When you are dealing with a physical or mental health problem, everyday tasks such as getting to work and keeping up with monthly bills are often more challenging than usual. There are some benefits designed to help you cope with the extra challenges, one of which is Personal Independence Payment or PIP.
PIP is specifically designed to provide you with the financial support you need to have a comfortable, independent everyday life. The benefit is offered on top of other programs such as Employment and Support Allowance. What is PIP and how can you benefit from this program? That is what we are going to discuss in this article.
Do I Qualify for PIP?
One of the first things you need to understand about PIP is its wide coverage. Whether you are working a full-time job or making insufficient income to support yourself doesn’t matter. The program has a general set of requirements you need to meet to qualify for the financial aid:
- You must be aged between 16 and 64 years old to qualify
- You need help with everyday tasks or mobility
- You have been in your current situation for at least three months and you need help for a minimum of nine more months
There are exceptions that allow you to qualify for PIP even when you don’t meet the basic requirements (i.e. if you are in the military).
Is My Illness Covered?
PIP covers a wide range of health issues and mental health problems. The program will help adults with learning disabilities, those living with bipolar, and anyone with common mental health problems to face every day.
The main purpose of this program is to provide specific assistance in the form of a financial aid. If you have trouble preparing food, managing your treatments, communicating with other people, or socialising at home and at work, then you can take advantage of PIP to help alleviate those conditions.
You can also use the financial aid to pay for a wide range of help. You can choose to hire a carer, get tools or extra equipment that suit you or have modifications done to your home and your car so that you can perform everyday tasks more easily.
Understanding IP Rates
As with many financial aid programs for people suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression or emotional instability, there are certain rates you can claim based on your current situation. The basic daily living rate is currently set at £55.65 per week, while the standard rate for mobility claims is £22.
These rates are for basic needs. You can apply for the enhanced rates – with higher limits – depending on the condition you face. The level of support you get depends on the level of help you need.
There is also a time limit to the program, but you are notified in advance about the period during which you will receive PIP support. As you get closer to the end of that period, you will be reminded of the need to make a new claim. You have the option to make a new claim, six months before the old PIP claim expires.
As for the PIP payments themselves, you will receive the financial assistance you need once every four weeks. If you are terminally ill or you have specific needs, you can also ask for the payment to be cleared on a weekly basis.
Going Through the Assessment
As with many other financial programs geared towards those living with depression and other mental health issues, you have to go through a series of checks and a thorough assessment before you are granted PIP; Mental Health & Money Advice is an example of a great website that provides guides and advice on how you can file your PIP claim successfully, as well as offering support to mental health sufferers and carers. The assessment completes all the normal checks and the process is actually designed to be very easy for most people.
At the beginning of the process, you will be asked to fill out a form explaining how your mental health issue is affecting your life and your ability to deal with everyday tasks. You need to provide relevant and accurate details to support your claim at this point.
You may also be asked to attend a face-to-face interview and Personal Independence Payment assessment. The assessment is usually put in place to further determine the extent of your mental health issue and whether the claim you have made is sufficient; in most cases, you may get a higher level of financial support after passing the face-to-face assessment.
As mentioned earlier, PIP is something you can claim on top of other benefits provided by the government and non-profit institutions. The benefit is there to help lessen some of the burdens of living with a mental health problem. The next time you need to pay for special treatments or have parts of your house modified for better safety and convenience, you don’t have to absorb all of the costs yourself with PIP in force.