The Student Room Group

How do I claim PIP (Personal Independence Payment) by post (and other advice)?

Sorry I wasn’t sure where to post this!
I want to try and apply for PIP and to start the process, they require you to give them a call. I have crippling social anxiety and really can’t do phone calls. The website states that you can also apply by post, which they outline here: “You can start a claim by post instead, but it takes longer to get a decision.
Send a letter to ‘Personal Independence Payment New Claims’.
You’ll be sent a form asking for your personal information, such as your address and your age. Fill in and return the form.
You’ll then be sent a form which asks about your disability or condition.”

But I have no idea what to include in this letter. Literally just “hi I’m applying for PIP”?? Since they state that I’ll be sent a form afterwards that asks for my details, so I’m guessing I don’t put any details in the initial letter…?

Also just wondering if anyone here has claimed PIP for mental health? I’ve heard that this can be very difficult? My social anxiety is severe and I also have depression, but to be honest I can usually FORCE myself to function semi-normally and the criteria for PIP seems to be pretty heavy (unable to shower, prepare food etc).

Final question, will they get in contact with your GP/psychiatrist as part of the process?
Reply 1
Original post by Bbles
Sorry I wasn’t sure where to post this!
I want to try and apply for PIP and to start the process, they require you to give them a call. I have crippling social anxiety and really can’t do phone calls. The website states that you can also apply by post, which they outline here: “You can start a claim by post instead, but it takes longer to get a decision.
Send a letter to ‘Personal Independence Payment New Claims’.
You’ll be sent a form asking for your personal information, such as your address and your age. Fill in and return the form.
You’ll then be sent a form which asks about your disability or condition.”

But I have no idea what to include in this letter. Literally just “hi I’m applying for PIP”?? Since they state that I’ll be sent a form afterwards that asks for my details, so I’m guessing I don’t put any details in the initial letter…?

Also just wondering if anyone here has claimed PIP for mental health? I’ve heard that this can be very difficult? My social anxiety is severe and I also have depression, but to be honest I can usually FORCE myself to function semi-normally and the criteria for PIP seems to be pretty heavy (unable to shower, prepare food etc).

Final question, will they get in contact with your GP/psychiatrist as part of the process?

I'm not exactly how to do it by post as such but I'm pretty sure you just ask for the form in the letter. That's what all the websites say.

As for the actual process of what to include and how to manage the system, I would check out @adhdcareerwoman on tiktok. She mainly talked about neurodiversity and mental health for pip because it's really tricky to navigate it. But she goes over what you describe in terms of what classes as looking after yourself and what to put down for when you have to be forced to do things but are technically physically capable.

I haven't applied for mine yet but I will over the summer as I'm autistic with social anxiety discord. My sister has gone through it though and I won't lie to you, it's a nightmare. But the lady on tiktok is so helpful and is blunt/honest about everything. She answers a lot of her comment section if you ask questions as well :smile:

As for the GP thing, they won't get in contact with them. You need to and you need to gather as much evidence as you can for the criteria. Everything has to have proof because lying to them won't help you. For mental health, it's normally the lower rate you get. My sister has been denied twice despite the fact she can't physically do most of the things on the list because she didn't explain it to them in the right way. I'm sorry if I'm putting you off or making you nervous about applying but it's so much better knowing what you're going into that being caught out or upset by them on the day.

watch https://www.tiktok.com/@adhdcareerwoman
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1148153/easy-read-how-to-claim-personal-independence-payment.pdf

I don't know if it makes you feel better or not but I'm stressed about applying too. I'm in a semi-lucky situation where I can make the phone call to apply but then get the after-effects of panic attacks usually. But if you can find out how to do it by post, it would save you that :smile: I hope you managed to find out what you need, feel free to talk to me about any of it and I can ask my sisters things about it too.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Bbles
Sorry I wasn’t sure where to post this!
I want to try and apply for PIP and to start the process, they require you to give them a call. I have crippling social anxiety and really can’t do phone calls. The website states that you can also apply by post, which they outline here: “You can start a claim by post instead, but it takes longer to get a decision.
Send a letter to ‘Personal Independence Payment New Claims’.
You’ll be sent a form asking for your personal information, such as your address and your age. Fill in and return the form.
You’ll then be sent a form which asks about your disability or condition.”

But I have no idea what to include in this letter. Literally just “hi I’m applying for PIP”?? Since they state that I’ll be sent a form afterwards that asks for my details, so I’m guessing I don’t put any details in the initial letter…?

Also just wondering if anyone here has claimed PIP for mental health? I’ve heard that this can be very difficult? My social anxiety is severe and I also have depression, but to be honest I can usually FORCE myself to function semi-normally and the criteria for PIP seems to be pretty heavy (unable to shower, prepare food etc).

Final question, will they get in contact with your GP/psychiatrist as part of the process?


The main things to include in your initial letter would be your basic contact details (name and address) - while it is true that they'll send a form requesting these details later, they can only do that if they know where to send it to! It's also worth explaining in the letter why you (or someone else on your behalf) can't apply by phone, to ensure that they don't just send you the phone number.

PIP applications can be more difficult for those with mental health issues, as they aren't always as obvious to the assessors as physical disabilities might be. When it comes to filling in the form, I'd recommend checking out this page of the Citizens Advice website (full disclosure: I work for CA). The links there break down each of the questions, giving tips on how to answer them, and lists of relevant things to think about (e.g. can you do the activity repeatedly, do you need a lot of time to recover afterwards). PIP should assess your ability to do each of these tasks 'reliably' - this means safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly, and in a reasonable time. So it isn't actually as simple as 'can you do x - yes or no?', even though that's how they format the questions.

PIP will ask for your GP or specialist's contact details, and will ask your consent to contact them as part of the form, the latter of which you don't have to give. However, apparently they rarely (if ever) contact them either way due to the possible costs involved on their end. You would be best off sending as much evidence along with the form as possible yourself.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 3
Hi

It is quicker to give PIP a call but I understand that you find it difficult. I don't know if this reassures you in any way but the initial call will only take about 15 minutes and will just be to start the claim process off. They will ask for your GP details, name, address, national insurance number etc. PIP won't ask about your care needs in that call and should be very helpful and polite. I have never had a problem with anyone being unhelpful in these initial calls and I have made a number of them for people.

You can always get someone to help you with the call to start the claim. If you explain your difficulties, you can ask PIP to speak to the person with you and then you can provide the necessary details to the person with you, who can then give them to PIP.

It is quicker to do it by phone but if you feel that a letter is the best way due to the effect that a call will have on you, then include your name, address, date of birth and national insurance number. The DWP always need national insurance numbers. :smile:

Keep a copy of the letter. If you don't hear anything after four weeks or so, I would send a copy of your initial letter with a covering letter saying that you have not had a reply to your request by letter for a claim so are following it up. Keep a copy of that too. After another four weeks or so, I would do the same again. On every letter you send put your name, address, national insurance number.

Say something like:

Letter date

Dear Sir/Madam

Re: your name, address, date of birth, national insurance number

I would like to apply for Personal Independence Payment but I cannot cope with starting the claim by telephone due to very bad social anxiety and mental health issues.

As I struggle with using the phone for this, please would you send me a claim form to my address above.

Yours faithfully
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 4
As above, the Citizens Advice website is good with regard to filling in the claim. Also, see if you can get help from someone experienced in completing PIP claims such as someone who works for a welfare rights organisation or a specialist benefits adviser working somewhere like a CAB.

It is very likely that a health assessor will want to speak to you after the claim has been submitted and looked at. Sometimes they will ask the person claiming to attend a health assessment appointment in person. However, if you can send enough medical evidence with the claim it is possible, though unlikely, that they will make a decision on the PIP without speaking to you.

I would suggest that you make very clear on the claim that you cannot cope with a face-to-face assessment due to your social anxiety, if this is the case, and I would consider adding the effects that a face-to-face appointment would have, such as bad panic attacks, and if it could cause your condition to deteriorate. For example, you could explain that communication would be impossible in a face-to-face situation due the level of anxiety and distress it will cause. If you can't cope with a face-to-face assessment either at one of the assessment centres or at home, really emphasise this point several times on the claim and again at the end.

You could ask that PIP makes a decision based on the information on your claim and evidence submitted. It is important, in this scenario, that the claim has been filled in so that it reflects all your difficulties with the daily living and mobility activities and that there is supporting evidence.

However, it is most likely, if you explain all this, that they will want to do a phone assessment. Can you find someone to take the call with you, for a phone assessment?

You could then ask the health assessor, when they call, to speak to the person with you and you can provide information through them, in answer to the health assessor's questions.

If you think you can cope with a call with someone present then ask if PIP will make a decision on the claim and evidence (assuming you have filled the form in to reflect all your difficulties with the activities, preferably with the help of a specialist benefits adviser, and have been able to give medical evidence) but also say that, if they cannot do this, you cannot cope with a face-to-face assessment due to mental health issues so cannot go in person to an appointment or have a home visit. I am making assumptions that this is the case for you. On the claim say that, if PIP are unable to make a decision on the claim and evidence, you will try to cope with a phone assessment but say you will need someone you trust present. I would also put the times that you and the person who helps you are available together, on the form.

If you can, attach a letter from your GP saying how difficult it would be for you to cope with a face-to-face appointment and that you will also struggle with a phone assessment. If you can attach a letter from a mental health specialist too that is also good. If you can't get letters before the claim deadline then send separately and check they are received.

Once you have established your daily living and mobility component scores by looking at the Citizens Advice information, try asking your GP and, if possible, a mental health specialist to confirm your difficulties in letters. A specialist benefits adviser might be able to help, if you can find one

With a phone assessment, they will send you notification of the time they will call. It is quite possible that this will take no account of the suggested call times you put on the claim.

Keep a copy of the claim so you know what you put, if the assessor asks about it.

I don't want to put you off, just to prepare you, so things go as smoothly as possible for you.

Good luck. Please don't be put off.:smile:

Edit: you asked if anyone has done a claim on mental health grounds. It is better if you can get advice from a benefits adviser, but if you can't find the help, I have done claims for people so if you have any questions pop back on here, if you would like to.

In terms of the daily living component you might consider explaining about any help needed to motivate you to take medication, prepare food, shower, change clothes, cope with budgeting, socialise etc. With medication any past overdoses would be relevant or if mistakes are made with dosage. Bear in mind, you don't have to actually get the help. You should explain in detail your difficulties though. Also, side effects of medication may affect you in certain ways. If you suffer panic attacks, this could affect your ability to do these activities. You might have a need for prompting to do things even if you don't get the help. You might need reminding of things such as hygiene and medication. With some medication it is important it is taken at roughly the same time each day. If you don't remember to take medication it may have a detrimental effect on your mental health. It might take you a long time to do things such as getting around to changing clothes at night-time, or showering, due to mental health. I would definitely explain in detail all difficulties you have with engaging with people face-to-face and with social support needed. If you cannot engage with people at all as it causes overwhelming psychological distress, stress this. If this applies on most days, you could still emphasise that most of the time you cannot engage face-to-face if this applies. I am making assumptions based on your post, but if this is the case, really ram the point home, as it backs up the fact that you are struggling with the initial call for the claim, and that you would find it very difficult to cope with a face-to-face assessment.

Explain if you need help planning a route due to mental health and why, or if you have to be accompanied when following an unfamiliar or, if it applies, familiar route - and say why. If you cannot undertake any journey due to overwhelming psychological distress then explain this.

You might force yourself to function semi-normally, but this is not necessarily normal functioning and this probably doesn't apply every day. Whilst it is obviously important to be honest, try not to talk too much about forcing yourself to cope, on the form and to the health assessor, if this creates an unrealistic picture of your needs. Look at bad days too. Even if you force yourself there may still be a need for help if forcing yourself is causing you a lot of distress and/or taking you too long. You clearly are struggling with a phone call so forcing yourself is not working in some areas.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 5
(edited 1 year ago)
Hi
I'm autistic, have severe anxiety and depression and have been approved for PIP (I'm 18)
I would say go for it and be honest so you can get the most support avaliable
Feel free to PM me any questions you have, as for the initial phone call you can have someone do it for you so long as you are there to answer any questions

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