While living costs remain high, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claimants are being urged to check if they’re making the most of the discounts and freebies available.
Around 22.4 million people claim some combination of Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits to get by, but many are still struggling while inflation remains at 8.7 percent.
There are a number of ways to receive extra financial help that many may not be aware of. People who claim certain benefits, such as PIP, can be entitled to support worth thousands of pounds, so it might pay to know what’s out there.
Disabled Facilities Grant
People who claim benefits for a disability in England could receive a grant of up to £30,000 if they need to make changes to their home, while claimants in Wales and Northern Ireland could eligible for grants up to £36,000 and £25,000, respectively.
The money can be used to pay for improvements such as installing a walk-in shower or a stairlift, or adapting heating or lighting control systems.
The amount a person gets will depend on a variety of factors, such as their household income and whether they have savings of over £6,000. To apply, claimants have to go through their local council.
PIP claimants may be entitled to a discount on council tax of up to 100 percent, depending on the component and rate of PIP the claimant is receiving.
People can apply if they own their home, rent, are unemployed or working, and it’s advised they contact their local authority to find out if they could be eligible and how much the bill will be reduced.
Free bus pass
Claimants may also be entitled to receive free local bus travel in England. This takes shape through the disabled person’s bus pass and is distributed by local councils as part of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme. It is suggested that claimants contact them to find out who can issue this.
Vehicle tax exemption
PIP claimants who receive a mobility component of the benefit can also claim vehicle tax exemption, which can knock between 50 percent and 100 percent off the price.
People who receive the standard rate of the mobility component can be entitled to 50 percent off, while those who receive the enhanced mobility rate can be eligible to get 100 percent off.
Disabled Person’s Railcard
PIP claimants may also be eligible for a Disabled Person’s Railcard, which can grant a discount of a third off of train travel. The card costs £20 for one year of £54 for three years and people are estimated to make a saving of up to £91, based on data extracted from users between April 2021 and March 2022.
Depending on the medical condition a PIP claimant may have, they could be entitled to free NHS prescriptions. The current NHS prescription charge per item sits at £9.65, so for those who need several items frequently, this has the potential to save them a sizeable sum.
If eligible, people can often get free medication at a pharmacy for minor illnesses, such as colds, coughs, and eczema, through the NHS minor ailments scheme, too.
The minor ailments scheme is currently widely available across Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, but only in selected pharmacies across England. The medicines included in the scheme can also vary depending on where the person lives, so people are urged to talk to their local pharmacy to find out what they offer.
Discounted TV licence
People who are blind (severely sight impaired), or live with someone who is blind, could be entitled to a blind concession TV licence. This would reduce the annual fee from £159 to £79.50 for a colour TV licence and £26.75 for a black and white TV licence.
To claim, people must provide at least one of the following documents to confirm they are certified as blind:
- A CVI (Certificate of Visual Impairment)
- A BD8 Certificate
- A certificate or document issued by a local authority that shows they are registered as blind (severely sight impaired)
- A copy of a certificate from an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon), stating that they are blind (severely sight impaired).
However, it must be noted that those who are partially sight impaired will not qualify for the 50 percent blind concession.
PIP claimants aged 75 years or older receiving Pension Credit could be entitled to a full discount. Find out more about this here.