If your Personal Independence Payment (PIP) award is less than you were getting on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or it has been stopped entirely, find out what you can do to make ends meet in the short term. Then look at ways of managing your money to cope with a lower income.
If you think the decision to reduce or stop paying PIP is wrong
If you believe the decision is wrong, you can ask for it to be looked at again.
You must do this within one month of getting the decision letter.
This is called a Mandatory Reconsideration.
Reasons why you can ask for the decision to be reconsidered are
- You have new evidence that could affect the decision.
- There is a factual mistake that you think could affect the decision.
- It appears that the DWP has misunderstood something you told them.
- You might have told the DWP something that they appear not to have taken account of when they made their decision.
You must ask for a reconsideration before you can appeal against the decision.
The decision letter should tell you how to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration but if you need help to do this, an advice organisation like Citizens Advice will be able to support you.
Help to cope with a sudden drop in income
If your award is reduced or stopped, the DWP will continue to pay your existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for at least four weeks to give you additional, limited support.
This is to help you prepare for coping with less money.
You’ll need to work out if it’s possible to save any money or increase your income as soon as possible.
Help if you have an emergency expense
There might be some help available if you need to find money quickly for an emergency or unexpected expense.
Local welfare schemes
If you are facing a sudden emergency and are on a very low income, you might be able to apply to your council’s local welfare scheme for vouchers to pay for essentials such as:
- Household items, such as cookers or fridges
Each county in the UK runs its own scheme. To find out what’s available in your area, contact your local council directly.
Or use the postcode finder on the Child Poverty Action Group website which lists the local welfare schemes in your area, regardless of whether you have children or not.
If you have been getting some income-related benefits, such as:
- Pension credit
- Income support, or
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance,
for at least 26 weeks you might be able to apply for a Budgeting loan to pay for an emergency expense.
You will have to repay the amount you borrow within two years.
Check you’re getting the right benefits and entitlements
If your income has reduced, it’s important to make sure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to.
You can use a benefits checker to check on the Turn2US website
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can also carry out a full benefits check to make sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to.
It might be worth checking if you qualify for charitable help and grants. To find out more, read our guide Charitable grants for ill or disabled people.
Work out your income and outgoings
It’s really important to take another look at your budget and add up all the money that is coming in and going out.
This might be from:
Next make a list of all your regular outgoings and debts.
These will include:
- Mortgage or rent
- Credit cards, store cards, other loans
- Travel costs such as car or public transport
- Household bills such as Council Tax, TV licence, utility bills, phone bills, food, clothing
Cut everyday spending costs
Now that you’ve got your basic budget, take a look to see if there are any opportunities to make a few cutbacks.
Motability Transitional Package
If you joined the Motability scheme before January 2013 but no longer qualify under PIP, you might be eligible for a one-off £2,000 payment.
This is part of a transitional package to help you continue to meet your mobility needs by buying a used car.
If you joined the Motability scheme from 1 January 2013 onwards, you might qualify for a one-off payment of £1,000.
For more information on how the transitional arrangements will work on the Motability website.
If you need to buy another vehicle, read our guide Find the right car for your budget.
Increasing your income
If you would like help to find work or to prepare for work, there are organisations which can give you the support you might need if you have a disability or learning difficulty.
To find out more about support and advice to get you back into work, download the free factsheet Careers and work for disabled people on the Disability Rights UK website.
If you have a disability, health or mental health condition, find more about Access to Work, a government scheme that helps you with the costs of getting into work or staying in work on the GOV.UK websiteopens in new window.
Rent a room scheme
If you have a spare room in your home, the first £7,500 a year from renting it out is tax free from April 2016.
If you can, try saving a little bit of money to give yourself a cushion if you face an emergency expense in the future or to help you pay for things like Christmas or Birthday presents.
If you’re coping with a sudden drop in income, it can be tempting to borrow money.
However, there are things you need to think about before you do this.
It’s important to be sure that you’re able to pay the money back or you could end up in debt.
Try to stay away from high cost borrowing like payday loans or logbook loans.
The interest you’ll pay on these loans is very high and you could end up owing a lot of money if you don’t repay the loan on time.
With a logbook loan, it’s possible that you could lose your car if you can’t keep up with repayments.
If you think you need to borrow money, it’s important to compare different ways of borrowing and understand exactly how much it will cost you before you make a decision.
If you are borrowing money to pay off debts, or to pay essential household bills or rent, it’s important you get some free debt advice to find out how you can get back on track.
If you’re worried about debts
If your bills are mounting and you’re struggling to pay them, it’s really important you get debt advice even if you think you don’t have any spare money to pay them off.
Debt can make you really stressed and anxious but eight out of ten people who have got debt advice tell us that they feel happier and more in control of their life again.
Getting advice as soon as you can will help you solve your problems faster.
How can a debt adviser help you?
A free and impartial debt adviser will:
- Treat everything you say in confidence.
- Give advice about better ways of managing your money.
- Never judge you or make you feel bad about your situation.
- Help you to work things out with the people you owe money to.
- Suggest ways of dealing with debts that you might not know about.
- Always be happy to talk to you, however small or big your problem is.
- Check you have applied for all the benefits and entitlements available to you.
- Find ways to manage your debts even if you think you have no money to pay them off.
You can get advice in a way that’s best for you: over the phone, online or face to face.