BREATHE Self Help Update : 3

Breathe Update –Trasnparent logo JPEG We recently completed a review of the first 6 months of the Breathe Service, and the percentage of total enquiries were we advised and assisted clients with issues relating to welfare benefits, was over 60%. A large proportion of these related to disability benefits, mainly Personal Independence Payment, and we spend a lot of our time clarifying which groups of people can claim which and what level of disability and difficulties you need to have to be entitled to the benefit. Firstly, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people aged between 16 and 64 on the first day they claim. You need to have a health condition or a disability – more about this later - and you need to have difficulties with ‘daily living’ or with moving around or going outdoors, or both. Very importantly, these problems need to be expected to last for at least 9 months. PIP has 2 components – Daily Living and Mobility, and both have a Standard and Enhanced rate at which they are paid. You can be paid one or the other, or both, of the components based on your needs. Entitlement to the daily living component is assessed using a different number of activities, and you may get some benefit if you need help with preparing or eating food, washing, bathing and using the toilet, dressing and undressing, reading and communicating, managing your medicines or treatments, making decisions about money or engaging with other people. The help you need has to be for at least half the time. For the mobility component, you may receive benefit if you need help going outdoors or moving around. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to be receiving the help, only have an underlying need for it, and the disabilities or health problems can relate to both mental or physical health problems. If you or someone you know, has health issues and have problems with either their daily living or mobility, it’s important to consider making a claim for PIP, as it also acts as a ‘pass ported benefit’, which can entitle you to other benefits, and can increase your (or you carers) income considerably. We would also advise those clients who have had their PIP reduced or stopped following a review, or had their claim turned down, to consider challenging the decision. As usual, there is a time limit of a month to request a Mandatory Reconsideration to start this process. You can get more information and help making a claim, or challenging a decision, by contacting the Breathe Project on 0121 384 2333 or emailing us on advice@new-heights.org.uk.