Completing your PIP claim form

This information applies to England and Wales.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is for people aged 16 to State Pension Age who are defined as disabled under the Equality Act 2010 (GOV.UK).

As a payment to help meet the extra cost of disability, PIP is not means-tested so the amount you receive is not affected by earnings, other income or savings.

Unless you’re terminally ill, it can take an average of 4 months from your claim until you receive your money. So it’s important to begin your PIP application as soon as possible.

To start a claim, call the PIP claim line free on 0800 917 2222.

How to claim PIP (GOV.UK)

They will send you a form. The form asks for examples of how your condition affects your daily life. People find providing these examples the most challenging.

PIP eligibility criteria

It’s up to you to prove you’re eligible by telling the DWP about how your condition affects your daily life.

PIP eligibility criteria (GOV.UK)

PIP has a daily living and a mobility component. Depending on the number of points you’re awarded for your responses to questions, you’ll receive either the standard or the enhanced rate for each of the components. A total of 8 points for the standard payment and 12 points for the enhanced payment.

If you are terminally ill

If it's reasonable to think that your illness could be terminal within 12 months, you may get the Daily Living component at the enhanced rate immediately. You will still need to meet the criteria for the mobility component. If this is the case, you can claim PIP with a SR1 form. A health professional, such as a GP, consultant or specialist nurse, can complete this for you.

Terminally ill people and benefits

Help completing your PIP form

There are online guides:

Or you can find a local benefits adviser if you need help filling in the PIP claim form:

PIP activities, descriptors and points

For the daily living component, you need to show how your condition affects everyday activities. For the mobility component, it’s how it affects you getting about.

For each activity, there is a list of PIP descriptors.

PIP points system (Benefits and Work)

You get points depending on your answers. You should aim to get maximum points in each of the following activities:

  • preparing food
  • eating food
  • washing and bathing
  • using the toilet
  • dressing and undressing
  • reading
  • communicating with speech
  • managing your medicines or treatment
  • making decisions about money
  • engaging with other people
  • planning and following a journey
  • moving around

Read each descriptor and ask yourself if you can do this:

  • properly, most of the time and safely
  • whenever I need to
  • in reasonable time
  • without the help of someone or an aid

Example: preparing food activity

Descriptors Points
a. Can prepare and cook a simple meal unaided.0
b. Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal.2
c. Cannot cook a simple meal using a conventional cooker but is able to do so using a microwave.2
d. Needs prompting to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal.2
e. Needs supervision or assistance to either prepare or cook a simple meal.4
f. Cannot prepare and cook food.8

Check the PIP form for more example answers.

PIP examples

Based on the DWP descriptors, if you can safely prepare and cook a simple meal without help, most of the time, whenever you need to and in reasonable time, you’ll get 0 points.

If you cannot prepare and cook food, you’ll get the maximum 8 points.

When you’re filling in the form, include the descriptor and always use the word ‘because’ in your answer. Try to give examples of difficulties or accidents you’ve had when attempting the activity, or when you’ve needed help or used an aid.

Preparing food

Descriptor Answer Points

Descriptor a.I can prepare and cook a simple meal unaided.0
Descriptor b.I need to use an aid or appliance to prepare or cook a simple meal most of the time because I am unable to stand without support. So I cannot wash vegetables at the sink or carry a hot pan from the stove to the table. I can drop plates of food, which means I have to start again. If I’m too tired to do that, I do not eat.
Descriptor c.I cannot cook a simple meal using a conventional cooker and I cannot use a microwave most of the time because I am unable to grip and pull open the door of the microwave. So I rarely eat a hot meal.2
Descriptor d.
I need prompting to prepare or cook a simple meal most of the time because my condition means I forget I need to eat, or I do not remember things. If no one is there to remind me, I do not eat. I once caught a tea towel on fire because I forgot the gas ring was on and put the towel on it.
Descriptor e.
I need supervision or assistance to either prepare or cook a simple meal most of the time because my condition means I cannot hold kitchen utensils, plates or pans. If I try to pick up something, I will drop it. I once cut my leg when I dropped a kitchen knife.4
Descriptor f.
I cannot prepare and cook food because my condition makes it impossible. If someone does not prepare food for me, I do not eat. I once went 24 hours without eating because my carer had to go to hospital for an emergency and was unable to tell anyone I was at home.

Applying for PIP

The more information you give the DWP the better. It’s also important how you present the information. Here are some tips on how to do this:

  • Get help filling in the form if you can.
  • State the obvious, even if it seems normal or easy to you.
  • Give information about your condition because everything helps.
  • Refer to the activity’s descriptors and use them in your answers.
  • Ask a friend or relative to reflect back on your difficult days or remind you of the times they’ve helped.
  • Mention when you feel pain, fatigue or are unmotivated.
  • Do not say you can do something if you cannot do it safely, repeatedly, in a reasonable time and to the same standard as everyone else.
  • Write down when you cannot do something in a diary, because evidence will help support your claim.
  • Do not tick all the ‘it varies’ boxes as it suggests you can do the activity some of the time.
  • Try to give several examples, especially for things that are difficult or not safe.

Warning Think about your bad days

Do not exaggerate but when providing examples, be prepared to describe your bad days. What seems normal or easy to you might not be to others, especially if you’ve adapted because of your condition. Make sure you include everything you find difficult or impossible to do, even if it’s not every day. And explain why it’s difficult or impossible.

Benefits and mental health

The benefit process can be stressful. There are things you can do if it’s affecting your mental health. These can include:

  • accessing mental health support
  • talking to a mental health charity about how you are feeling
  • talking to other disabled people on our online community

Support if claiming benefits affects your mental health

If your mental health means you find it hard to work or do daily tasks, you could claim benefits. These will depend on the criteria, but can include depression or anxiety.

Benefits and mental health

Completing the PIP review form

When you are awarded PIP, your award lasts up to 10 years. Before your award ends, you will receive a PIP review form. Check your award letter or contact DWP for when this will be.

The PIP review form is shorter and asks about changes to your condition. The review form asks about:

  • your health condition or impairment
  • when it started
  • what medication you are taking
  • any treatment, therapy or an operation since your last award
  • hospital admissions since your last award

The review form goes through each descriptor to see:

  • if something has changed
  • how you manage the activity now
  • any changes to the help you need

Use your latest form or statement of entitlement to check what you said last time.

Even if your condition has not changed, you should still say how you manage the different activities and the help you need.

When explaining your needs, refer to the activity’s descriptors and use them in your answers.

PIP points system (Benefits and Work)

When completing the form, think about:

  • what happened last time you attempted a task without support
  • the impact this had on your day or wellbeing
  • your good and bad days if your condition fluctuates

If you need more space to explain your needs, there is space at the back of the booklet. Make sure it is clear which question you are answering and that you have written more information. You can also send extra pieces of paper if needed.

Help completing benefit claim forms

Last reviewed by Scope on: 09/10/2023

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