The day has finally arrived. I am due to receive a visit from a doctor to assess the level of my disability to see if I qualify for a PIP.
In the days leading up to this appointment my disability has worsened quite noticeably. The cynical among you may say that is to be expected. You will rehearse all the disabilities you expect the doctor to see.
But, that is NOT the case. My disabilities are real and I don’t need to exaggerate them or in any way practise my stumbling walk.
I do think my condition has worsened because I am worried that this face-to-face assessment might go against me. I have heard of cases where obviously disabled people have had their payment stopped. Where people with real mobility issues have had their car taken away.
All of this worry is a form of stress and I know that stress impacts my condition badly.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
I have been receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for a number of years. I had to go through a face-to-face assessment when I applied for this welfare support. Now, I remember this as being stressful, albeit was a number of years ago and my memory is failing fast.
Now, the government has decided to streamline the welfare system and has introduced PIP the Personal Independence Payment to replace DLA.
Despite my failing memory, I do remember that when I applied for DLA I was advised, by my GP, to report only the worst case scenarios. Not to make my condition appear worse than it was, but also not to make it appear better than it was by reporting only about my good days.
I suppose what irks me most, is the need to apply anew. I am on DLA with good justification, why can’t I just be switched over to PIP?
As usual, I know the answer to that question. The government has begun to realise just how much the welfare budget is. To balance the fiscal books, they must make cuts. I understand that and I know there are many claimants who take advantage of our generous welfare system.
So, yes these rogue claimants must be weeded out. This is a situation I completely agree with. I disagree with the method being employed.
There are thousands, if not millions of people on the welfare system, so it is a big job. I realise that the government has to create rules for this eligibility but, that means rules that apply to all. We are all different so one size does not fit all.
There are many reports that highlight how catastrophically wrong this can go. Only this morning, my wife asked me if I was nervous about this impending visit. Of course, I said I was not but, I am lying to myself. I can feel the stress leeching the energy from my body.
The Welfare Assessment
The visit was carried out by a very pleasant young lady nurse. She asked me all the questions I would have expected and carried out the basic cognitive tests. Unfortunately, I think I performed reasonably well in the cognitive tests.
Anna, that was the name of the nurse, will now write up her report and submit that to the DWP. She would not be drawn on her assessment but did intimate that we should have little to fear.
Apparently, it could now be up to eight weeks before we get a final decision.
She did point out that she was aware of the bad press that the Personal Independence Payment scheme was receiving and suggested that this was blown way out of proportion.
Multiple Sclerosis v Fibromyalgia
The PIP assessment over and done with and not being one to let an opportunity pass, I asked Anna if she thought the prevalence of MS was on the increase. She was unable to offer an opinion although she did tell me that multiple sclerosis was quite common in Scotland, indeed in the northern hemisphere/
This was something I already knew, so I switched my questioning to Fibromyalgia. I asked her what, in her opinion, was the difference between MS and Fibromyalgia given that both conditions share so many symptoms?
She told me that it was her understanding that MS had a definitive diagnosis, in the form of an MRI scan and a lumbar puncture. Fibromyalgia does not have this type of identity.
PIP Stress and Footnote
Just before I wrap up this monologue, and given that I have had a good night’s sleep I can report a marked improvement in my well being today. This could have two contributory factors:
- The PIP assessment is over; I won’t get the result for several weeks, but what will be will be.
- The school holidays are over; granddaughter, who I love, but she stresses me terribly, is off to high school – hurrah!
I still need to mark time until I get the final result. I would like to upgrade the theme of this Blog but, that is an expense I cannot afford until I know the final outcome. Additionally, now is not a good time to be making a purchase in US dollars while the pound is so weak.
Over to You
I have warbled for long enough, now it is time for the important content; your contribution. Are you on DLA expecting the dreaded PIP letter? Have you completed the PIP application without problem or, perish the thought, have you been declined PIP?
Your comment will be valuable, there are many of us going through this traumatic process.
Is the worry of this PIP impacting your multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia? I would love to hear from you.