DWP minister Justin Tomlinson recently said: “Due to the nature of the qualifying period for PIP claims, these cases will all be ‘long COVID’ or ‘post COVID syndrome’ cases rather than initial COVID-19 infections.
“Any individuals with long COVID-19 as their primary reason for claiming PIP prior to March 2021 will not be classified as ‘Coronavirus COVID-19’.
“These cases will remain classified according to the main disabling condition identified at the time. For example, respiratory illness or fatigue.”
The NHS has explained that COVID-19 can cause symptoms which can last for months after an infection has gone. There are even some cases where people have not feel ‘back to normal’ for over a year.
Some common symptoms of long Covid can include:
- Fatigue – extreme tiredness
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Dizziness and nausea
- Joint pain
- Depression and anxiety
- A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
- Pins and needles
- Heart palpitations
The NHS advises individuals to contact their doctor in these instances, who will talk about the type of care and support a person may need going forward.
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Its website adds: “If the symptoms are having a big impact on your life, you may be referred to a specialist rehabilitation service or a service that specialises in the specific symptoms you have. These services can help manage your symptoms and help you recover.”
Currently, there are only a small number of people being awarded PIP for long-Covid symptoms – 14 in England and six in Wales – but these numbers could change or increase as more claims are assessed.
To claim PIP, a person must have a physical or mental health condition or disability where they have had difficulties with daily living or getting around, or both, for at least three months. They must also expect these difficulties to continue for at least nine months.
Britons must be aged 16 or over to claim, and usually have not reached state pension age. They can receive PIP whether they are currently in work or not.
People usually need to have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least two of the last three years, and be in one of these countries when they apply. However, if they have recently returned from living in a European Economic Area (EEA) country, they may be able to get PIP sooner.
PIP is currently split into two separate payments. Whether a person receives one or both, and how much they get will be dependent on how their condition is deemed to affect them.
The daily living element is for those who need help more than half of the time with things such as preparing or eating food, dressing and undressing, personal hygiene, managing medicine, engaging with other people and making decisions about money.
Whereas, the mobility element is specifically designed for individuals who require assistance in leaving their home and going out, or in moving around their home.
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PIP is also a tax-free payment made available by the DWP. This means the amount a person gets will not be impacted by their income or savings.
For the daily living part of PIP, the weekly rate is currently set at either £60.00 or £89.60.
However, for the mobility part, per week, people can expect to receive either £23.70 or £62.55.
This means that in total, for those on the higher rate of both elements, PIP payments equate to some £608 per month.
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