MILLIONS of people suffering from long-term health conditions can get help through personal independence payments (PIP).
But you might be unaware there are 10 freebies and discounts that come with claiming the benefit.
You can claim PIP if you are 16 or over and have not reached the state pension age.
It can be worth up to £172.75 a week, so it's definitely worth checking if you are entitled to it.
To qualify you have to have a health condition or disability where you either have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for three months.
There should also be an expectation that these difficulties will continue for at least nine months – unless you’re terminally ill with less than six months to live.
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Difficulties with daily living can include preparing or eating food, washing, bathing and using the toilet, dressing and undressing, managing your medicines or treatments, making decisions about money, and engaging with other people.
PIP is made up of two parts and whether you get one or both of these depends on how severely your condition affects you.
How much you get also depends on how your condition affects you.
You may get the mobility part of PIP if you need help going out or moving around. The weekly rate for this is either £26.90 or £71.
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While on the daily living part of PIP, the weekly rate is either £68.10 or £101.75 – and you could get both elements, so up to £172.75 in total.
You’ll be assessed by a health professional to work out the level of help you can get and your rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you’re getting the right support.
Payments are usually made every four weeks directly into your bank account, and they're tax-free.
And there are freebies and discounts available with the support too, including things like a blue badge parking and council tax discounts.
We've put together a list of the 10 freebies and discounts you could get with PIP.
1. Council tax discounts
You might also be able to get a council tax discount if you claim the living or mobility part of PIP.
You'll have to contact your local authority to find out what discount you're entitled to though and you might still have to pay a small amount.
Again, they might need to see your PIP award letter.
How much you'll get off widely depends on what your personal situation is and how much PIP you're claiming – so it's best to call up and have a discussion.
2. Blue badge
Your PIP award letter can be used to apply for a blue badge, although some councils can charge for this.
The most they can ask for is £10, though.
You should contact your local council to apply – but if you're on certain benefits as well then it should be easy to get.
These benefits include:
- Disability living allowance
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- Received a lump sum payment as part of the Armed Forces Compensation scheme (tariffs 1 to 8)
Parking spaces reserved for blue badge holders tend to be closer to entrances and cover bigger areas.
Blue badge holders can park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours as long as there are no loading or unloading restrictions.
They must display their badge with the parking clock set to the time the person arrived.
Anyone with a disability that limits their ability to walk is eligible for a blue badge.
You must either be unable to walk, have difficulty walking, come to harm or cause harm while walking.
If you are registered blind or have a disability in your arms you can also get a blue badge.
3. Benefit boost
If you're on certain benefits, you might be eligible for top-ups or what's called a disability premium.
Roughly six million people across the UK receive disability benefits which are exempt from tax.
But you'll need to be receiving one of the following along with PIP to be eligible for top-ups:
- Housing benefit
- Jobseeker's allowance
- Income support
- Working tax credit
- Employment and support allowance
- Pension credit
You should get in touch with the DWP if you're not sure what help you're entitled to.
You may need to send them a copy of your PIP award letter.
When you reach state pension age (66 currently) you may also be entitled to attendance allowance if you also have problematic health conditions.
4. Vehicle tax reduction
If you're receiving the standard rate mobility component of PIP, currently worth £24.45, you can get a 50% reduction in vehicle tax.
Vehicle tax, also known as road tax, is what you have to pay to use your car on the roads.
In some cases, you can pay up to £2,355 a year on vehicle tax, so a 50% reduction would be worth over £1,000.
One thing to bear in mind is that the vehicle you're getting reduced tax on must be registered in the disabled person's name or their nominated driver's name.
If you want to get a reduction you have to make a claim first. You must include the following with your application:
- A letter or statement from DWP that shows your PIP rate and the dates you’re getting it
- The vehicle log book (V5C)
- A V10 form
- An original MOT or GVT certificate (if your vehicle needs one)
- A cheque or payable order (made out to "DVLA, Swansea") for 50% of the full rate of car tax for the vehicle
You'll need to send the paperwork to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BF.
You can also get a complete vehicle tax exemption if you're on the enhanced rate of PIP.
If you're applying for the first time, you should be able to do it at your local Post Office branch.
To find your nearest branch, you can go on the Post Office's website and use its branch finder or phone 0345 722 3344.
5. Cost of living payments
Over six million people with disabilities will receive a £150 payment this summer.
The exact eligibility criteria for getting the payment have not been revealed yet.
But those who qualified for last year's £150 bill help received one of the following benefits:
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance for adults
- Disability Living Allowance for children
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Adult Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Child Disability Payment (in Scotland)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
More details will be announced in due course.
6. Free prescriptions
If you have a disability that entitles you to PIP, you may be able to get free NHS prescriptions too.
But you might not be guaranteed the freebie.
Some of the illnesses that entitle you to free prescriptions include cancer, diabetes and epilepsy.
To get the free prescription you'll have to apply for a medical exemption certificate, which is a credit card size.
To apply, speak to your doctor and ask for an FP92A form.
7. Disabled Facilities Grant
You can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant if you're disabled and need to make changes to your home to suit your needs.
For example, you might need to widen doors and install ramps or rails.
Or you might need to install a heating system that suits your specific needs.
You can get different amounts of money depending on whether you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
The grants are not available for households in Scotland.
If you live in Wales you can get up to £36,000 worth of support, £30,000 in England and up to £25,000 in Northern Ireland.
You have to apply through your local council which must give you a decision within six months.
8. Disabled person's railcard
This could give you up to a third off rail fares – roughly £4.26 per journey or £91 per year.
Opting for the railcard does depend on how often you get the train, of course.
You can contact your local council to learn more about how to apply – and make sure to have your award letter on you.
You can then apply for the railcard on the National Rail website.
9. Capped water bills
Some water suppliers offer customers help with their bills if they're on certain benefits through what's known as the WaterSure scheme.
This sometimes includes those on disability living allowance or PIP.
You'll need to be on a water meter or have applied for one and have a need to use lots of water.
You might need to use lots of water if someone in the household has a medical condition that requires lots of water for example.
But you might not always be covered under the scheme.
The best thing to do is contact your supplier to find out if you can get help.
10. Lease a vehicle with PIP cash
If you are awarded the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP and have 12 months or more remaining on your current allowance, you may be eligible to join the Motability Scheme.
It's simple and affordable – you'll have over 2,000 cars to choose from and insurance, tax and servicing are all included.
For a quick guide to joining the Scheme and a selection of the vehicles available, request an information pack on the Motability Scheme website.
How do I apply for PIP?
You can make a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim by calling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222.
There are also other ways to claim if you find it difficult to use a telephone. See Gov.UK for more information.
When you claim, you'll need:
- Your contact details
- Date of birth
- National Insurance number
- 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
Someone else can call on your behalf, but you’ll need to be with them when they call.
You'll then be sent a form to fill in, after which you'll be invited for an assessment or your health or social care worker will be asked for information.
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After this, you'll be sent a letter telling you if your claim has been successful.
You can read Citizens Advice’s help in preparing for an assessment on the charity's website.
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