It’s important to make sure you get everything you are entitled to. Disabled people can access a number of benefits, including:
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is extra money for everyday life. This is for if you have an impairment or health condition and are between 18 and 64. It is not effective by other benefits you may claim. Income savings and work status do not affect your eligibility.
The DWP makes the decision about the amount of PIP you get and for how long. PIP is made up of two components which are paid at either a standard or enhanced rate. The two components are:
- Daily living. This is for the extra help you need with everyday tasks, this can include preparing food, washing, getting dressed and communicating with others.
- Mobility is for the extra help you need getting around, this can include moving, planning a journey or following a route
Making a claim;
Making a claim for Personal Independence Payment takes a long time. The application to getting your money can take up to four months. Start your claim by calling DWP who will send you a form, PIP cannot be claimed online. If you have an impairment that makes writing difficult, you can ask that any future forms be emailed to you. You need to complete the form, including any evidence you have from medical professionals relating to your impairment or health condition. It can be helpful to contact a charity such as Citizens Advice, who can support you throughout your claim, including any appeals. You can access support either by telephone or online chat.
Unless you have a terminal illness, you’ll usually have to attend an assessment to complete your PIP claim. A health professional carries out these assessments, they are not a diagnosis of your condition. They give opportunity to talk about how your health condition affects you. It is important to prepare as the DWP will use evidence from the assessment to decide if you can get PIP. You should be prepared to know about how your impairment affects you, even if you’ve detailed it on the claim form. This can be hard, so it’s helpful to make notes beforehand as it can really help if you can talk about;
- What kind of things create barriers, for example; walking up steps without help or remembering to go to appointments
- How your impairment affects you from day to day
- What a bad day is like for you – for example, ‘On a bad day, I can’t walk at all because my impairment effects my knees, causing a lot of pain’
It can be a good idea to take a copy of your PIP claim form so you can refer back to it and ensure you tell the assessor everything you want them to know. You can take someone with you to the assessment, this can be a family member or a support worker.
What if I don’t agree with DWP’s decision?
You can challenge the decision made about your claim if you disagree with it. You can challenge the Department for work and pensions about PIP if:
- you were awarded a lower rate than you expected
- you think your award isn’t long enough
Apply for a mandatory reconsideration
The best way to do this is to use the CRMR1 mandatory reconsideration request form on Gov.UK, or write a letter to the DWP explaining why you disagree with the decision. While you can call to ask reconsideration, it is often better to have everything in writing if you decide to call, follow up with a letter. Contact details will be on the decision letter from the DWP. You need to apply for a mandatory reconsideration within one month of the date on your decision letter.
If you missed the one month deadline, it can still be worth asking the mandatory reconsideration, as long as it’s within 13 months of the decision. You’ll need to explain your reasons for being late, such as being ill meant you couldn’t apply in time. Use your form or letter to explain why your application is late, as well as why you disagree with their decision.
Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
Employment Support Allowance (ESA) is for if your health condition or impairment effects how much you can work. ESA replaces incapacity benefit. It can help with living costs if you are unable to work and provide support to get back into work if you’re able to. You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed. To receive payments you will need to have at least 2 years of full national insurance contributions, this can come from employment or from national insurance credits you receive whilst on benefits whilst out of work.
You’ll need to show that your health condition makes it difficult to work.
Universal credit is to support you if you’re on a low income or out of work to help with living costs. This is paid monthly.
If you have a health condition or impairment, you might be entitled to an extra amount. This will depend on how your impairment affects the number of hours you can work. If you work reduced hours due to a health condition, you can attend a Work Capability Assessment. This is similar to the assessment for Personal Independence Payment. It can mean that if you work a maximum of 16 hours a week due to an impairment, you would not be required to seek increased hours.
Based on the outcome of the assessment you’ll be placed under one of three categories;
- Fit for work
- You must actively search for employment
- Have limited capability for work
- This means that you may not be able to work currently due to a health condition or impairment, but can prepare for future employment, this could include writing a CV
- Have limited capability for work-, and work-related activity
- This means your impairment or health condition means you cannot work, you do not need to search for work or prepare for employment.
If you are already claiming universal credit, you can report a ‘Change of Circumstance’ by signing into your universal credit account.
Universal credit is available to apply for online. Access for British Sign Language video relay service can also be found on the page.
Attendance allowance is to help with extra costs if you require someone to help look after you due to an impairment or health condition and are state pension age, or older.
You could get £60 or £89.60 a week. The rate you are awarded depends on the level of care you require because of your impairment. You do not need to have someone actively caring for you in order to claim.
These are extra amounts added to some benefits, these are:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseekers allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
This money should be automatically added to your benefit payments so you shouldn’t need to apply.
Below you’ll find links to more information and advice from external charities and organisations.
- Citizens Advice offers benefit advice and support. Find your local citizen’s advice.
- Disability Can do: Information on Welfare and Wellbeing
- A number of specialist charities also offer advice, such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People
- Scope 0808 800 3333 or textphone 18001 then 0808 800 3333 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mencap Cymru provide support to people with a learning difficulty. They can be called on 0808 808 1111