The crisis of claiming PIP if you are deaf

This article is 94 months old


Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is money for people who have extra care or mobility needs as a result of a disability.

PIP is the benefit that is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults.

To be successful in claiming PIP to score sufficient points on the assessment: eight points for the standard rate, or 12 points for the enhanced rate.

For example, you get zero points if you can prepare a meal unaided, and you get two points if you need help when preparing a meal.

In addition to meal preparation, the questions cover nutrition, therapy, washing, toilet use, dressing, communication, reading, engaging with others, budgeting, planning journeys, and moving around.

People with hearing impairments could be entitled to PIP. However it is being reported that they are having a hard time in claiming.


James Davies, a 24 year old who writes the popular Limping Chicken blog about living with deafness, tried to claim PIP in 2014. He said: “The first problem I came across was pretty obvious. The only way I could get the application form was contacting them via phone: now obviously I can’t do this at all.”

Once James contacted a charity to call on his behalf and eventually received the form, he said: “I felt this form was impossible. None of the questions really help a deaf person to portray their problems and explain why I feel I am entitled to PIP.

“I received an answer formally rejecting my application for PIP. I was devastated, I had no chance with this system. My problems in everyday life could not be explained in this restrictive form.

“Ironically, the letter stated that I would be phoned up and explained why I hadn’t received the benefit. Did this guy even read my application?” (1)

The struggle in claiming PIP if you are deaf is an uphill battle. Many, like James, have been turned down at the first hurdle.

If you are successful in getting an assessment, you must request Speech to Text or a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter. Although it has been reported (2) that even if they are requested, assessment firms - such as Capita - fail to provide them anyway.


Helen Fisher, the Financial Capability Coordinator at Liverpool Community Advice, told Turn2us: “There is an issue with the quality of the assessment and the decision making process. Most assessors are physiotherapists, nurses or paramedics. When I questioned one on whether she had received Deaf Awareness training, I was told ‘no, why would I need that?’

“Also the points scored by the decision makers are not accurate. A person was awarded zero points for ‘mixing with other people’, the reason stated was ‘you can mix with other people without support’, which is clearly not the case.”

From requesting the form, to attending the assessment, to a possible appeal tribunal, the PIP system has been accused of leaving deaf people at the back of the queue.

Need help?

If you have hearing impairments and need assistance, contact British Deaf Association (BDA) or Action on Hearing Loss.

Use our Benefits Calculator to check your benefits entitlement

Read our information on Personal Independence Payment


1. James Davies: Limping Chicken blog article: The tyranny of the PIP overlords

2. ITV News article: Deaf people left without interpreters for PIP meetings