PIP claimants eligible for extra support through DWP – how to apply

Nick Ferrari slams DWP's treatment of Universal Credit claimants

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To help those with disabilities or medical conditions, the DWP offers specific targeted support to assist with the overall application and assessment process for PIP. Certain PIP claimants have a Personal Acting Body (PAB) as a means of extra support if they are affected by a long-term disability or medical condition. A PAB is formally nominated to act on the claimant’s behalf during the PIP process. However, many more claimants do not have a PAB on hand to help them so may be eligible for additional support.

As part of its guidance, the Government department outlined how a PAB would operate in certain circumstances on behalf of the claimant if they are unable to fully engage due to a disability or mental condition.

The DWP said: “In some cases, however, claimants may not be able to engage effectively with the claims process, due to reduced mental capacity or insight.

“For example, they may not understand the consequences of not returning a claim form and not have a PAB to help them.

“In the PIP journey, such claimants are considered to require additional support from DWP and elements of the PIP claims process have been adapted to provide further support for this group.”

As a result of this, a claimant’s application for extra PIP support may be based on their paperwork to the DWP rather than an in-person assessment.

However, the DWP will need to have a written confirmation from a medical professional that the PIP claimant has a disability or health issue which prevents them from engaging fully with the application process.

Examples of conditions which would qualify someone for extra support include:

Mental health conditions

  • Severe depression (evidenced by, for example, previous hospitalisation for depression, intensive support from community-based mental health teams or significant input from a psychiatrist or other mental health practitioner)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

Behavioural conditions

  • Severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Conduct disorder

Learning disabilities

  • Down syndrome
  • Fragile X syndrome

Developmental disorders

  • Severe autistic spectrum disorder
  • Developmental delay
  • Speech or language disorders

Dementia or cognitive disorders

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Vascular dementia
  • Dementia associated with other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease
  • Severe brain injury resulting in cognitive decline

PIP is a benefit payment administered by the DWP to help anyone with a long-term disability or medical conditions.

Specifically, it is designed to offer extra financial support to pay for the additional living costs resulting from said condition.

It is made up of two payments: a daily living component and a mobility component, which go towards the day-to-day living and mobility expenses, respectively.

Furthermore, unlike other DWP benefit payments, PIP is not mean-tested and is not based on how much someone has in their savings or income.

Claimants receive a maximum of £89.60 weekly for the daily living component and £62.55 for the mobility component.

Recently, the Government launched a consultation into the assessment process for PIP and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), encouraging claimants of either benefit payment to get in touch with their experiences.

Specifically, the consultation is looking for ways to improve the process which might benefit those with a disability or who are dealing with a mental condition.

Stephen Timms MP, the Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, outlined what the survey’s remit will be and what people should share as part of it.

Mr Timms said: “We hear all too often about the problems that people have when being assessed for PIP and ESA, both on the Committee and as constituency MPs, but progress in improving the assessments has been slow.

“DWP has said it is currently thinking about how they can be made better, and we think that the views of people who have had PIP or ESA assessments are vital to doing this effectively.

“We want to hear directly from people who have been through assessments about how the assessment went, and what needs to change to make the process better in the future.”

The Work and Pensions Committee survey will be open until mid-February 2022, according to the Government.

Any claimants of PIP with a disability or mental condition are encouraged to share their experiences of the assessment as soon as possible.

The DWP is likely to make improvements and add extra support for claimants depending on the feedback received from the consultation.

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