People with disabilities and health conditions often have additional financial costs of living and reduced opportunity for gainful employment. Many countries offer a welfare state that provides social security benefits to defray these additional costs and/or provide a replacement income.

Administrative systems to determine eligibility and award amount and duration can be bureaucratic involving complex legislation and multifarious assessments which impose burdensome activities, which can be distressing on claimants making and maintaining awards. Inevitably these assessments reduce the complexity of a person’s impairments to a number: how much (if anything) a claimant will be paid.

In our research study we examined claiming one working-age benefit in the United Kingdom known as Personal Independence Payment (PIP). There are challenges in applying for PIP, and also for those organisations working with claimants. PIP Kit is what we developed to try to improve the initial claim steps.

The PIP claim is made by requesting a paper form which has to be completed offline and posted back within a month, together with any supporting evidence.

The assessment for PIP focuses on the effects of a person’s conditions, rather than the conditions themselves. The study examined how the process of assisted claim form filling (say between a support or advice worker, and the claimant) might be supported, and make the process more humane. The study developed a diary toolkit where the modules are selected together, and the claimant subsequently completing the diary (either online or in physical paper) before returning to meet the advisor again to discuss and fill-in the claim form.

PIP Kit comprises four primary functions:

  1. Daily diary record-keeping
  2. Photographic evidence gathering
  3. Documenting supporting information requirements for the form-completion appointment, and its scheduled date and time
  4. Reminders to complete the diary, take photos, gather supporting evidence and attend the appointment.

Trials of the prototype were undertaken by claimants making their real PIP claims. The diary modules do not map directly to individual questions on the PIP claim form, but instead gather more general information to help start and sustain conversations during the subsequent form-filling appointment. Also, the intention was to avoid the diary completion leading to any change in assessed behaviour.

All the materials are information on how to use PIP Kit are documented on this website. See the Step-by-Step Guide and Materials sections.