The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has affected every household across the UK in some way since lockdwn measures were first introduced at the end of March 2020.

As a result, additional financial pressures are being felt by millions of people, especially the self-employed, those on furlough or unpaid leave, a reduced salary, or made redundant.

It is important for everyone to be aware of available welfare support and to check their eligibility, especially if their physical or mental health has been impacted by Covid.

However, people may not be aware of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and how they could be entitled to support for daily living costs and mobility needs.

The new payment rates will see PIP claimants receive between £23.70 and £152.15 each week

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recently confirmed that from April, State Pension will rise by 2.5 per cent and benefits by 0.5%.

The new changes are set to come into effect on April 12, 2021 and will increase benefit payments delivered by the DWP - including PIP.

What is PIP?

PIP is the benefit that’s gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

If you need extra help because of a long-term illness, disability or mental health condition you may be eligible for PIP.

You could currently receive between £23.60 and £151.40 a week if you’re aged 16 or over and have not yet reached State Pension age (66).

However, the new payment rates which come into effect in April will increase this amount to between £23.70 and £152.15.

The amount you receive depends on how your condition affects you - not the condition itself.

You will be assessed by a health professional to work out the level of help you can get and your rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you’re getting the right support.

It's worth noting that due to ongoing lockdown restrictions, the DWP has suspended all face-to-face assessments for disability and health benefits.

These have been temporarily replaced by paper-based assessments and telephone interviews.

Who is eligible for PIP?

You do not need to have worked or paid National Insurance to qualify for PIP, and it doesn’t matter what your income is, if you have any savings or you’re working.

You must have a health condition or disability where you:

You usually need to have lived in the UK for at least two of the last three years and be in the country when you apply.

If you get or need help with any of the following because of your condition, you should consider applying for PIP:

There are different rules if you are terminally ill.

How is PIP paid?

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

PIP will be paid directly into your bank, building society or credit union account.

What are the PIP payment rates?

You will need an assessment to work out the level of financial help you’ll get and your rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you’re getting the right support.

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

Whether you get one or both of these and how much depends on how severely your condition affects you.

You could be paid the following amounts per week depending on your circumstances:

Help Claiming Personal Independence Payment

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 gov.uk website here.

There's also a list of information you will need to complete your application form.

The application form consists of 14 questions and a section for any additional information.

Put as much relevant detail in as you can to help the assessor understand the impact your condition has on you on a day-to-day basis.

If you have difficulty filling in your form or understanding the questions, contact your local council support services and ask for help or Citizen's Advice Scotland.

You'll need to complete and return the form along with any necessary documentation within a timeframe set by the DWP.

Even if you don't qualify for financial support, you could be eligible for a Travel Card, which offers free or discounted travel across Scotland on most public transport links.

For more information about PIP, visit gov.uk here.