There have been several threads about PIP over the past few months. While other patients can and should claim PIP if they meet the criteria, this benefit is particularly relevant to stage 4 patients and I thought it might be useful to gather some information here with us in mind. Please note any opinions here are mine, not those of the charity.
Things you should know:
* Personal Independence Payment is a tax-free and non-means tested benefit designed to help with the extra costs of having a disability or health condition. However, it is a cash payment and you don’t need to provide evidence of specific expenditure.
* There are ‘daily living’ and ‘mobility’ components of PIP, with the maximum award being £139.75 per week.
From a stage 4 cancer perspective, you should know:
There are two routes to claiming PIP, with different criteria and assessment processes:
Under the ‘normal rules’:
* You must have experienced difficulties for at least three months and expect them to continue for at least nine months. This rules out many patients where treatment and side effects are (thankfully) limited to a shorter period.
* The difficulties you have will be assessed according to a form you complete, probably followed by an assessment over the phone or face-to-face. You’ll be awarded an amount based on the points you score.
Under the ‘special rules’ for 'terminally ill' people:
* The process is faster. You probably won’t have an assessment or need to fill out a long form, but a medical professional (GP, nurse, or consultant) will need to sign form DS1500. You will usually be awarded the highest rate of PIP.
“But I’m not terminally ill!” most people will say. The DWP state that for this route your death should be ‘reasonably expected’ within six months. Who on earth ‘expects’ to die within the next six months? Not most of us.
I personally would encourage anyone who has advanced or incurable cancer to consider whether they should apply under these rules, and try to put the potentially upsetting language to one side. You will find that ‘reasonably expected’ is open to a lot of interpretation, and many medical professionals would support your claim given you will be expected to live with the effects of cancer on an ongoing basis.
If you do still claim under the normal rules, I would still advise you to ask for help with this process. A common key mistake in filling out the paperwork is for cancer patients to ‘under report’ their side effects. You should make clear on your form how you are affected on your worst days. If in doubt, you will find that organisations such as Macmillan or local advice centres may be able to help you fill out the assessment form.
For more information (including how to claim) the pages I’ve found most useful for full information are:
The official gov.uk pages, at www.gov.uk/pip/overview (where any changes would be announced)
Macmillan, as it focuses on cancer, at www.macmillan.org.uk/...ersonal-independence-payment.html
Marie Curie, who talk about the ‘special rules’ at www.mariecurie.org.uk/...ess/personal-independence-payment
If in doubt, do feel free to ask questions on here and we can help each other navigate the process.