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'What is the Personal Independence Payment?'

Try out Benefits Owl's new Personal Independence Payment resource by clicking here!

PIPchecker can help you explore your possible entitlement to Personal Independence Payment. If you have been refused PIP, or awarded less than you hoped, it could help you with your appeal.

Do you get Disability Living Allowance? Or maybe you are disabled and have considered claiming Disability Living Allowance? Well, the bad news is that Disability Living Allowance is being phased out for most people, and replaced by something called The Personal Independence Payment (PIP for short).

The following people will not be affected by this change:

If you are familiar with Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment will seem familiar in some ways, and very different in others. Like Disability Living Allowance, it has two components, one for problems with getting around, and one for other things. Also like Disability Living Allowance, each component can be paid at different rates. On the other hand, the way it considers how severe your needs are is very different, and in some ways seems more similar to Employment and Support Allowance, as it involves 'points'.

If you want to see a comparison between Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment, click here.

Let’s look at Personal Independence Payment in more detail…


For both the care and mobility components there are lists of activities, and for each activity there is a range of descriptors, which describe various levels of difficulty. Different descriptors have different numbers of points. For each activity The Department of Work and Pensions decision maker will decide which one of the descriptors applies to you, and tot up your score accordingly.

Click here to see a copy of the scoresheet.

icon-warning1.jpgMany of the words and phrases in this scoresheet have very precise meanings, decided by the government. I've included the list of definitions here, but if you find this difficult to get your head around you may need to seek further advice.

You can also find the scoresheet and definitions on the government's legislation website, at

Daily Living Component

Although the assessment method is very different from the care component of Disability Living Allowance the sort of things that are considered are similar: bathing, dressing, taking medication, preparing food, communicating, etc.

icon-example1.jpgDavid has severe arthritis. He cannot cook a simple meal without help, as he cannot chop vegetables or lift even empty pans. He can’t wash his hair and although he can get into the bath on his own needs help to get out again. He has to have a frame and a raised toilet seat, and although he can put his shirt and jacket on, for example, he struggles with trousers and socks.

He looks through the score sheet and thinks that the following descriptors apply to him:
1. Preparing food.
e. Needs supervision or assistance to either prepare or cook a simple meal


4. Washing and bathing.
d. Needs assistance to be able to wash either their hair or body below the waist.

e. Needs assistance to be able to get in or out of a bath or shower.


5. Managing toilet needs or incontinence
b. Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to manage toilet needs or incontinence
6. Dressing and undressing
d. Needs assistance to be able to dress or undress their lower body.

Only one descriptor can be included for each activity, so in the case of washing and bathing he gives himself just 3 points (for the higher scoring descriptor).

If the decision maker agrees with him, he will get 11 points and will be entitled to the care component at the standard rate.

Mobility Component

If you’re familiar with Disability Living Allowance you’ll notice that although there are still two components, they are very different from before. With Disability Living Allowance the higher rate is mainly to do with physical problems (difficulties with your legs, your back, your heart, etc) and the lower rate is to do with whether you need someone with you, either because of problems seeing or hearing, or because of mental health problems. Personal Independence Payment doesn’t work like that. Both rates can be awarded for physical, mental, or sensory problems. This is clearly good news if you have mental health or sensory problems, and bad news if you have physical problems.

icon-example1.jpgBack to David. He reckons that he cannot walk more than 50 metres, although he can probably manage 20 metres.

He checks the score sheet and finds that the following descriptor applies to him:

2. Moving around.
d. Can stand and then move using an aid or appliance more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres.

If the decision maker agrees with him, he will get 10 points and will be entitled to the mobility component at the standard rate. Note that this is worth only the same as the lower rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, and will not qualify him for a Motability car, for example. In other words, if he was previously getting the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance mobility and has had to transfer to Personal Independence Payment he will be in for a nasty shock.

icon-key1.jpgIf you’re have had both your legs or feet amputated, or don’t weren’t born with feet, the rules actually work in your favour. All the descriptors for ‘Moving around’ have the phrase ‘stand and then move’. The definition for ‘stand’ includes having to have at least one ‘biological foot’ (!) on the ground. If you have no ‘biological’ feet you aren’t classed as being able to stand, and therefore you get the full 12 points and the enhanced rate. This seems a bit weird to me as it means that a paralympic sprinter would be entitled to the enhanced rate, but poor old David isn’t. But there you are…