THOUSANDS of households who get Universal Credit could be eligible for extra payments worth up to £7,500 a year.
Benefit claimants may be missing out on thousands of pounds worth of financial help.
The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a state benefit to help people with health conditions or disabilities with extra living costs.
It's for those with long-term physical or mental health conditions, who have difficulty doing everyday tasks or getting around.
The latest statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions show that in January there were 2.9million people claiming PIP.
Around 35% of those claimants received the highest amount available.
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You could qualify for PIP even if you're working, have savings or are getting most other benefits, including Universal Credit.
We explain who is eligible for PIP, how much you could get and how to apply.
Who is eligible for PIP?
To get PIP, you must be 16 or over and have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for two of the last three years.
You must have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability.
It's for people who find it hard to do every day tasks or get around, and who expect the difficulties to last for at least 12 months.
You must also be under State Pension age if you’ve not received PIP before.
You can get PIP at the same time as all other benefits, except Armed Forces Independence Payment.
But if you get Constant Attendance Allowance or War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement you will get less money.
You can get PIP if you’re working or have savings.
You can find the full eligibility criteria on the government's website.
How much could I get?
How much PIP you get depends on how difficult you find everyday activities and getting around.
The payment is split into two amounts: one for daily living and the other for mobility.
Everyday activities include eating and drinking, washing, dressing, communicating and making decisions about money.
The mobility portion covers working out a route and following it, physically moving around and leaving your home.
The amount you get will be based on how hard you find those tasks.
It will be assessed on whether you can do it safely, how long it takes you, how often your condition affects the activity and whether you need help to do it, for example from a person or with equipment.
The lower weekly rate for mobility tasks is £24.45, and the higher rate is £64.50.
For everyday activities, the lower amount is £61.85 a week and the higher rate is £92.40.
That means the maximum amount you could get each week is £159.90, which works out at £627.60 each month.
Over a full year, you would receive £7,531.20 if you were eligible for both payments at the higher rate.
If your application is successful you will receive the payment every four weeks.
How can I apply for PIP?
To apply for PIP, you first need to call the new claims hotline on 0800 917 2222.
If you need help on the phone you can add another person to the call or get someone else to ring on your behalf.
You will need to provide some personal information during the phone call, including:
- your contact details, for example telephone number
- your date of birth
- your National Insurance number, if you have one
- 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 in a care home or hospital
- dates for any time you spent abroad for more than four weeks at a time, and the countries you visited
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Following the call, you'll be sent a form that asks about your condition, which you should fill out and return.
You may need to have an assessment if more information is needed.
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