This article by the Guardian paper explains the proposed changes to assessing disabled people for Personal Independence Payment (PiP) better than I could.
But I'll just provide you with a taste of how bad the process has been for me.
- I first applied in April 2015 after a year of not being able to walk more than 20m or so and being really disabled by my unexplained (pre diagnosis) illness
- I filled in the form on my own and stated how things were on an average day (mistake number one - it should be an assessment of what I can regularly do)
- It took months for my claim to be processed and my condition kept getting worse
- I was diagnosed with MS
- I sent in all the new letters as they arrived
- my GP wrote a letter because she wanted them to know I desperately needed this support
- I was eventually called for a face to face assessment and, me being me, I forced myself to go and do it, despite pain and landing myself in bed for several days afterwards
- I was turned down and was assessed as being 1 point under the level for living and 1 point under for mobility. they thought I could walk more than 200m because I could stand for 2 minutes
- I lost my sight and was now blind
- I asked for a re-examination and said I'd provide the new letters from the ophthalmology
- Before I managed to send the letter, 3 days after asking for my right for the re-examination, they turned me down again
- I rang and said they weren't applying the process right and I was going to appeal
- They told me not to appeal because I had been assessed , they even had a claims manager ring me and convince me not to because she'd personally arrange a review of my case and now I was blind I'd clearly receive PiP
- I received another letter saying I had to start the PiP process from scratch because my condition had deteriorated too much (funny that, with a degenerative disease)
- I took out all my frustrations down the phone two days in a row speaking to umpteen people who just said this is how it is but they'd make sure it was painless this time and I wouldn't have to send everything again
- I agreed to stop the original claim
You know what's coming don't you...
- I rang to start the process again
- I was told my old claim was now archived and I'd have to provide all the information again
- and I'm blind so that's really easy now, thanks!
- I was given a month to complete the massive forms again, but after a week they hadn't arrived so I rang to be told that I'd requested large print versions and they take longer to despatch. And no I couldn't have an extension for completion and return
- Mike and I completed all the forms again!
- and now we wait
- and wait
- and expect the worst
This is how it's been for me.
In 9 months I've filled in 5 sets of forms, made over 30 phone calls at my own expense, argued points of legislation and still been beaten. And I'm highly educated and super determined.
We are the lucky ones, we can afford to help ourselves. Already we've spent over £3000 in "disability aids" and we need to spend at least the same again. And yet they want to make the system worse and it'll happen without anyone even noticing.
The system is a nightmare.
It's completely dehumanising and I honestly would gave given up by now if we didn't need the money to buy equipment I need.