Shot of a senior man in a wheelchair looking thoughtfully out of a window thinking about all the questions he has about How PIP works.

How does PIP work? All your questions answered

If it’s your first time applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you’ll likely have questions about what to expect. We’ve answered some of the most popular questions about PIP to help guide you through. 

What is PIP?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is an allowance given by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It helps people who have difficulties with mobility or daily living tasks. PIP replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2012 for people aged between 16 and state pension age. 

PIP is divided into two components: daily living and mobility. Daily living relates to any difficulties with preparing or eating food, washing, bathing and using the toilet, dressing, reading, making decisions about money and interacting with other people. Mobility relates to any difficulties with moving around and planning and following a journey plan. 

How do I apply for PIP?

You should start by checking whether you are eligible to receive PIP. To qualify, you need to be 16 or older, have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability, and have difficulty with everyday tasks or getting around. These difficulties must be expected to last for at least 12 months from when they started.

You can apply for PIP in three ways: online, phone and post.

disabled man applying for PIP online


Applying Online

The quickest way to apply is online. You’ll need your National Insurance number, an email address, and a mobile phone to do this. You can only apply for PIP online in some areas (your postcode will be checked when you see whether you can continue applying online). 

Applying by Phone

You can also apply by calling the ‘PIP new claims’ phone line. You’ll get a form in the post asking about your condition, which you should post back to the given address. If you need help, you can add someone to the call or have them call on your behalf. You will need to be with the person when they call.

Before you start the call, be prepared to share the following information: : 

  • Your contact details, such as your telephone number

  • Your National Insurance number

  • Your date of birth

  • Your bank or building society sort code and account number

  • Your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number

  • Dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent in a care home or hospital

  • Dates and countries for any time you’ve spent abroad for more than 4 weeks at a time

Applying by Post

You can also apply by post, but this is the slowest method, and it will take longer to get a decision. Send a letter to ‘Personal Independence Payment New Claims’, and you’ll receive all the relevant forms in the post.

Find out more about how to start your application on the UK Government website.

How long does a PIP claim take to process?

Once you start your application, it can take about 20 weeks to get a decision. The length of time is different for every case. It can also depend on whether you need to have an assessment with a health professional. The assessment notes, your claim form, and any supporting evidence you’ve sent will help with the DWP decision. 

What happens during a PIP assessment? 

The DWP might need more information after you have filled in the forms and sent your supporting documents. In that case, they will invite you to an assessment. The assessment can be in person, over the phone, or via video, and usually takes an hour.

A health professional will ask about your mobility and daily living during the assessment. They will also ask about any treatment you have had or will have. They might ask you to do some simple movements as well. You can have someone with you during the assessment and refer to your original application for help.

You can request adjustments in your assessment, like an interpreter. You can also ask for a health professional of the same gender. If you have difficulties leaving your home, you can ask for a home assessment. You will be asked to provide medical evidence about why you can’t attend an assessment centre.

Citizen’s Advice has shared some helpful guidance on preparing for your assessment. 

How do I appeal my PIP decision?

The DWP will send you a letter in the post to tell you their decision. The letter will say if you will get PIP. If successful, it will tell you what you will get, at what level, and when your first payment will be.

You can challenge the decision if your application was unsuccessful, or you were awarded a lower level than you expected. This is called mandatory reconsideration, and you must apply for this within one month of receiving your decision letter. Your decision letter will tell you how to apply. Either fill in a mandatory reconsideration form, write a letter to the DWP or phone them.

Disabled woman calling on phone about her PIP claim


You must say why you disagree with the decision and use your evidence to support this. You need to respond to the decision in as much detail as possible. Use your original application and evidence to support this and gather any new evidence. 

A DWP ‘decision maker’ who has not seen your claim before will review your case to decide if the decision was correct. If you are still not successful, you can appeal to a tribunal. This independent panel looks at the evidence from both sides to make a decision. It can take a long time to get a tribunal hearing. You can get help with your appeal from your local Citizen’s Advice.  This includes information on how to appeal to a tribunal. 

What does receiving PIP make me eligible for? 

If you get 8 points or more under the ‘moving’ around’ activity of the mobility component, you qualify for a Blue BadgeBlue Badges help disabled people park closer to their destination and use larger parking spaces. 

You can also use your PIP decision letter to apply for a Disabled Persons Railcard. This gets you a third off train tickets for you and one other adult. You may also qualify for free bus travel, but contact your local council to learn more. 

Read our ‘8 PIP benefits’ article to learn more about the discounts you can get with PIP.

Can I claim PIP and work?

Work does not affect PIP as it is not a means-tested allowance. A means-tested allowance is based on your income. The UK Government website states you can also get PIP even if you are working or have savings. This means your income, savings, and any work you do will not affect the allowance you receive. But your assessment will consider any tasks you do at work. For example, if your job involves moving around, this will be considered for the mobility component. Include any mobility aids or adapted equipment you use at work in your application. 

You do not have to tell the DWP if you start work whilst receiving PIP. But you must inform them if your mobility or ability to do daily living tasks changes. 

An employee with a disability working seated at this desk using his laptop.


How do I get a mobility car on PIP?

PIP is divided into two sections: daily living and mobility. If you get the higher rate mobility part of PIP and have at least 12 months left on your award, you can apply to join the Motability Scheme. 

Motability Scheme vehicles include insurance, breakdown cover, servicing and MOTs. You can choose from a wide range of vehicles, including Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) and electric carsCheck to see if you’re eligible today.

Disabled driver seated at his adapted Motability Scheme car with the door open smiling at the camera.


Interested in joining the Scheme?

About the Scheme

The Motability Scheme offers an all-inclusive package. If you are in receipt of a qualifying mobility allowance you can use it to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair, or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. The Scheme provides flexible and hassle-free access to a brand-new, reliable vehicle of your choice. As well as a great choice of cars, we also provide a wide range of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, scooters, and powered wheelchairs.


To join the Scheme, you must be in receipt of one of the following mobility allowances:

  • Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Higher Rate Mobility Component of Child Disability Payment – Scotland
  • War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

You can easily check whether you’re eligible to join the Motability Scheme by using our eligibility checker tool.


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