Title: Experiences of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for people with sensory loss, Authors: Malen Davies, Lauren Porter, Hayley Lepps, Rossella Icardi and Aude Bicquelet, Publisher: Thomas Pocklington trust, Date: March 2017


Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a non-means-tested benefit for people who are aged between 16 and 64. The amount of PIP a person is eligible to receive depends on the extent of their mobility and daily living needs. According to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the purpose of PIP is to contribute towards the extra costs of living that people with a long-term health condition or disability might have. In April 2013, PIP replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Thomas Pocklington Trust, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Sense commissioned NatCen Social Research to explore the experience of the transition from DLA to PIP for people with a visual impairment or dual sensory loss.

Key findings 

Although participants in this study eventually received a ‘positive’ financial outcome following their switch to PIP from DLA, however, the journey through the process was overwhelmingly negative.  Issues with the accessibility of a ‘one size fits all’ approach were brought to light, along with a “confusing” PIP2 claim form and a number of poor experiences in the face-to-face assessment, most notably a lack of sensitivity from assessors.

The report has a series of recommendations and urges DWP to work with Thomas Pocklington Trust, Sense and RNIB to promptly address key concerns and ensure that all PIP applicants, including people with sensory loss, have a positive and straight forward experience.

Related content

This report is the second and final stage of a wider research project exploring the impact of the move to PIP on people with sensory loss. The University of Birmingham completed the first phase of the research in 2014/15 which included fourteen semi-structured interviews exploring experiences of applying for PIP. A copy of the report can be accessed at the University of Birmingham website.