Children's handbook Scotland
Chapter 1: Benefits and tax credits
14. Personal independence payment
Personal independence payment (PIP) is a benefit for people with mobility problems and/or care needs as a result of a disability. It replaces disability living allowance (DLA) for claimants aged 16 to 64. If you are aged 16 or over and are already on DLA, you will be invited to claim PIP, unless you were already aged 65 or over on 8 April 2013.
PIP has two components:
a daily living component, paid at either the standard rate or the enhanced rate;
a mobility component, paid at either the standard or the enhanced rate.
You can get either the daily living component or the mobility component, or both. PIP is not means tested and you do not have to have paid any national insurance contributions to get it.
The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for the administration of PIP.
You can qualify for PIP if:
you are aged 16 or over and, in most cases, under pension age. At the time of writing, this means you must be aged under 65. Your pension age will be after you turn 65 if you were born on or after 6 December 1953 (ie, if you reach 65 on or after 6 December 2018) and it is due to rise to 66 by September 2020;
you satisfy certain UK residence and presence conditions and are not a ‘person subject to immigration control’. See CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details;
you satisfy the disability conditions (see below) for the daily living component, the mobility component or both;
you satisfy the ‘required period condition’, which means that you have met the disability conditions for at least three months and are expected to continue to meet them for a further nine months. This condition does not apply if you are terminally ill.
In addition to satisfying the basic conditions of entitlement, you qualify for a component of PIP if your ability to undertake either ‘daily living activities’ or ‘mobility activities’ is limited by your mental or physical condition (for the standard rate), or it is severely limited by your mental or physical condition (for the enhanced rate). Your ability is assessed by a points-based test which considers how your mental or physical condition affects your ability to undertake specific activities.
The relevant 'daily living activities' are:
managing therapy or monitoring a health condition;
washing and bathing;
managing toilet needs or incontinence;
dressing and undressing;
reading and understanding signs, symbols and words;
engaging with other people face to face;
making budgeting decisions.
The relevant 'mobility activities' are:
planning and following journeys;
Under each of the activities, there is a list of statements (called ‘descriptors’) which describe different difficulties or types of help needed with the activity. Each descriptor has a points score, and you are awarded one descriptor for each activity. Your entitlement to a component is assessed by:
adding together the descriptors that you satisfy for each activity relevant to that component; and
comparing your total score with a ‘threshold’ for entitlement to the standard or enhanced rates of the component. The threshold is eight points for the standard rate and 12 points for the enhanced rate.
You are only assessed as being able to undertake an activity at a level described by the descriptor if you can complete it ‘reliably’. This means that you are only awarded a particular descriptor (rather than a higher scoring one) if you can undertake the activity:
safely – ie, in a way that is unlikely to cause harm to you or anyone else;
to an acceptable standard;
repeatedly – ie, as often as it is required;
within a reasonable time period – ie, not more than twice the maximum time normally taken by someone with no health problems or disability to complete the activity.
The Scottish Welfare Fund makes two types of payments:
crisis grants; and
community care grants.
Local authorities are responsible for administering the Scottish Welfare Fund on behalf on the Scottish government.
Scottish Welfare Fund grants can be cash, vouchers or goods.
Crisis grants are intended to help with expenses in an emergency or a disaster if you have no other money to meet your immediate needs. For example, you may get a crisis grant if:
you have lost money that you need to live on, your regular income has not been paid and you are in hardship;
there has been a disaster like a fire or flood that has caused damage.
Community care grants
A community care grant is intended to help you and your family stay independent in the community by helping you pay for items such as furniture, clothing or removal expenses. There is no ceiling on the amount you can apply for. To qualify, you must be on a low income. You are automatically treated as having a low income if you get:
universal credit; or income support; or
income-based jobseeker's allowance; or
income-related employment and support allowance; or
Even if you are not on one of these benefits, your local authority can still decide that you are on a low income.
A community care grant can be paid:
to help you, a member of your family or a person for whom you care establish yourself (or her/himself) in the community following a stay in institutional or residential accommodation;
to help you, a member of your family or a person for whom you care remain in the community rather than enter institutional or residential accommodation;
to help you set up home in the community as part of a planned resettlement programme, following a period during which you have been homeless or without a settled way of life;
to ease exceptional pressures on you or your family;
to allow you, or your partner, to care for a prisoner or young offender on temporary release.
The social fund makes two types of payments. Regulated social fund payments: Sure Start maternity grants; funeral payments; cold weather payments; winter fuel payments.
You are entitled to regulated social fund payments if you satisfy the qualifying conditions.
Discretionary social fund payments:budgeting loans.
The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for the administration of the social fund.
This is a grant of £500 to help with the costs of a new baby. To qualify, you must get:
universal credit (UC); or income support (IS); or
income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA); or
income-related employment and support allowance (ESA); or
child tax credit (CTC) at a rate above the family element; or
working tax credit (WTC) including a disability or severe disability element; or
pension credit (PC).
You can only qualify if there is no other member of your family who is under 16 at the time of your claim (there is an exception for multiple births). You can claim from 11 weeks before the birth up to six months after the birth. If you are waiting to hear about a claim for one of the qualifying benefits, make sure to claim the maternity grant within the deadline. Your entitlement is then protected and the grant can be awarded once the benefit decision is made, although you may need to make a second claim within three months of the qualifying benefit being awarded.
You can also qualify if:
you adopt a baby and you claim before the baby is one year old and within six months of the adoption order;
a child aged under one year old is placed with you for adoption and you claim within six months and before the baby is one;you are caring for a child for whom you have a residence order, the child is aged under one and you claim within six months of the residence order being granted and before the baby is one.
In these situations (adoption/residence order), you can still get the grant even if the birth mother or a member of her family has received Sure Start maternity grant for the baby.
If you are a 'person subject to immigration control', you cannot get a maternity grant. See CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details.
The Sure Start grant is being replaced by the Best Start grant. This change is expected in late 2018. At the time of writing, the rules were not completely finalised. The Best Start grant will be made up of a pregnancy and new baby grant; a nursery/early learning grant and a school-age grant. The maternity and new baby grant will be £600 for your first baby, or £300 if you already have child(ren). The nursery/early learning grant will be £250 and the school-age grant £250. Unless you are aged under 18 or, in some situations, under 20, you have to be getting a qualifying benefit. These are:
housing benefit (HB);
For more details of the Best Start grant, see www.cpag.org.uk/scottish-benefits/best-start-grant.
A funeral payment is made to help with burial or cremation costs. To qualify, you must get:
IS; or income-based JSA; or income-related ESA; or CTC at a rate above the family element; or WTC including a disability or severe disability element; or PC; or HB; or
Unless you are the partner of the deceased, you may not get a payment if there is a close relative who does not get one of these benefits.
You must claim within three months of the funeral.
If you are a 'person subject to immigration control', you cannot get a funeral grant. The funeral must be for someone who was ordinarily resident in the UK and must usually take place in the UK, but a funeral in another European Economic Area country may qualify in some circumstances. See CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details.
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