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Personal Independence Payment

About Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment is a new benefit that is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance for people aged between 16 and 64. It’s for people who have extra costs because of a disability or health condition. You may also qualify if you need help looking after yourself or getting around. 

It’s not means-tested, so getting it doesn’t depend on how much money you or your husband, wife or civil partner have coming in. It’s not based on whether you have paid National Insurance contributions either.

Personal Independence Payment is almost always paid on top of any earnings or social security benefits or other income you may have, and it isn’t affected by savings or capital you may have. You can claim Personal Independence Payment whether you’re in or out of work. 

You don’t need to have a carer, or someone helping you, to qualify for Personal Independence Payment. What matters is the help you need. You may spend it on anything you like. Personal Independence Payment can also help you to get other benefits.

Other similar benefits

If you live in Northern Ireland, read our information about Disability Living Allowance because Personal Independence Payment has not been introduced there yet.

If you’re 65 or over you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance. If you’re under 16 you may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance instead. If you’re already getting Disability Living Allowance you may be able to stay on this benefit or you may have to move on to Personal Independence Payment.

Personal Independence Payment for people living with a terminal illness

If you’re living with a terminal illness you may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment under the special rules. This means if you’re not likely to live for more than six months, your claim will be fast-tracked and if you qualify you’ll get the benefit at the highest rate. This timeframe is set by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Social Security Agency (SSA). 

Personal Independence Payment for people who don’t meet the special rules

Personal Independence Payment is paid because of the effect of a disability on your everyday life, and the care you need because of this. This part of Personal Independence Payment is called daily living needs. If you have difficulty in getting around, this is referred to as your mobility needs.

You can be awarded Personal Independence Payment once you have had daily living needs or mobility needs for at least three months, and if you expect to continue having these needs for at least another nine months. Even if you have a terminal illness, you’ll have to claim in this way if you're likely to live for more than six months

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How much could you get?

Personal Independence Payment has two components:

  • daily living component for help participating in everyday life
  • mobility component for help with getting around

Each component of Personal Independence Payment has two rates, a standard rate and an enhanced rate.

Daily living component

  • Standard rate: £55.10 a week.
  • Enhanced rate: £82.30 a week.

Mobility component

  • Standard rate: £21.80 a week.
  • Enhanced rate: £57.45 a week.

Limited or severely limited ability

The rate that you’re paid depends on whether your ability to carry out everyday activities or your mobility is limited or severely limited. This is tested under the Personal Independence Payment assessment, except if you’re claiming under the special rules. In this case the Personal Independence Payment assessment below only applies to mobility, and you should get the daily living component at the enhanced rate without an assessment.

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How to claim

Starting your claim

You can start your claim by phoning the Personal Independence Payment claim line free on 0800 917 2222 (textphone 0800 917 7777). During this call, which should last about 15 minutes, you’ll be asked for some basic information, including questions relating to the special rules if they’re relevant. The date of your claim will be the date of this phone call, as long as you provide the information required. There’s no possibility of backdating a claim for Personal Independence Payment to an earlier date.

You’ll need to give the following information when you call:

  • Your full name, address and phone number.
  • Your National Insurance number.
  • Your bank or building society account details.
  • Your nationality or immigration status.
  • Contact details of your GP or other health professionals caring for you.
  • If you’ve stayed in a hospital or other type of residential care, the dates and details.
  • If you’ve been abroad for four weeks or more in the last three years (including the dates and reasons for travel).

You can ask for a paper claim form if you’re unable to start the claim by phone. You can’t apply online at the moment.

Please note that Personal Independence Payment hasn’t been introduced to Northern Ireland yet.

How your disability affects you

If you’re not claiming under the special rules you should be sent a form to complete called How your disability affects you. The form is designed to help you describe how your condition affects your daily life. You have one month to return the form.

If you’re claiming under the special rules, you’ll be asked to send a factual statement (called a DS 1500 report) from your doctor or consultant to the DWP when you make the claim. Your doctor should have copies of DS 1500 forms.

Can you claim on someone else’s behalf?

Someone else can make the first phone call to claim on your behalf, for example a family member or a support worker, but you need to be with them when they do unless they’re making a claim for you under the special rules.

If you’re living with a terminal illness within the definition used by the DWP you don’t have to make the claim or be present when it’s made. You don’t even need to know it’s being made. Another person, including your doctor, can claim the benefit Personal Independence Payment on your behalf, for example if you’re not well enough to complete the claim form, or haven’t yet been told the full nature of your condition.

If you qualify

If you’ve claimed the benefit under the special rules, a DWP decides if you meet its criteria. This decision will be based on information provided by the healthcare professional assigned to your case and by your doctor or consultant in the DS1500 report.

If the decision maker decides that you qualify under the special rules, you’ll be awarded the Personal Independence Payment daily living component at the enhanced rate. Awards are usually made for three years, so they can be looked at again after that time.

If the DWP thinks that you don’t qualify under the special rules, they’ll go on to consider your claim under the ordinary assessment for the benefit.

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The assessment process

If you’re not claiming under special rules, you'll be assessed using the ordinary process. The assessment is based on your ability to perform 12 activities. These activities relate to your daily living needs and your mobility needs.

The 10 daily living activities 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.

The two mobility activities are:

  1. Planning and following journeys.
  2. Moving around.

Within each of these activities is a range of tasks of varying degrees of difficulty. You score points when you’re not able to complete a task described. The number of points you score will determine whether or not you’re entitled to either component of Personal Independence Payment and, if you are, at what rate.

There’s a full description of how many points can be scored in the assessment and how many you need to get an award of Personal Independence Payment in Disability Rights UK’s guide to making a claim  .

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If your claim is accepted

Personal Independence Payment is normally paid into your bank account every four weeks in arrears. However, it may be paid weekly in advance if you qualify under the special rules. You can spend it on what you like and you don’t have to spend it on disability-related needs. Payment normally stops if you go into hospital or a care home for 28 days or longer.

If your claim is rejected

If you’re refused Personal Independence Payment or you disagree with the DWP’s written decision, you have one month within which to ask for the decision to be reconsidered. If you’re not happy with the outcome, you have a further month to appeal. See our appeals page for more on reconsiderations and appeals.

If you’re already getting Disability Living Allowance

Everyone who’s on Disability Living Allowance and was under 65 years old on 8 April 2013 will eventually be moved on to Personal Independence Payment between now and 2017. The date this happens for you will depend on why your claim has to change. Your claim will need to change:

  • when you renew it (on the expiry of your existing fixed term award)
  • if you need to amend it because of a change of circumstances, for example, because your health is worse or your illness has become terminal
  • because you turn 16
  • if you’re invited to claim Personal Independence Payment by the DWP.

If the DWP moves you from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment and your claim for Personal Independence Payment is refused, or you disagree with the DWP written decision, you have one month to ask for the decision to be reconsidered. If you’re not happy with the outcome, you have a further month to appeal. If you’re aged 65 or more at the time, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance instead of Personal Independence Payment.

If you’re already getting Personal Independence Payment and become terminally ill

If you’re already getting Personal Independence Payment, but not at the enhanced rate and become terminally ill, you don’t have to make a separate claim under the special rules. Instead, contact the Personal Independence Payment helpline or write to the address on your award letter and ask for the award to be upgraded.

If you’re successful, the new higher rate of Personal Independence Payment can be backdated to when you first became terminally ill. You’ll need to tell the DWP within one month of this date to get the claim backdated. If it has been longer than one month, the higher rate can still be fully backdated if special circumstances caused the delay. If this happens, you should contact the DWP and explain why it has taken you longer, for example because you were too ill or distressed to cope.

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