This week I have mostly been gathering evidence for my PIP reconsideration. Personal Independence Payment is a welfare benefit designed to help people with the extra costs of being disabled - allegedly. I was assessed at home recently and found to be completely ineligible. I did not score at all against the criteria, although they do accept I have disabling conditions. Cunning wording that. It means I can't challenge the decision against the Equality Act.
I get the chance to have this assessment reconsidered by a DWP manager but I need to explain why I think it was incorrect and submit some evidence to support my assertions. This is hard when they plainly do not believe me to start with. On the day of the assessment I had little pain, was moving freely and was more relaxed than I expected to be. What do they want me to do? Act ill? They just did not take my own account of my own condition as the truth.
I am asking my friend (who helps me with budgeting and financials), my daughter and my counsellor, all to write with hard evidence contrary to the findings of the assessment. It all feels like some elaborate game I have to play just to get my entitlement. The assessments are clearly not fit for purpose - tests only test what tests test. They didn't see me in Tesco's this week, leaning on my trolley and having to get the assistant to unload it and pack my shopping for me. They didn't see me crawling up the stairs to the loo or struggling to get my socks off at bedtime. The assessor, if she had come on one of these days would have found shopping and washing piled up in the kitchen, washing up not done and me incoherent with fatigue and pain.
All of this is massively stressful. I am still recovering from the months of fear of losing my home, which made me suicidal, and then the sudden relief of negotiating terms to stay. It does mean though, that my PIP application is not critical to me keeping up with the rent. I see clear water ahead for the first time in a while.