A guide to answering PIP questions

PIP questions

In this article, we are going to explore what the PIP questions are about and how should one answer them.

There are 14 questions that you have to answer in order to request a PIP benefit, and we’ll address them all.

A guide to answering PIP questions

The PIP claim form

The PIP claim form is a “‘How your disability affects you” form that you are required to fill when applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). 

There are  a variety of PIP questions which you must fill with care.

After first contacting the DWP with your request, you will be sent this form that needs to be filled in, signed and returned to the address mentioned in the paper.

Who can apply for PIP?

In order to apply for PIP, the claimant has to be aged between 16 and the  State Pension age.

Another condition is for the claimant to have a health condition or disability where he or she:

  • Has had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for the past 3 months;
  • Expects these difficulties to continue for at least 9 months (unless terminally ill with less than 6 months to live).

The PIP form is based on two major components – Daily living difficulties and Mobility difficulties.

You can score enough points and get either the daily living part, the mobility part, or both. 

You may qualify for the Daily living difficulties part if you need help more than half of the time with things like:

  • Preparing or eating food
  • Washing, bathing and using the toilet
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Reading and communicating
  • Managing your medicines or treatments
  • Making decisions about money
  • Engaging with other people

You can qualify for the Mobility difficulties part if you need help going out or moving around.

PIP Questions 

PIP Question 1

Listing your health professionals

The Department for Work and Pensions has to have details of any health professional you have seen about your condition, their contact details and the date you last had an appointment with them. 

The list includes but is not limited to GP’s, consultants, physiotherapists and nurses; carers, support workers, social workers; counselors, psychotherapists and occupation therapists; 

If you have not had any appointments in the past three or four months, it is recommended to make one as soon as possible.

This way you can tell them you’re claiming PIP and explain the day-to-day difficulties you have so that they’re up to date if the DWP contacts them. 

PIP Question 2

Listing your conditions, medications, and treatments

This question has two parts. 

Question 2a

In this part, you have to list all the physical and mental health conditions and disabilities you have and the date they started.

If you are not sure, you don’t have to be too specific about the date. The year it started will be enough. 

Question 2b

In the second part of question 2, you have to list all the tablets, medications (including painkillers that you acquire yourself and prescribed medication), treatments and therapies you use and any that you’re about to start. 

Write down how often you have treatments or therapy. 

Also write down how often you take each medicine, as well as the strength and dosage if you know it.

If you’ve got a printed prescription list you can attach this to your claim form – write your name and National Insurance number on it. 

It’s helpful to mention any side effects that you have from medication.

Mention if there’s medication you should take but can’t because of the side effects you have.

A guide to answering PIP questions

PIP Question 3

Preparing and cooking a meal

In this section, you have to highlight how your condition makes it difficult for you to prepare a simple meal for one, and heat it on a hob or in a microwave until it’s safe to eat.

This question isn’t about whether you need to eat a special diet.

It’s about your ability to carry out tasks to prepare and cook a simple meal, like turning on taps or using a cooker safely.

 Use this space to explain what help you need but don’t get.

Give details about the aids that you have to use, mention if somebody has to remind, encourage, supervise or assists you.

Write about safety (accidents or risk of injury), how much time it takes on an average day to cook a meal, include if you have any symptoms like pain or tiredness while preparing a meal. 

Question 3a

  • Do you use an aid or appliance to prepare or cook a simple meal?

You should probably tick yes to this question if you need to sit down while preparing or cooking, you have a prosthetic limb, you take rest breaks while preparing or cooking, you use an aid either all the time or sometimes.

Question 3b

  • Do you need help from another person to prepare or cook a simple meal?

Tick yes if you tend to undercook or overcook your food, someone helps, reminds, encourages, supervises or assists you; someone stays with you to make sure you’re safe, you’re at risk of injury like burning or scalding; you need help to read or understand numbers – for example, when following simple recipes or using timers; you need help but don’t get it. 

PIP Question 4

Eating and drinking

In this part, you have to be specific on how your condition makes it difficult for you to eat and drink.

Difficulties include cutting up food into pieces, put it in your mouth, chew and swallow it.

Question 4a

  • Do you use an aid or appliances to eat or drink?

Question 4b

  • Do you use a feeding tube or similar device to eat or drink?

Question 4c

  • Do you need help from another person to eat or drink?

Don’t hesitate to answer yes to these questions if:

  • Someone reminds, encourages or supervises you
  • Someone physically helps you to drink or eat
  • Someone stays near you to make sure you’re safe or not at risk
  • You need help but you don’t get it.

PIP Question 5

Managing treatment

This question is about how your health condition makes it difficult for you to manage your treatments, monitor your own health condition, including your mental health, take action to stop your condition from getting worse.

Question 5a

  • Do you use an aid or appliance to monitor your health conditions, take medication or manage home treatments? 

Answer yes if you use a dosette box (a pillbox with compartments) to make sure you take the right medicines at the right time, or/and if you need an alarm or someone to remind you to make sure you take your medication at the right time.

Question 5b

  • Do you need help from another person to monitor your health conditions, take medication or manage home treatment?

Answer yes if you need help from someone with applying creams or lotions; with tablet bottles or blister packs; with changing dressings; with physiotherapy exercises; someone to check your blood sugar levels or take your temperature; someone to monitor your mental health.

PIP Question 6

Washing and bathing

You have to mention if your condition makes it difficult for you to wash or bathe in a standard bath or shower that hasn’t been adapted in any way.

Also, you have to let them know if you use any aids or appliances to help you wash or bathe.

Question 6a

  • Do you use an aid or appliance to wash and bathe yourself, including using a bath or shower?

Tick yes if you use one or more of the following appliances to wash and bathe yourself: a grab rail, a hoist to help you get in and out of the bath, a shower seat, a long-handled sponge, anything else that helps you wash or bathe.

You should also tick yes if you need to use something to help you but don’t at the moment.

Question 6b

  • Do you need help from another person to wash or bathe?

Answer yes if you need help get in and out of the bath or shower, to wash a specific area, if you wash too much, for example, if you have a condition like OCD.

If you can’t tell whether you’ve cleaned yourself properly. 

PIP Question 7

Managing toilet needs

This question is about how your condition makes it difficult for you to: 

  • Get on and off an unadapted toilet seat 
  • Clean yourself afterward
  • If applicable, manage your incontinence.

Question 7a

  • Do you use an aid or appliance to go to the toilet or manage incontinence?

Choose yes if you:

  • Use an adapted toilet seat or toilet 
  • Use an aid either all the time or sometimes
  • You’re incontinent and have to use aids such as incontinence pads or grab rails
  • You don’t use a toilet – for example, you use a commode or catheter instead

Question 7b

  • Do you need help from another person to go to the toilet or manage incontinence?

You should choose yes if:

  • Someone helps you (even if it’s just with your aid – for example, dealing with a used portable bidet) 
  • Someone is around in case you need help
  • Someone reminds you to go to the toilet
  • Someone explains how to clean yourself properly 
  • You need help but don’t get it 

PIP Question 8

Dressing and undressing

Here you have to describe any difficulties you have dressing or undressing. This means putting on and taking off unmodified, appropriate clothes (including shoes and socks).

Try to think about how you get dressed and undressed – including any aids or appliances or help you need from other people.

It might help to imagine how you’d manage to get dressed at someone else’s house or in a shop changing room.

Question 8a

  • Do you use an aid or appliance to dress or undress? 

The list for aids includes items like shoe horns or modified clothing.

You can also tick yes to this question if you can’t wear certain things (clothes with buttons) or if you have to use crutches to hold you up while you dress or undress.

Question 8b

  • Do you need help from another person to dress or undress?

Answer yes if someone has to remind, encourage or supervise you, or if someone helps in any other way. 

PIP Question 9

Communicating verbally

Do you have difficulties to speak to others so that you’re understood, or are you having issues to hear and understand what other people are saying to you?

It doesn’t matter whether English is your first language – you’ll be assessed on whether you have difficulties communicating in your first language.

If you’re deaf or partially deaf this is the most important question on the form.

Question 9a

  • Do you use an aid or appliance to communicate with others?

Answer yes if you use a hearing aid or an electrolarynx; if you use an amplifier that helps you hear conversations; if you use an aid either all the time or sometimes. 

Question 9b

  • Do you need help from another person to communicate with others?

You will score points if you answer yes because you:

  • need an interpreter or signer
  • a friend or family member fills in the gaps in conversations
  • you lip-read
  • you have Asperger’s syndrome or autism and find it difficult to communicate with people
  • you have Tourette’s syndrome
  • your medication makes it difficult to concentrate on a conversation
  • you need help but don’t get it.

PIP Question 10

Reading

Your answers to this question should be about reading and understanding information in your own language and how you cope with long sentences or something like a gas bill, timetable or bank statement. 

Question 10a 

  • Do you use an aid or appliance other than spectacles or contact lenses to read signs, symbols and words?

Answer affirmatively to this question if you use special lamps or lights to help you read, need to take rest breaks while reading, use large print or audio formats, use an aid either all the time or sometimes. 

Question 10b

  • Do you need help from another person to read or understand signs, symbols and words?

Answer yes if you: 

  • have a learning disability
  • you have a physical or mental condition that stops you from being able to read
  • someone helps or encourages you to read – for example, they read a menu for you
  • someone explains written or printed information to you 
  • you need help from someone but don’t get it
  • you can’t read words at all but you can understand signs or symbols

PIP Question 11 

Mixing with other people

In order to answer this question, think about how meeting and mixing with strangers makes you feel. And, if you try to avoid it and why. 

Question 11a

  • Do you need another person to help you to mix with other people? 

Think if you need someone with you when you meet people you don’t know (for example to introduce you to them and start a conversation), tick yes if this is true.

As well, chose yes if you need someone to help you before or after you meet people; if you don’t know how you’re going to react when you meet and mix with other people. 

Question 11b

  • Do you find it difficult to mix with other people because of severe anxiety or distress?

Your answer should be yes if you:

  • become anxious when you meet and mix with other people
  • don’t like the idea of mixing with other people
  • avoid mixing with other people because of the anxiety and the distress it causes you.

PIP Question 12

Making decisions about money

In this section, you have to say how your condition makes it difficult for you to manage everyday purchases and transactions such as paying in shops and restaurants, budgeting for and paying your bills, budgeting for bigger things, such as a telephone or bedtable. 

It’s about the decisions you need to make, and not about whether you can physically get money out of a purse or wallet to pay for things.

Question 12a

  • Do you need someone else to help you to understand how much things cost when you buy them or how much change you’ll receive? 

If you need help when paying in shops and restaurants and understanding how much things cost, answer yes.

Question 12b

  • Do you need someone else to help you to manage your household budgets, pay bills or plan future purchases

Choose yes if you need someone to encourage, supervise or help you understand how to keep your money, how to pay the bills on time, how to save money. 

PIP Question 13 

Going out

The DWP is interested in how you cope with both long and short journeys – think about getting to local places (like the post office, a local shop or a place you don’t know).

This question is especially important if you have sight or hearing difficulties, learning disabilities, autism, stress, anxiety or any mental health condition. 

Question 13a 

  • Do you need help from another person to plan a route to somewhere you know well? Or do you need another person, guide dog or specialist aid to help you get there?

Base your answer on what you can manage most days. You should tick yes if your stress, anxiety or other mental health condition make it difficult for you to go out. 

Tick yes if you find it hard to cope with large crowds or loud noises; you find it hard to cope with unexpected changes to a journey – for example, roadworks or diversions; you make your journey only in the quiet times of the day.

Question 13b

  • Do you need help from another person, guide dog or specialist aid to get to a location that is unfamiliar to you?

Tick yes if:

  • you need help but don’t get it
  • someone goes out with you 
  • your mental health condition makes using a bus or trains difficult 
  • you can’t plan a route to an unfamiliar place yourself
  • you find it difficult to cope with unexpected changes to a journey – for example, train cancellations.

Question 13c

  • Are you unable to go out because of severe anxiety or distress?

Answer yes if you oftentimes can’t go out because of your mental health. 

PIP Question 14

Moving around

This question is about how your condition makes it difficult for you to walk safely without stopping and without help.

Question 14a

  • How far can you walk taking into account any aids you use?

You have to choose the distance. Remember to base your answer on what distance you can manage most of the time with or without an aid, such as a walking stick.

For example, if you can’t regularly and repeatedly walk 50 meters then don’t say you can do it without any problems. 

Questions 14b

  • Do you use an aid or appliance to walk?

Aids and appliances usually are prostheses or swing crutch. Do you take rest breaks while walking any distance?

Do you use an aid all the time or sometimes? Then you should tick yes to this question.  

Question 14c 

  • Do you use a wheelchair or similar device to move around safely, reliably and repeatedly and in a reasonable time period? 

Answer yes if you use a wheelchair, mobility scooter or similar. 

PIP Question 15 

This is a blank page that you can use if you run out of space on the claim form. 

Asking for help

If your carer, friends or family have any information you think will help your PIP application they can write a statement that describes how your condition makes it difficult for you to do the activities mentioned in the form. 

A guide to answering PIP questions

Conclusions

In this article, we explained what the PIP questions are, and tried to understand what exactly are they inquiring.

We hope that this blog post will guide you when applying for a PIP claim.

Please let us know in the comment section below if there is any question that we have not clarified well enough, or if you have any advice for other people who are claiming PIP.

FAQ about the PIP claim and PIP questions

How many points do you need to score to get PIP?

You need to score between eight and 11 points for the daily living needs criteria.

If you score 12 points or more you get an enhanced rate. 

What automatically qualifies you for PIP?

In order to automatically qualify for PIP, you must be aged 16 or over and have a long-term disability or health condition.

You also need help or support with daily living, or with mobility, or both.

How do I claim PIP successfully?

You can successfully claim PIP by calling the DWP.

They will send you the PIP claim form that you have to fill and send it back to them.

Keep in mind, you will also have to go to a medical assessment.

Do PIP text you when they have made a decision?

The DWP will write to you once they made a decision regarding your PIP application.

It might take up to six weeks before you hear from them, however.

You don’t need to contact them unless the details you gave them have changed. 

How long is PIP awarded for?

The PIP award is given for a limited amount of time.

It can be one, two or three years before your award ends.

Recommendations

  1. Personal Independence Payment: What You Need to Know
  2. Nolo’s Guide to Social Security Disability: Getting & Keeping Your Benefits
  3. Insider’s Guide to Government BenefitsSocial Security, Medicare and Government Pensions: Get the Most Out of Your 
  4. Retirement and Medical Benefits
  5. Guide to Government Benefits: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, Disability

References 

  1. Help to fill in your PIP claim form – Citizens Advice
  2. Preparing for your PIP assessment – Citizens Advice
  3. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Assessment – Turn2us

A guide to answering PIP questions

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.