If you need help because of a hidden illness or mental health condition such as anxiety, stress, or depression, you may be able to claim more than £605 a month during the Covid pandemic.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was introduced in 2013 to support those who are struggling with mental and physical health conditions, the Daily Record reports.

It aims to help people with extra costs of having a long-term health condition or disability - and more people have applied for the benefit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Those eligible could receive between £23.60 and £151.40 a week - as long as they are aged 16 or over and have not reached state pension age.

Those who don't work can apply for PIP, along with the unemployed, and it isn't means tested.

An extensive list of the conditions which are covered by the scheme includes mixed anxiety and depressive disorders, mood disorders, stress, and anxiety.

Those who have daily additional needs caused by the conditions may be in line for a payout.

The Department of Work and Pensions guidelines on who should receive the benefit are set out here:

Who is eligible for PIP?

It is not necessary to have worked or paid National Insurance contributions to qualify for PIP, and it doesn’t matter what your income is, if you have any savings or if you’re in or out of work - or on furlough.

You must also have a health condition or disability where you:

To qualify, a claimant usually needs to have lived in the country for at least two of the previous three years, and currently be in the country at the time of the application.

Guidelines state that anyone who needs help with the following as a result of their condition should consider applying for PIP, but they will need to proof of the issue:

Anyone classified as needing help to do an activity should need someone else to:

You may also be classified as needing help if you do an activity yourself but:

Test scoring criteria

The DWP measures each activity with a set amount of points ranging from 0 -12.

To get the standard rate daily living component, you need to score 8 to 11 points in total for the daily living activities. You need 12 points to get the enhanced rate.

To get the standard rate mobility component, you need to score 8 to 11 points in total for the mobility activities. You need 12 points to get the enhanced rate.

PIP is usually paid every four weeks unless you are terminally ill, in which case it is paid every week.

It will be paid directly into a bank, building society or credit union account.

What are the PIP payment rates?

PIP is made up of two components – daily living and mobility.

These are assessed separately, as some conditions might not have any effect on daily living but will affect mobility greatly.

Amounts paid out depends on how severe the condition affects a claimant.

The following amounts per week can be paid depending on circumstances:

How claims are assessed

The DWP says claimants will be assessed by an independent healthcare professional. Face-to-face assessments have been suspended since March 17 2020 and continue to be replaced by telephone and paper-based assessments.

How do you make a claim for PIP?

You can make a new claim by contacting the DWP, you’ll find all the information you need to apply on the government website here.

Before you call, you’ll need:

The DWP will send a document listing 14 questions and a section for any additional information.

Each of the questions focuses on a particular condition – and it is important to respond with as much information as possible to help the assessor understand physical and mental health needs of the claimant.

Those wanting to put in a speculative claim can also take an anonymous self-test online at the Benefits and Work website to see how many points they could be awarded for each response in the application.

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