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Changing from DLA to PIP when your child turns 16

Shortly after your child’s 16th birthday, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will send a letter inviting them to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) by a certain date.

The PIP application process for 16 year olds is the same as the application process for adults. To apply, you must:

You may need to have an assessment if more information is needed. Contact the number on the letter if you need any reasonable adjustments. 

When you apply, your child’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) payments will continue until a decision is made about their PIP claim.

If you do not apply by the date in the letter, their DLA payments will stop.

It takes an average of 24 weeks to get a PIP decision, but it can take longer.

DLA when your child turns 16 (GOV.UK)

Warning Apply before the date in the invitation letter

If you do not apply for PIP by the date in the invitation letter, your child’s DLA payments will stop.

You will then have another 28 days to apply for PIP.

If you meet the second deadline, DLA payments will start again until a decision is made about your child’s PIP claim.

DLA payments will not be backdated to the date they were stopped.

Being your child’s appointee

Your child may want to manage their own money and benefits when they turn 16.

If you are already their appointee for DLA, this does not automatically move over to PIP. You must apply to continue being their appointee.

The process is the same if you are not the appointee but wish to be. You must also apply.

Ask for the appointee form when you call to apply for PIP if you have not already received this. The DWP will arrange a support visit and interview you to make sure that an appointee is needed.

Become an appointee for someone claiming benefits (GOV.UK)

Preparing for PIP

PIP has a daily living and a mobility component. Depending on the number of points you’re awarded for the activities, you’ll receive either the standard or the enhanced rate for each of the components.

How PIP decisions are made (Citizens Advice)

See how points are awarded for each activity (Benefits and Work)

As the parent or carer, you know the challenges your child faces. Use your knowledge of their condition and its impact on everyday life to answer the questions in the application.

Where you can, provide evidence for the activities described in the PIP form. DWP will only consider the activities in an assessment of your child’s suitability for PIP.

Completing a PIP claim form

Gathering evidence for PIP assessment

Your child will be assessed on their ability to do certain tasks reliably. The DWP defines this as doing the task:

  • safely
  • to an acceptable standard
  • repeatedly
  • within a reasonable time

The DWP wants to know about:

  • any additional needs at school, in the home or when out
  • extra help needed with dressing, washing, eating, communicating and moving
  • about any personal budget or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) 

Keep a diary to record how your child’s condition affects daily life. Ask for supporting evidence from health professionals, your child’s school, private tutor or social worker. The more details and evidence you can provide, the better.

Send the evidence with your form.

Getting evidence to support your PIP claim (Citizens Advice)

How to get evidence for a PIP claim (Mental Health and Money Advice)

Applying for PIP on behalf of your child can be a stressful and emotional process.

Book a free appointment for emotional support from charity Contact

Find local benefits advice through Turn2us

PIP assessments

You will have an assessment once the DWP has looked at your form. This is normally in person at an assessment centre. But assessments can be a phone call or home visit.

Paper-based assessment

If you provide enough supporting evidence with your application form, the DWP will consider a paper-based assessment of your claim.

This means your child will not have to meet the assessment provider’s health professional in person.

To be considered for a paper-based assessment, you must give evidence that your child has 1 of the following:

  • a high level of impairment and cannot perform most or all of the activities in the PIP claim form safely, reliably and repeatedly
  • a record of hospital admission and is under GP care
  • a condition such as autism or learning difficulty that will make a face-to-face consultation stressful
  • enough medical evidence for a decision to be made without a face-to-face assessment

If the DWP feels that there is not enough evidence to make a paper-based decision, your child may have to attend a face-to-face or telephone assessment.

Warning Assessments

Once you send your form, you may get a letter saying your child will be assessed in person or by phone. This may also happen if the DWP feels that there is not enough evidence to do a paper-based assessment.

If this type of assessment is not accessible, you can ask for reasonable adjustments.

Contact the organisation that sent you the letter. This will be Capita or Independent Assessment Services.

Asking for reasonable adjustments 

Preparing for your PIP assessment

Challenging a PIP decision

If you do not agree with the DWP decision about your child’s PIP claim, you can challenge it.

Challenging a benefits decision

Last reviewed by Scope on: 09/03/2022

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