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Ben in his wheelchair outside his house

Going through the process was soul-destroying

George Marshall

Ben has been living with secondary progressive MS for 15 years. He was reassessed for PIP in April 2018.

I find it hard to do everyday things that most people take for granted, like showering or getting dressed. I have trouble with balance and mobility, fatigue, and problems with my bladder and bowels. I have to use a wheelchair when I’m outside my house.

When I was on DLA I was given an indefinite award for the higher mobility rate and lower care rate. The higher mobility rate meant I could also get a Motability car - meaning I could stay in work full time and get to my medical appointments.

In April 2018 I was reassessed for PIP. Afterwards, the DWP decided I was no longer eligible for mobility support and I’d have to return my Motability car.

My assessor didn’t have specialist MS knowledge

My assessor told me she was an orthopaedic nurse, so she didn’t have any specialist knowledge about MS. I don’t think she took into account the seriousness of my condition and how it affects my everyday life.

When I saw my report, I could tell it had been written by someone who’d never met me. It had no reference at all to the information I’d provided from my GP or consultant neurologist.

The report said I could walk between 50-200 metres. Because I could drive a car and go to work, they just assumed I could walk this distance. I was awarded 8 points for the daily living element, and 4 points for mobility.

I submitted a mandatory reconsideration to challenge the decision. It resulted in my award changing to 11 points for the daily living element, and 10 points for the mobility elements of the PIP. This still left me 2 points short of qualifying for the higher rate I had under DLA.

Having to prove myself was awful

I submitted an appeal to get the higher mobility rate back and had to wait eight months for my tribunal hearing.

At the hearing I was awarded 12 points for living and 12 points for mobility. The panel were amazed by how the DWP could give me 4 points for mobility and 8 points for daily living the first time around. The doctor on the panel even apologised for what I had to go through.

I’m generally a positive person and I try to tell myself that I can do things, I just need some extra support sometimes. But having to prove myself to the DWP made me feel awful. Wasting a year of my life going through this process was soul-destroying.

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