By Maddy Hubbard, Financial Advocate for the North West
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a new benefit for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions. Many people currently getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are being asked to move to PIP and have to do a new application. We know that it’s not easy making a PIP application if you don’t have support. DWP statistics show us that 40% of people moving to PIP got a higher award, but 48% got a reduced award or no award at all. The number of people being asked to move to PIP is also growing so lots more people will be affected by this change soon.
At Dosh, we have been learning from each other’s experience, knowledge and skills to make sure we make the best possible application for each person we support.
Here are our top five tips
1. Supporting evidence
The best thing you can do to strengthen your application is to send as much supporting evidence as possible. Even if a report is 9 years old, if it backs up what you’re saying then you should include it.
Types of evidence you could use are:
2. The PIP2 form
Once you’ve made an application over the phone, you get sent a PIP form in the post to tell the DWP about your disability and how it affects you.
This form is really important! Anything you talk about in the form has to be considered by the Decision Maker – more than your supporting evidence or what you say at the medical.
That means that if you say you have difficulty walking, but don’t explain it any more on the form, the assessor can make a decision based on their observations of you. But if you talk about additional difficulties of walking in low light, dealing with kerbs and uneven surfaces, these factors all have to be considered.
99% of the people Dosh support have stayed at maximum or increased their award, with the average increase being around £2,600 per year.
3. Descriptors and points
The PIP form includes a list of questions about everything from reading to budgeting. Each question has a list of answers and points, ranging from 0 if you can do something without help to 12 if you can’t do any part of the activity because of your disability.
Before filling out the form, have this list in front of you. You can find it online in lots of places. A website we find helpful is www.PIPinfo.net
Go through each question and decide which criteria you are arguing for, and how many points you should score, before you start filling out the form.
The main thing to hold in mind when filling out the form is the “and how it affects you”. Everything you say has to be about something that happens in day-to-day life at least 50% of the time and must be linked to your disability.
You need to show that because of your disability, you can’t do something ‘reliably’. By this they mean (one or more of) safely, repeatedly, in a reasonable time and to an acceptable standard. Explanations of these criteria are also on www.PIPinfo.net
For example, if you had never been taught to cook and so wouldn’t feel confident making yourself a meal from fresh ingredients (question 1), you wouldn’t score any points. You need to show that the reason you can’t cook for yourself is because your disability means that you can’t do it ‘reliably’.
But our most important bit of advice is this. Don’t just say you can’t do something, tell a story!
The person reading the form will be a ‘Health Care Professional’, but they could be a physiotherapist, paramedic, or someone else with no direct experience of your illness or disability. You need to make it as easy for them as possible to understand your situation and give you the right award.
Anecdotes illustrate the difficulty you have with something, adding weight to what you are saying. Alongside that, stories can be used to show the worst possible scenario if something went wrong or you didn’t have the help you need.
We hope that by sharing our knowledge and experiences, more people will understand how to make the best possible application and get the right award. If you would like any more help with your PIP application or other benefits, try our money check or appointeeship and advocacy support.
We wish you the best of luck!