Barbara with her mobility scooter

I was virtually called a liar by the assessor

I was diagnosed with MS in 1993. After receiving DLA for many years I was reassessed for PIP in 2017.

MS fatigue, numbness and difficulty walking

The main way MS affects me is mental fatigue. I have numbness in the right side of my body so I have difficulty walking. I also have trouble using my hands. I can walk around the house but I use a stick or buggy outside.

Shortly after I was diagnosed I started receiving DLA. I was given an indefinite award for the highest mobility and lowest care. In June 2017 I was reassessed for PIP.

My PIP assessment experience

I had taken my mobility scooter to the assessment centre. I wasn’t asked to stand but did transfer into a chair. He tested my reflexes and muscle power. I said I could do things once or twice but not repeatedly, I don’t think he took this in. All he seemed to want to do was tick boxes. If I said I could do something then the box got ticked, but I didn’t get the chance to explain anything further.

When I asked my assessor if he knew about chronic conditions he said he’d been given full training. But I don’t think he understood MS at all.

My PIP report and the tribunal

After the assessment I learnt I would only get the lowest on mobility and no care. I discovered my statements and substantial supporting medical evidence had been largely disregarded. Looking at my report, I had virtually been called a liar by the assessor. Nothing in the report matched up to reality.

I took this to tribunal and waited six months to be given back the same level I had on DLA. But I was saddened to learn it would only be for three years, when I have a chronic condition that isn’t going to get better.

Facing the tribunal was so different from my experience with the DWP. A doctor, a fully qualified judge and a disability expert looked me in the eye, treated me as a person, asked relevant questions and listened to me. The assessment was trying to catch me out, while the tribunal was trying to help me.

The effects of the PIP assessment process

Going through this process drained my energy more than my MS on its own ever has. It led me to be completely exhausted - there were many days I was so tired and down that I was unable to go out, talk to people or do much of anything at all. My doctor referred me to an NHS counsellor for the stress and uncertainty it caused.

I don’t see how this system is helping anybody, when it has no reflection on a person’s mental or physical health. All it does is tell you whether you deserve money or not. It’s so demeaning.

I have no faith in the assessment process but I’m trapped in it with no other means of essential support.

Take action on PIP

The PIP 20 metre rule is failing people with MS. And people are losing their independence as a result.

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