PIP Questions (A comprehensive guide)

In this brief guide, we will look at PIP questions and see how to answer them in the best possible way.

PIP Questions

PIP questions are a part of the PIP assessment process and they provide the PIP assessors a structure to assess everyone equally, because the points on which PIP claims are based are given according to the questions and how they are answered.

PIP questions are concerned with how the person functions in their day to day life, and they are meant to assess the extent to which the person’s condition affects them, as opposed to what their condition is.

PIP questions in any assessment are usually about the following:

  • Make food or cook
  • Feed yourself
  • Getting treatment
  • Washing and bathing
  • Going to toilet
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Speaking
  • Reading and understanding
  • Socialise
  • Handle money
  • Plan and follow a journey
  • Move around

PIP questions are distributed across these domains and there may be about 5-7 questions for each domain to help the assessor better understand your condition and what you need help with in particular.

There are two sections in the PIP assessment for each component of PIP and these sections are daily-living and mobility and these each contain different activities that are assessed to understand what the person has a problem with.

The person is awarded points for each activity they may be able to do, in each section, and this may depend on their ability to do things as well as how much help they need from the caregiver to do it and finally all the points scored for each activity in a section are added together.

When someone scores between 8 and 11 points for daily living needs in the PIP assessment, they get the standard rate of the daily living component. The person may receive the enhanced rate of daily living component if they score 12 points or more.

If the person scores between 8 and 11 points for their mobility needs they get the standard rate of the mobility component.  Lastly, a score of 12 points or more gets the person an enhanced rate of mobility component.

When the person is trying to answer PIP questions, they need to remember whether they are able to do the activity being asked about:

  • Safely
  • Fast enough
  • Well enough
  • Often enough

As mentioned before, these activities depend on how well the person can do it and not on the condition they have, which is why it is important to convey properly what the person can and cannot do.

Domain Specific PIP Questions and Points

Given below is a list of all the different types of questions that may be asked under specific domains of the PIP assessment and the points they carry.

Making Food

Making Food is one of the crucial daily living activities covered under PIP questions, and the person may need to assess what they are capable of providing for themselves.

The point distribution in the domain of making food is as follows:

No points: being able to make a simple hot meal (key feature: hot meal, microwaved dinners or lunches do not count), on your own without any special aids.

Examples of simple hot meals include:

  • Pasta and sauce
  • Cheese and tomato omelette

Special aids may include things like a stool or chair to sit on while making the hot meal.

Two points: The ability to make a simple hot meal while using a special aid (like a stool to sit on).

Also, not being able to make a simple hot meal using a cooker but can if one uses a microwave.

Or, being able to make a simple meal if someone reminds you to or tells you to.

Four points: The ability to make a simple meal only if someone is with you to watch you or to help you.

Eight points: Not being able to make a simple hot meal at all, even with help or special aids.

Feeding Yourself

This is another Daily living activity  and the points you score for this may be added to other daily living activities to find out if you may be entitled to the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The score distribution of PIP questions in this domain is as follows:

No points: Are you able to cut your food, put food and drink in your mouth, chew and swallow without any help?

Two points: Do you need someone else to help you cut or otherwise change the structure of your food?

Do you find that you can only eat your food, and drink, if someone is with you to keep you safe.

Do you have to use a parenteral or enteral tube with a delivery system or pump to eat and drink?

Do you require any special aids to cut your food, put food or drink in your mouth, or chew and swallow?

Special aids in this case may be the following:

  • Stabilising fork or spoon for people with tremors
  • Special cups
  • Knives, forks or spoons with extra large grips

Four points: Are you only able to cut or otherwise manipulate your food, or put food and drink in your mouth and chew or swallow if someone reminds you or tells you to?

Six points: Do you need someone else to help you use a parenteral or enteral tube to eat and drink?

Ten points: Do you need someone else to put food or drink in your mouth for you?

Getting Treatment

This is another example of a Daily Living Activity.

The point structure of Getting treatment is as follows:

No points: Do you have any prescribed medicine or activity to do at home at all?

If you do have a prescription, are you then able to take or apply your medicine accordingly on your own or are you able to do activities your doctor (or nurse or health professional) told you to do, without any help from a caregiver or family member?

Examples of medicines and activities may include:

  • Painkillers or tablets prescribed by your GP
  • Creams, lotions or injections prescribed by your doctor
  • Special exercises
  • Keep a diary
  • Notice when your condition gets worse
  • Special diet

One point: Are you only able to take your medicine correctly, that is, the right amounts at the right time, if you use an aid to help you or when someone helps you out with it, or when someone reminds you?

Are you only able to take the treatment when someone watches you to keep you safe?

Are you only able to complete the activities you have been told to by your doctor (or nurse or health professional) if someone reminds you or helps you, or watches you to keep you safe?

Aids in this case may include things like:

  • Reminder alarms
  • Special applicator (like a long-handled sponge for applying cream)
  • Dosette or pill box

Two points: Do you have to take therapy that takes up to 3.5 hours a week but you can only do it if someone reminds you or helps you, or watches you to keep you safe?

Examples of therapy:

  • Using oxygen mask and tank
  • Using dialysis machine
  • Psychotherapy
  • Physiotherapy prescribed by your doctor

Four points: Do you have to do similar therapy as mentioned above, but that takes between 3.5 and 7 hours a week in similar conditions, that is, with someone around?

Six points: Does the aforementioned therapy take you between 7 and 14 hours a week in similar conditions?

Eight points: Do you have to do therapy that takes over 14 hours a week in similar conditions?

Washing and Bathing

This is another daily living activity that needs to be combined with others to assess the daily living component of the PIP claim.

No points: Are you able to wash and bathe yourself without any help?

Two points: Can you only wash or bathe yourself with some special aids or when someone reminds you to, or when someone watches you to keep you safe?

Are you able to only wash your hair or wash below your waist if someone helps you?

Special aids in this case include:

  • Bath grab rails or hoist
  • Bath or shower chair
  • Long handled bath brush

Three points: Do you always need someone to help you get in or out of the bath or shower?

Four points: do you always need someone to help you to wash your body between your shoulders and your waist?

Eight points: Are you not able to wash or bathe at all and do you need someone to do it?

Going to the Toilet

Going to the toilet or washing up after are also components of the daily living activities, and the point based PIP questions in this domain are as follows.

No points: Are you able to on and off the toilet, go to the toilet and clean yourself afterwards without any special aids.

Do you suffer from incontinence, but can manage it yourself and can clean yourself afterwards without any special aids?

Here are some examples of the special aids mentioned:

  • Adapted toilet or commode
  • Incontinence pads
  • Grab rails

Two points: Can you only get on or off a normal toilet, go to the toilet and clean up after yourself afterwards with a special aid?

Can you only get on or off a normal toilet, go to the toilet and clean yourself afterwards if someone reminds you or watches you to keep you safe?

Do you suffer from incontinence and need special aid to manage it or have someone watch over you or help you with it?

Four points: Do you need someone to help you to get on or off the toilet, go to the toilet or clean yourself afterwards?

Six points: Do you suffer from incontinence (either bladder or bowel) and you need someone to help you to manage it or clean yourself afterwards.

Eight points

You suffer from incontinence (both bladder and bowel) and you need someone to help you to manage it or clean yourself afterwards?

Dressing and Undressing

Dressing and undressing PIP questions also count towards Daily Living Activities, and the point wise breakdown of these questions is given as follows:

No points: the ability to get dressed and undressed without any help or special aids, where special aids include Sock aids or Button hooks.

Two points: Can you only get dressed or undressed if you use a special aid, or when someone reminds you to, or when someone reminds you and helps you choose the right clothes for the weather?

Do you need someone to help you dress or undress your lower body?

Four points: Do you need someone to help you dress or undress your upper body?

Eight points: Are you unable to get dressed or undressed at all?

Speaking

The PIP questions possible for this domain with points are as given below:

No points: Can you speak and understand other people speaking without any help or special aids like a hearing aid or communication book?

Two points: Can you only speak or hear if you use a special aid as mentioned above?

Four points: Do you need a specially trained person or an experienced person to help you to speak more than one sentence or to understand someone saying more than one sentence?

Examples of a specially trained person or experienced person may include:

  • Someone to interpret sign language
  • Support worker who can communicate with people with your disability
  • NOT someone to interpret English
  • A friend or family member who has helped you to speak before
  • Support worker who has communicated with people with your disability

Eight points: Do you need a specially trained person to help you to speak or to say a simple sentence or to even understand someone saying a simple sentence?

12 points: Are you not able to speak or understand other people speaking, even with a specially trained person to help you?

Reading and Understanding

The PIP questions that may usually be used to assess the domain of reading and understanding are as follow:

No points: Can you read and understand written sentences when you are wearing your glasses or contact lenses or can you read and understand written sentences without any help or special aids like larger font size, Screen reader, Magnifier, or Braille?

Two points: Can you only read or understand written sentences if you use a special aid like the ones mentioned above or when someone reminds you or encourages you?

Complex written information includes things like Letters about your benefits or Letters from your doctor.

Four points: Can you only read or understand signs, symbols, dates or simple text if someone reminds or encourages you?

Eight points: Can you read or understand signs, symbols or words at all?

Socialising

The PIP questions used in this domain are given as follows with their corresponding points:

No points: Following are the examples of socializing in this context, can you do them in your own or other small groups without help:

  • Behaving appropriately
  • Making friends
  • Talking to people and understanding their words and their moods

Two points: Do you find that you can only socialise with other people if someone else reminds you or encourages you to?

Four points: Do you always need a specially trained person or a person who knows you well to help you to socialise with other people, examples of which may be a carer or your Support worker?

Eight points: Can you not socialise with other people because it makes you hurt yourself or other people, or because it makes you so distressed that you can’t do anything, like 

  • Having an anxiety or panic attack
  • Having a breakdown or meltdown

Handling Money

Handling money is another crucial aspect of daily living, and the PIP questions in this domain are the following:

No points: Can you plan your budget and pay your bills without any help?

Two points: Can you only plan your budget and pay your bills if someone reminds you or helps you?

Four points: Can you only add up your shopping and work out the change if someone reminds you or helps you?

Six points: Are you not able to add up your shopping or work out the change, even if someone helps you?

Planning and Following a Journey

Planning and following a journey is part of the Mobility component of the PIP and if you qualify for this along with the other mobility component you may be eligible for this aspect of PIP claim.

The PIP questions for this domain are as follows:

No points: Can you plan how to get somewhere, and find your way there, without any help or special aids?

Four points: Do you find it difficult to leave your house because it makes you so distressed that you can’t do anything, unless someone encourages you, examples of which include having an anxiety or panic attack, or a breakdown or meltdown?

Eight point: You are unable to plan how to get somewhere?

Ten points: Are you unable to leave the house because it makes you so distressed that you can’t do anything, or do you find it difficult to travel to a new place without someone else, a guide dog or a special aid to help you?

Examples of special aids:

  • NOT SatNav unless it is especially for disabled people
  • Cane or white stick
  • Braille map

12 points: Are you unable to travel to a place you know without someone else, a guide dog or a special aid to help you?

Moving Around

This domain is the other part of the mobility component and qualifying for this along with the last enables you to get the mobility component of PIP.

The PIP questions in this domain are:

No points: Are you able to stand and then move more than 200 metres without any help or special aids like a Walking stick or a Walking frame?

Four points: Are you able to stand and then move between 50 and 200 metres without any help or special aids?

Eight points: Are you able to stand and then move between 20 and 50 metres without any help?

Ten points: Are you able to stand and then move between 20 and 50 metres with a special aid?

12 points: Are you able to stand and then move between 1 and 20 metres without any help or special aid?

Are you unable to stand, even with a special aid or can’t move more than 1 metre, even with a special aid?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we looked at PIP questions and saw how to answer them in the best possible way.

The PIP assessment process is often criticized because it can be somewhat skewed and the independent contractors in charge of the process can sometimes be quite malicious and lie on the form, which means that having an adequate knowledge of what one may expect from PIP questions is quite helpful.

You should also know that PIP questions have everything to do with your condition and how it affects you, so you don’t need to worry about them, because they won’t ask you anything you don’t already know.

If you have any questions or comments regarding PIP questions, please feel free to reach out to us at any time. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): PIP Questions 

What conditions automatically qualify you for PIP?

Conditions that automatically qualify you for PIP are those that affect the day to day functioning of your life and make you dependent on others t a certain degree.

Specifically, conditions that automatically qualify you for PIP must include a level of disturbance in the following arenas:

  • reading and communicating.
  • managing your medicines or treatments.
  • washing, bathing and using the toilet.
  • dressing and undressing.
  • making decisions about money.
  • engaging with other people.
  • preparing or eating food.

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

You need to score a minimum of 8 points to get PIP as the standard rate of PIP may be awarded when you get between 8 and 11 points, which enables one to get the mobility component of PIP at the standard rate, whereas if one gets a 12 points in total, they may get the mobility component at the enhanced rate.

How do I pass a PIP interview?

To pass a PIP interview, you need to make sure that you are prepared for the questions they may ask you about your disability and you should be well-versed with the documents you have submitted already.

Before you take the PIP interview, you can try to do the following things to ensure that you pass it:

  • Understand what the PIP assessment is.
  • Make a list of points you would like to make during your assessment – and take this with you to the PIP interview.
  • Read your PIP form thoroughly. 
  • Make any notes of changes to your condition since filling out the form
  • Remind yourself of your answers regarding your condition
  • Read the PIP descriptors for each question.

Citations

https://www.mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org/en/welfare-benefits/pip-mental-health-guide/help-with-your-pip-claim/how-to-fill-in-the-pip-form/

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/money/how-claim-pip-guide-14-22042915

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/help-with-your-claim/fill-in-form/

https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Personal-Independence-Payment-Test/What-is-the-PIP-test

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

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