NI PIP Handbook - How to make a claim

Part of: Northern Ireland PIP Handbook

To claim PIP the claimant or someone assisting the claimant will need to contact the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Centre. As part of a claim for this benefit, or for a review of an existing PIP claim, the claimant may need to have a health assessment. The PIP assessment will be delivered by an Assessment Provider working on behalf of the Department for Communities and could either be by pre-arranged phone call; face to face or for some claims by paper based claim.

To claim PIP, contact the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Centre.

You can contact the PIP Centre by phone, by post or by using sign language. If the claimant uses sign language, they might be able to use the video relay service to claim PIP. This information is also available in Easy Read format.

If you get Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

DLA will continue to be paid for children up to the age of 16, both for existing or new claimants. 

If you are a parent or guardian of a child under 16 years who is receiving DLA, you will receive a letter before your child turns 16. It will explain how to apply for PIP, when to claim and what will happen to DLA.

Measures are in place to support you if you received DLA and are financially worse off after you have been assessed for PIP.

More information is available about welfare supplementary payments on nidirect

Information about Help and Support with PIP is available by visiting nidirect.

Preparing for the phone call

It is important that the claimant has all the basic information ready before phoning us or it may delay progress of the claim. The claimant, or the person supporting them, needs to have:

  • full name of the person claiming PIP
  • National Insurance Number
  • full address including postcode
  • date of birth
  • bank or building society account details (so we can arrange any payments if the claimant qualifies for the benefit)
  • daytime contact number
  • General Practitioner or other health professionals’ details
  • details of any recent stays in hospitals, care homes or hospices
  • Nationality or Immigration status
  • details of time spent abroad, if they have been abroad for more than four weeks at a time over the last three years
  • details of any pensions or benefits that they or a family member may receive from an European Economic Area (EEA) state or Switzerland
  • details if they are working or paying insurance to an EEA state or Switzerland.

The phone call – what to expect

At the beginning of the phone call the PIP Case Worker will ask the claimant a series of questions to verify their identity.

If the claimant is unable to answer these questions, the PIP Case Worker will continue to go through the rest of the questions on the application to gather as many details as possible, but we will need to take further action to verify the claimant’s identity.

The PIP Case Worker will go through the claim with the claimant. Some of the questions have a ‘don’t know’ option.

The claimant will not have to answer detailed questions about their health condition or disability, just some questions to establish if they have a mental, cognitive or learning impairment. This will help us establish if the claimant may need additional support through the claim process.

Information about Help and Support with PIP is available by visiting nidirect. 

The claimant will have the opportunity to tell us more about their health condition or disability and how it affects their daily living in the next stage of the claim process.

At the end of the initial phone call, the claimant will be asked to agree a declaration that the PIP Case Worker will read out. When the claimant acknowledges this, the PIP Case Worker will submit the claim and the date of claim is set at this point.

Exceptions within the claiming process

People whose first language is not English

We use a language interpreting service called ‘thebigword’. The PIP Case Worker will use this on any call where the claimant’s first language is not English or where the caller is not comfortable continuing in English.

The PIP Case Worker will contact the interpreting service while the claimant is on the line and in most cases will be put through immediately to an interpreter for the appropriate language. A three-way conversation will then enable completion of the PIP claim.

Claimants who are unable to manage their own affairs

Where the claimant has an Appointee, Corporate Appointee, Power of Attorney or Controller (appointed by the Office of Care and Protection), the person appointed to act on behalf of the claimant must phone to make the claim; the claimant does not have to be present.

A range of options is available to contact the PIP Centre.

Paper claims

Where a claimant is unable to deal with us by phone, or needs extra help and they have no one to support them making a claim by phone they can request that we post a paper claim form to them.

Claimants who are unable to deal with us by phone, can write to us to request a paper claim form at the following address.

Personal Independence Payment
Mail Opening Unit
PO Box 42
BT49 4AN

This form will be unique to the claimant and cannot be used by anyone else.

We can only accept a claim on the unique authorised form that has been issued to the claimant. Stocks of paper claim forms are not available to order.

A paper claim form will also be issued to claimants who do not have a National Insurance Number.

Information to help completing the form is available.

The claimant is given one month to return the paper claim form from the date the request was received. If received within one month, then the date of claim will be calculated from the date the form was issued.

During the phone call, if the PIP Case Worker identifies that the claimant needs additional support with completing the claim, they can arrange for a Departmental Outreach Officer to assist them. (Outreach Officers 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.)

What happens next

Once we have established that the claimant has met basic entitlement conditions relating to age and residence, a form called ‘How your disability affects you’ and an information booklet will be issued.

The claimant can use this form to describe how their health condition or disability affects their daily life, on both good and bad days.

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