15 years of stammeringlaw 1999-2014
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Personal independence payment

Personal independence payment (PIP) has replaced Disability living allowance (DLA) for people aged 16 to 64. As from June 2013, all new claims by people between those ages are for PIP rather than DLA. Stammering in itself is not normally likely to give an entitlement to PIP. The equivalent benefit for people of retirement age is Attendance allowance.

Introduction to PIP

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people with a long-term health condition or impairment. It is paid to make a contribution to the extra costs that disabled people may face, to help them lead full, active and independent lives. Claimants must be age 16-64.

Who is entitled to PIP?

Regulations set out a list of activities, grouped into 'daily living' and 'mobility'. A person can score points under these depending on whether they fit within one of the descriptions ('descriptors') under an activity. Particular numbers of points entitle the person to the daily living component or mobility component of PIP, either at the standard rate or enhanced rate. For details see

For example:

One of the descriptors under Activity 7 (Communicating verbally) is: 'Needs communication support to be able to express or understand basic verbal information'. This scores 8 points, which is enough to qualify for the daily living component of PIP at the standard rate. If the person scored an additional 4 points under another 'daily living' activity, he or she could claim the enhanced rate (which requires 12 points).
'Communication support' is defined as support from a person trained or experienced in communicating with people with specific communication needs, including interpreting verbal information into a non-verbal form and vice versa (for example a sign language interpreter, or a family member or friend experienced in communicating with the claimant).
'Basic' as opposed to 'complex' verbal information is also defined. A similar descriptor for 'complex' verbal information gives a score of 4 points instead of 8.
The claimant is treated as satisfying a descriptor only if he or she can do so to an acceptable standard, repeatedly, and within a reasonable time period - see below.

The main Activities relating to speech, and social interaction or anxiety, are:

The claimant is treated as satisfying a descriptor only if he or she can do so safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly (ie as often as is reasonably required), and within a reasonable time period. 'Reasonable time period' means no more than twice as long as the maximum period that a person without a physical or mental condition which limits that person?s ability to carry out the activity in question would normally take to complete that activity. As regards 'acceptable standard', the DWP's PIP Assessment Guide (pdf, link to gov.uk) says about Activity 7: 'If the claimant couldn?t make themselves understood and had to resort to hand gestures and writing notes this would not be to an acceptable standard.'

An example from Activity 9 (Engaging with other people face to face) is: 'Cannot engage with other people due to such engagement causing ... overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant...'. 'Psychological distress' is defined as distress related to an enduring mental health condition or an intellectual or cognitive impairment.
Another example from that activity is that if you need 'social support' (as defined) to be able to engage with other people, you score 4 points.

Much more detailed guidance is given in the DWP's PIP Assessment Guide (pdf, link to gov.uk). There is commentary on the individual Activities. Treatment of fluctuating conditions is dealt with from para 3.2.8. Also para 3.3 deals at length with the point above that the individual is treated as unable to do something unless they can do it 'reliably', ie safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly, and in a timely manner.

Transition from DLA

New claims by people aged 16-64 are now for PIP rather than DLA. For existing DLA claimants, there is a phased approach to re-assessment.

Links on PIP

Attendance allowance

Attendance allowance is the 'equivalent' of PIP and DLA for people aged 65 or over. Quite a high level of disablity is required, and I have not heard of anyone successfully claiming Attendance Allowance for stammering. So far as relevant to stammering, one may be entitled to attendance allowance if one is so severely disabled physically or mentally that one requires from another person frequent 'attention in connection with one's bodily functions' throughout the day. 'Bodily functions' can include speech.


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Last updated 15th May, 2017