18th October 2017
It’s been playing on my mind for a while now… I found somewhere to write how I felt about PIP and the way I was treated on a forum, so I wrote this…
I haven’t been able to bring myself to go to Tribunal – I honestly think, “what is the point of putting myself through that?”, and the thought of going through the stress and anxiety involved in writing it up and waiting for the possibly of an appointment, then attending it and waiting for the outcome… It’s horrific to think about. As one person on the forum put it, the entire system and the way it treats you is truly Barbaric.
When I went to the PIP assessment I was scared and tried to hide it. Having complex health conditions and Asperger Syndrome, I found it so difficult and frightening to go. I had a text to say my re-assessment form had been received on 14 February 2017, but I didn’t get an appointment until July. Five months later.
I discussed as much as I could, having rehearsed it, and my mother interjected a lot as we went along. I found the assessor overly-friendly and overwhelming, and somewhat unprofessional, more interested in showing me YouTube videos of a singing friend than listening to what I was saying. She didn’t seem to be listening, too busy typing and working doing things with her laptop. She also openly admitted she would rush it (the assessment), and the report, so she could go home early for the weekend.
When I read the report, when it finally turned up several weeks later, I was horrified. If there wasn’t missing information there (and there was a lot of missing information), there were outright lies in it. She said I could do things when I clearly couldn’t, and I’d stated – and my mother had vehemently re-iterated – that certain things, like being able to personally handle my medication, or look after my own health were impossible on my own. There was a catalogue of such errors in the report, and it broke my heart. I couldn’t – I cannot – understand why someone would do that to me.
To add insult to injury, after calling to request a mandatory reconsideration, and spent a long time writing up how the assessment was handled so badly, my claims were outrightly rejected with even more lies about my condition and such things as mentioned above. I was dejected, depressed, and horrified. And I felt completely rejected by everyone in the system. Not only had nobody at all listened to me, they had downright lied about me. It is not too much to say that is a traumatising thing to happen to me.
To make it worse, they were only going to backpay the minor upgrade they did give me to July, not February, despite it being their fault it took an extra five months to see me, when they state it should be no more than eight weeks. According to their own systems, they’re supposed to backpay to when you told them about it, if it was established what you’re saying is proven correct during assessment. They did it the first time round with both ESA and PIP. So how is that different now?
I looked into going to tribunal, but when I followed the directions, there was no form available on the internet – the link was clearly either broken or they moved the form to another page. Either way, I couldn’t download it. I couldn’t find someone who could help me with it anyway. I wouldn’t have done a good job with it. So I have reluctantly decided to leave it. One day, I may regret that. But if I get extra diagnoses with these new tests, I’ll send everything in for another request for re-assesment.
I’m overly exhausted struggling with (query, under assessment) CFS/ME, Fibromyalgia with paraesthesia, and Hemiplegic Migraine (which causes one-sided paralysis instead of headaches), as well as Asperger Syndrome. I’m wheelchair-reliant and too tired to do almost anything. I just don’t have the capacity to go after a tribunal, do the paperwork, wait with terror in having to go to yet another of these derogatory meetings, where they may do the same things again.
The DWP, PIP and ESA assessments, are all cruel things that are so undignified, so derogatory, so depressing, so traumatising, so heart-breaking and exhausting. It is such hard work that – quite frankly – the only people who can really get anything out of it are people who are not sick and have the energy and mentality to dance to their tune, jump through their hoops, and do what they want. It is not designed so the sick, the ill, the exhausted, and those with mental health difficulties.
Mandatory Reconsideration is a waste of time, and it should go directly to an independent body. ALL and EVERY assessment should be videotaped and audio recorded separately, and ready available for court/tribunal. I was lied about, and the assessor even noted things I did outside the assessment, registering even that incorrectly. She twisted and ignored so many things, and it was horrifying to read how I was being lied about in this “report”. Amazingly (although it shouldn’t have been so amazing), when I read more and more pages on the forum, I found the same story as mine over and over and over again. It was – quite frankly – both chilling and nauseating to read.
It’s not just about the money. It’s about the lies. The derogatory and hurtful manner they treat you. The betrayal of finding out they’re misleading the DWP regarding your condition. I’m still on waiting lists after at least a year (and still waiting as I write), so I have nothing to show for my turmoil and difficulties, except a basic diagnosis for Fibromyalgia (which took two years to get). Now I’m waiting for a whole load of other things, and with the NHS so broken, you can’t get the supposed “evidence” from consultants and doctors because you’re still waiting to see them, let alone have the diagnostics and diagnoses and treatments from them.
This entire system isn’t just broken, it’s non-existant. It’s hurt me and I’m not getting what I should be. But I just haven’t got the ability to keep fighting them. And that they do that is just plain wrong.
As that forum poster said… It’s quite simply Barbaric.