YOU may be entitled to extra help with your finances if you have a long-term health condition, on top of your Universal Credit payments.
Here is how to apply for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and find out how much you could be owed.
Universal Credit was introduced in 2013 to bring several benefits such as unemployment and housing support into one single payment.
The standard Universal Credit allowance starts at £342.72 but you could also be entitled to up to £151 extra through PIP if you have an illness, disability or mental health condition.
What is PIP?
PIP was launched in 2013 to gradually replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
You can get financial support if your condition means you struggle with moving around or everyday activities, such as getting dressed.
Applicants can get between £23.60 and £151.40 a week from age 16 up to state pension age.
Who can apply?
Unlike Universal Credit, PIP isn’t means-tested so it doesn’t matter how much you earn or what your national insurance contributions are.
You must have a health condition or disability that has made it hard to cope with moving around or daily living, or both, for the past three months.
The difficulties should be expected to continue for at least nine months.
You usually need to have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least two of the previous three years to be eligible.
How much could you get?
PIP is made up of two parts: daily living and mobility.
You will be assessed by an independent health official appointed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
For the daily living part, the health assessor will see how you cope with tasks such as preparing and eating food, getting dressed and making money decisions.
What to do if you have problems claiming Universal Credit
IF you’re experiencing trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or the payments just don’t cover costs, here are your options:
- Apply for an advance – Claimants are able to get some cash within five days rather than waiting weeks for their first payment. But it’s a loan which means the repayments will be automatically deducted from your future Universal Credit payout.
- Alternative Payment Arrangements – If you’re falling behind on rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an APA which will get your payment sent directly to your landlord. You might also be able to change your payments to get them more frequently, or you can split the payments if you’re part of a couple.
- Budgeting Advance – You may be able to get help from the Government for emergency household costs of up to £348 if you’re single, £464 if you’re part of a couple or £812 if you have children. These are only in cases like your cooker breaking down or for help getting a job. You’ll have to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments. You’ll still have to repay the loan, even if you stop claiming for Universal Credit.
- Cut your Council Tax – You might be able to get a discount on your Council Tax by applying for a Council Tax Reduction. Alternatively, you might be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments to help cover your rent.
- Foodbanks – If you’re really hard up and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local foodbank who will provide you with help for free. You can find your nearest one on the Trussell Trust website.
The weekly rate could be £59.70 or £89.15 depending how much support you need.
You will get the higher daily living part if you’re not expected to live more than six months.
The weekly mobility payment is either £23.60 or £62.25, depending on how hard it is for you to get around.
It is based on criteria such as how well you follow directions and if you can stand and walk unaided.
You will continue receiving DLA payments if you were age 65 or over on April 8, 2013.
These are worth £23.60 a week at the lowest rate, £59.70 for the middle range of support and £89.15 at the highest.
How to apply
You can apply for PIP through the DWP’s PIP claims line, which is open between 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
The number for the DWP PIP claims line is 0800 917 2222 or you can request a form to apply through the post by writing to Personal Independence Payment New Claims, Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton, WV99 1AH.
You can use the Relay UK service if you can’t hear or speak on the phone by dialling 18001 then 0800 917 2222.
PIP is usually paid every four weeks and your decision letter will tell you your first payment.
Payments are regularly reviewed, sometimes after a year and often after 10 years and you must inform DWP of a change in circumstances.
You can challenge a decision if you are rejected by downloading an online form from the DWP website.
New easy broadband switching rules could help you save £90 a year
FEEL THE HEAT
All the postcodes that can get £25 a week help with energy bills revealed
ATTACK OF THE CLONES
Debt firms ‘tricking’ hard-up Brits into paying to fix their finances
Four things to know about new rules for Klarna, Clearpay and Laybuy
Council tax to rise by 5% – adding £100 to bills – for millions in April
The work and pensions secretary has rejected a boost to Universal Credit payments.
Low income households can get up to £140 towards their electricity bills with the government’s warm home discount scheme.
We also round up other ways to get help paying your energy bills this winter – and it can save you over £1,000.