Recent Changes to PIP Eligibility

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people aged between 16 and 64 who, because of a long-term illness or disability, may need help with daily activities or getting around.  A number of group members claim this benefit to help with the additional costs of living with a disability and to maintain links with the community.

There have been a number of disputes in parliament and the courts surrounding people’s eligibility for help with getting around when they’re feeling low or anxious: the ‘Going Out’ descriptor.  In 2017 the UK government changed the law to make it more difficult for people with mental health issues, like bipolar, to receive this type of help.  Last December the High Court ruled these changes were “blatantly discriminatory” because they only applied to people who experience overwhelming psychological distress.  The government has decided to accept the court’s judgment, potentially making people with conditions like bipolar eligible for higher levels of assistance again.  This depends on the answers claimants gave to Questions 13 and 14 on their PIP claim forms.  People who already receive the enhanced rate for the Mobility part won’t receive additional assistance.  Eligibility criteria for other parts of PIP remain the same.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will now reassess between 220,000 and 1.6 million PIP claims to see if people should be awarded higher payments.  This process will obviously take some time and claimants don’t need to contact the DWP at the moment.  We’ll ask Advocard to keep us up-to-date on any new developments.