It’s time to find out if people are successfully applying for PIP | why we’re running this month’s ‘Quick Survey’ | 2 September 2016

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a state benefit for people who are having problems with care and/or mobility.

The payments can be made at lower and higher levels for both care and mobility and you can claim PIP even though you are still able to work.

PIP has replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for all new applications and people claiming DLA are being progressively re-assessed to see if they meet the new criteria for PIP.

The MEA is now receiving more queries about PIP problems than we do for ESA.Although many people with ME/CFS are making successful clai,ms others are being refused and only succeeding after taking their case to an appeal

So we thought it was time to find out what sort of success rate people are having when applying for PIP


MEA notes on PIP Applications, Medical Assessments, Reconsiderations and Appeals


1 PIP checker from the DWP

As we are currently dealing with a lot of queries and news items about PIP, including the difficulties people are facing when transferring from DLA to PIP, it’s worth noting that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has produced a useful website checker that you can fill in to find out if you can claim PIP and what will happen if you apply for PIP

You can use this tool to check:

* if PIP affects you or someone you care for
* how PIP will affect your child
* when you can make a new claim for PIP or you are transferring from DLA to PIP

www.gov.uk/pip-checker

2 FILLING IN THE PIP APPLICATION FORMS

We have a very comprehensive MEA guide to filling in the PIP application forms.

The MEA guide goes through ALL the PIP questions and how to answer them in relation to ME/CFS.

It also emphasises some of the key points that we have been discussing with the DWP in relation to PIP – e.g. that you are able to carry out the activities that are being assessed in a way that is reliable, repeatable, safe to yourself and others, and can be carried out in a timely manner.

People have found this guide to be very successful in relation to obtaining this new benefit.

MEA guide to PIP and other DWP benefits:

www.meassociation.org.uk/shop/benefits-leaflets/

3 ATTENDING A MEDICAL ASSESSMENT

The CAB have a very useful guide to all aspects of the medical assessment with Atos, Capita or Maximus:

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/employment-and-support-allowance/help-with-your-esa-claim/esa-medical-assessment/

If you are unable to travel to an assessment centre, the medical assessment can be carried out out in your home.

Contact the assessment centre, explain your situation, and obtain written support from your GP if there is a reluctance to do a home assessment.

Please note that this assessment is not carried out by the DWP – the report on your condition is ent to the Decision-Maker at the DWP

4 SUPPLYING SUPPORTIVE MEDICAL EVIDENCE FOR YOUR APPLICATION OR RE-ASSESSMENT

You need to source as much ‘supportive medical evidence’ as you can

Do NOT rely on the DWP asking for and chasing this up – they won’t.

This means written support, if you can obtain it, from:

* Your GP

* Members of a multidisciplinary hospital-based service – Doctor, Physiotherapst, Occupational Therapist, etc

* Anyone involved in your social care – do you have anyone helping with care or mobility needs?

* Anyone else who is involved in your care

Letters should focus on your level of disability and relevant symptoms (e.g. cognitive dysfunction; orthostatic intolerance/hypotension; limited mobility; problems with balance etc) in relation to the way in which this is going to be assessed for DWP benefit purposes

The fact that you have a fluctuating medical condition, and this means that you may not be able/are not able to carry out PIP tasks in a manner that is reliable, repeatable, safe (to you and to others) and in a timely manner on a day to day basis should also be included/stressed

5 RECONSIDERATION PROCESS

If your application has been refused there is an initial mandatory reconsideration process.

6 GOING TO APPEAL

In relation to an appeal, there are several things people can do to increase the chance of winning an appeal. These include:

* Obtaining good supportive (written) medical evidence to support your case. In relation to PIP, this can come from people involved with your care (e.g. a care or social worker if one is involved) and any health professional who is involved with your care (e.g. OT, physio, nurse) in addition to your GP and/or consultant

* Turning up in person at the appeal

* Obtaining feedback from people with ME/CFS who have been through the appeal process – you could do this by using MEA Facebook where there are plenty of people who are always willing to pass on this sort of practical feedback.

7 USEFUL VIDEOS

This is a useful source of information on preparing for an appeal from the MInistry of Justice:

hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/sscs001a-eng.pdf

This video (made in relation to ESA) was made by the Ministry of Justice (who handle DWP appeals) with an introduction by Dr Jane Rayner, Senior Medical Adviser, First Tier Tribunal. Dr Rayner is a very kind and helpful doctor who I have met at the House of Lords.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbWXG6Ho4i8

Minutes for meeting at House of Lords with Dr Rayner:

www.meassociation.org.uk/2011/02/countess-of-mars-forward-me-group-minutes-of-meeting-26-january-2011/

Dr Charles Shepherd
Hon Medical Adviser, ME Association

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