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Everything you need to know about PIP

Whether you’ve just been awarded PIP for the first time, or if you are awaiting a reassessment, our helpful summary tells you what PIP could mean for you.

What is PIP?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is an allowance awarded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), designed to help people who have difficulties with day-to-day living or getting around. It was introduced as part of the government’s Welfare Reform Act in 2012 to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged between 16-64.

Daily living and mobility

PIP is divided into two components: a daily living component and a mobility component.

  • Daily living difficulties may relate to preparing or eating food, washing, bathing and using the toilet, dressing, reading, making decisions about money and engaging with other people.
  • Mobility difficulties, meanwhile, relate to getting out and about. If you receive the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP, you could exchange this to lease a car, scooter or powered wheelchair through the Motability Scheme.

Woman with walking stick getting out of a car

What’s the difference between DLA and PIP?

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is ending for people who were born after 8 April 1948 and are 16 or over. But you can keep getting DLA if you’re under 16 or you were born on or before 8 April 1948 and have an existing claim.

Anyone in receipt of a higher rate mobility allowance is eligible to apply to lease a car, scooter or powered wheelchair through the Motability Scheme. So whether that’s higher rate DLA or enhanced rate PIP, you have the option to exchange this for the Motability Scheme’s worry-free package. The package is designed to support you and your family in getting out and about, so even if you don’t drive yourself, you can add friends and family as named drivers. Find out more about the Scheme.

Are you eligible for PIP?

The DWP set the eligibility criteria and arrange assessments to decide whether the allowance is appropriate and if so, what level you’re entitled to.

The gov.uk website states that you must have had your declared difficulties for three months and expect them to last for at least nine months to be eligible for PIP. You must also have lived in the UK for at least two of the last three years. Employment status doesn’t affect eligibility for this.

How is eligibility assessed?

Your eligibility for PIP, together with the length of time you may be entitled to the benefit, is determined by an independent healthcare professional on behalf of the DWP through an assessment.

The assessment, which may be a face-to-face consultation, finds out the level of support you require. Assessments are score-based and measure the extent to which you are able to perform certain tasks using a list of descriptors, which carry points ranging from zero to 12.

disabled woman in wheelchair with husband

For example, under the ‘mobility’ component, the activity ‘planning and following journeys’ has six descriptors ranging from ‘can plan and follow the route of a journey unaided’, which carries zero points, to ‘cannot follow the route of a familiar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid’, which carries 12 points.

Similarly, under the ‘daily living’ component, the task ‘preparing food’ has six descriptors ranging from ‘can prepare and cook a simple meal unaided’, which carries zero points, to ‘cannot prepare and cook food’, which carries eight points.

The higher your score, the more support you’re expected to need, but you must score enough points to cross the ‘entitlement threshold’ to qualify for PIP in the first instance. All applicants for PIP need to do this assessment, including individuals currently receiving the DLA.

How much will you receive?

If you are entitled to PIP, you will be paid at one of two rates: a standard rate or an enhanced rate. You will receive the enhanced rate if you are believed to be severely limited in your ability to carry out one or both of PIP’s components. The allowance rates are listed on the gov.uk website here.

What’s available if you receive PIP?

You can choose to use your mobility allowance however you wish. If you have a car, you may also be entitled to VAT relief on vehicle tax.

If you qualify for the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP, you’ll be eligible to exchange this to lease a car or scooter through the Scheme. If this applies to you, you can simply exchange all or part of your mobility allowance to lease a vehicle of your choice.

The Motability Scheme package includes insurance for two named drivers, full breakdown assistance and all servicing and repairs, so that you are your family can enjoy worry-free mobility.

Man in scooter driving along path in park

What if you are already using the Motability Scheme?

The Motability Scheme works with PIP in the same way as DLA, so if you are an existing customer in receipt of higher rate DLA and switch to enhanced rate PIP, you simply continue your lease.

Existing Scheme customers who are not awarded the enhanced rate will no longer be able to use the scheme and so will be contacted about how to return their vehicle and the support in place to them through this transition. See the PIP section of our website for further information.

If you do not receive enhanced rate PIP, can you appeal the decision?

An appeals process is in place if you are unhappy with the outcome of your assessment. You must first discuss this with the DWP and then make a formal request (known as a mandatory reconsideration) to have your score reviewed – if you are still unhappy you can appeal the outcome of this review.

Where to start if you’re completely new to PIP and the Motability Scheme?

Watch our simple animation about how the Motability Scheme works.

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