Supporting evidence for a PIP claim
Supporting evidence - especially medical - can make a significant difference in the outcome of your Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim. We explain what supporting evidence to ask for and how to request it.
The Department for Communities (DfC) must consider all medical evidence when deciding about your PIP claim. However, unless you provide this information, they may not contact your GP or other health care professionals for more details.
Decision makers at the DfC and assessors who carry out face-to-face assessments may have little knowledge of your condition and are very unlikely to have any specialist knowledge of mental health.
We recommend that you collect supporting evidence to show how your condition affects you.
Supporting evidence - for new claims, renewal claims or if you’re going through an appeal - can be included at any stage of a PIP claim.
What is supporting evidence for PIP
Supporting evidence for a PIP claim is useful when making a new/renewal PIP claim or when you are appealing against a PIP decision. Supporting evidence can come in the form of:
- Statement from a carer, friend or family member
- Daily routine diary and personal statement
- Medical evidence (records, prescriptions, letters from medical professionals).
PIP statements from a carer, friend or family member
Letters from your carer, friends or family can help support your PIP claim. As they are likely to see you frequently, they can comment on how they help you - washing, bathing, cooking, dressing etc. - and why you would have difficulty doing specific tasks yourself.
PIP daily routine diary and personal statement
If your mental health condition fluctuates daily, it will be helpful to keep a detailed seven-day journal on how your condition affects you in day-to-day life. A PIP diary will highlight:
- How your mental health impacts you on everyday tasks
- The help you need, which you may forget
- How you have adapted to cope with your mental health
Once you have finished your diary, you could turn this into a PIP personal statement – which may be easier to read than a journal. This should be a maximum of two pages and explain:
- The history of your condition
- How your ability to cope differs from day to day.
- Your average week
Medical evidence for PIP
Medical evidence is crucial when applying for PIP and usually takes the form of a letter/report from your GP, psychiatrist, consultant or other healthcare professional.
Medical professionals can explain what your condition is, your treatment and how the condition affects your everyday life.
Not all healthcare professionals are able or willing to write supporting letters, and they are not obliged to do so, but it is worth asking them and stressing how it could help your claim – they can charge a fee for writing this letter/report.
Don’t delay returning your PIP form or attending an assessment if you’re waiting to receive a document for supporting evidence.
Always send the PIP form back and include a letter explaining that more information will follow.
Who to ask for medical evidence to support your PIP claim?
As mentioned, getting medical evidence from a healthcare professional may not be easy, but we strongly recommend that you try to get as much recent and relevant medical evidence as you can.
Situations where old evidence may be particularly relevant include:
- You are housebound because of your mental health and as a result, have not been able to get to your doctors’ surgery.
You can ask for medical evidence from one or more of the following healthcare professionals you have contact with:
- Care co-ordinator
- Community psychiatric nurse (CPN)
- Social or support worker
- Occupational therapist
- Hospital consultant
If you needed help getting evidence (from a relative or friend), the process has affected your mental or physical health in any way, make sure you explain this on your PIP form.
What to include when requesting medical evidence for PIP
When requesting medical evidence for PIP explain that you require information specifically relevant to the criteria used by the DfC to assess you.
It is essential that any supporting evidence provided has information about the difficulties your mental health causes you, and how you meet the criteria for PIP. It is not helpful for evidence to say what diagnosis, symptoms or treatment you have.
The healthcare professional needs to understand that you will be assessed on how you are most of the time, and for you to be considered able to do an activity you need to be able to carry it out:
- to an acceptable standard
- repeatedly AND
- in a reasonable timescale.
The DfC assess how your illness, disability or mental health condition requires you to have help to do the following 12 activities:
- Preparing food and cooking
- Eating 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.
- Plan and follow journeys
- Move around
How to request medical evidence for PIP
It can take a long time from when you request medical evidence to you receiving it; we recommend that you ask for it as soon as you can.
Visiting your GP/healthcare professional face-to-face
If visiting your GP/healthcare professional face-to-face, you should take a copy of the PIP descriptors and highlight the areas you would like them to comment.
This can help your GP/healthcare professional when writing a letter of medical evidence and will help them focus on the activities that are most relevant to you.
Writing a letter to request medical evidence for PIP
You can write a letter to your GP/healthcare professional requesting medical evidence to support your PIP application.
Include the topics and areas you would like them to comment on. It is essential to request medical evidence by asking your doctor neutral, non-leading questions.
We have a free sample letter for requesting medical evidence. If you wish to use this template, you can personalise the letter to ensure it only includes information relevant to you.
Requesting your medical evidence is sent to you before the DfC
When requesting medical evidence, please make sure the person/s you are asking to provide the letter sends it to you rather than directly to the DfC – this way you can check that you’re happy with the content and that it is an accurate reflection of your condition and abilities.
- Introduction to PIP
- Help with your PIP claim
- Challenging a PIP decision
- PIP resources