Real life stories
I could not have applied for PIP without the support of the Mental Health & Money Advice service
My partner and I both applied for PIP - but our experiences could not have been more different. The trauma experienced during the period appealing his PIP made me anxious and avoidant to apply myself. However, with the careful support and advice of the Mental Health and Money Advice Team I was able to go through the whole process, not only was a positive financial outcome achieved – I was able to move on from my previous experiences with a greater sense of wellbeing.
Applying for PIP for my partner
My partner, Nisha and I both have physical and mental health needs. I don’t currently work because I am his carer. Applying for Nisha took over a year and was a very distressing time for us both. His initial application was rejected and we submitted a Mandatory Reconsideration, which was also rejected. We then went through to appeal and had a tribunal arranged. As you can imagine, it was a very stressful time for us both. Whilst waiting for a tribunal our daughter was involved in an horrific accident. We were distraught. The tribunal was the last thing on our minds as we faced the awful reality of our daughter’s accident but we were unable to move the date set for the tribunal. In the same week we had our meeting with the DWP - we lost our precious daughter. Whilst the appeal was successful, and Nisha was awarded the enhanced rate for both mobility and daily living, the whole experience was deeply traumatic. Since then, I have experienced severe anxiety and depression and have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Applying for PIP for me - with support from MHMA
My friends and family have been encouraging me to apply for PIP myself as I have rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis - even the simplest of tasks are difficult. I was referred by my Social Prescribing Link Worker to the Mental Health and Money Advice (MHMA) Team to support my application. I have to admit, I was really anxious about applying for PIP because of everything we had been through before. I didn’t know if I could go through that process again. But this time – I had support and it made all the difference.
I had several calls with my advisor over a few weeks where she explained what her role would be throughout the process. The advisor gathered detailed information about my mental and physical health conditions and we discussed how conditions affected my mobility and daily living tasks in a supportive and empathic way. The advisor sought DWP 3rd party authorisation which meant the advisor could work directly with the DWP on my behalf.
There is a lot of evidence to gather for PIP and it can be really daunting, so having that support made everything so much easier. My MHMA advisor worked with my GP Navigator in collecting all the supporting evidence and liaised with consultants to provide medical evidence. I was awarded PIP for standard daily living but I was 1 point short of being considered eligible for receiving the enhanced rate. No mobility component was awarded.
Following multiple discussions with my MHMA advisor the decision was made to file a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR). Following a phone call with the DWP, as part of the MR, the award was upheld – standard daily living and no mobility. It was only because of the support from my MHMA advisor that I decided to appeal the decision. Throughout the 14 weeks wait my advisor continued to support and reassure me. My advisor even helped me to prepare for the tribunal, which this time had to be held virtually due to covid restrictions.
A positive outcome achieved whilst looking after my own mental health
In just under 3 minutes the tribunal was over - I was awarded enhanced rate for both the daily living and mobility components. The enhanced rate significantly increased my monthly income by almost £400. I also received a substantial amount in back-pay. With the cost-of-living crisis looming the financial benefit is even more critical now. I was also permitted to have a blue badge which makes such a difference as my partner’s carer.
It was absolutely worth going to appeal but I could not have even considered it without the support of my MHMA Advisor. She was there for me throughout the whole period – a total of 61 weeks - I am indebted to her. My anxiety has now significantly reduced and I am able to focus on the health and wellbeing of myself and my partner, whilst slowly coming to terms with the death of our daughter.