This post first appeared in January 2019 and shows my experience with the PIP assessment, bringing you up to present day.
In my working days one thing I hated was going for interviews, thankfully through my 30 odd years of working I didn’t have to attend many.
For instance having to sell myself was my biggest fear, I was never any good at it, however ask me to sell a commodity or a service no problem, but, not myself.
The final interview I attended was my worst performance ever, above all in hindsight it was around the time my cognitive abilities were slipping and even though the information was on a screen in front of me, on a laptop and on the papers printed off, the words on the screen weren’t sinking in therefore the presentation wasn’t good.
Similarly, the PIP assessment even though the written answers where in front of me, the assessor hit me with the first few questions so thick and fast after that my ability to answer her was fading the more questions she asked.
In addition, I am ashamed to say I cried all the way through the assessment due to the pure frustration of the position I found myself in and the reaction from the assessor.
Like interviews before, the next day the questions are coming back that I failed to answer, for instance how my illness affects me.
Consequently going back over my application form I have to ask, do they think I lied? Well, I didn’t, however, because the words weren’t repeated as I had written down no doubt they will be open to interpretation and the next step will be a mandatory reconsideration.
For example when the assessor asked how far I could walk while sitting in a wheelchair and how many times I would have had to stop to get to her room, when I replied “I didn’t know,” her response was, “well I need to know because I have to write it on this form,” my response was “3”, however not having walked it I didn’t really know.
Thoughts on PIP assessments
After that do I feel pissed at a system that is just so wrong? Damn right I do, above all these people, need to realise I would still give anything to be driving up and down motorways as part of my daily workload, certainly not swapping my car for a mobility scooter while putting my hand out to the state for help.
To clarify this is all in the hope that I can live a better life and stop relying on friends and family to get me out of the house.
No, they don’t because they work in a targeted government organisation and if they don’t turn people down they are not meeting those targets. In other words, the assessor’s trick was to talk as fast as she could to confuse the hell out of the person in front of them.
Requesting the assessor’s report
So, three weeks after the assessment I requested a copy of the assessors report which in parts read like she had assessed someone other than me, her assumption that I didn’t appear stressed and there were no issues with my cognitive abilities, there was also no mention of me sobbing all the way through the assessment, I could walk between 20m and 50m, and even though she reported on my motor responses she never mentioned I was unable to touch my toes due to dizziness.
Maybe I spent £1300 on Speedy IGO for fun, who knows.
As a result, all of these issues were upheld by the DWP assessor and again at mandatory reconsideration.
The wording on the PIP application is below:
*Regularly and reliably – as often as a healthy person could so prepare 3 meals a day, bath or shower every day, walk as far as they are saying as often as you like. – Yes, I can walk between 20 and 50m but not more than once. and I would have to stop.
*Safely – Without danger of relapse or injury to yourself or others – No I can’t do it safely as I am at risk of falls
*In a timely manner – taking not more than twice as long as a healthy person of your age – As someone who used to regularly take long walks with the dog, no I can’t do it in a timely manner.
Meanwhile, this whole process which started in August 2018, just last week the tribunal date came through for November 2019, 15 months after my original application.
In short the tribunal can only hear on how my illness affected me at application stage in August 2018, not how it affects me now, however, I have since sent in further supporting evidence from both medical professionals and friends and constantly seeking advice for the Disability Law Service, so, I can only hope the tribunal overturns the DWP’s award.
Watch this space.
Likewise, I would be interested to hear how you got on with your PIP assessment, your thoughts, experiences etc., If you have family and friends that have also had issues.