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Can I claim PIP for mental health?

You may be entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you have daily living and/or mobility needs because of an illness, disability or mental health condition.

Find out if you can claim PIP for mental health by meeting the criteria set out by The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

PIP eligibility

To claim PIP, you must meet the following PIP eligibility criteria:

  • Be 16 years old or over
  • Be below pensionable age
  • Meet the residence and presence criteria
  • Meet the qualifying period conditions
  • Pass the daily living or mobility test.

Claiming PIP If your child is under 16

If your child is under 16, you can claim DLA for them. When a child approaches their 16th birthday the DWP will contact the parent to explain about the child claiming PIP.

Claiming PIP If you are over 67

If you have already claimed PIP by the time you reach 67, you will continue to receive the benefit for as long you meet the conditions.

If you are already over 67, you cannot make a new claim for PIP. You will need to claim Attendance Allowance instead.

Residence and presence PIP criteria

To meet the residence and presence criteria you must:

  • Be in Great Britain
  • Have been in Great Britain for 104 weeks in the past three years
  • Be ‘habitually resident’ in the UK. This means that you intend to stay in the country and can live permanently in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

There are some exceptions where you can claim PIP if you are not in Great Britain. These include if you are in the Armed Forces or if you are away from Great Britain temporarily.

The qualifying period for PIP

Unless you are terminally ill or you are transferring onto PIP from DLA, you must meet the following qualifying period requirements:

  • Have met the disability criteria three months before your claim starts
  • Be likely to meet the disability criteria for nine months from the beginning of your claim.

The DWP will judge the eligibility of your PIP claim on a period of 12 months, looking back for three months and forward for nine months. They must consider if your illness changes over time.

PIP daily living and mobility test

PIP is not awarded on your physical or mental health condition. It’s based on the level of help you need because of your condition.

You’re assessed for PIP on the level of help you need to complete specific activities, which are categorised as two components – daily living component and mobility component.

PIP daily living component activities

You may have daily living needs if your illness, disability or mental health condition requires you to have help to do the following activities:

  • Preparing food and cooking
  • Eating food or drinking
  • Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition
  • Taking medication
  • Washing and bathing
  • Managing toilet needs or incontinence
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Communicating verbally
  • Reading and understanding signs, symbols and words
  • Socialising with other people
  • Deciding about your money and budget.

PIP mobility component activities

You may have mobility needs if your illness, disability or mental health condition requires you to have help to:

  • Plan and follow journeys
  • Move around

What is classified as ‘help’ for a PIP claim

You are classified as needing help to do an activity if you need a person or a device to:

  • Do it for you
  • Do it with you
  • Remind you to do it
  • Watch you do it to keep you safe

You may also be classified as needing help if you do an activity yourself but:

  • You aren’t safe
  • You can’t complete the task well enough
  • You can’t complete the task often
  • It takes you a long time

PIP scoring criteria

The PIP scoring criteria awards points for a statement which applies to you for each activity. The DWP will decide which statement best fits your situation most of the time. You will get a set amount of points ranging from 0 -12 points for each activity.

The total number of points you get for each group of activities will decide whether you are entitled to PIP, and how much money you will receive.

To get the standard rate daily living component, you need to score 8 to 11 points in total for the daily living activities. You need at least 12 points to get the enhanced rate.

To get the standard rate mobility component, you need to score 8 to 11 points in total for the mobility activities. You need at least 12 points to get the enhanced rate.

Can you claim PIP in hospital or care?

You can claim PIP while in a hospital or a care/nursing home, however, it can affect when your payments start.

If you’re in hospital, payments start when you leave unless you’re a private patient. If you’re a private patient PIP payment can start while you’re in residence.

It’s important to know If you already receive PIP, stays in hospital or a care home can affect your PIP payments.

What happens to PIP if you go into hospital or care?

If you already claim PIP and are in hospital for 28 days (4 weeks) or less, your payments will continue as normal. If you remain in hospital for longer than 28 days, your PIP will stop.

You must inform the DWP about any stays in hospital.

What happens if you are sent home between hospital stays?

You should still be able to receive your PIP for any days you spend at home in between hospital stays. The day you leave hospital and the day you go back in count as days at home. Try to let the DWP know what’s happened within one month to avoid any problems with your PIP claim.

What happens if you are allowed home from hospital for part of a day?

If you are sent home for part of the day (e.g. a morning or afternoon), you cannot be paid PIP for that day. You should seek advice from a Welfare and Benefits Advisor if this applies to you.

What to do if you’re not eligible for PIP

Not everyone will be eligible for PIP. If you don’t qualify for PIP you may be eligible for Attendance Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit.

Karl's story

Karl has anxiety and depression. He rarely leaves the house alone, and will not answer his telephone or door unless he knows who is calling. He worries about speaking to people because of panic attacks.

Karl can talk to people when he is with his social worker. He finds it difficult but he knows that his social worker will help to calm him down if he has a panic attack.

The DWP may give Karl 4 points for the daily living activity ‘Engaging with other people face to face.’ This is because Karl needs social support to talk to other people face to face.

Karl would need to score at least four more points on the other daily living activities to get the daily living component at the standard rate.

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