What is Personal Independence Payment (PIP)?
We know that many deaf people and their families don't consider deafness to be a disability. However, even if you don't consider yourself to be disabled, you may still be eligible for disability benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You can also use this information if you live in Northern Ireland, the names of institutions are different but the law and the process is the same. If you live in Scotland you may be eligible for Adult Disability payment (ADP).
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is money paid to you by the government. It is to help you meet some of the extra costs you might have because of a disability or illness.
Some children get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) paid to their parents or carer. DLA stops when you turn 16 and you will need to apply for PIP instead. PIP is assessed very differently to DLA. You won't qualify automatically even if you were getting DLA. You can claim PIP once you reach 16, even if no one has been getting DLA for you.
PIP isn’t means-tested or taxable. This means that it doesn't matter how much money you earn, have in savings or other benefits you get. Getting PIP can also make you eligible for other financial support. Including help with transport and heating costs. There are no rules about what you can spend the money on.
There are two parts to PIP – the daily living component and the mobility component.
Daily living component
You can claim the daily living component if you find certain day-to-day activities more difficult because of your deafness or another disability in addition to deafness.
For each activity there’s a list of difficulties, called descriptors. Each descriptor has points. You score points according to which descriptor applies to you for each activity. The activities looked at in the PIP form are:
- preparing food
- taking nutrition
- managing therapy or monitoring a health condition
- washing and bathing
- managing toilet needs or incontinence
- dressing and undressing
- communicating verbally
- reading and understanding signs, symbols and words
- engaging with other people face-to-face
- making budgeting decisions.
You need to score eight points to qualify for the standard rate of £68.10 a week. You need 12 points to get the enhanced rate of £101.75 a week.
You can get the mobility component of PIP if you have problems with:
- planning and following journeys
- moving around.
Like with the daily living component, there are descriptors for each activity.
You need to score eight points to qualify for the standard rate of £26.90 a week. You need 12 points to get the enhanced rate of £71.00 a week.
PIP is a disability benefit for people between 16 years old and pension age. It's paid to people who have care or mobility needs. This can include difficulty with communicating. You'll need to have had these needs for at least three months and expect to have them for the next nine months.
You may be able to get extra help if:
- you’re over 18 (you can use a benefit calculator to find out if you can get extra help)
- your parents or carers receive child benefit for you.
Residence and immigration rules
To claim PIP you must be eligible according to DWPs eligibility rules. Citizen's Advice have more information about:
- the residence and immigration rules that apply
- whether your immigration status lets you get benefits.
When making a PIP claim you should manage your own claim (with help from a parent or carer as required) unless you lack mental capacity. A 16-year-old has the right to manage their own money and most deaf young people receive PIP payments themselves.
If a young person lacks mental capacity, a parent, carer, or trusted adult can apply to become an appointee to manage their own claim. If you have an appointee, it’s their responsibility to deal with all aspects of the claim. Including letting DWP know about any changes that could affect your claim.
Information for parents on becoming an appointee
Age or lack of life experience are not good enough reasons to decide a young person requires an appointee.
If you apply to be an appointee for your deaf child, someone from DWP should visit and talk to you both. The purpose of the visit is to assess the claimants capabilities and decide whether you are a suitable appointee. This policy is in place to prevent the financial abuse of disabled adults by family or others.
In some cases, parents or carers becoming appointees for a young person when they do not lack mental capacity can cause complications. DWP may think that the help a young person needs or gets is due to their age or lack of life skills rather than because of their deafness. This can mean DWP do not award them PIP or the correct amount of PIP. So, a young person managing their own claim and answering the questions in the PIP2 form themselves often leads to a better outcome.
This doesn’t stop you from keeping on top of a claim and writing the form for them, if that’s what you believe your child needs. But you shouldn’t try to speak on behalf of your child. If the claim doesn’t succeed and reaches the appeal stage, the Tribunal will expect them to be able to explain for themselves the difficulties they have with the daily living and/or mobility activities.
If DWP agrees with the request for an appointee:
- The appointee will get Form BF57 to confirm formal appointment.
- DWP will monitor the situation to make sure it’s still suitable.
- A young person can ask DWP to change this at any point.
PIP is paid by different government offices depending on which country you live in. In England and Wales, it's the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). In Northern Ireland, it’s the Department for Communities. PIP is paid every four weeks into your bank or building society account.
Transferring from DLA
If your parents or carers already get DLA, you'll get a letter from DWP before you turn 16. This will invite you to claim PIP.
You can begin the claim by following the steps below. As long as you begin the claim by the date given in the letter, your DLA will continue until you get your PIP decision.
Starting a PIP claim
DWP recommend that you call to start your PIP claim and that you complete the form online. This means that if your claim is successful, you’ll receive PIP from the date you called to start your claim. And completing the form online means you can save your progress and come back to it later.
Start your claim by calling the ‘PIP new claims’ phone line at DWP for free on 0800 917 2222 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday). They will ask questions to check that you fulfil the basic requirements to apply for PIP. You'll also be asked for your contact details, including a phone number and email address. You will be sent a text and an email help you set up a login on the PIP online portal. The email will also include the date you have to submit your PIP form by. This will be one month from the date of your first call.
If you're a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can contact the PIP phone line by textphone on 0800 917 7777 or via Relay UK on 18001 then 0800 917 2222, and BSL video relay service on a computer or mobile or tablet.
If English isn’t your first language, you can contact DWP to get help in your chosen language. However, you have to apply in English.
Requesting a paper form by letter
You can apply by post by sending a letter to ‘Personal Independence Payment New Claims’, but your claim will take longer.
Filling in the claim form can be a long and potentially unsettling process. Take your time and reach out for support from a friend, relative or local support organisation. If you have questions about how to fill in the form, you can contact our free Helpline. You will be able to talk to a helpline officer or book a virtual benefits advice appointment.
Your PIP claim will be assessed based on:
- the information you provide in the PIP form
- the supporting evidence you submit
- your PIP assessment.
The name of the form is How your Disability affects you or the PIP2 questionnaire. Remember, the person making the decision about your claim isn’t medically trained. They likely won’t know anything about deafness.
- Questions 1 and 2 will ask you to list your health professionals, health conditions and medication.
- Questions 3 to 12 are about the 10 daily living activities.
- Questions 13 and 14 are about the two mobility activities.
- Question 15 asks you to provide any additional information.
When you fill in the form, you have to show the impact of your disability on your everyday life. We recommend using the STAR method when filling in your form. In each section you need to think about whether you can or can’t do something:
- safely and without risk to yourself and others
- in a reasonable amount of time
- to an acceptable standard
- repeatedly (as many times as you would reasonably need to).
Make sure you explain all the help you need for each activity, even if you feel like you’re repeating yourself.
Sometimes the difficulties you have may vary from day to day or in certain situations. Explain what makes it harder or easier for you to do the activity. You only need to show that you can’t do an activity on more days than you can do the activity, this is known as majority. Also think about how your ability to perform the activity varies through the day. For example, you might find you get tired as the day goes on. This can make it harder to concentrate in the afternoon or evening.
There might be some activities they ask about that you don't have any difficulty with. If you don't have any difficulties with an activity because of your disability, leave it blank. You don't need to provide further information or say that you can do it and you can move on to the next question.
Including supporting evidence in your application is very important. It helps you show how your deafness impacts your ability to carry out day-to-day activities. If you have other long-term conditions or disabilities as well as your deafness, include how these impact you in the same application form.
To provide DWP with an accurate picture of your lived experience, you should include:
- a personal statement going into more detail about difficulties you have with the activities in the PIP form
- letters from the health and education professionals who know and work with you, request these using our template letters for requesting supporting evidence from audiologists and Teachers of the Deaf (ToD)
- medical reports or letters of identification, such as hearing test results, audiograms, ABRs, discharge letters from hospitals, or cochlear implant mapping reports
- current symptoms of a long-term illness, their severity and the effect they have
- additional information about the aids and/or appliances you require because of your deafness and/or other additional needs
- test results or certificates, care or treatment plans, and therapies or adaptations
- social care or social work assessments
- educational support plans, reports or letters from your school, college or university
- the supporting information form filled out by someone who knows or cares for you.
We have tips for writing supporting letters. You can share this information with the professionals and friends or family who care for you.
If you’re applying for PIP online, you should try to submit all supporting evidence with your form. Any supporting evidence you want to include in your claim can be scanned or clearly photographed. These files can be uploaded to the PIP portal.
If you’re applying for PIP with a paper form by post, try to submit all supporting evidence with your claim form. Anything you send DWP should be a photocopy as they can’t return original documents.
If you’re waiting for any pieces of supporting evidence, write what it is in Question 15. This question asks you provide any additional information. Then send it to DWP once you’ve received it: Freepost DWP PIP. For each piece of supporting evidence to be linked to your claim, write:
your full name
date of birth
National Insurance number.
Citizens Advice have a template letter you can use to send supporting evidence to DWP after your PIP claim form.
Once you've submitted your form, DWP will pass it on to a health professional at a third-party assessment provider. There are two providers: Independent Assessment Services or Capita. They will write a report about how your disability impacts you. This is based on your form, supporting evidence and assessment. This will be sent to DWP.
At the assessment
Most PIP assessments are over the phone or on a video call now. But it might be face-to-face at an assessment centre or at home. You’ll get a text and an appointment letter from Independent Assessment Services or Capita. This will explain where and when your assessment is.
Make sure you request any reasonable adjustments you need. If your assessment is over the phone and you’re worried about it, you can request:
a face-to-face assessment
a language or British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.
You can also bring someone to the assessment with you for support. They can take notes and participate in discussions, but they can’t answer the questions for you. If you request it in advance, you can ask for the assessment to be recorded. If your assessment is at an assessment centre let them know in advance about any access or mobility requirements you may have.
Top tip: call the assessment centre two or three days before your assessment to check that any communication support has been booked.
Remember, PIP assessments are an important part of claiming PIP. You should attend your assessment. If you don't your claim may be rejected, and you will have to apply again.
DWP use the assessment report to make a decision about whether you get PIP, so it’s best to prepare. The assessor will ask questions based on the activities and descriptors in the PIP2 form. They'll try to form a picture of a “typical day”. They can include informal observations. This could be how well you responded to the questions asked and how you got to the assessment centre if your assessment is in person. It’s critical you explain the difficulties you have hearing in normal daily life.
Citizens Advice have more information about how to prepare for your PIP assessment.
You should receive a decision from DWP about 12 to 14 weeks after your form has been received. If your application has been successful, the letter will include:
the date of your first PIP payment
how long your award is for.
In some cases, PIP will be awarded for 10 years. Most of the time it will be awarded for a fixed period of three or five years.
PIP can’t be backdated. However, there are different ways your payments can start. If you claim by letter, you'll be paid from the date of your decision. If you called the ‘PIP new claims’ phone line to start your claim and you return your form within the deadline, you will be paid from the date of your first call. Meaning you’ll be paid PIP for the time it took for you to fill in and return the form, and for DWP to make their decision.
If you’re transferring from DLA, your DLA will stop around four weeks after you get your PIP decision. You will be paid PIP from when the DLA stops.
If you’re unhappy with the PIP decision, you can challenge it by asking for a mandatory reconsideration. Find out how to challenge and appeal a disability benefits decision.
If DWP do not award you PIP, or you feel you have been awarded the wrong amount, because they’ve made an error or missed important evidence you submitted with your claim, you can ask them to look at your application again. This is called a mandatory reconsideration. It’s important to remember that when asking DWP to look at your PIP award again, there is a risk that it can go up or down, stop completely or stay the same.
In your request for a mandatory reconsideration, you need to explain what part of DWP’s decision you think is wrong and why. You can include evidence, but this should be new and not already included in your PIP application. They will send you a mandatory reconsideration notice with their decision.
Asking for a mandatory reconsideration
You can ask for a mandatory reconsideration by phone, by letter or by filling in and returning a mandatory reconsideration form. It’s better if you do this within a month of the date on the decision letter. However, mandatory reconsiderations can be asked for up to 13 months after the date on the decision letter. You will just have to give a reason explaining why the request was delayed.
DWP will usually accept a late request for mandatory reconsideration if you give a good reason.
If DWP do not accept your late request, you do not lose your appeal rights. The law only requires that you ask the DWP to look at the decision again first. If the DWP refuse your late request, you can go straight to appeal the decision to an independent tribunal.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may choose to review your current PIP award to make sure you’re being paid the right amount. A review is not the same as a renewal or a mandatory reconsideration.
They will ask you to provide more information about the impact of your health conditions or disability. They may request updated supporting information. They may decide to stop your PIP or change the amount you have been awarded. You can apply for a mandatory reconsideration of a review decision.
DWP are carrying out an administrative review of some PIP decisions. If you received your PIP decision on 21 August 2020 to 17 May 2021, DWP may choose to review your current PIP award. This is to make sure you’re being paid the right amount. A review is not the same as a renewal or mandatory reconsideration. This doesn't apply if your decision was made by a tribunal at appeal.
A case we supported has changed how a deaf person can get points under the PIP activity washing and bathing . Now, if a deaf person can't hear a standard smoke or fire alarm while in the shower, they can score two points. These two points can be the difference between someone getting PIP or not. Or someone getting the enhanced rate or not.
They may ask for more information about how you wash and bathe. Your deafness impacts whether you can wash and bathe safely if:
you remove hearing technology to shower
make sure there's someone else in the house when you shower
don’t close the bathroom door so you can be alerted to a fire alarm.
This should lead to you being awarded the two extra points. If you wear hearing aids but can still hear a smoke or fire alarm when you don’t have your hearing aids on in the shower, you won’t score these two points.
If you haven’t been given the extra two points for washing and bathing after an administrative review, but you think you should have been, you can apply for a mandatory reconsideration of the decision. We have more information about how to do this here.
If you’re contacted by DWP or you haven’t been but think you should be, get in touch with our free Helpline for advice and support.
Most PIP awards are given for a fixed amount of time, usually three or five years. If your PIP renewal date is coming up, DWP should automatically send you a renewal pack with a new claim form.
A renewal is different from a review. For a PIP renewal you need to fill in the new claim form as if you’re applying for PIP for the first time. Treat it as an entirely new application.
If you have any questions about PIP, contact our free Helpline. You can speak to one of our Helpline officers or book a virtual benefits appointment.