T hose who suffer from musculoskeletal conditions may be able to access financial aid from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The definition of musculoskeletal conditions is injuries and disorders that affect the body’s movement or musculoskeletal system, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs and blood vessels.
Arthritis is a general term which can refer to many of these different conditions. Other common musculoskeletal conditions are osteoarthritis, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, gout, polymyalgia rheumatica, lupus and ankylosing spondylitis.
Anyone aged over 16 and under State Pension age may be able to claim a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to help with a musculoskeletal condition.
If your ability to work is limited due to your symptoms you could be eligible for ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), reports the Daily Record.
PIP is a benefit delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and helps cover the extra costs you may face if you need help with daily tasks or moving around outside your home.
The latest figures from DWP show that by April 2021, there were 84,709 Scots receiving a PIP award for some form of musculoskeletal condition – an increase of 1,643 new claimants since January 2021.
Overall, there are now 882,904 people across the UK claiming PIP for some form of musculoskeletal condition, which makes up 32.6 per cent of the total number of claimants – currently 2,705,807.
This is the latest list of conditions and the number of Scots receiving financial support from DWP to help with either daily living, mobility needs or a combination of both components.
Musculoskeletal conditions – general
Chronic pain syndrome
Crystal deposition disorders
Osteonecrosis and osteochondritis
Metabolic and endocrine disorders
Genetic disorders, dysplasias and malformations
Benign tumours of bone
Other generalised musculoskeletal conditions
Musculoskeletal conditions – regional
It is the effect of your condition on you, rather than the condition itself, which determines whether or not you will be awarded PIP.
You do not need to have a carer or have someone helping you to qualify for PIP and you could receive between £23.70 and £152.15 every week – as PIP is paid every four weeks this amounts to between £94.80 and £608.60 every month.
PIP is not taxable or means-tested and you don’t need to have paid National Insurance contributions to get it.
You can also claim whether you’re in work or not.
It doesn’t matter if you have any savings or if you are receiving any other benefits. In fact an award for PIP can lead to higher levels of certain benefits being paid and also open the door to other benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance and a Council Tax Reduction.
Find out if you can claim PIP by looking at the criteria set out by the DWP below.
Who is eligible for PIP?
You do not need to have worked or paid National Insurance contributions to qualify for PIP, and it does not matter what your income is, if you have any savings or if you’re in or out of work – or on furlough.
You must also have a health condition or disability where you:
The DWP will judge the eligibility of your PIP claim on a period of 12 months, looking back for three months and forward for nine months – they must consider if your illness changes over time.
You usually need to have lived in Scotland for at least two of the last three years and be in the country when you apply.
PIP daily living and mobility test
If you get or need help with any of the following because of your condition, you should consider applying for PIP:
preparing, cooking or eating food
managing your medication
washing, bathing or using the toilet
dressing and undressing
engaging and communicating with other people
reading and understanding written information
making decisions about money
planning a journey or following a route
moving around – outside the home
What is classified as ‘help’ for a PIP claim
You are classified as needing help to do an activity if you need a person or a device to:
You may also be classified as needing help if you do an activity yourself but:
PIP test scoring criteria
The PIP scoring criteria awards points for a statement which applies to you for each activity
The DWP will decide which statement best fits your situation most of the time. You will get a set amount of points ranging from 0 -12 for each activity.
The total number of points you get for each group of activities will decide whether you are entitled to PIP, and how much money you will receive.
To get the standard rate daily living component, you need to score between 8 to 11 points in total for the daily living activities. You need 12 points to get the enhanced rate.
To get the standard rate mobility component, you need to score between 8 to 11 points in total for the mobility activities. You need 12 points to get the enhanced rate.
How is PIP paid?
PIP is usually paid every four weeks unless you are terminally ill, in which case it is paid every week.
PIP will be paid directly into your bank, building society or credit union account.
What are the PIP payment rates for 2021/22?
PIP is made up of two components – daily living and mobility.
Whether you get one or both of these and how much depends on how severely your condition affects you.
You could receive the following amounts per week depending on your circumstances:
Standard rate – £60.00
Enhanced rate – £89.60
Standard rate – £23.70
Enhanced rate – £62.55
How you are assessed
You will be assessed by an independent healthcare professional to help the DWP work out the level of help you need.
Face-to-face assessments have now restarted and will be offered alongside telephone and video based assessments. All assessments will follow strict public health guidelines and put the safety of the claimant first.
How do you make a claim for PIP?
You can make a new claim by contacting the DWP, you’ll find all the information you need to apply on the gov.uk website here.
Before you call, you’ll need:
your contact details, for example telephone number
your date of birth
your National Insurance number – this is on letters about tax, pensions and benefits
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 abroad, in a care home or hospital
Once you have contacted the DWP, they will send you a document to complete which consists of 14 questions and a section for any additional information.
The questions focus on how your condition affects you – put as much relevant detail in as you can to help the assessor understand your physical and mental health needs.
If you have difficulty filling in your form or understanding the questions, contact your local council and ask for help or go to Citizens Advice.
You can take an anonymous self-test online at Benefits and Work to see how many points you would be awarded for each response.
For more information about PIP, visit GOV.UK here.