Care and mobility benefits
If you have difficulties with daily living needs, getting around or need a carer’s help, you could be entitled to either Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Attendance Allowance (AA). Both are financial benefits that might make life a little easier for you if you are living with a long-term condition or disability.
On this page:
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Blue badge scheme
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children
- Attendance Allowance (AA)
- Special rules for terminally ill people
PIP is paid to eligible people aged 16 to 64 who have a long-term health condition or disability.
PIP is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The process for reassessing current DLA claimants began in October 2013. If you were 65 before 8 April 2013, your DLA claim can continue and you should not be reassessed for PIP.
PIP is non-means-tested and non-contributory, and can be paid whether you are working or not. To qualify for PIP you must have had the difficulties or needs for 3 months before you can claim and must be likely to continue to have them for the next 9 months.
PIP has 2 components - called Daily Living Activities and Mobility Activities. If you’re eligible you can be paid for either component or both.
For each component, there are 2 rates, standard and enhanced, and you'll be assessed on a points system to decide which rate you qualify for. To qualify for the standard rate you need 8 points, and for the enhanced rate you need 12 points.
Tips for applying
The PIP form and assessment is an opportunity to explain how your lung condition affects you from day to day. Try to explain the kind of things you find difficult, or can’t do at all, and those you need help with – either from a person or aids or by changing how you do them.
For example, if you live with a lung condition that makes you short of breath like COPD, you may face these day-to-day issues. Make sure you include them:
- Bathing and dressing: you may need someone - or a special aid like a rail or a chair - to help you bathe or shower, and to get dry and dressed. You may need wrap yourself in a towel or dressing gown until you are dry, as drying yourself immediately makes you breathless. Bending over to dry your feet, cut your toenails and put on shoes and socks may leave you out of breath
- Preparing food and cooking: you may need help from someone, or use a chair or stool to sit on or lean against when you prepare simple meals. Bending down to use a cooker or get things from a cupboard or the fridge may make you breathless.
- Eating: you may need to eat smaller amounts more regularly, rather than three meals a day due to difficulty chewing and breathing, getting out of breath while eating, feeling bloated and loss of appetite.
- Getting up and down stairs: you may need to stop (several times) to get your breath. You may plan to avoid stairs as much as you can because climbing them makes you breathless and anxious. Mention if your only loo is upstairs and you cannot get there easily or quickly.
- Planning a journey: you may have to avoid steps and hills, and take frequent rests to catch your breath. If you use public transport, you may avoid busy times of day as you take a long time to get on or off a bus or train. You may try to avoid crowds as it’s harder to walk slowly. You may use a stick or a walking frame to get about.
These points may just be the tip of the iceberg for you. There may be other areas of care or mobility you find difficult. Please get in touch with our helpline on 03000 030 555 for help with how to describe them.
If you’re awarded the high rate mobility component, you may get access to the Motability scheme.
A blue badge helps you park closer to your destination. If you get certain benefits, you’re automatically eligible and applying is straightforward. The standard, and enhanced, rate of PIP mobility, or the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA would qualify you for a blue badge.
You can also apply if you have long-term problems with walking or walking problems that your doctor says are likely to last at least a year. You’ll have to fill in an extra section of the form and may need an assessment by your local council.
If you have queries, call the blue badge helpline on 0343 100 1000 (England), 0343 100 1001 (Scotland), or 0343 100 1002 (Wales).
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children
This is only available if you’re claiming for a child under 16 and satisfy the care or mobility criteria. You’ll need to show your child has significantly more care needs than a child of the same age without any health problems.
DLA has 2 components: a care element and a mobility element. To qualify for the mobility component your child must be 3 or older.
Attendance Allowance (AA) is a non-means-tested and non-contributory benefit paid to people aged 65 and over who have personal care needs because of their lung condition. The age limit does not change with state pension age.
AA is paid at 1 of 2 rates, higher or lower depending on the level of problems you have. You must have had care needs for at least 6 months. There is no mobility payment with AA and any mobility difficulties outside the home are not taken into account.
Tips for applying
On the form, explain the effects of your lung condition, compared to someone of your age who is healthy (such as your partner or a friend). You will need to describe the difficulties you have, how often you have them – day and night - and the sort of help you need.
- do you struggle to get out of bed? To get dressed? To wash yourself? To get out of a chair?
- do you need someone to motivate you to get dressed? To eat?
- do you need help to do your hobbies or get out and meet people, such as going along to your local Breathe Easy group or pulmonary rehabilitation class?
Remember: you can get help to fill the form out from your nearest Citizens Advice.
For more information on PIP and AA or to assess whether you could be eligible for either, call our helpline on 03000 030 555.
If a person is terminally ill and expected to live for 6 months or less, they can obtain Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment immediately. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will fast-track the application.
Discuss with your GP or consultant and ask them to complete a medical form called DS1500. The person claiming or their doctor, should send the DS1500 form to DWP with the claim form for AA. PIP is claimed by phone.
A carer, family member, friend or professional can claim on another person’s behalf. The person who is terminally ill doesn't have to sign the claim form. They will simply be notified that they have been awarded the benefit and they will be paid.
Applying for AA and PIP
Application forms are long and you may find them hard to complete. We suggest you check the guidance notes on how to complete the forms before you start to apply. It’s important to prepare. These notes are a good starting point:
Our helpline can also suggest where to go for help with the process.
Benefits for people unable to work
Find out the types of benefits available to you if you are unable to work