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Personal Independence Payment

Here is some very useful information and contact details in respect of the application process in applying for the Personal Independence Payment benefit from Department of Work and Pensions

Addresses to write to the Department of Work and Pensions

Personal Independence Payment 4, Warbreck House, Blackpool FY2 0UZ
Personal Independence Payment 4,Post Handling Site B,Wolverhampton WV99 1AA

Customer service telephone number 0845 850 3322

Please note that in my experience ringing this number will only allow the operator to take down details and refer your call onto a customer service centre located somewhere else in the country. The protocol allows the Department to return your call within 5 working days.

Procedure to apply for benefit or an award as they call it

Telephone Department of Work and Pensions and request application form, whilst doing this you are asked various personal questions.
Upon receipt of the application form you must return it within 30 days, if you wish the claim to proceed.
About 10 days before the 30 day deadline upon which to submit your application, a reminder is sent out.

The application form is a generic form and asks the claimant about their difficulties in undertaking daily living and mobility activities. The form uses generic words such as safely and to an acceptable standard, as often as you need to and in a reasonable time. There is a list of descriptors for each activity. The degree of descriptors are points scored to enable the assessor to determine whether you are entitled to the Personal Independence Payment and the appropriate amount which is made up of 2 components Daily living and mobility these are then broken down into standard and enhance rates . These rates are as follows (payable at the time this article was written)

Daily living component

Standard living component

Standard weekly rate £53
Enhanced weekly rate £79.15

Mobility component

Standard weekly rate £21
Enhanced weekly rate £55.25

The information booklet which accompanies the application form sets out the number of overall points you need to qualify for each respective rate, however what is missing and fundamental in my view to the application process is the table of activities, descriptors and points which you have to download separately off of the internet if you know this actually exists.

The other point I would like to emphasise is that it is vitally important to put as much information down about your inability to carry out everyday tasks in the additional information spaces as ticking boxes does not individualise the applicants difficulties enough. It would also be advisable to send in a list of clinical information data since diagnosis including changes in the medication prescribed and what side effects you personally have encountered. I would strongly recommend that you ask for help in this respect from a Parkinson’s UK representative who has some experience in the completion of such applications.

Once the application form is sent back to the Department of Work and Pensions ( It is a good idea to photo copy the application for your own information), it is then scrutinised and if a face to face assessment is deemed necessary (I personally think this will apply to most applications) then the application is then sent off to ATOS (The healthcare provider) to arrange such a meeting. In my experience the Department of Work and Pensions do not follow this up timeously or keep the claimant informed of developments in the process. ATOS (Telephone number 0300 330 0121) then allocate a location to carry out the assessments from a number of selected healthcare organisations within a reasonable radius. In my view there is scant regard for the mobility issues of the claimant which unless you are bed bound are expected to travel tens of miles for a face to face meeting whereas a home visit would be the better alternative to assess the claimants ability to carry out their everyday tasks in an environment that is natural to them. Travelling expenses for the claimant and any companion can be claimed back from ATOS upon completing a travel expenses claim form and providing necessary evidence of costs.

ATOS wait until there is a convenient time slot to carry out the assessment, the applicant is placed in a strict ? queuing system to which they are unable to advise where you are in the queue. Inevitably this is a new system and they advise there is a severe backlog of assessments to carry out (Could this also be that the NHS cuts have also increased the usage of such places outside the PIP process). I have been given to understand that at such assessments which are carried out by medical practitioners not specialised in the respective conditions, some simple motor tests are applied together with dialogue ( taking between 1 and 2 hours)and then a report then goes back to the Department of Work and Pensions for a final consideration and then a decision is made on whether the application has been successful or not. I would strongly recommend that you request a copy of the report for your information and as a matter of transparency.

My overall recommendations

It is up to the individual claimant to keep a tight control on the application process and not be fobbed off by an inconsistent and infallible process that simply does not work. By applying a 30 day timescale to each part of the process it is reasonable to expect the application and the decision on it to take no longer than 3 months from the initial contact. There is a customer charter that the organisations have to follow and this follows the ethos of treating all people fairly and equally. If you feel this is not the case there are complaint procedures which I would urge all claimants to consider using.

The Personal Independence Payment award is not means based and therefore irrespective of your financial position if you are entitled to the award claim it.

Once the Personal Independence Payment award has been made the claimant may then consider whether it appropriate to apply for carers allowance which is a separate application process that is based on the carers spending 35 hours or more a week caring for someone who receives Attendance Allowance ( I understand this applies to persons over 65 years old and supersedes the previously named Disability Living Allowance – Now known as the Personal Independence Payment) or the middle or highest rate of care component of Disability Living Allowance – Personal Independence Payment and amongst other considerations not earn more than £100 a week (May have increased from October 2013)

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