PIPs (Personal Independence Payments) were introduced over the last five years to replace the older system of DLA, but this move has been rather controversial for a number of reasons. Most significant of these reasons for me was the fact that people with long-standing, incurable conditions that will not improve still required a meeting with an assessor to determine their eligibility.

For this reason, I found my own assessment for Personal Independence Payments strange considering that I suffer from Duchenne, a condition which does not get better or go away. Additionally, I had been receiving DLA for almost 10 years prior to being moved over to PIPs, so it was known full well what my condition was and that it was not going to improve. Despite these facts, it was still considered necessary for me to be seen by an independent assessor, who said herself that the visit was probably unnecessary for someone with my condition. Whilst I accept that people do need to be assessed to determine their need for benefits, when even the assessor is suggesting seeing you is a bit of a waste of time, you can question the reasoning behind the entire process. Also, even though it is unlikely that I will need to have my case reviewed for a long period, it seems that some people with similar or comparable disabilities will be assessed again and again which I consider to be rather ludicrous.

During my PIP assessment, I still felt nervous and uncomfortable when being questioned even though I know I have a severe physical disability, which now seems ridiculous upon reflection. Part of me felt as if I could trip myself up and get a question wrong, but ultimately it was fine and I was granted the enhanced rate on both components.

When it comes to filling in the assessment form, it is incredibly important to make sure you describe in detail all the difficulties you encounter in day-to-day living as it can affect the outcome of the assessment, whether you receive the standard or enhanced payment, or do not receive PIPs at all. Even if something seems insignificant, including it may help to put forward your case for receiving the benefits you are entitled to.

I heard an anecdote about a family with two sons who both had Duchenne, and when it came to applying for PIPs, one was granted the benefit and the other was denied. Hopefully this was resolved without much issue, but it demonstrates that the system can be rather strange in some cases.

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