Who is entitled to disability living allowance?
For years, those who were unable to work through illness or long-term injury were entitled to a benefit payment known as Disability Living Allowance. This has now been replaced by the new Personal Independence Payment or PIP. While the introduction of this new benefits system has had its critics, the government is set to replace all Disability Living Allowance benefit payments with the new PIP.
Who can claim PIP?
PIP is available for adults from the age of 16 to 64 who have a long-term health condition or disability which prevents or limits their ability to work. PIP can also help with other extra costs for those living with disabilities, such as mobility and special care.
PIP is a non-means tested benefit, so it will not vary according to how much you earn or whether you have any savings. It does, however, depend on completion of an assessment, which will determine whether or not you are entitled to the full payment.
There are specific criteria that will determine whether or not you are eligible for PIP. These include:
- Whether you need help with everyday tasks (such as washing, eating and dressing) and getting around, or both
- If you have needed this assistance for a minimum of three months and expect to need that for at least another nine months (or if you are terminally ill with less than six months to live).
PIP is made up of two sections:
- Mobility component – this is paid if you need help with getting around, such as to and from a place of work, are in a rural or isolated area or have difficulty using a normal vehicle
- Daily Living component – this is paid if you need assistance with everyday tasks such as washing and dressing.
Each component is worked out depending on how your condition affects your ability to get around, and you may be entitled to either the standard or the enhanced rate. The amount you get will be determined by the results of your initial assessment.
What if the claimant is under 16 or over 64?
Disability Living Allowance payments can still be claimed for children under 16. These are designed to help parents, carers or guardians with the additional costs of looking after a sick or disabled child under the age of 16 and who has difficulties walking, or needs additional care above and beyond that which you would normally expect to provide an able-bodied or healthy child. The payments range between £22.65 to £145.35 a week, depending on the level of assistance the child requires.
For claimants over the age of 64, there is the option to claim Attendance Allowance, which is designed to help with the cost of paying for a carer. Again, it’s paid at two different rates that will depend on the level of care and assistance you require. You will either be paid £57.30 or £85.60 a week. These payments do not cover mobility needs, and you can claim for these benefits even if you do not have a carer.
Advice on PIP
You can get advice or information on PIP payments by contacting the following:
- Telephone: 0800 121 4433
- Textphone: 0800 121 4493
- NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 4433
Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm, although bear in mind that lines can get busy so you may have to wait.
To make a new PIP claim, you will need to contact the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions). You can have someone contact them on your behalf, but you will need to be present when they call. When you call, make sure you have the following information:
- Your contact details
- Your date of birth
- Your National Insurance number
- Your bank or building society account number and sort code
- Your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number
- Dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital
The DWP PIP claim line can be reached on:
- Telephone: 0800 917 2222
- Textphone: 0800 917 7777
- NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 917 2222
- Calling from abroad: +44 191 218 7766
Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.
You will be sent a form entitled ‘How your disability affects you’, with a series of questions. Once this has been completed and returned back to the DWP, you will then either be asked to attend an assessment meeting, or a home visit will be arranged. This will take approximately an hour.
A couple of weeks later you should then receive notification as to whether your claim has been successful, and what rate of PIP you will receive. If you disagree with a decision you can challenge it with what is known as ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’. You must apply for this within one month of the decision.