NI PIP Handbook - Completing the ‘How your disability affects you’ form

Part of: Northern Ireland PIP Handbook

The form and supporting evidence when returned, should contain the claimant’s name and National Insurance number and should only be used for the claimant it was sent to.

An information booklet will be sent with the form which claimants should read before they start to fill the form in.

The claimant has one calendar month to return the completed 'How your disability affects you' form. An envelope will be provided in which they can return the form. If the claimant has not returned the form after 20 days, a reminder letter will be issued to the claimant. Unless the claimant has been identified as requiring additional support, if the ‘How your disability affects you’ form has not been returned after one calendar month, PIP is automatically disallowed for failure to return the form by the required date. If extra time is needed, claimants should contact the enquiry line number to request this.

Claimants who are making a claim to PIP because they are nearing the end of their life will not have to complete the 'How your disability affects you' form. We will obtain the information required about mobility needs at the initial claim stage and the claimant will be encouraged to send in a SR1.

Where claimants in vulnerable situations are unable to return their 'How your disability affects you' form, we will arrange a referral direct to the Assessment Provider.

If the claimant is unable to complete the 'How your disability affects you' form within the given timescales they should contact the PIP Centre to ask for a short extension. Initially the PIP Case Worker should be able to grant this.

Further or longer extensions can be granted but only at the discretion of the PIP Case Manager, who will consider whether there is good reason for the late return of the form.

If the claimant loses the 'How your disability affects you' form, they will need to contact us to request another form.

About the questions in the form:

When filling in the 'How your disability affects you' form the claimant may find it useful to have to hand:

  • details of their medication or an up-to-date printed prescription list if they have one, and
  • the name and contact details of any professionals who might be supporting them on a regular basis.

The 'How your disability affects you' form includes a number of questions about the claimant’s ability to carry out key everyday activities. These will help us to understand the impact of the claimant’s health condition or disability on their everyday life and to assess their entitlement to the benefit.

In each section and for each question, there is a tick box for the claimant to state ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘sometimes’.

Claimants are asked to provide more detail in the “Extra Information” box so that they can explain how their health condition or disability affects their ability to carry out the activities; the difficulties they face and the help they need.

Where they need help from another person, they can tell us what kind of help they need and when they need it.

Help with completing the ‘How your disability affects you’ form

If the claimant is having difficulty completing the 'How your disability affects you' form, they can ask a friend, relative, care provider or external organisation to assist them with completion.

We are providing advice and information to external support organisations to ensure that they understand the PIP process. This will enable them to provide assistance and support to claimants throughout the claims process. In addition, the claimant can contact their local Jobs & Benefits office. Details for all Jobs & Benefits offices is available on the nidirect website.

The claimant can also contact PIP. A range of options is available to contact the PIP Centre.

The PIP Case Worker will be able to assist with basic enquiries and will also find out what level of support the claimant requires to complete the 'How your disability affects you' form. Depending on the level of support the claimant needs, the agent may arrange a call back to support the claimant in completing the form.

They may refer the most vulnerable cases to the Departmental Outreach team for support. An Outreach Officer from the Department’s Make the Call service can assist with application form completion for claimants who need extra support to help turn their potential entitlement into a benefit claim.

If an Outreach Officer is at the home of a claimant when they decide that they want to claim PIP, the Outreach Officer will be able to assist the claimant to make the initial phone call to claim PIP.

Sending in additional supporting evidence

We want to use the widest range of evidence when we assess each PIP claim to ensure the claimant’s PIP award is made correctly and paid promptly.

It is very important that the claimant provides us with any relevant evidence or information they already have that explains how their condition affects them.

We do not need to see general information about their condition – we need know how they are personally affected.

The supporting evidence they send does not need to be recent but should be relevant to their current condition.

The claimant should send in any documents they have as soon as possible. They can use the same envelope as their completed ‘How your disability affects you’ form. Any delay sending evidence may mean:

  • it will take longer to make a decision on their PIP claim, or
  • they may have to attend a consultation with a health professional when it may not have been necessary, or
  • we may not be able to get all the information we need to make the correct decision on their claim

The claimant should only send in photocopies of things they already have available and should not ask for other documents which might slow down their claim or for which they might be charged a fee.

The Department will not need to contact the claimant’s health professional(s) in all cases. If we do need further information from a health professional this can be requested by us. It is important that we hold up to date details for the claimant’s health professional(s).

Here are some examples of things that could help decide the PIP claim. The claimant should not worry if they only have some of them – they should just send us as many of the things listed that they already have. There are also examples of things we do not need to see below.

Evidence that will help us to assess a PIP claim

Reports about the claimant from:

  • Specialist Nurses
  • Community Psychiatric Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Occupational Therapists
  • General Practitioners
  • Hospital Doctors
  • Physiotherapists
  • Support Worker

The claimant’s care or treatment plans from:

  • Occupational Therapists
  • Social Workers
  • Community Psychiatric Nurses
  • Learning Disability Support Teams

The claimant’s hospital discharge or outpatient clinic letters. The claimant’s statement of special educational needs.

The claimant’s certificate of visual impairment. The claimant’s test results like:

  • scans
  • diagnostic tests
  • audiology

The claimant’s current repeat prescription lists.

Information that might help us to assess a PIP claim

Photographs or x-rays. Letters about other benefits.

Letters from people who know the claimant but only if they can provide us with more information about how the claimant’s condition affects them that they have not already told us about on their form.

Information that does not help us to assess a PIP claim

General information or fact sheets about the claimant’s condition(s) that are not about them personally.

Appointment cards or letters about medical appointments:

  • times
  • dates
  • directions

Information about tests the claimant is going to have. Fact sheets about the claimant’s medication.

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