All DLA claimants are being transferred onto something called PIP, which is essentially the same as it gives you a little extra cash to cover the extra living costs of having additional needs. It was my turn to go through this process last December. It began with me having to call the DWP with certain information on my condition and my healthcare providers. Then I had to complete a form with the same information as well as details about how my condition affects me and my related needs. They also asked for supporting evidence from my doctors but the timeframe they gave me was impossible to work with anyway. If they need it enough, they’ll get it themselves but I don’t see how it would help really. Today, I had the face-to-face assessment which I was totally not looking forward to – not after reading all the horror stories on the internet.
First off, the woman arrived at 10.07 for a 10.30 appointment which immediately threw me into doubt. How can you expect a fair and accurate disability assessment from somebody who can’t even tell the time? The cynic in me says she was early trying to catch me doing something I said I couldn’t – sorry, not a liar – but maybe she was simply hyper-efficient at the last one. Until she showed her ID I had no idea who to expect walking through my front door. Of course, then I showed my ID to prove who I am. Everyone pretends to be ‘cos I’m so awesome so I’m sure the DWP just wanted to make sure they’re getting the real thing.
It wasn’t as bad as the internet says it is. Some of the questions were a bit more personal than I would have liked, but not intrusive or upsetting, and some questions were just impossible to answer. Like have I received treatment in the past? I had loads of physio when I was a kid but, no, it obviously didn’t make me walk again. No, I’m not currently receiving or am planning any treatment because there is none. She tried to keep all calm and composed but she looked quite surprised that I was keeping afloat with no medical intervention. Likewise when she asked about the progression of my condition and I tried to explain the unpredictable nature of AOA2. It’s hard for me to get my head around how fast things change at times and trying to decide my fate in a 40 minute assessment is never going to end well. Towards the end, I asked to be read everything that had been taken down as, if mistakes have been made, it’s far better to catch them now that further down the line where mistakes have serious consequences.
It should take 6-8 weeks to receive a decision on my claim and then I can ask for a copy of the report which I’m definitely doing whatever the outcome. I try to keep copies o everything that might be important so I’ve got everything in writing for if and when there are problems. A couple of months isn’t too long to wait compared to some stuff but, when my skin is falling off through all the stress and uncertainty, it’s kinda ludicrous. What’s tragic is that they don’t appear to realise that many disabling conditions are made worse by that or that a person with a progressive condition will only ever deteriorate meaning annual reassessments to see if they can downgrade your benefit is just a waste of time. The only way the DWP could get away with that is if they drastically changed the criteria for PIP… in which case I’ll be spending my final payments on guns and ammo. After watching the spring budget last night and their pretty insignificant investment in social care, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried it though. £2 billion has been promised to social care (and the government never breaks promises) and that sounds like a lot. If it was injected into the relevant departments immediately and distributed fairly, it might be enough to keep the country ticking over for a little longer but it won’t be. The money will be staggered over three years and more of it will go into the south of the country where the economy will benefit the most. Well, sorry not sorry, fuck the economy! Social care is there to benefit people not profit. Just because I’m currently not working and paying taxes does not mean I don’t deserve a few extra pounds to pay for assistance I have to have. £2 billion. I just can’t visualise anyway that will make a difference to anybody who ever needs it.
Okay, I honestly didn’t mean this to turn into a political rant. It was supposed to be a few paragraphs on my bloody PIP assessment. Oh well, that’s my brain being random again. Yay for my brain!