Disability Benefits

If you’re aged 16 to 64 you could get between £22 and £141.10 a week by claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The amount you get depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself.

You’ll be assessed by a health professional to work out the level of help you can get. Your rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you’re getting the right support.

PIP is made up of 2 parts. Whether you get one or both of these and how much you’ll get depends on how severely your condition affects you.

Daily living part

The weekly rate for the daily living part of PIP is either £55.65 or £83.10.

Mobility part

The weekly rate for the mobility part of PIP is either £22 or £58.

Terminal illness

You’ll get the higher daily living part if you’re not expected to live more than 6 months. The rate of the mobility part depends on your needs.

How you’re paid

All benefits, pension and allowances are paid into an account, for example your bank account.

I worked until 2013 when anxiety made it impossible. I receive PIP, but it’s a horrendous and scary process. The last time I went for an assessment there was a man in tears. He was having a panic attack. He just couldn’t cope. I was quietly panicking inside too. This is a phenomenon that is normal for me: when I see a GP about my mental health I always worry that they won’t believe me. Because it’s not always visible. I always feel under pressure to prove to them that something is wrong. I get anxious and clammy and prone to tears. It is a recurring fear even after all these years.

We are lucky that in the UK we have access to financial help from the Government if we are unable to support ourselves financially. Unfortunately, receiving that help is not always straightforward.

I get that the Government do not have a bottomless pit of cash available and need to know that it is being given to the right people. And I understand that there need to be rules to minimise the chances of giving money to people who are able to earn money for themselves. This is not in doubt.

What concerns me is the increasing number of horror stories I have come across. A lady in a support group I’m in posted about how her PIP has been stopped because she appears to be able to cope. She suffers from a mental illness. She has probably spent her entire life “appearing to be ok”. That doesn’t mean she is. She is distraught.

So I’ve taken another look at the form you have to fill in. This is a specimen copy.

This form is geared towards physical health. It is very difficult to explain your state of mind by simply answering these questions. For example, question 3 is about preparing food:

What I want to say to this is:

“I don’t need any special aids but due to my food disorder I struggle to feed myself. I am able to cook but I often find that I can’t be bothered, or I forget, or sometimes my head will say that although I’m feeling hungry I don’t actually need to eat.” So a and b will both be NO, and then a long rambling explanation goes in the any further comments section. And so it goes on with questions like “Are you able to wash yourself”, “Yes, but I often can’t be bothered and I’m only going to put my nightie on again at bedtime so what’s the point?”

There is an area on the form where you have to list your medication and health professionals. Surely this in itself is an indication of your levels of fitness to work? It seems that nobody follows this up. At least, I don’t have any evidence from my own experience that this happens.

This is a Last Leg Correspondents report that covers PIP from the point of view of someone with cerebral palsy:

I have a solution which will work for the physically ill and the mentally ill. It is a simple idea. This is for people with an ongoing condition, ongoing meaning, a specified number of  years. Let’s say 2. The initial form could have a box asking how long you have suffered with your illness or condition. There could be another box to give the DWP consent to contact your GP. If you have a genuine ongoing condition there will be copious notes and letters in your medical file which support your claim. These notes can then be given to a neutral GP/specialist to read. This is to get a 2nd opinion. If there is any doubt, a medical assessment can be arranged. If the 2nd opinion concurs with the GP notes, you are automatically entitled to financial support. That’s it. No assessment, no trying to prove you are ill. The trick here is for the DWP to liaise with the medical profession and it is down to the DWP to prove that a person is NOT ill. Yes, there is probably extra work for the DWP going to hundreds of GPs for information and then reading the opinion of the doctor who has conducted the 2nd opinion. But the pay off is that the DWP can then concentrate on the people who are actually trying to cheat the system. So in my mind this is a win-win situation.

I realise that I haven’t covered the financial side, I haven’t thought of a solution for that yet. But does this sound like a workable solution? What are your thoughts?


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