MILLIONS of people struggling with a health condition or disability can get help through Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
But you can also get a number of freebies if you claim the benefit.
PIP is designed to help with extra living costs and comes in two parts depending on your circumstances.
It can be given to those aged 16 or over who have not reached state pension age, currently 66.
The process is different in Northern Ireland, and if you live abroad or if you’re not a British citizen.
Whether you get one or both of the two types of PIP depends on how severely your mental or physical health condition affects you.
And you’ll be entitled to different amounts depending on your circumstances too.
You may get the mobility part of PIP if you need help going out or moving around. The weekly rate for this is either £24.45 or £64.50.
While on the daily living part of PIP, the weekly rate is either £61.85 or £92.40 – and you could get both elements, so up to £156.90 in total.
These rates are set to go up in April 2023 after the government said they would rise in line with inflation for September this year – 10.1%.
That means the weekly rate for the mobility part of PIP will rise to £26.90 or £71.
The daily living component will go up to £68.10 or £101.75.
If you’re wondering what some of the freebies are, we’ve put together a comprehensive list.
Cost of living payments
Whilst eligibility criteria for the next payment hasn’t been announced yet, if it were to be the same as the previous one, those on PIP should be in line for a further £150 cash boost.
You don’t have to do anything to claim the cash payment as it’s made automatically.
Vehicle tax reduction
Vehicle tax, also known as road tax, is what you have to pay to use your car on the roads.
In some cases, you can pay up to £2,355 a year on vehicle tax, so a 50% reduction would be worth over £1,000.
One thing to bear in mind is that the vehicle you’re getting reduced tax on must be registered in the disabled person’s name or their nominated driver’s name.
If you want to get a reduction you have to make a claim first. You must include the following with your application:
- a letter or statement from the Department for Work and Pensions that shows your PIP rate and the dates you’re getting it – if you’re getting PIP
- an ADP decision letter from Social Security Scotland that shows your mobility component rate and the dates you’re getting it – if you’re getting ADP
- the vehicle log book (V5C)
- a V10 form
- an original MOT or GVT certificate (if your vehicle needs one)
- a cheque or payable order (made out to ‘DVLA, Swansea’) for 50% of the full rate of car tax for the vehicle
- an insurance certificate or cover note (if you live in Northern Ireland)
You’ll need to send the paperwork to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BF.
You can also get a complete vehicle tax exemption if you’re on the enhanced rate of PIP.
If you’re applying for the first time, you should be able to do it at your local Post Office branch.
To find your nearest branch, you can go on the Post Office’s website and use its branch finder or phone 0345 722 3344.
Roughly six million people across the UK receive disability benefits which are exempt from tax.
For example, millions received a £150 disability cost of living support payment last month from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
But you’ll need to be receiving one of the following along with PIP to be eligible for top ups:
- Housing benefit
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income support
- Working Tax Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance – you need to be on the daily living part of PIP
- Pension credit – also needs to be alongside the daily living part of PIP
You should get in touch with the DWP if you’re not sure what help you’re entitled to.
You may need to send them a copy of your PIP award letter.
When you reach state pension age (66 currently) you can also be entitled to attendance allowance if you also have problematic health conditions – this is paid at two different rates weekly, depending on the care you need.
Council tax discounts
You might also be able to get a council tax discount if you claim the living or mobility part of PIP.
You’ll need to contact your local council to find out though – which you can do by searching “local council finder”.
Just pop in a post code and you’re there.
Again, they might need to see you your PIP award letter.
How much you’ll get off widely depends on what your personal situation is and how much PIP you’re claiming – so it’s best to call up and have a discussion.
Disabled Facilities Grant
You can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant if you’re disabled and need to make changes to your home to suit your needs.
For example, you might need to widen doors and install ramps or rails.
Or you might need to install a heating system that suits your specific needs.
You can get different amounts of money depending on whether you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
The grants are not available for households in Scotland.
If you live in Wales you can get up to £36,000 worth of support, £30,000 in England and up to £25,000 in Northern Ireland.
You have to apply through your local council who must give you a decision within six months.
Your PIP award letter can allow you apply for a Blue Badge, although some councils can charge for this.
The most they can ask for is £10, though.
You should contact your local council to apply – but if you’re on certain benefits as well then it should be easy to get.
These benefits include:
- Disability Living Allowance
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- Received a lump sum payment as part of the Armed Forces Compensation scheme (tariffs 1 to 8)
Parking spaces reserved for blue badge holders tend to be closer to entrances and cover bigger areas.
They must display their badge with the parking clock set to the time the person arrived.
Anyone with a disability that limits their ability to walk is eligible for a blue badge.
You must either be unable to walk, have difficultly walking, come to harm or cause harm while walking.
If you are registered blind or have disability in your arms you can also get a blue badge.
Many badge holders are also eligible for road tax exemption and you get a full refund for the remaining months when you apply for exemption.
Disabled person’s railcard
This could give you up to a third off rail fares – roughly £4.26 per journey or £91 per year.
It depends how often you get the train, of course.
You can contact your local council to learn more about how to apply – and make sure to have your award letter on you.
This could be especially useful since ticket fines are rising next year.
The fee, which is currently £20, will go up by another £80 in January 2023.
If you have a disability that entitles you to PIP, you may be able to get free NHS prescriptions too.
But you might not be guaranteed the freebie.
Some of the illnesses that entitle you for free prescriptions include cancer, diabetes and epilepsy.
To get the free prescription you’ll have to apply for a medical exemption certificate, which is a credit card size.
To apply, speak to your doctor and ask for a FP92A form.
Capped water bills
Some water suppliers offer customers help with their bills if they’re on certain benefits through what’s known as the WaterSure scheme.
This sometimes includes those on Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments.
You’ll need to be on a water meter or have applied for one and have a need to use lots of water.
You might need to use lots of water if someone in the household has a medical condition that requires lots of water for example.
But you might not always be covered under the scheme.
The best thing to do is contact your supplier to find out if you can get help.
How do I apply for PIP?
You can make a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim by calling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222.
There are also other ways to claim if you find it difficult to use a telephone. See gov.uk for more information.
When you claim, you’ll need:
- Your contact details
- Date of birth
- National Insurance number
- Bank or building society account number and sort code
- Your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number
- Dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital
Someone else can call on your behalf, but you’ll need to be with them when they call.
You’ll then be sent a form to fill in, after which you’ll be invited for an assessment or your health or social care worker will be asked for information.
After this you’ll be sent a letter telling you if your claim has been successful.
You can read Citizens Advice’s help on preparing for an assessment on its website.
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