Personal independence payment (PIP)

A new benefit called personal independence payment is replacing disability living allowance (DLA) for adults aged 16-64. Initially it only applies to those making a new claim but from October 2013 it is gradually being extended to replace some existing DLA claims in certain postcode areas. DLA will continue as a seperate benefit for children aged under 16 years.

When will personal independence payment (PIP) be introduced?

  • June 2013 - since June, it has applied to all new claims by disabled adults over 16 years.
  • October 2013 - since 28 October, adults over 16 years whose existing award is coming to an end,or who report a change of circumstances or volunteer to claim PIP have started to be reassessed under the new system. However initially this will only apply in certain postcode areas. DLA claimants who turn 16 will also be reassessed under PIP, but only if they live in one of the designated postcode areas.
  • October 2015 - all other adults claiming DLA are expected to be reassessed for PIP from October 2015 onwards. 

These dates apply in England, Scotland and Wales. The date of PIP's introduction in Northern Ireland has yet to be finalised.

What will happen to your child's DLA claim when they turn 16?

This depends where in the country they live.

1- Wales, the West or East Midlands or East Anglia

If your child gets DLA and lives in a 'designated area', the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will contact them shortly after their birthday to invite them to claim PIP. The original designated areas were: Wales, the West Midlands,the East Midlands or East Anglia.

This means that young people getting DLA in these areas are already being invited to claim PIP when they turn 16.

2- Southern Scotland and the Borders

From 13 January children living in areas in southern Scotland and the Borders, with a postcode that begins with:

  • DG
  • EH
  • TD
  • or ML have also been invited to claim PIP when they reach 16 years.

3- Northern England

Then from 3 February children living in postcode areas in northern England, with a postcode that begins with:

  • CA,
  • DL,
  • HG
  • LA, or
  • YO

will be invited to claim PIP when they reach 16 years.  

The law states young people turning 16 years in these designated areas do not have the option of staying on DLA, unless they get DLA under the special rules for the terminally ill. However despite what the law says, the DWP have indicated that where someone is turning 16 in the relevant areas of Southern Scotland or North England and has already been sent an adult DLA renewal claim form, they will be allowed to reclaim DLA rather than PIP.

Contact our helpline for more advice if this applies to your son or daughter.

If your child's current DLA award is due to run out on their sixteenth birthday and they are invited to claim PIP, new rules will allow these DLA payments to continue for a temporary period, until a decision has been made on your son or daughter's PIP claim.  

A postcode map of the designated areas is available from the DWP website.

Gradually PIP will be extended to all other areas. However in the meantime if your son or daughter is turning 16 and lives elsewhere they should continue to fall under the DLA system. If their current DLA award is ending on their sixteenth birthday, they will be asked to make a renewal claim for DLA as an adult.

How similar is PIP to DLA?

The new PIP appears similar to DLA in many ways. It is not means-tested, nor based on national insurance contributions and can be paid to those both in and out of work. In addition:

  • it has two separate components - a 'mobility component' based on your ability to get around, and a 'daily living component' based on your ability to carry out key activities necessary to participate in daily life
  • there are special rules for the terminally ill
  • those getting the enhanced rate of the mobility component of  PIP can make use of the Motability scheme
  • an award of the daily living component opens the way for a carer to claim carer's allowance.

While it looks similar in some respects, PIP uses an entirely new set of criteria to decide whether someone qualifies for the benefit. The way in which PIP is assessed is also very different to DLA. As well as having to complete a claim form and questionnaire, most people will be asked to attend a face to face assessment undertaken by a health care professional. This will not be your own GP but a health professional working on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions.

How do you qualify for PIP?

PIP uses a points-based system to decide whether someone qualifies for the benefit, and if so, at what rate. You receive points depending on the level of difficulty you experience in the following areas:

  • 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
  • planning and following journeys
  • moving around.

The number of points you score in the last two categories are added together to decide if you get the mobility component, and at what rate. Your scores in the other categories are added together to decide whether you get the daily living component.

Further information

For more detailed information on PIP see our guide to Personal independence payment and other benefits at 16. Advice about any aspect of PIP is also available from our freephone national helpline on 0808 808 3555, Monday to Friday, 9:30am-5:00pm.