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Transferring from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments - Guidebook

We have created the guidebook below, with the assistance of advisors from the Citizens Advice, to provide useful information on the transition from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Personal Independence Payment (PIP)?
  3. How will my DLA transfer to PIP?
  4. How to make a claim for PIP?
  5. What happens next?
  6. When will I need to return the PIP form?
  7. Where can I get help completing the PIP form?
  8. How do I complete the PIP form?
  9. What happens when I send off the form?
  10. What will happen at the face to face assessment?
  11. Here are some tips for the face to face assessment?
  12. Receiving and understanding the decision
  13. How much will I get paid?
  14. Can I get help with a car under the Mobility scheme?
  15. I haven't been awarded the Enhance Rate of Mobility Component for PIP, will I lose my car?
  16. I disagree with the decision, can I challenge it?
  17. I have received a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice but my award has not changed, what can I do?
  18. I have sent off my SSCS1 form, what happens next?
  19. What if I was unsuccessful at a First Tier Tribunal?
  20. Additional help that PIP may entitled you to
  21. Sources of help

Introduction

We are aware at LPUK that the change from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) is something that our members are worried about how it will affect them. Therefore, we have devised this guide to act as an aid to give you information about the process of transferring from DLA to PIP as well as useful things to think about when completing the form.

What is Personal Independence Payments (PIP)?

PIP is a non means-tested, non contribution based benefit which is paid to individuals aged between 16 and 64 that have a long-term health condition which results in mobility and/or care needs. It is designed to help support people with a condition to live independently and support them with additional costs that may be associated with doing this. You can receive PIP even if you are working, providing you meet the eligibility criteria.  

PIP is replacing DLA. Everyone that was under 65 on the 8th April 2013 and is in receipt of DLA will be required to transfer to PIP, even if you were granted an indefinite award for DLA.

If you were aged 65 or over on the 8th April 2013 and you are in receipt of DLA then this should continue as normal.

New applications for DLA are only available to children under the age of 16 with mobility and/or care needs, that meets the eligibility criteria. When the child turns 16 they will be required to make a claim for PIP.

How will my DLA transfer to PIP?

You will receive a letter from the DWP telling you that your DLA claim is coming to an end and they will invite you to make a claim for PIP within 4 weeks. Your DLA will not be automatically transferred to PIP, you have to physically make a telephone claim for it. If you do not make a claim for PIP with the 4 weeks then your DLA award will automatically end and if you have a Motability car you will need to give it back within 7 weeks.

If you make a claim for PIP within 4 weeks of receiving the letter then you will continue to receive your DLA throughout the claims process, until you receive your decision letter saying whether you have been awarded PIP or not.

How to make a claim for PIP?

To make a claim for PIP you will need to call the PIP new claims line on 0800 917 2222 which is open Monday to Friday from 8am-6pm. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles.

It normally takes around 4 months from starting the application to reach a decision as to whether you have been awarded PIP. However a claim can be processed much more quickly under special rules if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness.

When you ring to make a claim for PIP you will speak to a DWP adviser, who will conduct an interview over the phone for about 20 minutes, where they will ask for the following information from you:

    • Your full name, address and phone number
    • Your National Insurance number
    • Your bank or building society account details
    • Contact details of your GP or other health professional you see
    • The dates and details of any recent stay in a hospital or residential care
    • Your nationality or immigration status
    • If you’ve been abroad for more than 4 weeks at a time within the last 3 years, they will ask for details of this

Therefore before you ring, it is important that you have as much of this information ready to hand as it will make the call easier and minimise any issues.  

If someone is ringing on your behalf you will need to go through security and give verbal authority for that nominated person to speak on your behalf. Alternatively anyone ringing on your behalf must have the right to act as an appointee for dealing with your benefits.

It is much easier to make the initial application over the phone, but if you cannot do this you can request a PIP1 form be sent out to complete the above information, by writing to:

Personal Independence Payment New Claims

Post Handling Site B

Wolverhampton

WV99 1AH

What happens next?

Once you have made the initial telephone call, you will then be sent a PIP2 form, known as a ‘How your disability affects you form?’. The form will ask a series of questions about your condition and how it affects your day to day life with regards to your mobility and performing daily activities.

When will I need to return the PIP form?

When you receive the PIP2 form you will have a deadline of normally 4 weeks to complete and return it. The deadline will be stated on the front of the form.  

Where can I get help for completing the PIP form?

If you feel that you will have difficulty with completing the form, you can approach your local Citizens Advice to request an appointment with a Welfare Benefits Caseworker for assistance, or there may be a Law Centre or local advice agency in your area that may be able to help.  If you are aged over 50 then your local Age UK may be able assist you.

You can find your local advice agency via the Scope website.

If you need help it is best to approach one of the agencies mentioned above as soon as possible, due to the high demand they experience, to try to ensure you can get an appointment before the deadline. If you cannot get an appointment before the deadline DON’T WORRY, as you can ring the DWP and request a 14 day extension, which they will normally grant, if you explain that you have approached one of the above agencies to help you.

How do I complete the PIP form?

Completing a PIP2 form can feel quite scary as first when you look at it.  Our advice is, don’t panic - spend time reading through the form and try to pace yourself. Don’t complete it in a rush, otherwise you may miss something important.

It can be helpful to make a diary of things you do each week such as: getting washed and dressed, preparing a cooked meal, going to the toilet, getting around etc. and noting down the following:

    • What was the activity?
    • How long did it take to complete from start to finish?
    • Did you experience any pain, discomfort or breathlessness?
    • Did you need to need to use any aids, appliances or adaptations to enable you to perform the activity?
    • Did you need help from another person to do it and what did they do?  If you didn’t receive help from someone, do you feel that you ideally would need help from someone to do it to a safe, reasonable and acceptable level and why?

This will get you to think about your condition and how it affects you, ways you do things and the items and help that you need to enable you to try and be independent and manage life with your condition more effectively.

In the dwarfism community we are often used to trying to adapt to our environment and the methods we use to cope become ‘normal’ to us, as they are part of our standard everyday life.  The criteria for most of the PIP is whether you can perform an activity to a safe, reasonable and acceptable standard. There are things that we do ourselves to be as independent as possible, which is not a negative thing, as it is important to be positive in you daily life, however it is important when you complete the form that you include as much detail and information as possible about how you perform the activities, the time it takes and any pain/discomfort you experience, so it helps to build an accurate picture of your daily life.

The form asks you several questions about your ability to carry out certain daily activities and gives you space to write further information. If you do not feel that there is enough space on certain sections on the form to put down all the information, then use extra sheets of paper, numbering them and noting down which question it relates to. You will also need to put your National Insurance number on each sheet of additional paper you use, so they can identify it relates to your claim. It is better to make sure you have written all the appropriate detail needed as it helps to improve the chances of making a successful claim.

When answering the questions it is best to approach them by considering the following:

HOW? - How you carry out the activity mentioned or whether you are unable to do it.

HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU? - Do you experience pain, discomfort, exhaustion or breathlessness?

DO YOU NEED HELP? - Do you receive help or assistance from another person and why?  Do you 

need to use an aid/appliance or adaptation to enable you to perform the activity and why do you need it? If you do not have this help then how does it makes things harder for you? What effect would there be if you did not have the help?

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? - How long does it take you to carry out the activity to a safe, reasonable and acceptable standard? If you experience pain, discomfort and exhaustion from doing it, how long does it take you to recover? Can you do the action repeatedly or do you need to take breaks?

In the following table we go through the questions on the form step-by-step, to give you an idea of what things to think about and include when completing the form. The guide is not going to be able cover every single possible scenario as there are different types of dwarfism and people have a range of conditions that affect them in different ways, however it should give you a good overview of what things you should consider when completing the form.

Question 1: Listing your health professionals

You need to include as much information as possible about any health professionals you see regarding your health conditions and the date of when you last saw them. This can include the following:

  • GP’s, Consultants and Nurses
  • Counsellors, Psychotherapists and Occupational Therapists
  • Care workers, Support Workers, Social Workers and Physiotherapists
  • Their address/location and contact details and the date of when you last saw them

It is important to include this information as the DWP rely upon having medical evidence in place when making a decision. If you have not seen your GP within the last 3 months then it’s best if you can to arrange another appointment with them and ask whether they are prepared to write a letter to detail your condition and how it affects you life, in support of your PIP claim.  

Your GP will normally charge for doing the letter and prices can vary from practice to practice, however if you are on a low income and in hardship they may offer to do it free of charge if you ask them.

The DWP may contact any health professionals listed to gather further medical evidence from them.

Question 2: listing your conditions, medications and treatments

For Q2a, write down all the conditions you have and the year they started.

For Q2b, if you take any medications then list them all. If you have a copy of your prescription list, then attach it as evidence and write your name and National Insurance number on it. Note down any treatments or therapies you have also, this can include things like Physiotherapy, Cortisone injections, Insulin injections, Acupuncture etc.

If you experience any side effects from taking your medication then note this down. You can even mention medications that you should take but don’t because of the side effects you experience.

Question 3: preparing a cooked meal

This is about whether you can prepare a simple meal for yourself using a hob or microwave.  

Things to consider when completing this section:

  • You should mention if you need to use an aid or appliance to help you cook safely e.g. whether you have to use a stool to reach, whether you have easy grip handles on your pans.
  • If your kitchen has lowered worktops and cabinets to enable you to reach items then this should be recorded on the form.  
  • Whether you have to sit down and take breaks because of pain or exhaustion.  
  • Are you able to open packages/tins of food or do you need assistance from another person.
  • Any difficulties with peeling and chopping vegetables should be discussed and whether you use an aid or adaptation to do this.  
  • Also note how long it takes for you do certain activities associated with preparing a cooked meal and whether you need support from another person. It often takes people with dwarfism a significantly longer time to do something to a safe and acceptable standard so highlight how much longer it takes you to do than a person of average height.  
  • If you avoid using vegetables that you have to chop and peel because you find it too difficult to do so and instead buy pre-prepared ones or microwavable steam bags then mention this.
  • If you have difficulty carrying pots and pans of boiling hot water, or you are prone to dropping things because of issues with gripping things with your hands then you should mention this and say that you are at risk of burning or scolding yourself and whether you need supervision or assistance from someone to do this safely.  
  • If you feel pain and discomfort when performing activities during cooking and preparing food then include specific details about this and how long it normally takes for you to recover from the activity.  
  • If you feel tired when preparing meals and so end up skipping meals due to lack of energy note this. If you end up preparing extra portions (or someone does this for you) so that you can heat them up later to make things easier for you when you are too tired or in a high degree of pain then note this.
  • You should note any help that you need that you don’t currently get that would enable you to prepare a cooked meal to safe, reasonable and acceptable standard.

Question 4: Eating and drinking

This part of the form is about how your condition affects your ability to eat and drink. This means including being able to cut up food into pieces, put it into your mouth and being able to chew and swallow it.

Things to consider and note on the form:

  • Whether you use any aids such as using weighted cups or adapted cutlery. 
  • Whether you need help with cutting up food from another person particularly things such as meat and why you need help e.g. for example limited strength in your hands or poor manual dexterity due to rheumatoid arthritis. You include things like whether you use plastic plates and cups because of having poor grip and being prone to dropping items. 
  • It should be noted whether someone has to physically feed you because you cannot put food or drink into you mouth and why you are unable to convey food or drink to your mouth.
  • You should add things like whether you need to use a feeding tube due to your condition.
  • If you are at risk of choking when eating and need to be supervised then record this on the form.
  • You should note whether you have to be prompted by another person to eat because of pain, discomfort, exhaustion or have a lack of motivation due to a mental health condition such as depression or eating disorder and so have to be encouraged to do so. You should mention whether or not if no-one is prompting you, you would skip meals or not eat meals regularly.
  • The length of time it takes to eat food should be mentioned and why it takes so long. This can be things like if you experience breathlessness because you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and so have to chew and swallow food slowly to minimise the risk of you choking.

Question 5: Managing treatments

This question is about whether you have difficulty with managing your treatments, monitoring your health and taking action to stop your condition getting worse.

Treatments means medications, treatments and therapies you have to help manage your condition.  This includes things like tablets, creams, lotions, eye drops, injections, liquids, inhalers and nebulisers, physiotherapy, osteopathy, dressings for wounds or ulcers, home dialysis, suppositories etc.

Things to consider and include on the form:

  • Do you have difficulties with remembering to take medication due to needing a large amount of medication or because of memory issues or mental health issues?  
  • You can mention whether you need an aid to help you manage your medication such as using things like a Dosette pills box or alarms/reminders on your phone/tablet to ensure you take the correct dosage at the right time. You should mention what negative consequences would happen if you didn’t use the aid e.g. risk of overdosing or risk of condition getting worse.
  • You should mention whether you need to be supervised, reminded or prompted by another person to take your medication or assistance with carrying out your treatment or therapy.
  • You should mention if you need help from another person with taking medication or carrying out physiotherapy exercises and consequences if you didn’t have this help e.g. physical or mental condition deteriorating, muscle wastage, likely to be in more pain or that it would take twice as long to manage your treatments yourself as someone without your condition.
  • If you do not have help or assistance with managing your treatments you should mention whether you have regularly forgotten to take medication, whether you have taken the incorrect amount and whether you have made your condition worse as a result of not being able to manage your treatments.

Question 6: washing and bathing

This question is about whether your condition makes it difficult for you to wash or bathe in a standard bath or shower.

Things to note when completing this question:

  • Do you need to use any aids or adaptations to enable you to have a bath or shower? For example, do you need to use grab rails to support yourself, whether you have a shower seat because you are unable to stand for long or have poor balance. Do you use a bath board or bath seat to enable you to lower yourself into the bath? Do you use a stool to be able to reach the sink to brush your teeth and wash your hands? If you use any of these things or need any of these items then mention why and how it would help or helps you.
  • You should mention if your bathroom has been specially adapted to meet your needs e.g. your bathroom has been made into a wet room due to mobility issues or grab rails have been installed.
  • Always note if you experience pain, discomfort, exhaustion or breathlessness from carrying out any activities associated with washing and bathing and how long it takes for you to carry it out. For example discussing whether you experience a lot of pain in particular areas of your body when getting into a bath because of your condition. Have you slipped or fallen as a result of your condition and injured yourself?
  • It should be mentioned if you have difficulties with washing a particular area of your body e.g. being unable to bend down due to back pain to wash the lower half of your body. Another example is being poor mobility in your arms and hands and being unable to reach to wash your back effectively or wash your hair.  
  • You should mention whether you use long/extended brushes to help you with reaching to wash certain areas such as your back or head. 
  • If you need help or assistance from another person to wash yourself or help with getting into the bath or shower then you should mention what the person does, why and how it helps you.

Question 7: Managing toilet needs

This question is about your ability to get on and off a toilet seat, clean yourself afterwards and if applicable manage your incontinence. This can be a personal and embarrassing question to answer but it is important that you are as honest as possible on the form about the difficulties you have so it builds an accurate picture of how your condition affects you.

Points to consider and note:

  • Whether you use any aids or adaptations to enable you to use the toilet.  Things can include whether you have a lowered or raised toilet, whether you use a stool to enable you to reach the toilet. Other things are whether you need to use grab rails to enable you to transfer to the toilet safely or to support you.  
  • You can mention things like whether when you go out you have to take a stool with you to enable you to reach the public toilets and have to use the disabled toilets for space and privacy.
  • You should mention how long it takes you to go to the toilet and whether you have to use a particular method to enable you to reach and use the toilet effectively.
  • Although it may feel embarrassing, it is important to note whether you have any accidents where you have to end up changing your clothes as a result of not being able to reach the toilet in time because of mobility issues, or due to problems with incontinence and whether you need help from someone to change your clothes.
  • If you have issues with incontinence it is important to record this and whether you use a device such as a catheter, stoma or colostomy bag, a commode or whether you need to wear incontinence pads.
  • Any help or assistance you receive from another person to enable you to get to and use the toilet effectively and clean yourself afterwards should be noted and why you need this.

Question 8: dressing and undressing

This question is about difficulties you have getting dressed and undressed.

Things to consider and include:

  • Do you have difficulties with fastening buttons, using zips? Is this because of poor manual dexterity or pain in your hands/arms. You should mention whether you tend to wear looser fitting clothes that are easy to pull on such as t-shirts, cardigans, trousers with expandable waists or jogging bottoms due to these difficulties.
  • You should mention whether you have difficulties with bending down to pull on socks and put on shoes, whether you have difficulties tying laces due to pain, discomfort or exhaustion. If you tend to wear shoes that are easy to slip on or have Velcro straps because of your condition, then note this on the form.
  • Are you able to reach to fasten your bra at the back? Do you need help or assistance from another person? Do you tend to wear a bra that hooks up at the front to enable you do this?
  • Any help that you receive from another person with getting dressed and undressed should be noted on the form and why.  
  • Emphasise whether there is any pain or discomfort you experience and where on your body if you are having to put on particular items of clothing.
  • Again it is important to record on the form how long it takes you to carry out this activity and if you need to stop and take breaks because of discomfort or exhaustion or whether you need time to recover after the activity.
  • You should note if there are any aids or devices that you use to enable you to get dressed and undressed e.g. some people use aids for putting on socks/stockings, shoehorns, zip pullers/cords, magnetic buttons, button hooks or dressing sticks.

Question 9: Communicating verbally

This question is about difficulties you have with speaking to others and being able to hear and understand what other people are saying to you.  

This section is aimed more at individuals who have conditions affecting speech such as more severe cases of cerebral palsy, clef palate, a stutter or stammer. It is also includes people who have difficulties with communicating or understanding others due to learning difficulties or a mental health condition such as severe depression or anxiety, Tourettes, autism or Asperger‘s Syndrome. Also, people with hearing impairments are included within this category.

Issues to consider and note for this section:

  • Do you require an interpreter as a result of hearing impairment? Do you use a hearing aid or amplifier to enable you to hear conversations? At times do you need to use a light-up doorbell so you know if someone is at the door or do you need a text phone to understand when someone is ringing your phone. You should mention whether are able to lip read or have difficulties with this. You should note down any aid or assistance you have and why you require it.
  • You should mention whether you need help or assistance from another person to communicate and understand people effectively, this includes interpreters. It should be mentioned if you have depression or anxiety whether you need someone to be with you to accompany for support and provide comfort and calm you down if you experience panic attacks or emotional distress.
  • Any speech therapy you have may be helpful to note.
  • If it takes a significantly longer time to be able to communicate and understand others, then this should be recorded.  
  • If you need support from another person you should mention what would happen if you didn’t get the assistance e.g. you would feel isolated, you would avoid talking to others, you wouldn’t be able to understand or follow conversations, you would misunderstand information, you would forget what someone told you or what you have said.
  • Include whether you find it difficult to process information and have issues with remembering what has been said.

Question 10: Reading

This question is about having a condition that causes difficulty with reading and understanding information in standard size text, reading signs and reading indoors and outdoors. This section relates to people who are blind or visually impaired.  

It also covers people who have difficulty with understanding written information or signs to a learning disability or a condition that results in cognitive and mental impairment. Please be aware that if you are able to read effectively using spectacles or contact lenses then these are not counted as an ‘aid’ and it is unlikely you will meet the criteria for this section.

Things to consider and note:

  • Do you need information to be printed in Braille or large print for you to be able to read it or do you use audio formats?
  • Mention whether you need to use any special lamps or lights to enable you to read. This can include using a blue screen for computers.
  • If you have difficulties with processing written information due to a condition and need to take breaks, then this should be mentioned and why you find it difficult to process information. You should include whether you experience certain symptoms that make it difficult for you to read such as blurred vision, dizziness, lapses of concentration, motion sickness or poor hand to eye coordination.
  • You should mention if someone has to help you to read or reads things for you and the reason why. If you are unable to understand signs and symbols such as an ‘emergency exit’ then this is important to note as this means you need someone to assist you with this, for your own health and safety.
  • Again if it takes significantly longer for you to read something then you should mention this and the reason why e.g. you have lapses of concentration or feel tired due to medication that makes you drowsy or you experience headaches/migraines that makes it difficult for you to concentrate.

Question 11: Mixing with other people

This question is about whether you have a condition that makes it difficult to meet with people and mix with them, judge situations and behave appropriately with others and form relationships with others. This question is aimed at people who suffer from mental health issues, anxiety, depression or psychological distress. It is not about mobility issues with going out as this is covered by question 14.

Things to consider and record on the form:

  • You should note that whether you avoid going out and engaging with others because of anxiety or psychological distress. Things to consider are whether you tend to go out at night to avoid other people or use alternative routes where you are less likely to come across others to minimise distress. You can mention things like whether you have avoided going to appointments or meetings due to fear or psychological/emotional distress.
  • Record whether you experience panic attacks if you meet with others and whether this occurs if you meet a group of people or are in a crowd, or whether this can occur just having one to one contact with someone.
  • It is important to note that if you have to have someone to accompany you to enable you to mix with others. You should record how having the presence of someone familiar with you helps you to mix with others e.g. they provide encouragement to speak to others, they help calm you down and provide comfort to prevent you becoming too distressed.
  • Does someone have to prompt you or reassure you to mix with and communicate with others? If the answer is yes, note this and what would happen if you were not prompted e.g. you would stay in the house and become isolated.
  • Any physiological symptoms you experience when mixing with others should be mentioned. You can mention things like whether you start sweating, get clammy hands, start stammering or stutter, find it difficult to give eye contact, have difficulty breathing, your body freezes.
  • You should mention whether you have difficulty controlling your behaviour around others i.e. you experience episodes of uncontrollable aggressive or disinhibited behaviour which may put you or others around you at risk. 

Question 12: Making decisions about money

This question is about how your condition impacts on your ability to make purchases and transactions. This includes things like paying in shops and restaurants, budgeting for items and budgeting for and paying your household bills such as council tax, rent, gas/electric, credit cards etc. Your difficulty with managing or making decisions about money has to be as a result of your condition or because you lack the mental capacity to do the activity.

This to consider and include:

  • Are you able to understand prices and how much things cost? Are you able to understand if you pay for something how much change you should receive?
  • Are you able to understand when you need to pay your bills and the consequence of not paying them? Are you able to budget and save for items?  For example someone that has a learning disability may not have the capability to understand how to manage their finances and so may need assistance from another person.
  • You should note whether you experience side effects as a result of managing your money/bills i.e. confusion, tiredness, panic attacks, anxiety.
  • If you need help from another person to manage your finances and household bills or you need someone to prompt you to do it, this should be recorded and why. The help they give you with this has to be set out clearly, that it is because you have difficulty with doing it as a result of your condition, for example: people who experience severe depression may lack the motivation to be able to manage their affairs and so get into financial difficulty and so need the support of someone else to prompt and encourage them to manage their bills, to prevent debt or negative consequences. You should mention whether someone has to physically pay bills for you.

Question 13: Going out

This question is about how your condition makes it difficult to plan and follow the route of a journey to a place that you don’t know. It also looks at whether you can plan or follow a bus or train route and also whether you are able to cope in places that you don’t know. It is also about whether you are able to leave the house because of distress or anxiety. This question is aimed at individuals that have sight or hearing difficulties, learning disabilities, autism, stress or anxiety. It is not concerned with your ability to walk as this covered by Question 14.

Things to consider and note:

  • If you find it difficult to cope with large crowds or loud noises this should be mentioned and how it affects you.
  • People with stress and anxiety should mention how this impacts on your ability to go out e.g. faint, sweating, being sick, confused or disorientated, become distressed
  • If you only attempt journeys during quiet times in the day when there is less busy due to anxiety or depression then mention this.
  • Note any difficulties with coping with unplanned changes to a journey for example a road closure, bus/train arriving late or it being cancelled etc and whether you would be able to cope with continuing the journey.
  • Any help that you receive from another person and how it helps you should be noted. Include things like whether you need to use a guide dog or specialist aid like a guide cane. Do you require assistance from another person to enable you to reach the correct destination at the right time and safely and to prevent you getting lost?  
  • For individuals with mental health conditions are you able to cope with using public transport on your own to get to an unfamiliar location, or would you be experiencing a high degree of anxiety or panic attacks.  Mention whether you would need help from another person to be able to go to an unfamiliar location, to ensure you get there safely and to keep you calm to prevent overwhelming psychological distress.
  • If you have attempted journeys but have been unable to complete them on your own, or even with someone familiar, then mention this as an example and what happened.
  • Note whether you are able to safely cross a road on your own or need assistance.
  • You should mention that if you drive whether you can do this on your own or need to use a vehicle with adaptations.

Question 14: Moving around

This question is about your ability to walk. Question 14a asks whether you can walk using a walking aid for less than 20 metres, 20-50 metres, 50-200 metres, 200 metres or more, or it varies. To give you an idea of the distances, 20 metres is the length of 2 buses, 50 metres is the length of 5 buses while 200 metres of the length of 20 buses.

Things to consider when completing this section:

  • You should mention if you need to use any aids to enable you to walk, when you use them and how often. This includes things like wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walking sticks, walking frames, trolleys, prosthetic limbs.   If you use a wheelchair specify whether you can wheel yourself in a manual wheelchair or whether you need someone to push you or whether you have to use an electric wheelchair or scooter instead. You can say things like you use a wheelchair when you go out because you are unable to walk far, but use a frame, trolley or stick indoors. Also note why you need them e.g. you have poor balance, you get tired easily, you experience pain and discomfort, you experience dizziness.
  • If you walk using an aid you should mention the way that you walk for example whether you have a limp or you shuffle or drag your feet, whether you experience stiffness.
  • It should be noted how long it takes you to walk a particular distance and whether you need to stop and take breaks because of pain, discomfort or breathlessness. If you have a break mention how long it takes for you to recover and continue.
  • Mention whether you can use stairs or find this difficult.  Mention any adaptations in your home such as stair lifts, widened doorways, grab rails etc.
  • Note whether you are at risk of falling or slipping.  Also note whether you need physical assistance or supervision from someone either indoors or outdoors when getting around to do this safely.  If you don’t have someone who is able to help you then you should discuss whether you avoid going out because of risk of injury or because you are unable to go far.
  • If you can only travel in an adapted vehicle or drive a vehicle with hand controls, extended pedals, ramps, lifts, hoists etc then record this.

Question 15: Additional information

This section is a blank page where you can put additional information about your condition that you feel that not been covered by the other questions.  It can be helpful to get someone who knows you really well such as a friend, family member, a carer or health professional to write comments about your condition, how it affects you and the help they provide or details of the help that they think you need.

If someone writes some comments for you on the form about how they help you then don’t waffle and try and keep it as specific as possible to the activities mentioned on the form.  Unfortunately they are not interested in whether someone helps you with doing shopping, washing your clothes or other housework like ironing and cleaning despite most of us having difficulty with doing these things which are a large part of running a household.

If you have a care plan or package in place then it may be helpful to note here how many carers you have and how often they come to assist you.

It may be helpful to note on this section whether you needed help with completing the form from someone because you had difficulty doing it yourself as a result of your condition for example because you have rheumatoid arthritis, a learning disability or difficulties concentrating due to medication or mental health condition.

If you need more space to write information then write it on any additional sheets of paper and make sure you put your National Insurance number on the top of each sheet and which question it relates to.

One of the last parts of the form will ask you about attending a face to face assessment. Any special requirements you need for your assessment should be notes e.g. whether it needs to be on ground level or wheelchair accessible because of mobility issues, whether you need an interpreter or signer. You should also mention if you have someone who will be attending the assessment with you and why.

The final thing you will need to do is to sign and date the declaration and make sure you have included copies of any supporting medical evidence, prescription list and additional sheets of paper you have written on. Once you have done this then you will be ready to send off the form in the pre-paid envelope that you will have been provided with.

What happens when I send off the form?

After you have sent off your PIP form in the pre-paid envelope you will have to attend a face to face assessment with a health professional. You will receive a letter telling you the date, time and location of where the assessment will be.

The face to face assessment normally takes place at your nearest Assessment Centre, however if it means it will take you longer than 90 minutes to travel there by public transport, then you can arrange for it to take place at another location or at your home. If your condition makes it too difficult for you to travel then you can make a request for the face to face assessment to take place at your home but you will normally need to supply evidence from your GP or consultant to support this.

You will have to attend the assessment, if you fail to do so then your claim will be rejected and will stop and you will have to start the whole process again, unless you have a good reason for not attending such as a death in the family. If you are unable to make the arranged assessment it is best to contact them in advance to request for it to be rescheduled to another date or time, however there normally has to be a valid reason for them to do this.

If you have to travel to your assessment then the cost of using public transport to get there or the cost of fuel and parking can be reimbursed. You will be required to provide receipts as proof of using public transport. If you cannot use public transport and have to use a taxi to get there then the cost of this may be reimbursed but you will need to get prior approval from the DWP. When you attend an assessment you will need to ask for a travel expenses claim form to be able to be reimbursed and return it with any receipts and evidence of your costs.

What will happen at the face to face assessment?

At the face to face assessment the health professional will ask you questions about the answers that you gave on the form, but will also gather information from what you say and do on the day.  It is important that the things that you say on the form are consistent with the things you say to the health professional and that you give as much detail as possible. It can be helpful to make some notes for yourself to prepare for the assessment.

Here are some tips for the face to face assessment

DON’T

  • When they ask you a question try not to just answer it with just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  Try to provide as much detail as you can about how your condition affects you and the difficulties you have.
  • Don’t let the health professional rush you.
  • The professional may carry out a physical examination during your assessment. If you do not feel comfortable with doing something you have the right to say no, don‘t feel pressured to do it if it is going to leave you in a lot of pain.
  • Don’t lie or over-exaggerate

DO 

  • Think about what you want to say before you say it and give as much detail as you can about your condition and how it affects you
  • If you do something during the examination then mention whether it has an effect on you, for example whether is causes you pain or it makes you feel tired or breathless.
  • Take your time
  • Make notes of what you want to say before the assessment to prepare
  • Show them any aids, appliances or adaptations you use if you can

If the assessment takes place at your home then the health professional may ask to have a look around, to see if there are any of the aids and adaptations that you have mentioned on the form.

You can ask to make an audio recording of the assessment, but permission must be granted before the assessment takes place as there are certain rules.

After the assessment the information written by the health professional and what you put on the form will be used to decide whether you will be entitled to PIP.

Receiving and understanding the decision

After the assessment you will receive a telephone call and letter in the post telling you whether you have been awarded PIP.

PIP has two components; the Daily Living component and the Mobility component. The Daily Living component looks at the difficulty you have with performing day to day activities such as getting washed and dressed, preparing a cooked meal, managing medication, communicating with others and managing toilet needs etc. The Mobility component looks at how far you can walk and also whether you can plan and follow the route of a journey.

Eligibility for the benefit is based on you scoring points and your letter should tell you the amount of points you can score and for which activity. Each component is scored separately and each component has a standard rate and an enhanced rate.  

To be entitled to the standard rate you will need to have scored 8 points. To be entitled to the enhanced rate you will need to have scored 12 points.

Your DLA will stop at this point and will be replaced by PIP, provided you have been awarded it.

If you score less than 8 points on either the Daily Living component or the Mobility component then you will not be entitled to that component, for example if are awarded 12 points for the Mobility component but only 6 points for the Daily Living component then you will only receive the enhanced rate of the Mobility component only. If you score less than 8 points on both the Daily Living component and Mobility component then you will not be entitled to PIP and your Disability Living Allowance (if you are receiving it) will stop after 4 weeks of the decision letter.

You can see the points system for PIP on the Citizens Advice Website

How much will I get paid?

The rates of PIP are as follows:

    • Daily living - standard rate - £55.10 per week
    • Daily living - enhanced rate - £82.30 per week
    • Mobility - standard rate - £21.80 per week
    • Mobility - enhanced rate - £57.45 per week

It is normally paid into your bank account on a 4 weekly basis. Your decision letter will tell you how long PIP has been awarded for and it is likely it will be subjected to a review which can happen at any time.

Can I get help with a car under the Motability scheme?

You can only get help with a car under the Motability scheme if you are awarded the enhanced 

rate of the mobility component of PIP. You exchange the monetary value of the enhanced rate of the mobility component for a car on a lease. The lease will normally be for 3 years and you may 

have to put down a deposit depending on the value of the vehicle if it is a more expensive model.  Included with this will be insurance (including tyre and windscreen replacement cover), breakdown cover and vehicle tax. You can find out more information on the Motability Scheme and finding dealer by contacting:

Motability helpline: 0300 456 4566 or www.motability.co.uk

Instead of using it for a car you can choose to use for a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair.

I haven’t been awarded the enhanced rate of the mobility component for PIP, will I lose my Motability car?

If you have a Motability car and are not awarded the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP then unfortunately you will have to return it. You will have 7 weeks after the date on your decision letter to return it but you may be given the option as to whether you wish to purchase it.

If you return your Motability vehicle within 21 days of your DLA stopping then you may be entitled to a compensatory financial support package. How much you receive depends on when you joined the scheme as below:

    • If you became a Motability Scheme member before the 31st December 2012 then you will receive a £2000 support package for returning the car.
    • If you became a customer after the 1st January 2013 but before 2014 then you will receive a £1000 support package
    • If you joined the scheme after 2014 then you will receive a £250 Return to Dealer Payment

To be entitled to the compensatory financial support package the car must be returned within 21 days of the DLA stopping and be in good condition. More info can be obtained from: Motability scheme - Personal Independence and the scheme.

I disagree with the decision, can I challenge it?

If you disagree with the decision on your PIP award letter you will have the right to challenge it. You will have a one month time limit from the date of the decision letter to challenge it, by submitting something called a Mandatory Reconsideration. This deadline is strict and if you miss it, you will only be able to submit it late if you can show that there was good reason for doing so such as a bereavement, or was in hospital etc.

A Mandatory Reconsideration is where you state the reasons why you disagree with the decision and then send any additional medical evidence to support this.  It is not enough to say that you disagree, you will have to explain why. You can either do a Mandatory Reconsideration over the phone or in writing.

It is much better to submit a Mandatory Reconsideration in writing, if possible, as it gives you time to think about what you want to say and formulate an argument. Ideally it best to seek help with doing a Mandatory Reconsideration from an experienced organisation such as Citizens Advice or another approved advice agency.

When writing a Mandatory Reconsideration, refer to the statement of reasons given when the decision was made and the points scored and state why you disagree with it and supply supporting medical evidence where you can.

When you send a Mandatory Reconsideration, it is best to do so via recorded delivery and keep a copy of the receipt. This will go to a Decision Maker who will review all of the information. They will send you a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice telling you whether they have decide to uphold the original decision or whether they have revised it and decided to award you PIP. If they revise the decision and you are awarded PIP or receive a higher award then this will be backdated.

I have received a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice but my award has not changed, what can I do?

If you receive a Mandatory Reconsideration Notice and you have been unsuccessful - DON’T GIVE UP.  You will have a one month time limit from the date of the Notice to appeal against it.   

To make an appeal you must complete a SSCS1 form

On the SSCS1 form you will need to put the grounds for why you want to appeal. This means you will need to put specific reasons why you disagree with the decision by referring to the original decision and the Notice. There is not a lot of room on the form so it’s helpful to attach an accompanying letter with all the reasons why you disagree along with any supporting evidence.  You may be asked to attend a First Tier Tribunal hearing so you will need to state any dates you are not available and any support that you may need such as a wheelchair accessible location, interpreters or signers etc. You will also need to attach a copy of the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice when you send it.

Again it highly recommended that you seek specialist advice from a Welfare Benefits Caseworker at Citizens Advice or a similar local advice agency to help and prepare you with an appeal.

Once you have completed the SSCS1 form then it recommended that you send it via recorded delivery to the HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

I have sent off my SSCS1 form, what happens next?

You will receive a letter from HMCTS notifying you that they have received the form. The SSCS1 form will be forwarded to the DWP who will provide a response and after that the HMCTS will decide whether there should be hearing.

In most cases of appeal a First Tier Tribunal hearing will be arranged. You will need to send any evidence and additional evidence that you intend to rely upon. You will be given a choice of a paper hearing or an oral one. It is best to choose to have an oral hearing so that they can see you in person and ask you questions regarding your condition. It will also give you an opportunity to explain things that they may not have understood on your form.

It normally takes several months for a hearing to be arranged. At the hearing there will be a panel of three people; one of them will be a judge and the others two members will be qualified medical professionals, one of which will be a doctor.

You will need to take to the hearing the following:

    • Your appeal papers
    • Any evidence you intend to rely upon
    • Receipts of any travel expenses you want to claim back from the Tribunal Service for attending
    • Notes of things that you want to say so that you can use them during the hearing

Many people ask whether they can have someone represent them at the hearing; usually the panel at a hearing are not interested in listening to what a representative has to say, they normally want to speak directly to the applicant. They will only allow someone to speak on your behalf if you are unable to communicate.

During the hearing, the panel will ask you questions about your condition and it is important that you provided as much information and details as you can. It is always important to take your time and not to rush to make sure you think about what you want to say and to ensure you cover everything.

At the end of the hearing you will normally receive a decision on the day or alternatively you will normally be sent a letter within 5 working days with the decision. If the Tribunal revises the decision and awards you PIP then this will be backdated to the date of when you made your claim or the date of the original decision.

What if I was unsuccessful at a First Tier Tribunal?

If you are unsuccessful at a First Tier Tribunal then this is normally the end of the line. If you have not been awarded PIP then you will not be able to make a claim for PIP again until you can show that your condition has significantly deteriorated.

If you disagree with the First Tier Tribunal decision you can appeal to an Upper Tribunal but you can only do this if you can show that there was an error in law with how the decision was made e.g. the law was wrongly interpreted, the tribunal did not provide adequate reasons or sufficient findings of fact, the decision was not supported by evidence, the decision was unreasonable based on the facts or the tribunal breached the rules of natural justice. It is extremely difficult to prove there is an error of law and the vast majority of Upper Tribunals are time consuming and unsuccessful.

To appeal to an Upper Tribunal you must normally gain permission from the First Tier Tribunal within one month of the date of their decision.

It is highly recommended that you seek specialist advice from Citizens Advice or similar local advice agency before pursuing this route as it must be done in a very particular way. You may be eligible to receive legal aid for help with appealing to an Upper Tribunal.  Civil Legal Advice (0345 345 4345) can provide information on eligibility for legal aid.

Additional help that PIP may entitled you to

If you receive the mobility component of PIP then you will be automatically eligible to apply for a blue badge from your local authority to enable you to use disable parking spaces.

You may be able to apply for a Disabled Person’s Railcard giving a third off for you and the person accompanying you. 

If you get the standard rate of the mobility component of PIP you can get 50% off your road tax.

If you get the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP then you can get 100% off your road tax.

You may be eligible to be moved to a lower band for your council tax if you receive PIP. If you have a severe mental impairment you may be eligible for a discount on your council tax. You will need to make enquiries with your local council about these.

You may become entitled to a premium on the following benefits:

    • Housing Benefit
    • Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Employment and Support Allowance - but only if you get the daily living component 
    • Pension Credit - but only if you get the daily living component

If you are awarded the daily living component of PIP at either the standard rate or the enhanced rate and you live your own and no one claims Carer’s Allowance for looking after you then you may be entitled to a severe disability premium on the following benefits depending on your income:

    • Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Pension Credit

The rules on premiums are complex and it is best to seek advice from an advice agency that specialises in welfare benefits.

If you are awarded the daily living component of PIP at either the standard rate or the enhanced rate then someone looking after you may become entitled to Carer’s Allowance provided they are looking after you for more than 35 hours per week and they are not in gainful employment (this means they must not be earning more than £110 per week.) The rules regarding Carer’s 

Allowance are complicated and it is highly recommended that a person seeks specialist advice before making a claim for Carer’s Allowance.

If you are in receipt of PIP and working for more than 16 hours per week then you may become entitled to Working Tax Credit depending on your annual household income and circumstances.  

It is recommended that you seek specialist advice regarding this.

If you need advice regarding benefit entitlement you can use approved online benefit calculators such as: 

Sources of help

  • Citizens Advice - You can ask for help from a Welfare Benefits Caseworker regarding DLA or PIP -

Tel: For England - 03444 111 444 or For Wales - 03444 77 20 20 or search for you local Citizens Advice

  • Scope - here you can find you nearest local advice agency using the below:
  • Age UK - If you are aged 50 or over you may be able to receive help from them: Tel: 0800 169 65 65 or their website.
  • Useful fact sheet on PIP can also be found on the Disability Rights UK website

 

The Guidebook is also available as a download.

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