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Anxious re PIP assessment

(30 Posts)
KittenOfWoe Mon 29-Feb-16 02:06:02

Pretty much what it says on the tin really.
Apologies for the essay....

Suffered with depression/BPD since I was 16 (34 now), been on and off antidepressants (Seroxat and Fluoxetine) since 18, various talking therapies, 2 full courses of CBT, one hospitalisation (overdose) and long history of self harm.
I have horrible anxiety to the extent that I never finished learning to drive due to panic attacks, and when things worsen I become less able to do all sorts (remember to take medication, use public transport, manage finances, eat/stop eating, go outside, get dressed.... all the usual suspects tbh).

I've never claimed any benefits relating to this before as I've always thought myself reasonably high functioning. But it was suggested that I'd be eligible for PIP by the health visitor I began seeing prior to giving birth last year. After months of umming and ahing I finally took the plunge and applied, and now I've my face to face assessment on Friday.
And I'm TERRIFIED.

When I did the online tests/paperwork etc I come out as being comfortably in the enhanced rate for daily living, nothing for mobility, which I think is correct. But I'm 99% convinced they're going to reject the claim, and make me out to be a drama queen, time waster, etc etc. Just fully expecting it to purely be a "can we catch folks out" exercise, and I'm getting more and more scared of the meeting.

Have any of you been in similar situations and can offer any advice or reassurance please?

I'm genuinely eligible according to their own criteria and any benefits money genuinely would help - I could afford to spend more money on easy to prepare healthy food, pay for the odd taxi to make sure I keep appointments or social activities instead of wimping out in case someone looks at me on the bus, etc etc.
I know this probably all sounds pathetic. I think so too, and I reckon they will as well. Ugh.

kylesmybaby Mon 29-Feb-16 03:35:22

I think they turn most people down in the first couple of times they apply. You must keep trying. My neighbour had her face to face and heard she got in within three days. After being turned down twice before with same conditions. I truly believe they turn people down thinking if they really believe they are entitled to it they will apply again. Good luck

KittenOfWoe Mon 29-Feb-16 08:39:44

Thanks for the reply Kyles.
Yeah I'm not surprised, and it's what I fear tbh. I very much talk myself out of/minimise issues when confronted so I'm scared they won't take me seriously, and that I'll crumble if dismissed. Thankfully my DH is coming with me for backup!
Just convinced myself it'll be awful....

Bubblesinthesummer Mon 29-Feb-16 08:43:29

Just remember it is about how your MH affects you and not the illness itself ifyswim

KittenOfWoe Mon 29-Feb-16 23:41:49

Bubbles - thank you, yeah I do see your point definitely and it's a good one to keep in mind actually.
I have a degree and have held down jobs for a long time so I am reasonably high functioning but I take on too much and break. I'm trying to pick my battles more and not overdo it but I worry how this might seem to the outside world. Hit breaking point again in December; I'm 34 and that was something like my eighth breakdown. I'm so tired of it all.

AgainstTheGlock Tue 01-Mar-16 15:37:21

I hear you. smile hugs

I'm "high-functioning", even though when I take a long, hard look at myself I've not been further than 10 miles for 6 months, didn't pick up my meds last month because I just couldn't face going out in public, have unopened bills I can't face, blah blah.

Tomorrow I've got my appointment at the CAB to do the forms. If I were so bloody "normal" I probably wouldn't be needing to take diazepam just to get the bus home from tomorrow's appointment - and if it weren't so ruddy important I'd cancel it because the "afternoon out" is so fucking stressful.

We'll get there. more hugs

KittenOfWoe Thu 03-Mar-16 21:15:20

Hope your CAB appt went well, Against?

AgainstTheGlock Fri 04-Mar-16 11:07:57

Fucking awful. sad

I've gleaned more on "how" to fill in the forms from posters and links on this board than the CAB woman had any idea about at all. She basically said "right, this half of the book is all about physical disabilities so that's not applicable..." - and in my haze I kind of let her do it - although I did argue a few points and fill in some bits.

I thought the reason to go to the CAB would be that they'd be up on how to do it "best" and that a form filled in by them might carry more weight.

There's no way I'll get awarded higher rate on what she said - if it's a total NO, then at least I'll be able to appeal - using my OWN words/research.

I know I know, some of you will be saying "why didn't you say something?" - well that's the thing, when you're a screwed up bundle of mess you tend not to make a scene.

How did you get on Kitten?

KittenOfWoe Tue 08-Mar-16 00:17:02

As well as can be expected tbh love, thank you. The woman was actually really nice and we pretty much just redid the form verbally. I was really jittery on the day as it was an hour and a half's drive away then we awoke to several inches of snow so had to change plans in the morning to catch the train instead. Then I got a call 3 hours before my appt asking if I could get there 30 minutes early. And then the train was 40 minutes late getting in due to the weather!! Thankfully we had planned lots of time so still made it for the earlier time, but hell my anxiety was skyrocketing....

Shame to hear your session with CAB wasn't very fruitful sad do you have a confidante you can go over it with? Any backup (letters from a gp etc to vouch for how your daily life is impacted) will help too. Hope you're feeling okay x

coffeeisnectar Tue 08-Mar-16 00:33:14

You do know you can request a home visit if your disabilities prevent you from getting to wherever the assessment is being held?

I had mine a couple of weeks ago, I'd been awarded standard rate care last year and this was for the renewal. I got enhanced mobility backdated to November last year and standard care continued. I can now apply for a blue badge which will make my life so much easier as I struggle to walk and am crippled with pain. I also have anxiety, ptsd and depression which gave me four points on mobility but nothing for care.

If you get rejected, please appeal. They bank on people giving up.

crumblybiscuits Tue 08-Mar-16 00:40:45

As a positive story I got accepted first attempt and for enhanced rate living which I didn't think I would get. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience and was really made to feel at ease and entitled throughout the entire thing I also echo asking to be seen at home as it demonstrated my point of "I will not go anywhere new alone" and travelling could be seen as capability. Best of luck! The best advice they gave me was describe your very worst day - your lowest low. That's what they want to hear about. Doesn't matter how many good high functioning days out shadow the lows.

AgainstTheGlock Tue 08-Mar-16 08:52:21

coffee that's really good to hear and I think I will ask for a home visit. Again, the CAB woman implied these were only an option for people "hooked up to machines" at home - rather than those of us who can physically walk but end up slumped against the wall of the coop after the meeting because it was "all too much". I am very much planning on appealing if nothing comes of it the first time around - and I figured as much, they'd rather you did just slink off.

Kitten I had a letter from the psychiatrist about a recent hospital admission - although nothing about day-to-day life, just I suppose confirmation that I am certifiable. There was also a story about something the HV has arranged to help on a day-to-day basis. That sounds really, really stressful about getting to your appointment - I'm glad you made it - I'd be shaking with nerves by that point.

KittenOfWoe Tue 08-Mar-16 10:31:49

I was tbh. I'd requested a home visit as I'm not able to do public transport trips on my own at the moment, but it was declined so I had to go all that way (claim is closed if you don't attend). I was disappointed in that - would never have been able to get to it if it weren't for my DH taking a day off work to come with me; talked me out of a panic attack on the train and generally kept me going. He's a goodun.
You're definitely entitled to a hone visit even if you're mobile, you're,well within your rights to request. I'd be tempted to ask to see someone higher up at CAB if at all possible because they really sound like they've given you misleading advice!!

KittenOfWoe Tue 08-Mar-16 10:33:01

Oh and she said I should hear back from DWP within roughly 6 weeks, so here comes the anxious wait.....

AgainstTheGlock Tue 08-Mar-16 11:12:04

It's very PA of me, but if I am awarded anything I'm planning to spend 20 quid on that set of guidance notes from here www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/personal-independence-payment-pip and will pop it anonymously in the post to the CAB. I don't want to start a war at CAB, but their info was decidedly shoddy.

KittenOfWoe Wed 09-Mar-16 18:40:32

Don't blame you in the slightest. Tbh it's not really that PA if it helps future applicants to get better advice when sought!!!

AgainstTheGlock Fri 25-Mar-16 17:29:09

Quick update. My claim was denied.

I immediately spent my 20 quid and joined the above forum. Once I'd downloaded the docs I could immediately see there were literally swathes left out of my original claim and that she didn't have a fucking clue.

E.g., DWP do not expect ANYONE to travel more than 90 minutes to an assessment centre. Where I live that makes a huge difference to many people. Also, with regards to your own appointment - you can also say that you need a home visit because you'll get suicidal thoughts if you have to undertake that type of journey. Also, that DWP do not consider "cereal and crisps" cooking yourself a meal - even though CAB lady was quite insistent that only the physically-disabled would need help with eating. Things that I wouldn't have considered before: I am capable of washing my hair and brushing my teeth... but I don't always do it. blush

Anyway, I phoned DWP who said I had two choices - either phone the original PIP number and get a new form, or appeal.

So I asked benefitsandwork which option to take - they suggested a new PIP would be better because of the fact I would have to add SO much info to appeal, AND I would then need to explain why the first form was so crap.

I bit the bullet and emailed the CAB explaining that I'd been unsuccessful, would try anew and pointed them in the direction of the website and heartily suggested that just because a person is physically able to board a bus - doesn't mean it doesn't fuck them up completely.

She just said "you'll be sanctioned for 6 months if you do that".

I (feeling momentarily feisty) said "Again incorrect".

So the CAB in my area appear to have absolutely NO inclination to improve their knowledge and assist other claimants. sad Do-goody worthy shits - just because you're a do-gooder, doesn't mean you do good!

I hope you don't have too much longer to wait for the decision! x

Minimoan Fri 25-Mar-16 22:05:19

This thread is really useful as am being urged to apply for this ... having never had any disability benefits in twenty years of mental health difficulties, including long hospitalisations. I am seeing GP next week and they will support my application.

I have depression/anxiety/severe eating disorder (ED)...which impacts on everyday ... and ED also severely affects my physical/medical health at times when very unwell.

I am just scared of being refused ... as I DO currently work (but now only 2 days per week - reduced from initial 5 days - as can't cope/too physically frail presently) ... and have had several periods off-sick when particularly poorly, when GP prevented me working they felt I was too frail/weak to attend.

Just looking at forms and do not know how to 'adapt' to MH conditions as seem very tailored to physical health ... and also about attending assessment as travel is so tiring for me, but would have to go alone and think that would count against me, as would be seen as 'capable' of travel without issue??

Any advice would be appreciated!!

coffeeisnectar Sat 26-Mar-16 20:07:23

Ask for a home visit.

Explain that your mental health isn't up to you travelling to a new place alone and you have no-one to go with you.

PIP doesn't mean you can't work. It's an in work benefit and can be given to anyone who has a disability.

On the bit about travel. You write that you can travel but it leaves you in pain/exhausted/stressed/panicked.

On the bit about going to new places you write that you can go but it leaves you having a panic attack or stressed. Or you write that you cannot go and avoid going to anywhere that is unfamiliar to you.

You need to make it very clear how it affects your life. The form is now designed to make you write what you can do rather than what you can't. So if it asks if you can wash your hair then tick the box that says yes but only if someone reminds you. You need to put in every single thing that your disability affects.

ATOS miracles on Facebook and Fightback on Facebook are both groups/pages which will help with filling out forms and will also help with appeals and attending medicals. They have helped overturn a lot of decisions and although they don't ask for money they appreciate donations to help them keep going even if it's a load of stamps and envelopes.

KittenOfWoe Thu 31-Mar-16 21:43:56

Well I had my assessment four weeks ago tomorrow and still no news from DWP. ATOS submitted their report two working days after the meeting so it's a case of waiting for the decision makers now. The anxiety is making me feel sick every time I hear the letterbox go. Just convinced it's a refusal and we have to start all over again tbh. I'll update as and when I know anything new.
Please feel free to ask btw if anyone has any questions regarding my application, timescales, paperwork etc.

AgainstTheGlock Fri 01-Apr-16 07:27:54

I do hope you get good news soon. Fingers crossed for you.

hefzi Fri 01-Apr-16 14:42:44

Glock I've only just seen your update from last week: I think you're being sensible to make a new application and doing it yourself- CAB seem to be so hit and miss, depending on where you are in the country.

Fingers crossed for you, mini and Kitten: I sometimes suspect that the system is set up this way to put people off even actually applying in the first place. And don't despair if you're turned down first time like Glock was - it's so hard when you're already struggling, but you have to appeal, and, if necessary, appeal again. It took me three goes under the old system to have my application for DLA approved - it's a question of knowing what boxes to tick etc And it's really hard to go for an interview, when you're used to spending all your time putting a brave face on things and trying to be upbeat, and to be totally and utterly honest about how affected you are, especially if you haven't even really admitted it to yourself. But you absolutely must - like PP have said, it's based on your worst days, not the days when you are coping pretty well. Hang in there, all of you guys flowers

AgainstTheGlock Fri 01-Apr-16 14:53:50

Thank you hefzi. I've been advised to complain to CAB, but I've already kind of tried by email and got that bollocks response (which you saw).

So I:
1) passed on the info (about the website + shitty useless CAB) to the local mental health unit so that they can help people - they were thankful!
2) passed on info to a friend who is very active locally with disability support - she too had heard worrying stories re: affectiveness of CAB
3) the head of the CAB was mentioned in the local paper last week - so at some point I will type a letter and send it to HER rather than the knob-end not helping people with claim info.

I've also booked an appointment with my community nurse so that she can "check/add to" the forms once I've done them. She's held my hand as it were since the start of this whole horrid episode.

minimoan Do look at that benefitsandwork site I link to up there. They've given me so much brilliant advice wrt MH issues. E.g., whilst you physically can put one foot in front of another for 100m - doesn't mean it's not going to make you go home and SH afterwards. sad

KittenOfWoe Sat 02-Apr-16 09:59:17

Glock that's awful, there should be so much more - not to mention intelligent - help out there than that. Good for you, for passing on word that it's dangerously unreliable advice. I really really hope you have better support second time round. x

KittenOfWoe Mon 11-Apr-16 08:53:24

FYI folks, I just received this text message - "We've decided you qualify for Personal Independence Payment. You don't need to contact us about this. We will send you a letter with all you need to know. If you don't get this within 2 weeks please contact us. Thank you."
It has been 18 weeks since we first called up to register an interest in applying, and 5 weeks after my face to face assessment.
I don't know yet what I've been awarded - I scored myself 17 points when doing checks online which is the advanced rate for daily living, 0 on mobility - but it's a great result. I'll at the very least be getting something so they believed me - I'm overwhelmed with relief tbh!

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