Personal Independence Payment (PIP)- help for Cambridgeshire parents
Is your son or daughter approaching 16? If they already receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) benefit, they will soon be invited to apply for PIP. Here are some useful pointers and information from the Pinpoint PIP session held in September 2017 for our Preparing for Adulthood Group.
The PIP process
- If your son or daughter already gets DLA, once they get to 16, they will be invited by letter from the Department of Work and Pensions to transfer and apply for PIP.
- The letter will have a application deadline – make sure you fill it in and return it by this date (see top tips below)
- When you receive the letter, you will need to make a phone call to give your young person’s details such as NI number and bank details.
- Collect any evidence and reports that you need (your GP and other services might charge for a report) and fill out the PIP form. You generally have a month to do this but you can ask for a two-week-extension.
- Once returned, the form will go to a DWP medical assessor. Your young person will probably be asked to attend a face-to-face assessment, but not every person applying for PIP will have to have one. You can apply to have this assessment at home but remember that you may want to explain how they struggle in an unfamiliar environment, so a home assessment may not paint a true picture of their difficulties.
- You will be told whether your young person is eligible for PIP and the rates they will get. DLA is paid for 4 weeks after the decision on PIP is made.
Top Tips on applying for PIP
- Send in as much information as possible.
- Not enough room on the form to list everything? Type and print it out it in small print, then physically cut it out and paste it into the PIP form. Put your young person’s NI number on any extra sheet you send in so they can be matched to the right person.
- Don’t send original documents – they may not come back. Photocopy your application and supporting documents. Keep a copy of everything you send.
- Look at all the daily living/mobility descriptors in detail: can your son or daughter do these things safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely way ?
- List examples of how things go wrong or where your young person gets into difficulties. What is the impact of their disability/additional need?
- Explain the help and support you give them day-to-day – for example, with washing or bathing, taking medication, budgeting, preparing a meal, or support and supervision when you are out. Start keeping a diary now and note down all the things you help with.
- Don’t rush the application. Take plenty of time (a couple of weeks may be needed) – but do make sure you return it by the due date set out in the DWP letter.
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Where to get PIP advice in Cambridgeshire
- The county council’s Welfare Benefits Team: Free support and assistance with claiming disability benefits and other connected benefits. Home visiting service for people who can’t access front line advice or live in rural areas of Cambridgeshire. Service details on the council website Contact email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Little Miracles Peterborough: access help with form filling for PIP, by either by messaging Peterborough Little Miracles http://www.littlemiraclescharity.org.uk/contact-us/ , or Facebook message https://www.facebook.com/LittleMiraclesCentre/ and ask for help with filling in the form. Parents may be asked to fill in a membership form for Little Miracles but membership is free.
- National Autistic Society in Cambridge: adult support manger Joseph Simon can help 16+ with forms, face to face meeting, tribunal, support in court. Contact email: Joseph.Simon@nas.org.uk
- Citizens Advice Bureau can help filling in PIP forms. They have team of volunteers that help with the initial form filing and paid staff to help with tribunals. Access service by attending drop-ins. Outreach sessions at:
Cambridge (centre) – Cambridge City Council, Mandela House, 4 Regent Street, Cambridge CB2 1BY Drop-in – no appointment necessary – Tuesday & Thursday – 11am – 3pmCambridge (north) – Meadows
Community Centre, 1 St Catherine’s Road, Cambridge CB4 3XJ – Drop-in – no appointment necessary Wednesday – 11am – 3pm
Girton – Girton Community Centre, St Vincent Close, Girton CB3 0PE Drop-in – no appointment necessary – Wednesday – 1pm – 4pm
Sawston – John Huntingdon Centre, 189 High Street, Sawston CB22 3HJ – Drop-in – no appointment necessary – Friday – 9.30am – 12.30pm
Trumpington – Trumpington Pavilion, Paget Road, Cambridge CB2 9JF – Drop-in – no appointment necessary – Thursday – 11.30am – 2.30pm
Arbury – Arbury Road Surgery, 114 Arbury Road, Cambridge, CB4 2JG – Thursday – 2pm-5pm (appointments only)
Fen Ditton – East Barnwell Health Centre, Ditton Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8SP – Friday – 8.30am – 1pm (registered patients only)
Nuffield Road Medical Centre – Nuffield Road, Cambridge, CB4 1GL – Thursday – 1pm – 4pm (appointments only)
- Cambridgeshire SEN parent/carer support group Facebook page a closed Facebook page where you can post for advice and information from other SEN parents on any aspect of your child/young person’s life 24/7.
What to do if your claim is turned down or you want to appeal the PIP decision
Many people accept a PIP refusal because they are worried about appealing the decision and possibly having to go to tribunal at court. However, there are lots of organisations who can help you through the process, or even attend with you. The hearing is in the family section of the court. Not many people will be there. Remember you have at least a 50% chance of success.
The first stage of appealing the decision is called Mandatory Reconsideration. You should write to the DWP saying why you disagree with the decision and that you are asking for a Mandatory Reconsideration of your application. And you should do this within a month of getting the PIP decision letter from the DWP.
The DWP will look again at the award. If you don’t agree with the reconsideration decision, you can go to the next appeal stage at tribunal.
- Disability Cambridgeshire offers help at tribunal stage:
- NAS Cambridge can support you through the appeals process (see details in the who can help section)
- Autism/ASD challenge on PIP decisions: article by Jane Owen-Pam, former National Autistic Society’s Welfare Rights Co-ordinator, includes guidance on how to challenge the Department of Work and Pensions (decision as well as how to appeal. Read article