The Personal Independence Payment is here. Are you ready?

This month the government is rolling out reassessments for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants with long term awards. They will invite people living in all areas of the country on a random basis.  Until the end of 2017 everyone on DLA who is over 16 and was born after 8 April 1948 will be invited to claim PIP.   It is a huge change for many people and understandably a big worry.  PIP has been around for two and a half years and although it is too early to say how deafblind people will be affected, our preliminary research shows that the vast majority, will get the same or even higher awards compared to DLA.

Here are some things you should know to be prepared:

 

You do not have to do anything until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) invites you to claim PIP.  When you get a letter from them, you’ll have 28 days to make a new claim.  If you recently moved  house and did not let the DWP know, make sure you do, so that their letter can reach you.  If a person has an appointee (someone who manages benefits on their behalf) the letter will be sent to their appointee.

To start your claim for PIP you need to call the DWP and answer several questions, including questions about your contact details, bank details and information about access requirements.  If you are not able to use the telephone, it is possible to call or write to them and ask for a paper form, which you will have to fill in and post to the DWP.  If you need information in an alternative format or help filling in the form you will need to let the DWP know at this stage.  You might also wish to leave your mobile number to get text messages about your PIP assessment.

After you’ve made the initial claim, the DWP will post a long paper questionnaire to you.  The form is called “How Your Disability Affects You”.  Sense produced a guide on filling in the “How Your Disability Affects You Form”

The guide will help you to understand PIP and answer the questions in the best possible way.  You can also read more about the application process on our website.

After receiving your “How Your Disability Affects You” form, the DWP will pass it to Atos or Capita for assessment, where a health professional will look at all the evidence and write a report for the DWP.   At this stage some people will be invited to a face to face assessment.

It is important to remember however that not everybody will have a face to face assessment and there are things you can do to make it more comfortable.  First of all, remember if a health professional has enough information to write a report, they will not invite you to a face to face assessment.  So we strongly advise you to send additional evidence with your claim form. This evidence should describe how your impairment affects your ability to do PIP activities, for instance your ability to communicate verbally, read or move around or how it affects your day-to day life.  It could include your care plans, letters from medical professionals or statements from professionals who support you.

If you have been invited to a face to face consultation, but will struggle to get there by public transport, let Atos or Capita know, they might pay for your taxi or offer you a home assessment.

You can take someone along to your assessment, and we would advise you to do so.

If you need communication support during the assessment, Atos or Capita should arrange this, but make sure they know about your requirements ahead of time.

If you need help or have questions about PIP, get in touch with Sense

 

Svetlana Kotova

Author: Svetlana Kotova

Policy Advisor (Welfare Benefits & Employment) for Sense Public Policy

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