Five Tips For Anyone Applying For Personal Independence Payment

Most Disabled people dread a Letter from the Department for Work and Pensions, DWP, landing on their Doormat ,as they know that it’ll probably contain a notice telling them that it’s time to move over from Disability Living Allowance, DLA, to Personal Independence Payment, PIP. Well I successfully went through the process a couple of months ago, and after being awarded the higher payment on both Living and Mobility, I thought that I would share a few tips that I managed to pick up along the way.

me stood on some grey stone paving in front of a large rectangular window wearing a medium green jacket, a bright blue jumper, a pair of black trousers, and a pair of black Leather boots holding a long red cane, on a light background.

A picture of me holding my Red Cane.

Anyway, that’s enough of me rambling, here’s five tips for anyone applying for Personal Independence Payment.

1. Don’t take the questions too literally.

The questions that the application form asks you are strangely very specific, but after quite a long chat with someone from the RNIB, both me and my Mum  realised that the questions are expecting every disabled person to never leave the House again. So even though a question might ask you something along the lines of, can you make a meal by yourself?, ask yourself if you will also be able to do this whilst you’re out and about too. For instance, can you read the Menu, find the Table Number, or place an order in a Restaurant without any assistance?

2. Be prepared to be totally confused.

Some of the questions that the application form asks you can get very confusing, and if you can get advice from any outside sources, take it! Both me and my Mum were very confused by one of the questions that it asked me, as even though the application form was meant to cover every Disability, it only really contained a couple of questions relating to being Visually Impaired. The question that we both got stuck on was something along the lines of, can you get around without using any Mobility Aids? Which I thought had something to do with whether or not you needed to use a Walking Stick, a Walking Frame or a Wheelchair. But after a quick chat with someone from the RNIB, it turned out that I was totally wrong.
3. Only give yes or no answers.

As strange as it may sound, only giving yes or no answers to the questions that it asks you with no extra details is the best way to go. It’s up to them to ask for more information if they need it, and as long as you’re totally honest about what you can and can’t do, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

4. Be prepared to be asked to do random things to prove that you’re entitled.

Even though I sent a copy of my Certificate of Visual Impairment, CVI, and a copy of a recent Opticians Prescription to prove how much I could see with my application form, the gentleman who came to my House to do the Face to Face assessment had absolutely no idea about being Visually Impaired, how much I could see, and even commented that he thought all Blind people owned a Guide Dog . I ended up having to do the Letter Chart Test in my Living Room as he had no other way to assess how much I could actually see, which as you can probably guess, was extremely awkward.

5. Be patient.

The guidelines say that you should receive a decision within six to eight weeks, but you’ll probably have to wait a bit longer than that. It’s also very confusing as to when the six to eight weeks wait actually starts, and is in fact not six to eight weeks after you’ve had your Face to Face assessment like you would think, but is instead six to eight weeks after they’ve sent a message saying that they’ve received the report about your Face to Face assessment. I ended up waiting just over ten weeks, which in the grand scheme of things wasn’t that long, but when you’re wondering whether or not your claim is going to be denied, is actually quite a long time.

There’s a few more tips that I managed to pick up whilst I was applying for Personal Independence Payment, but I thought that I would just tell you five of them.

Have you applied for Personal Independence Payment yet? How did you find the process? How long did you have to wait for your decision? Please let me know down below.

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Luke x

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One Comment:

  1. Really enjoyed your tips and would also like to highlight the help RNIB have available for applying or converting to PIP. I self selected to convert from DLA to PIP a couple of years ago as I was fairly sure I would be awarded enhanced daily living and mobility which was better than I was getting on DLA. I did a lot of research before I decided to voluntarily claim PIP, so this shouldn’t be taken as a recommendation for anyone to do the same.
    I used the RNIB guides for each activity and spent a few evenings developing my own answers for those that applied to my visual impairment. Once I had those drafted I felt ready to tackle the application process which meant filling in the ‘How your disability affects you’ PIP2 form which is 40ish pages in length.
    I do not agree that some answers can be left as either yes or no, the form is to explain what needs you have and I have no faith that an assessor or DWP case worker would ask for further information. PIP awards are based on your needs so explaining what you cannot do is a key part of getting the right outcome although that goes against most of our natural inclination to demonstrate our independence and highlight how much we can do.
    I had my health assessment in my home, the assessor had little knowledge of visual impairment so it was down to me to explain how I am affected and what help I need with each of the activities. I remember explaining about how it is impossible to spot if some food has gone off as part of making a meal – she assumed I wouldn’t be able to use a sharp knife, so I did not disagree with her view on the day. Occasionally it may not be helpful to correct peoples preconceptions about what we can and cannot do.
    I also waited about 8 – 10 weeks for a decision and the change from DLA to PIP was quite painless, it did result in a change to the day and 4 weekly cycle but that was about it.
    The only aspect of the award decision I disagreed with was the length of award, I have RP and unless I have camera / cyborg implants, my sight is only going to get worse. My award was for 5 years at which point I would have to re-apply and going from a DLA life award this seemed ridiculous. I asked for a mandatory reconsideration of the length of award and it was extended to 10 years. This is still ridiculous but I felt at the time it was unlikely I would get an ‘ongoing award’. I think it may be easier to get an ‘ongoing award’ for degenerative conditions now and the gentle introduction of ‘light touch’ reviews may also make the PIP experience less daunting.
    So everyone who is yet to start the PIP journey, try not to worry too much. It can be tough filling in the form and the thought of someone coming to your home and asking about what you cannot do may be uncomfortable but you can get through it. Use whatever help is available and the experts at RNIB know what they are talking about Do not be scared to call DWP if you are not sure what is happening, they would prefer you not to but it is called the PIP enquiry line so it is your right to make any enquiries you need to.
    Excellent post!

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