Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

View our 4 part guidance on Personal Independence Payments (PIP), including help with the form, assessment process, and how to appeal.

Video Transcripts

If you would prefer to read a transcript of our PIP Guidance, please use the sections below.

Hello! My name is Lisa. I’m here today to interview Simon, he’s a freelance consultant. We’ll be going through a few FAQs. So, at the moment I still receive DLA. When should I expect to hear from PIP? Should I contact them or not?

Okay, as you are still in receipt of DLA you don’t need to contact them. Instead of contacting them wait to receive a letter which should be coming your way very soon. That letter will inform you of what to do next. You do not need to make any contact with PIP at all.

So, I don’t contact them at all. I just need wait until I get the letter from PIP.

Once you get the letter the process will start from there.

Once I receive the PIP letter what shall I do next? What is the best way to contact them?

Your PIP letter will look similar to this. The letter will ask if you would like to apply for PIP. Ifyou would, then the onus is on you to come forward and make contact to let them know. There are three ways you can contact them. The first is by minicom, nowadays it’s more
familiarly known as NGT – Next Generation Text. Or you could get in touch via SignVideo. Thirdly, you could make a call via a hearing person like an interpreter. There will be a series of questions and the DWP will make a note on file of the answers. It’ll be information such as your name, address, date of birth, your national insurance number, your GP details, social services details etc. The initial conversation may be for about half an hour to an hour or so. The DWP will document notes from the call and once that stage is complete and approved they will send you another form which you will need to fill out. The form looks like this and is 40 pages long. However, not everyone receives this form, some people get a thinner form that is only 27 pages. If the latter is the case, it is because the DWP representative has not taken notes during the initial phone call. The DWP have left it up to you to fill out the details. Once you have completed the form, post it back and wait to be sent the 40 page form.

This form is the important one – it’s 40 pages. Okay – all clear?

Lisa: I’ve got it! Interesting. Thank you.

Lisa: I have the form now, so what evidence do I need to include in the form?

Simon: The evidence that you need to include is:

  • A letter from your GP which evidences your diagnosis as deaf. You may have to pay for that letter because it is deemed as private work. It doesn’t come under the NHS. Some GP surgeries compile the letter for free while others request payment.
  • An audiogram. You need to include an audiogram that’s been done in the last two years. It cannot be an old one that you’ve had for 20 or 30 years! It must be a recent.
  • Social services registration – this is your personal reference that is used to grant you a freedom pass. There needs to be proof that you have a social services registration, so include a copy of that.
  • A copy of your disabled rail card.

You can also include:

  • Any prescriptions or details of your medication
  • Letters from the hospital
  • Access To Work details

So compile copies of all the documents I mentioned, and please please ensure you only include the photocopies. Make sure to keep the originals separate. You only need to post the photocopies off to DWP.

Lisa: Right you post them.

Simon: Do not post the original documents DWP.

Lisa: Oh why’s that?

Simon: If the original documents are lost in the post then you have no backup copies! That will be problematic. It’s vital any documents you send are photocopies.

Lisa: If I think I need help filling out the form where can I go?

Simon: If you want help to fill out the form there are 3 options. You can go to your local CAB – Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Another alternative is to go to a deaf organisation in your locality, or you can approach an expert advisor.

If you choose the first option, going to the CAB remember because they have no funding they cannot provide an interpreter. The advisors there may be used to filling out the forms but they may not be so aware of the particularities of what a deaf person would need, issues they face or deaf culture. You may find a few advisors dotted about are in the know but there are no guarantees. It’s entirely up to you which of the three places you opt for.

Lisa: Okay. Thank you.

I need to get an audiogram done but I don’t have the time to go to the GP etc what shall I do?

Simon: I know the process can be quite labourious because the GP has to refer you to the hospital and all of that can take up to 6 months. However, there is a quicker way.

If you go to a Specsavers or Boots superstore - make sure it’s one of the bigger stores not a small one – you can ask to get an audiogram done. They can easily do it, some do it for free while others charge £10. It really is value for money because DWP want to see a recent audiogram that has been done in the last two years. They don’t want an age old audiogram from 40 odd years ago! So getting a recent one done and making a copy of it is worth your while. Does that answer your question?

Lisa: Yes it does – thanks.

Once I have finished filling out the form, how long should I expect to wait before I hear back from DWP?

Simon: The first golden rule is: make sure you take a photocopy of everything. Photocopy the forms and all the evidence that you send the DWP. Also make sure you take a photocopy of the form itself. You should then have two sets of photocopies.

Secondly, only post the photocopies to DWP. Keep the originals separate and safe. It could be that you post it off and it gets lost in transit, so you can rest assured if you have the originals.

Please ensure you send your documents as recorded delivery. The DWP receive 20,000 of these forms per day!

Lisa: Oh wow.

Simon: It is very easy for one or two of them to slip thru the net. Sending your form etc as recorded delivery only costs £1.85. Once it has been labelled and posted off it can be tracked electronically all the way to delivery. On receipt at the other end, it’ll be signed for  at which point you can relax confident that the DWP has it.

It’s definitely worth the expense. You may feel that the deadline to send everything back gives you plenty of time. But it could be that it is taking you some time to collate and get hold of everything. If you think time is running out for the deadline you can give DWP a call and ask for a 2 week extension. However, that extension can only be granted once, you cannot continually extend it by 2 weeks! The extension is given once for two weeks and you have to complete everything.

Lisa: How long do I have to wait before I get a reply?

Simon: Well that’s a very good question! It depends on your region, some places get quicker responses than others – it varies. Generally speaking, it’s about a 4 – 6 week turnaround. Please bear in mind that you need to post your documents off 10 days before the deadline. When your documents arrive at DWP they go to the sorting office first. The documents then are all sent to be scanned, after that they have to be inputted to the computer system and then passed on to an advisor. That transfer process takes 10 days. So you need to get your documents ready in good time and plan well in advance of when the forms etc need to be sent.  All make sense?

Yes – perfect thanks.

I have been told I need to have a face to face assessment with a health professional what will happen?

There are three companies that facilitate the assessments. Two of them are big enterprises. One is called AtoS, they have recently changed their name to IAS – Independent Assessment Services. The second organisation is called Capita and there is a third, much smaller company called Maximus. We will just focus on the first two I mentioned. The IAS cover the whole of England. Capita cover Northern Ireland, Wales, the Midlands and the Anglesey coast. The IAS do the surrounding areas. Maximus cover the South East of the country. So those are the three companies and the areas that they cover.

Lisa: Is the assessment conducted by one person?

Simon: Yes

Lisa: So who organises or the interpreter for it?

Simon: When you get your letter it will say something like, ‘Dear Lisa, You have been invited for an assessment..’ It will list the date and time for your assessment. The letter will not contain any information about an interpreter. It’s your responsibility to let them know whether you’d like an BSL interpreter, lip speaker, speech to text reporter or a deaf blind hands on interpreter.  You have to contact them with the request and they’ll arrange it ahead of your appointment.

Lisa: If I arrive on the assessment day and there is no interpreter – what do I do? I don’t want to risk losing out if I cancel or postpone it.

Simon:If no interpreter is at your appointment it’s your right to refuse to go ahead with it on the day. The DWP have a duty to provide an interpreter or whichever communication preference you have requested. If there is no communication support then you should not go any further with the appointment. The advisor may indicate to you they write down information as a substitute, or they may ask if you can lipread instead. Make it clear by your refusal that those are not acceptable options. Explain to the advisor that you will attend at another time when the correct provisions are in place. I would strongly advise against bringing a family member to come along and ‘interpret’ for you. The best way is to have impartial communication support for your appointment. Any interpreter who attends your appointment must hold a yellow badge as seen here. A yellow badge is proof that the interpreter is qualified to the acceptable standard. If the interpreter presents a blue or purple badge it means they are a trainee interpreter which is not suitable. However, if the trainee interpreter is accompanied by a fully qualified interpreter then that would be acceptable. A trainee interpreter who attends PIP appointments on their own would not be appropriate at all.

Lisa:  Thanks. What should I expect on the day? Apparently, they ask details about my background, education, etc?

Simon: I’ve heard many different versions of events. The assessment covers the same information in the 40 page form. All the questions asked will be from the form and they are verifying the information tallies up. Perhaps they will ask you various questions about your background and education. They want to build a picture unique to you. It could be if you went to a deaf school or a mainstream one so they can get an idea of your background. The questions are just too see if the information in the form matches up.

Lisa: That’s clear – thank you.

Lisa: DLA was awarded for life – how long does PIP last for?

Simon: Yes, DLA was a longstanding award. PIP is very different – it’s not a lifetime award.

There are varying time periods – so it could be awarded for 1 year, 3 years or 5 years. The maximum award time is 10 years at which point it will be reviewed again. The review takes place one year before the expiry of the award. At that point they will get in touch and request you attend an assessment again. The entire process starts from scratch again.

Lisa: Okay.

Simon: DLA awards are for life but PIP is not like that at all. The regulations for DLA and PIP are different. DLA is an older style of benefit which is now redundant. PIP is a new benefit stream. However, children up to the age of 16 can still receive DLA. On their 16th birthday they transition over from DLA to PIP. Older people who were born before the 9th of April 1948 will continue to be in receipt of DLA until they die at which point their DLA will cease.

If you were born 10th April 1948 then unfortunately you will to get PIP. Alas, that’s life!

Lisa: PIP has rejected my application, what shall I do next? Appeal or go to a tribunal?

Simon: Ah good question! When you receive written confirmation of your decision i.e. that you cannot be awarded PIP you may feel dejected. But don’t worry, the first thing you need to do is ask for advice – that’s crucial. You have only have one month to respond to DWP. If you get a rejection letter it doesn’t go straight to tribunal stage. There’s a process to follow. You can ask for a copy of the assessment completed from the appointment you attended. You can take a look at the answers and see if they correlate your end. If you have any objections to the answers then you can highlight them to indicate which ones are wrong and what it should be. Once you have done that you need to compose an MR letter which stands for ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’. Write the letter and post it off – remember to make sure it is sent recorded delivery. Don’t forget, if ever you need to send something to DWP it must be sent recorded delivery!

Your information will be sent to a different advisor to have a second pair of eyes on it. The will look at the rejection information and the current information you sent. If a reconsideration is granted you will be awarded PIP, however, if it is rejected again then the next stage is to go to a tribunal. The tribunal stage is a lengthy process. If you are issued a rejection at that stage then your DLA will be stopped and you will not receive PIP either. Alternatively, if you’re successful at tribunal stage then your payments will be backdated to the start of the appeal.

Lisa: So I’ll get some money back.

Simon: If the outcome of the tribunal is unsuccessful then you are entitled to submit a new claim. There is nothing to prevent you submitting a new claim.

Lisa: Oh right

Simon:Once the first claim has been rejected you can fill out a new form and send it off again. However, it won’t be backdated to the first claim start date.

Lisa: Oh ok I understand.

Simon: It will be a fresh new claim. You always have the option of submitting a new claim.

Lisa: Earlier you mentioned the option to seek advice if my claim is rejected. Who would that be from?

Simon: It’s the same parties I referred to previously. You can go to your local CAB, a local deaf organisation or an expert advisor. Those options don’t change. It’s a bit of a complicated one though because it’s subjective to how the form has been completed and who looks at it. Having a fresh pair of eyes on it could allow for a different outcome.

Lisa: Ah ok interesting.

I would like to say a big thank you for giving us the A – Z on all things PIP! One last question how long will the changeover to PIP going to take?

Simon: Well it started to be rolled out a few years ago and it will continue for the next 2 – 4 years. People can expect to receive a letter at some point soon.

Lisa: Thanks again

Simon: You’re very welcome