I have spoken a few times about how the process to get disability benefits, mainly PIP has affected me. But today I want to talk about the steps so far and how they have really gone.
Personal independence payment, otherwise known as PIP, is a disability payment supposedly set up to help you pay for things you need to be more independent. This is important as a disabled person and I have to say independence is hard to find, so anything to help that is very much appreciated.
However, the way this process is set up it often feels as if they are on purpose trying to make it impossible to get. I have even been told by the charity that helps me that if you drive you will immediately be denied it. This is ridiculous as someone who is paralysed can have their car adjusted so they can drive it doesn’t mean they are not disabled.
Step one in the process is a really big form, in this you fill in a lot of detail about how your disabilities affect your life. Questions range from going to the bathroom, how far you can walk with and without aids, and problems eating.
I filled out this form in a lot of detail in January , and had a telephone call to follow up where I had to answer questions. I thought this was a good thing as it would let me explain more in my own words how my illnesses affect my life.
I received the letter back a few weeks later stating I would lose most of my benefits, and many of the reasons were not true to either what was in my form or the things I had stated in the phone call. We did record the call ourselves and things like they said I was not prompted at all during the call turned out to be untrue as over 40 times I had to ask my husband for clarification.
It’s so frustrating to fill in a form that literally took over 3hours to do, and have a phone call of over an hour just be told lies as reasons to remove my benefits.
The process to get disability benefits
This step is where you write a letter giving reasons as to why you would like them to review their decision. Again I went to the charity to do this with us and received a letter a few weeks later with no change at all. The decision remained the same no change and the same reasons given although they completely go against my original answers.
Now it is April and yesterday I went back to the charity to fill in yet another form, this time it will be sent to an outside agency. They will review what I am saying against what they concluded and hopefully will see how they didn’t listen to anything I wrote or said. They have the ability to go against what they concluded and this is what we hope will happen.
I had to do this step back in 2020 and that is going to court, there you have to sit in front of a doctor, a nurse, a psychiatrist, judge and someone from a charity. You have to answer questions alone it’s so scary and I really hope I do not have to do this again!
Now just think about this, at the moment every couple of years, every single person who goes for PIP has to go through this process. Most disabilities do not get better, or get worse, so why keep making people go through this? The waste of money of all of these steps to try and save money by finding 1% of fakers is demeaning and stressful to the majority who are genuine.
Disability is a spectrum, it affects everyone differently, two people with the same diagnosis will react differently and have different affects. One may be able to work, while the other isn’t, that doesn’t mean one is more disabled or the other is faking.
Making it hard for me to get disability benefits when I’m unable to work, leaves me dependent on my husband, and potentially in poverty. It is time the process to get disability benefits changed, so get in touch with your MP and stand with us asking for a kinder and more dignified system.
Thank you xx