People on Universal Credit with a long-term health condition could be due up to £737 each month

The latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that there were 6.9 million people across Scotland, England and Wales, receiving financial support through Universal Credit at the end of June. The income-related benefit is designed to help people in and out of work on a low income with everyday living costs.

However, many people claiming Universal Credit or income-related Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) who have a disability, long-term illness, or physical or mental health condition, may be unaware that Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Adult Disability Payment (ADP) - which has replaced all new claims for PIP in Scotland - could provide extra money to help with daily living or mobility costs.

PIP and ADP are tax-free, non-means tested payments that do not affect the benefit cap, which means a single claimant over 25 on Universal Credit or JSA making a new claim for either benefit, could potentially receive up to £737.20 every four weeks independently of their other benefits.

Combined with a monthly Universal Credit payment of £393.45 (over-25 rate), this could provide up to £1,130.65 each month.

It’s important to be aware that this figure is based on someone receiving the higher rate of both components of either PIP or ADP.

It’s also crucial to be aware that the health condition itself will not automatically qualify someone for PIP or ADP, it’s how it affects a person’s daily living and/or mobility needs.

Universal Credit (monthly rates)

Unlike Universal Credit, PIP and ADP are claimed by individuals, not couples.

  • Single claimants, under 25: £311.68

  • Single claimants, 25 or over: £393.45

PIP and ADP payment rates

You will need an assessment to work out the level of financial help you will receive and your rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you are getting the right support.

PIP is made up of two components - Daily living and Mobility. Whether you get one or both of these and how much depends on how severely your condition affects you.

You will be paid the following amounts per week depending on your circumstances:

Daily living

  • Standard rate: £72.65

  • Enhanced rate: £108.55

Mobility

  • Standard rate: £28.70

  • Enhanced rate: £75.75

Below is an overview of PIP and ADP. Even though new claims for PIP have been replaced in Scotland by ADP, it shares most of the same eligibility criteria. Full guidance on ADP can be found on the MYGOV.SCOT website here.

Five most commonly recorded PIP health conditions

These are the main disabling conditions recorded by the DWP at the end of April, 2024.

Psychiatric disorder

1,347,889 claimants (37%)

This includes mixed anxiety, stress, depressive and mood disorders, OCD and cognitive disorders

Musculoskeletal disease (general)

672,201 claimants (20%)

This includes muscle or joint pain and arthritic conditions

Neurological disease

465,187 claimants (13%)

This includes muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, headache, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy and other movement disorders

Musculoskeletal disease (regional)

416,878 claimants (12%)

This includes neck, back, shoulders, elbow, wrists, hands, hip, knee and ankle pain

Respiratory disease

138,003 claimants (4%)

This includes asthma, diseases of the upper respiratory tract, pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis

One in three (36%) of all claims with entitlement to PIP at the end of April are in receipt of the highest level of award. An award for PIP or ADP can also lead to additional support for housing costs, Council Tax, other benefits and reduced travel on public transport.

Disabling conditions recorded by DWP

These are the main disability categories, the umbrella term by which more than 500 other conditions fall under. This list is only an overview of conditions, disorders and diseases and how the DWP lists the main disabilities being claimed for.

  • Haematological Disease

  • Infectious disease

  • Malignant disease

  • Metabolic disease

  • Psychiatric disorders

  • Neurological disease

  • Visual disease

  • Hearing disorders

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Gastrointestinal disease

  • Diseases of the liver, gallbladder, biliary tract

  • Skin disease

  • Musculoskeletal disease (general)

  • Musculoskeletal disease (regional)

  • Autoimmune disease (connective tissue disorders)

  • Genitourinary disease

  • Endocrine disease

  • Respiratory disease

  • Multisystem and extremes of age

  • Diseases of the immune system

  • Unknown or missing

  • Total number of PIP claimants (April 2024) - 3,544,042

Who might be eligible for PIP or ADP?

To be eligible for PIP or ADP, you must have a health condition or disability where you:

  • have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for 3 months

  • expect these difficulties to continue for at least 9 months

You usually need to have lived in the UK for at least two of the last three years and be in the country when you apply.

In addition to what we have outlined above if you get or need help with any of the following because of your condition, you should consider applying for PIP or ADP.

  • preparing, cooking or eating food

  • managing your medication

  • washing, bathing or using the toilet

  • dressing and undressing

  • engaging and communicating with other people

  • reading and understanding written information

  • making decisions about money

  • planning a journey or following a route

  • moving around

There are different rules if you are terminally ill, you will find these on the GOV.UK website here.

DWP or Social Security Scotland will assess how difficult you find daily living and mobility tasks. For each task they will look at:

  • whether you can do it safely

  • how long it takes you

  • how often your condition affects this activity

  • whether you need help to do it, from a person or using extra equipment

How are PIP and ADP paid?

PIP and ADP are usually paid every four weeks unless you are terminally ill, in which case it is paid weekly. It will be paid directly into your bank, building society or credit union account. ADP is paid at the same rates as PIP.

How you are assessed

You will be assessed by an independent healthcare professional to help the DWP determine the level of financial support, if any, you need, for PIP.

Face-to-face consultations for health-related benefits are offered alongside video calls, telephone and paper-based assessments - it's important to be aware that the health professional and DWP determine which type of assessment is best suited for each claimant. You can find out more about DWP PIP assessments here.

Adult Disability Payment assessments will not involve face-to-face assessments, unless this is preferred by the claimant - find out more about the changes here.

How do you make a claim for PIP?

You can make a new claim by contacting the DWP, you will find all the information you need to apply on the GOV.UK website here.

Before you call, you will need:

  • your contact details

  • your date of birth

  • your National Insurance number - this is on letters about tax, pensions and benefits

  • your bank or building society account number and sort code

  • your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number

  • dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital

How to apply for ADP

People can apply ADP, over the phone, by post or in-person. To find out more or apply, visit the dedicated pages on mygov.scot here or call Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222.

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