PIP For Mental Health: Can You Claim It?
Jul 20, 2023, 6 min read
If you suffer from a debilitating mental health condition, or one that makes daily life difficult for you, you could be eligible to claim for financial support (PIP) which is offered through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) here in the UK.
PIP is traditionally thought of as financial support only available for those with a physical disability, however in recent years it has begun to cover a number of mental health conditions too.
If you’re wondering what PIP is, whether you can claim it for your mental health issues, what conditions are eligible, and how to claim, we’re breaking it all down right here.
At Augmentive, we aim to provide holistic, tailored mental health support to everyone so they can live their life to the fullest, so if you have questions about living with a mental health condition, we’re here to help.
Disclaimer: PIP is a government benefit, so although the below advice is correct as of July 2023, always check with Citizen’s Advice or the .gov website to find out eligibility criteria, specifics of what you need to do to claim, and more.
What is PIP?
In the UK, Disability Living Allowance was a tax-free benefit for people living with a disability who require help with mobility or care costs. For people aged 16 up to State Pension age, this was replaced by PIP, which stands for Personal Independence Payment.
This is essentially a weekly payment to provide financial support for those who need help with extra living costs if you have both:
- A long-term physical disability or mental health condition
- Difficulty doing certain day-to-day tasks or getting around
PIP is split into two different parts; a daily living part, and a mobility part. ‘Daily living’ is for those who need help with everyday tasks, while ‘Mobility’ is for those who need help with getting around.
This is for those who require help with:
- Eating, drinking or preparing food
- Washing, bathing and using the toilet
- Dressing and undressing
- Reading and communicating
- Managing medicines or treatments
- Making decisions about money
- Socialising and being around other people
This is for those who require help with:
- Working out a route and following it
- Physically moving around
- Leaving the home
You may need help with both daily living and mobility, but when assessed, the Department for Work and Pensions will determine how much help you need and therefore how much financial support you are eligible for.
Keep in mind that you do not necessarily need to have a physical disability to receive support for the mobility part of PIP. Those with a cognitive or mental health issue that makes it difficult for them to move around or leave their house may also be eligible.
Can you claim PIP for mental health issues?
To be eligible for PIP you must find it difficult to carry out everyday tasks or move around due to a physical or a mental condition — this can be due to a mental health condition too, such as anxiety or depression.
Regardless of what is making it difficult for you to do daily tasks or move around, this must have been the case for at least 3 months, and you will expect them to continue to be challenging for at least the next 9 months.
The help you need may be from:
- A person (a carer)
- An aid (like a walking stick or guide dog)
- An adaptation to your home or car
You are classified as needing help with an activity if you require a person or some sort of aid to do a task for you, do it with you, remind you to do it, observe you doing it (for safety), ensure a task is carried out safely, ensure a task is carried out correctly, ensure a task is carried out often enough, or if a task takes you a long time to complete.
Some believe the PIP assessment for people suffering from mental health issues is not balanced and does not take into account some of the key reasons why people with mental health issues may require additional help. However, this has progressed in recent years and mental health conditions are now more accepted and supported in the PIP claim process.
"The money I receive isn't just to help me manage my illness. It is much more than that to me. It enabled me to feel like I was living as 'normal' a life as possible." - Anonymous, via Mind.org.uk
Which mental health issues can be covered by PIP?
As everyone’s mental health conditions are different and the symptoms unique, there is no definitive list of what conditions are covered by PIP. It is not based on the specific condition you have, symptoms, or medication you take. Instead, it is based on the level of assistance you require because of how your condition affects you.
When it comes time for the Department for Work and Pensions to assess your abilities and need for PIP, you will be assessed based on the level of help you need to carry out everyday activities, and this is always done on an individual case-by-case basis.
What symptoms are considered in a PIP claim?
As above, you will be assessed not on the symptoms of your condition, but by how difficult you find daily living and mobility tasks due to your symptoms.
The Department for Work and Pensions may look at whether your symptoms stop you from being able to carry out tasks safely or in a timely manner. They may also consider how often your condition affects the activity, and whether or not you need help completing it.
How to claim PIP for mental health issues
Claiming for a Personal Independence Payment must be done through the government website or by calling the relevant department. This will depend on where in the country you live, so you can find the number you need to start your PIP claim on the .gov website.
Here is a brief overview of how the process usually goes:
- Start your claim by making a phone call to the relevant department. During this phone call you may be asked for a number of personal details, so it’s helpful to have these ready. These include your contact details, date of birth, National Insurance number, bank account number and sort code, doctor or health worker’s details, dates and addresses of any time spent in a care home or hospital, and dates of any time spent abroad for more than 4 weeks at a time.
- You will then be sent a form titled ‘How your disability affects you’. This normally arrives within around 2 weeks, and asks you to submit details of your condition.
- With this form, you can submit any supporting documents if you have them. This might be, for example, prescriptions, care plans, or information from your doctor.
- After you submit the form, you will be scheduled for an assessment to find out more about your needs.
- After your assessment is completed, you will receive a letter that tells you whether or not you will be receiving PIP and the date of your first payment.
Remember, you can ask for help when going through this process. If you are suffering from mental health issues, everything from the initial phone call to the assessment may be overwhelming and challenging for you, in which case you are allowed to have a loved one or carer help you. You can ask for them to be added to your call, or have someone else call on your behalf (as long as you are present during the call).
Whether you’re feeling off-kilter or want to shake up your routine, our state-of-the-art mental wellbeing platform gives you quick and seamless access to world-class support on your terms, from private mental health assessments and reviews, to finding qualified and approved mental health professionals for the support you need.
If you have a question about a mental health condition, like wondering "what is wrong with me?" - we’re here to assist on your journey. Our free 15 minute consultation can guide you to the most relevant specialists to answer your questions and discuss next steps.