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PIP - Should I or shouldn't I?

Hi guys and girls!

Hope you’re all well. I met another person with MS at the weekend, we shared our stories. He told me that he’s on PIP and that I should claim for it. I have thought about it in the past and others have told me too but I’ve always talked myself out of it. When I had my first relapse (about 3 or 4 years ago) this certainly would have made me eligible as for about 6 months my boyfriend had to care for me. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t even get myself dressed. I made an almost full recovery from this; the only thing im left with is tingling in my left hand.

I have had small relapses since such as a heavy tingly leg and have also had a spot of optic neuritis.

so basically I wanted to know, when you apply for PIP do you answer questions based on how your MS affects you at this moment in time, or how it affects you when you’re having a relapse? If it’s the latter then I’ll definately apply for it. I just don’t want to take the mickey.

The rule of thumb is you can count things is they affect you half the time, or more.

I don’t think having a tingly leg would get you diddly squat, and you certainly can’t use a relapse you had four years ago as the basis for your claim, if you’ve had nothing remotely like it since.

Try one of the many online self-assessments (just Google) - it’s not a real application, just lets you answer the questions, to see how you’d do. I invariably come up with “nul points”, so know it wouldn’t be worth applying. If it ever came out it was even borderline, I might think it was worth a shot, as I could be lucky, but when honest answers show I’m not even close, I can’t see the point. Like you, there have been times in the past I might have scored more, but as they’re now ancient history, it would be fraudulent of me to represent they’re still an issue now. And I can’t count my hypothetical next relapse, because I’ve no idea when, or even if there will be one (not relapsed in a long time), or if I did, what the symptoms would be. I can’t just assume they would be similar to last time, because they might not be, neither can I make any assumptions about how long they would last.

You can only apply based on what is - not what happened ages ago, or what might happen in the future, as none of us know that.

Tina

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Hi, I normally avoid all PIP things and would suggest you contact your local citizens advice bureau or disability help/ welfare rights to get better advice.

However, as I understand it you complete the form honestly. No I don’t think you can relate your current circumstances to when you were in relapse, but when it asks you questions, it also asks how often you have said difficulties, and there are also boxes to give further info. So, if you have no ongoing difficulties I think it is highly unlikely you will get it, but if you have lesser ongoing issues that are constant or frequently occurring, maybe complete the form, and elaborate about when you were in relapse explaining that that’s what it was and although you can’t foresee the next relapse that one is likely. I assume you have a diagnosis, in which case medical evidence will support your claim. If you go to dwp website and look for disability benefits (sorry don’t know how to do link stuff), there are checklists to see if your likely to be eligible.

otherwise enjoy current good health, and hope any relapse is minor and a long way away…xx

Think my response overlapped Tina, she has useful advice

Hi

it depends on how you are now, as Tina says. But it might be useful to also think about it as two separate things. (This is a very, very basic idea of what PIP is about and if anyone has more to add or to correct me, feel free.) PIP is split into two: part one is your mobility, if you have trouble with mobility outside of the house (there is a very contentious issue attached to this: if you can’t walk 20metres you’d qualify for the enhanced rate), or have problems with other mobility outside the house then it might be worth you applying. The second part of PIP is about what help you need with personal care, for example, washing, dressing, going to the loo, transferring, etc. help within the house for personal care is all included here.

The problem for people with MS is that during a relapse we might need help with absolutely everything and be utterly incapable of independent life but the next month be reasonably OK and not need any significant help (I so wish I still fitted this category!). What some people recommend is that you fill in claim forms ‘as though it was a very bad day’. Personally I don’t think this is strictly correct, I think if you do it as if you were at your very worst, then have a medical which shows you’re not as bad as this every day, the assessor will think you’ve exaggerated everything. The way I approach such things is if you consider how many days per week you (for example) on average, experience such bad fatigue that you can’t shower or dress yourself, then make this clear on the forms. Or if on 5 out of 7 days on average, you can’t walk the length of your house, then make that clear on the forms. Think about what you’re like on a very bad day, but also consider how many very bad days you have each month or week. Give examples on the forms so the assessors are clear about what you are saying.

And if you do decide to apply, I suggest you get some help from someone with experience, for example the CAB if that’s possible. You can also find out more information from the DWPs own website and I recommend http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk website for good information and guides.

Sue

Hi all, thank you for your replies - all very helpful indeed! :slight_smile: I thought this was the case but kind of started to doubt myself when everyone’s (family) going on at me to apply for it when I don’t see the point. Glad to have your second opinions. At this moment in time I don’t need any help at all and hope it stays this way!! But as we all fully well know, the MS monster does what it wants and there can be no knowing what’s going to happen down the line!

Hi, I applied for PIP six weeks ago just filled the form in honestly. Had my assessment 3 weeks ago with a lady who was very respectful. Interview lasted about 1/2 an hour and just answered questions honestly pointing out that after working my walking and fatigue were worse than normal. Received the letter on Friday been given standard care and standard mobility which I think was fair.

I was dreading having to go through a reconsideration. I don’t think I would have had the strength for it.

i can’t answer for you but the online assessments are very good to see if you qualify.

The only quibble I have is that there was no car park at the assessment centre and my husband had to drop me off at the door in a bus lane. He also had to open the door for me as it was really stiff then go back and park the car. Then the whole palaver had to be gone through again after the interview. Very strange and stressful.

Mags xx

I just finished filling out my form, can still taste the glue from licking the envelope! I’ll venture outside in a bit and post it. 2 minute walk to the post box, should manage that ok unless my legs are feeling particularly recalcitrant!

I 100% feel I’m wasting my time, but because the (very nice and helpful) lady at the job centre encouraged me to apply, and I did, I do have to follow things through to the end. I read somewhere (probably on the DWP website) that if you apply but don’t fill in the form it can…I can’t remember what it said, but it can be detrimental, so I’m getting it done.

I did that test Sue linked to, and that further confirmed my belief that I’ll not be eligible for anything, but as long as I’m not penalised for applying in the first place then that’s fine as far as I’m concerned.

The other thing to remember is to always keep a copy of your completed claim form. That way you know exactly what you said last time and therefore what they will compare your current claim to. Even if you don’t qualify right now, at least you can compare where you are now with any later developments.

Sue

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I don’t have a copy of the form, but I do have a version of what I put in the mobility bit, as that was the only section with much written in it. I was going to delete that, but I’ll keep it now, thanks Sue!

Hey Tiger88,

We have a page on PIP that you may find useful and it includes lots of links and helpful resources (top right of page)

Stewart (Admin)