How long PIP payments really last and maximum award length to expect for a long-term condition

The latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show there are now 3.5 million people across Great Britain claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP), including nearly 219,000 living in Scotland. The number of people receiving the disability benefit is at an all-time high, even though the overall total does not take into account some 109,385 Scots who have transferred from PIP to Adult Disability Payment (ADP).

However, people making a new claim for PIP may not be aware that a successful award can vary in length. The shortest award is nine months, while the longest is an ongoing award with a ‘light touch’ review at 10 years.

The 2024 edition of the PIP Handbook explains that the decision maker will make an award of PIP based on the impact of the claimant’s health condition or disability on their daily life and their ability to live independently. It adds: “The length of award will be based upon each claimant’s individual circumstances.”

It’s important to be aware that the guidance from the DWP also says that most claimants will have their award regularly reviewed, “regardless of the length of the award” in order to make sure “everyone continues to receive the most appropriate level of support”.

Some claimants will be given a limited term award for a fixed period of up to two years - DWP says these awards will not be reviewed. Limited awards with no review date are given where the claimant’s health condition may be reasonably expected to improve.

Awards made under the special rules for end of life will be for three years and the daily living component will be paid at the enhanced rate in all cases. Payment of the mobility component will depend on whether the claimant needs help to get around and, if they do, how much help they need.

Ongoing awards with a ‘light touch’ review

A ‘light touch’ review is for claimants who have:

  • very stable needs which are unlikely to change over time

  • high level needs which will either stay the same or get worse

  • a planned award review date due on or at State Pension age

  • a special rules for end of life claim due when of State Pension age

The DWP guidance states: “These claimants would not usually be expected to have a face-to-face assessment at review.”

A successful claim for PIP or ADP is now worth between £28.70 and £184.30 each week in additional financial support and as the benefit is paid every four weeks, this amounts to between £114.80 and £737.20 every pay period.

PIP / ADP weekly payment rates 2024/25

Daily Living Component

  • Enhanced: £108.55

  • Standard: £72.65

Mobility Component

  • Enhanced: £75.75

  • Standard: £28.70

How much PIP you will be paid depends on how difficult it is for you to carry out certain everyday tasks including preparing and eating food, washing and getting dressed, basic toilet needs and moving around.

PIP awards in a nutshell

Most PIP awards last for fixed periods - the end date is stated in your decision letter. However, the DWP has discretion to contact claimants to review a PIP claim, even if the PIP award still has several years to run.

Short-term awards of PIP for up to two years are given where the claimant is expected to improve significantly.

Awards of 5-10 years are made where changes in the claimant’s condition are possible but less likely.

In summer 2018, the DWP announced that claimants who are awarded the highest level of award under PIP - and who have severe or progressive conditions where their needs are expected to stay the same or increase - will receive an ongoing award of PIP with a 'light touch' review every 10 years.

Before your award ends, you will be invited to apply to renew your claim. You may be asked to complete a PIP review form (AR1), which is much shorter than the PIP2 form completed by new claimants and focuses on changes in your circumstances, Alternatively, you may be asked to complete the PIP2 form again.

What if my condition changes?

Your PIP award may change if something in your life changes. For example, if your health gets better, your PIP may go down or stop. If your health gets worse, your PIP award may increase.

It is up to you to tell the DWP when your condition gets better or worse. If you don’t tell the DWP at the time, you could miss out on benefits that you are entitled to or you could be overpaid benefits that you would have to pay back.

What happens if I go into hospital?

If you are 18 or over, your PIP stops after you have been a patient in hospital for 28 consecutive days. It starts again after you have been discharged.

What happens if I go into a care home?

The daily living component of your PIP stops after you have been living in a care home for 28 days. It starts again if and when you leave to live independently.

The mobility component of PIP continues to be paid as normal, however long you live in a care home.

What happens as I get older?

Getting older does not stop your PIP award but it can stop you from renewing your claim or making a new claim.

If you are over State Pension age and you want your PIP to continue, make sure you renew your claim when your current award ends.

There are currently 650,801 people over State Pension age claiming PIP across the country.

If you are over State Pension age and your last award of PIP ended over a year ago, you cannot renew your claim or make a new claim. However, you may be able to claim Attendance Allowance instead but this does not include a mobility component - find out more here.

For more information about PIP, visit the GOV.UK website here.

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