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Sunday, 27 March 2016

Why PIP is not just about the money

When I got my PIP confirmation letter, on the back was a list of twenty other benefits that I might be eligible for. I'm not going to list all of them. Some are connected with unemployment and some just don't apply to me. There are some benefits of PIP though, that I think are quite handy.
  1. Access to work - you can get this without PIP but PIP makes everything much simpler and quicker. I used this scheme many years ago when I had problems with my eye sight (now fixed). They paid for taxis to get me to work, magnification equipment and a few other things. This enabled me to keep working when I would have otherwise had to give up. In my current job, I didn't apply, but I wish I had now. With this disability, they could have provided some ergonomic stuff that would have made me more comfortable. However, my employer has been great and there have been no real problems connected with my health.
  2. Motability - I don't get this because I'm only on the standard rate of the mobility component of PIP. If you get the higher rate, you can exchange the money for a mobility scooter or car. 
  3. Road Tax - If you get the standard rate of mobility, like me, you get 50% off your car tax. If you get the higher rate, you're exempt from car tax.
  4. Blue Badge - I have a blue badge. I had to go through an assessment to get it and I remember it being very stressful, not knowing whether I'd be eligible. At the time I had just got a job but there was no public parking anywhere near. A blue badge meant I could park right outside in a timed parking bay, without limit. Now, I can't imagine life without my blue badge and with PIP mobility, I don't have to be reassessed for my blue badge, it's automatic.
  5. Council Tax reduction - We haven't applied for this yet. You have to have made certain adaptations to your house to qualify. We're nearly there. Once the stairlift goes in, in a few weeks, we can apply to pay the band below what we currently pay.
  6. Disabled Person Railcard - I haven't got one because I don't use the trains but it's good to know that if I ever can't drive, I can get help with lower rail fares. 
  7. Carers Allowance - For us, this is another 'not yet'. At the moment, Neil cares for me all the time we are at home but we're kind of getting by with it, so we haven't applied for help. In the future though, it's good to know that we can apply if we need it. 
I've also found there are sometimes toll exemptions on bridges or toll roads. For example the M6 toll road - you can apply for a pass if you get PIP mobility. The Humber Bridge is the same but for that you have to be on higher rate and have a motability car. 

If you buy things that are directly for your disability, you don't have to pay VAT. That shouldn't depend on PIP but it's often handy to have evidence. So if you buy a walking stick or a toilet frame, you don't pay the VAT. You have to fill in a form that says what your condition is. It's the same with buying a new car - if you have an adaptation made before purchase, you don't pay VAT on the whole car.

There are lots of days out, where you can get concessions on entry prices or a free carer ticket and some of them ask for PIP as evidence. 

I think this probably rounds up my ramblings about PIP. I hope it's been helpful. When I started, the government were talking about changing some of the criteria but that looks to have been scrapped now, thank goodness! 

1 comment:

  1. We weren't aware of what we were eligible to until we started the process of applying for Occupational Health assessment when a council officer referred us to see if we could adapt bathroom and kitchen. Turned out we had missed out on both carer and disability allowance for several years - now had to apply for PIP, waiting for it to be processed. Its not so much the money but recognition and access to a whole load of other concessions that we've missed out on and just about spent all of our savings to accomodate hubby's treatments and other therapeutic support. The carer's allowance is no more than £250 a year but it pays for trips to the hospital and or its car park