Financial Support



After a bit of advice please. I was diagnosed with Arthritis in my lower back in January after having years of pain and just being given painkillers.

No one has mentioned about claiming PIP but just wondering about the process and if it is something I can do? I work full time on a relatively low wage (£18,500) and with the Arthritis, I am paying out more for hot baths, taxis and relying on people for help with shopping, collecting meds etc.

I have spoken to the Musculoskeletal team today and they are arranging Physio, which I will need taxis to get to and back and I know the PIP application can take many months but do I need to wait until my GP mentions it or can I go ahead and apply anyway? I have never claimed any benefits before so I am sorry if this is a silly question!

Thanks 😀


  • MarkInSussex

    You can just apply for it online via the .gov website. until late last year i had never claimed anything either in my entire life.

    It took me about an hour to fill in and answer all the questions, then i uploaded as much supporting documentation as possible (you can add more later as things become available), things like copies of my discharge notes from hospital, xrays, medical reports, prescriptions etc, the more info you can supply, the better your chances, you don't need to wait for your Doctor to say apply, you can just do it, but you have to be able to support your application.

    I think in the end my application took about eight weeks to go through the system, and your payments are backdated to the day of your application, at the end of the process you have to go through an interview, mine was over the phone as i think the xrays i sent them of my knees and the doctors reports of bone on bone grinding were enough, but you may be asked to attend in person or via a video link which they will send you, it's all pretty standard stuff, mine was just a chat to explain things that perhaps my application didn't make clear to them.

    Then a couple of weeks after the interview they will tell you if you have been successful or not and they do keep you informed of the progress of your application via text during the entire process, the PIP payment covers two payments one for Mobility and for Living, so mobility is how your illness affects your day to day mobility, tell them you have to have people do your shopping, to get your prescriptions because you cant do it, tell them if you have to sit on your bed to get dressed and how long it takes, likewise the life one covers your ability to make decisions, financial and otherwise, then when you have your interview they mark you against a set of marks and depending on your score you will get stand or enhanced payments, but if you don't win, appeal the decision, i know of someone who was denied the whole thing, they appealed and lost then took it to appeal again and won, they won the maximum payment for everything and the judge even took into consideration things that they had not applied for and stung the DWP big time for it.

    My experience of it was ok, i found the staff to be helpful and the communication from them was ok, sure it takes time, but as i was told "if you don't ask, you don't get", just make sure you have as much supporting documentation as possible to support your application.

    I don't know if your local area offers it, but you might also want to see if you can get an appointment with a Social Prescriber through your doctor, the Prescribers will guide you through the benefits process and let you know what you can and can't apply for and will help you along the way.

    Hope this helps?

  • Lane
    Lane Member Posts: 113

    Hi @PJenkins welcome to our online community where you will meet members to share tips and advice.

    I understand that you have been diagnosed with Arthritis to your lower back, you have however had pain for a few years and taking painkillers. You want to know if you may claim for PIP as you are on a low income and would like help with the extra costs for hot baths, taxis, help with shopping and collecting meds. You are waiting to start your Physio and want to know if you should apply for PIP. 

    PIP funding can help pay for the additional aids that make everyday tasks easier, adaptations to your home, or assistance from a support worker.  Of course you would not know about benefits if you have never claimed, and the benefits system is so vast.

    Whilst you wait to connect with our members, I have attached a couple of links from our website for you to have a look at, one about Arthritis and the other financial support (which leads you into the PIP link):

    I am so glad that you found us. 

    Best wishes

  • scotleag
    scotleag Member Posts: 84
    edited 22. Mar 2023, 12:36

    Hi @PJenkins As @MarkInSussex says the key thing with PIP is how it affects your daily life. Your income is irrelevant. Your diagnosis is irrelevant. It's all about the effects of your condition(s) on your daily life. There is a good definition of eligibility and point scoring here, a walk-through of the process here and an anonymous test here

    Unfortunately there is no way of knowing how an assessor will score you. I applied in 2019 when told I had to transition from DLA, hoping/expecting to be awarded the standard daily living rate. I was awarded zero points, making me feel like a fraud. I appealed and was awarded the ENHANCED rate not just for daily living but mobility too. We don't have the gift as Burns said to see ourselves as others see us. These are two extreme examples. An assessor saying my daily life hadn't been affected in the slightest but the tribunal deciding I required maximum financial assistance with my own assessment lying somewhere in the middle. I should point out I have other conditions besides rheumatoid arthritis.

    My wife was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and her PIP application process couldn't have been more different to mine. She received a telephone assessment (mine was on an industrial estate out of town) and was awarded standard for daily living and higher for mobility.

    So we are in the position whereby I receive a higher daily living rate than my wife even though my conditions are not in themselves life-threatening while hers is. Evidence that's it not the diagnosis that counts, it's how it affects you day-to-day.

    The process took around eight weeks for my wife but eight months for me and I'm told by others this was actually quite fast. How long it takes is a piece of string question. It depends very much on where you live. We are in a smallish town (population circa 20,000) with no large cities nearby. If you're in or in an area close to a large city with a higher percentage of people more likely to have serious health issues it would normally take longer than our experiences.

    The good news is that since the onset of Covid there are far more telephone assessments which most people tend to find easier than face-to-face interviews and that if it goes to a tribunal over 70% of cases are won.

    Please bear that in mind if your claim is unsuccessful. If you think you are entitled then appeal. Though I should point out this can be a two-stage process. You must first ask the DWP to undertake a mandatory reconsideration though only around 20% of cases are successful at this stage. if rejected there then the next step is a tribunal consisting of three people, all well-versed in disability legislation. This will be chaired by a judge but please don't let that put you off. They are there to assess your case based on its merits vis-a-vis relevant legislation. The other two in my case were a GP and a disability charity representative. You will normally be told of their decision the same day if you're prepared to wait outside the room. You'll receive a summary decision with full details followed up by post. The DWP will write to you outlining future payments and a backdated sum will be paid into your bank. This will usually be deposited before you receive the DWP letter. So if you have to go down this route don't be puzzled if a large(ish) sum you're not expecting suddenly appears in your bank account.

    One other thing. PIP does not affect any other benefits. It isn't taken into account if for instance you are on or applying for Universal Credit and/or Housing Benefit. PIP at any rate also automatically qualifies you for the £150 cost of living disability payment due sometime in summer. This will be paid automatically unless your decision comes through after the eligible dates. But if your award is backdated and that covers the cost of living eligibility period (as yet to be defined) you may have to make a separate claim.

    Anyway, best of luck with your claim.