Student Advice Service – Money Matters

News from the Student Advice Service at the University of Brighton

Thinking of applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP)? We can guide you through the process

Are you a student who has ongoing mobility problems and/or needs help with daily living tasks, such as washing, dressing, preparing and planning a meal?

You may be eligible to apply for Personal Independence Payment, or ‘PIP’ as it commonly referred to. PIP replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) back in April 2013, but some people with disabilities and chronic health conditions may still be getting DLA instead.

You can’t apply for PIP whilst receiving DLA.






PIP is a ‘needs based benefit’ administered by the Department for Work and Pensions and you can be in full or part time work, a full or part time student or unemployed and still claim this benefit. How much income you have will not affect whether you can receive this benefit, it is assessed on your personal needs.

The application process is in 3 stages for most people – a telephone call to register your application; a detailed form to complete and then a meeting, which is basically an assessment carried out by a medical professional. The medical assessors will measure your personal and mobility needs and prepare a report for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It is important to understand that these medical assessors are not the DWP decision makers, but their reports are a key part in the application process.

There has been quite a lot of negative press around PIP, but the Student Advice team has received some excellent training so we can help guide our students through the application process and answer some of the questions which may arise along the way.

So, how can we help our students?

Student Advisers can:

  1. Explain about eligibility criteria and set out the likely time frame
  2. Tell you what information you’ll need when you make the initial telephone call
  3. Be with you when you make the initial telephone call
  4. Advise you how to approach filling out the longer form and signpost to helpful online guidance for specific disabilities and conditions.
  5. Help you prepare for the medical meeting

Unfortunately we can’t attend the medical assessment with you, but we do strongly advise you to ask someone to accompany you to this meeting, to support you and give you moral support. This could be a partner, family member, friend, carer, colleague or housemate. You need to take some documents with you, so read your appointment letter carefully and we encourage you to look at the helpful guidance from Turn2Us.

Once the DWP has received all the information they require, you will receive a decision about your application. The whole process can take around 3 months for decision to be reached, but it can take longer.

If you are not happy with the decision, we can help you build a case to challenge the decision and there are strict rules about time limits and stages to follow. You can also make a complaint about any part of the process. Unfortunately we¬†can’t attend a tribunal hearing with you.

If you have got any questions about PIP, please come and talk to us in Student Advice. We’re certainly not sector experts, but we will do everything we can to help you every step of the way.

Student Advice Service

BenefitsDWPPersonal Independence PaymentPIP

Helen Abrahams • March 4, 2020

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