PIP assessments - how descriptors will determine if you'll get boosted payments in 2022

PIP and other benefit payments will be rising from April 2022 the DWP has confirmed. However, what a claimant gets will depend on how they’re assessed with certain “descriptors” determining eligibility.

PIP rates

PIP is broken down into two elements, a daily living part and mobility part. How much a person receives from PIP will depend on how difficult they find it to complete everyday activities and get around.

The daily living part of PIP currently pays out £60 or £89.60 per week. For mobility payments, £23.70 pr £62.55 will be paid.

These rates will be rising from April. The daily living component of PIP will rise to £61.85 or £92.40 a week. Mobility payments will increase to £24.45 or £64.50.

PIP itself is awarded to those who are 16 or over, have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability, have difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around and expect these difficulties to last for at least 12 months from when they started.

Each of these difficulties will be thoroughly assessed throughout the claiming process.

PIP assessments - how descriptors will determine if you'll get boosted payments in 2022
© GETTY PIP assessments

PIP descriptors

Descriptors are applied to specific elements and each descriptor carries a points score ranging from zero to 12. The final tally will determine the amounts awarded.

Citizens Advice broke down how they work: “Your ability to carry out each activity is measured against a list of standard statements describing what you can or can’t do. These are known as the descriptors. The health professional will advise the DWP which descriptor applies to you for each activity.

“For example, there are six descriptors for ‘Dressing and undressing’, ranging from ‘Can dress and undress unaided’ to ‘Cannot dress or undress at all'”.

“When the assessor decides which descriptor applies to you, they must consider whether you can carry out the activity reliably. This means:

  • safely in a way that is unlikely to cause harm either to you or anyone else, either during the activity or afterwards
  • to an acceptable standard
  • repeatedly as often as is reasonably required
  • in a reasonable time period – should take you no more than twice as long as someone without your condition.


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“Your ability to carry out the daily living activities and the mobility activities will be assessed as if you were wearing or using any aids or appliances that it would be reasonable for you to use. This applies whether or not you normally use those aids or appliances. However, if you use or need aids and appliances, this can help you to score more points.

“An aid is any item which improves, provides or replaces impaired physical or mental function. It doesn’t have to be specially designed as a disability aid. Examples include a stool you need to sit on when cooking, or a walking stick to help you stand.”

The DWP will add together these points from all the daily living and mobility activities that have been assessed. If a claimant gets between eight and 11 points in total, they’ll get the daily living component of PIP at the standard rate. If they get 12 points in total, they’ll get the enhanced rates.

The same rules and score amounts will apply to the mobility element of PIP.

PIP assessments - how descriptors will determine if you'll get boosted payments in 2022

How to claim PIP

To claim PIP, people will need to complete a form that asks about their condition(s) and return it to the Government. This form can be requested by calling the “PIP new claims” phone line on 0800 917 2222.

When calling this phone line, claimants will need to provide details on the following:

  • Their contact details
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • Bank or building society account number and sort code
  • Their doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number
  • Dates and addresses for any time they’ve spent in a care home or hospital
  • Dates for any time they spent abroad for more than four weeks at a time, and the countries they visited

Following an application, claimants will need to keep the DWP up to speed with any changes in their condition or circumstances.

Change of circumstances

The PIP enquiry line must be called if a change in one’s circumstances occurs. This can include personal detail changes or if the claimant’s condition improves or worsens.

This is important to note because if a change is not reported, or if wrong information is provided, claimants can be taken to court.

To report any changes, the PIP enquiry line must be called on 0800 121 4433.

If a claimant has been paid too much, they must also report this to the DWP.

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