Applying for PIP
Many people with MS can claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – a benefit that can help cover the extra costs you may face if you need help doing everyday tasks or find it difficult to get around your home. PIP has two components, you can be awarded either or both of these components.
On this page you can find out if you qualify for PIP. Then, use the flowchart below to work your way through the stages of the claim. Then read more detailed information below about the steps involved.
Filling in the forms is quite complicated. If you can, get help from someone with a lot of experience with applying for PIP. A good place to turn to is an advice agency like Citizens Advice. Your nearest MS Society group can also find you help with your application.
Applying for PIP: step-by-step
Start your claim
Call the claim line on 0800 917 2222 or textphone 08100 917 7777 (between 8am-6pm Monday to Friday).You'll be asked some basic information and you’ll get a letter to tell you if you qualify or not.
You qualify for PIP
You qualify and will receive the ‘How my disability affects me’ form.
You have one month to complete the ‘How my disability affects me’ form.The answers you give on this form will help the decision makers decide whether or not you get PIP.
If you don’t qualify, you’ll get a letter to tell you why. For support or help, you can contact local advice agencies like Citizens Advice.
Once you’ve sent your form back, you’ll be contacted to arrange a face-to-face consultation with a health-care professional. You must be given at least seven days’ notice of the time and place of the consultation.
What to expect
At the face-to-face consultation the health care professional will ask questions about your day-to-day life, your home, how you manage at work if you have a job, and about any social or leisure activities that you engage in (or have had to give up). They will often ask you to describe a typical day in your life.
When answering, explain your difficulties as fully as you can.
- Tell them about any pain or tiredness you feel, or would feel while carrying out each activity, and after you have carried it out
- Consider how you would feel if you had to do the same task repeatedly
- Tell them if you need reminding or encouraging to complete each activity
Don’t overestimate your ability to do things. If your condition varies, let them know about what you are like on bad days as well as good days. The health care professional’s opinion should not be based on a snapshot of your condition on the day of the consultation. They should consider the effects of your condition over time.
Before the consultation ends, the health care professional should give you an overview of their findings and invite you to ask questions and add or clarify anything you wish. You will not receive a formal decision at the consultation of whether you will be awarded PIP.
PIP not awarded
If your claim is turned down, you'll get a letter telling you why. The DWP will also usually call you to discuss this, but you can call the number on the letter if you’d like to talk the decision through before they do.
Are you unhappy about your PIP assessment or decision? Contact our MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000 to speak to our Benefits Adviser about complaining or making an official appeal.
Our MS Helpline team can also help you find contact details for the organisations in charge of PIP assessments.
Ask for mandatory reconsideration
If you’re not happy with the decision you can ask for a mandatory reconsideration. This means your case will be looked at again. When requesting a mandatory reconsideration, you have the right to ask for copies of all the evidence that was used in making the decision. You can also ask them not to take any further action until you have had the chance to respond to that evidence.
If your PIP claim has been rejected you might also want to send a reconsideration letter to the DWP. The organisation AdviceNow has a tool available to help you write your letter.
If you are in any doubt about what might happen during a reconsideration, you can seek advice from a local advice centre, such as Citizens Advice, or call the MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000 and speak to our Benefits Adviser.
If you’re not awarded PIP after the mandatory reconsideration and are still unhappy, you can appeal to an independent tribunal.
You have one calendar month from the date of the mandatory reconsideration notice to lodge an appeal to the HM Courts and Tribunal Service. The form you need is the SSCS1 – and the mandatory reconsideration notice will have details of how to get an SSCS1 form.
You’ll need to attach a copy of the mandatory reconsideration decision to your SSCS1 form before you send it off (you can only appeal once you’ve first asked for a mandatory reconsideration).
As well as giving details of the decision you’re appealing against, you must also state clearly why you disagree with the decision. State what rate of PIP you consider you should have been awarded and your reasons for this.
PIP is awarded
If your claim is successful, you'll receive a letter telling you what rate of the PIP you'll get. The award will usually be set for a fixed period of time. This could be for a short period of one or two years, or a longer period of five or 10 years.
The award will only be for an indefinite period if you get the higher rate for both components and the case manager considers it unlikely that your condition will change in the future.
PIP reassessments for people over state pension age
From Friday 31 May 2019, people who make new claims for PIP and get an award that expires after they reach state pension age will no longer be reassessed for the benefit. Instead, they'll receive an ongoing award with a light-touch review every 10 years.
This change only applies to new claimants.
If you make a new claim for PIP from Friday 31 May and your award ends after you turn 65 you'll be given an ongoing award. For example, if you're 62 years old at the time you make the claim, and it's decided your award should be for 5 years, this means your award will end after you are 65. You'll instead get an ongoing award.
If it's decided your award will only be for 2 years, you'll still need to have another assessment as you'll still be under the pension age.
If your needs change after you get an ongoing award, you'll still be able to ask for another assessment by contacting the DWP, regardless of how old you are at the time.
If you're already claiming PIP and are over 65, we'll keep you updated when the government stops reassessments for you.
The state pension age is slowly going up from 65. Find what your state pension age will be by using the calculator at https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age or call the Future Pension Centre on 0345 3000 168.
To qualify for PIP
- you must: be aged 16-64 when you claim. You'll not be able to claim PIP once you're 65, but you'll be able to stay on PIP if you claimed or received it before you reached 65. If you’re over 65 and have care needs, you can claim Attendance Allowance instead
- children under 16 with care needs of mobility problems can claim DLA
- you must live in the UK (PIP is now also available in Northern Ireland)
- you must also meet the disability conditions. The disability conditions look at your daily living needs and your mobility needs
If you're unsure whether or not you qualify, call the claim line on 0800 917 2222 or textphone 0800 917 7777.
The two parts of PIP
The daily living component: this helps to cover the extra costs that you may face if you need help doing everyday tasks.
The mobility component: This helps to cover extra costs that you may face if you have difficulties in getting around. It's paid at two different rates - a standard and an enhanced rate. The rate you are paid depends on whether your ability to carry out mobility activities is limited or severely limited.