Hi, after over 10 Year’s of having MS I have decided to apply for PIP and have heard that it is hard to get.

Does anyone have any advice on filling out the forms, pitfalls etc, etc…

Thanks a lot xx

& Happy Valentines Day

you must get help from CAB or welfare rights or similar.

these people know how to complete these forms, helping you avoid common pitfalls.

for example, you write a dissertation on one point and then you think that’s enough.

however there is often another question asking the same thing, DO NOT cross reference. it has to be done the hard way.

my welfare rights officer did the writing for me because i find it exhausting.

so make an appointment with one of these agencies as soon as possible.

then collect all your medical evidence together.

letters from your gp, ms nurse, consultant. physio etc are all useful but the GP said they have a policy not to do letters for this.

my ms nurse said she was already spending many hours on paperwork and couldn’t do me a letter.

anyway, make photocopies of the form and make notes on one to take to your appointment at welfare rights.

the person helping you won’t tell you what to put but they can advise on wording which makes a huge difference.

there are key words in the questions, “can you walk 20m safely and repeatedly”.

if you say YES, the assessor sees someone who can walk fine.

if you put in that you have frequent falls this is better.

anyway i tend to waffle, so make that appointment now!

my lovely lady from welfare rights advised me to put in a request for mandatory reconsideration when the assessor dropped me from high rate to standard rate.

i made the request but the result was the same.

the next step is go to tribunal.

the stress was making me ill and the week before the tribunal i rang her and said that i just couldn’t face the tribunal.

she offered to attend on my behalf and ask if they could use the paperwork in lieu of me attending.

they agreed and the outcome was my higher rate was restored!

this was the same paperwork that is used for the claim that was turned down!

so it really is important to get help.

Another tip I’ve read is to take photocopies of everything and send your paperwork in by recorded delivery.

Have a look at: Personal Independence Payment - Citizens Advice You will find the basic rules there.

Try to get some help with the form from for eg the CAB or another welfare rights service.

If you are doing it on your own, consider joining (their website is not working just now for some reason.) It costs about £20 per year but is worth it for their membership only guides.

Get as much supporting evidence as you can to back up everything that you say. This can be from your neurologist, MS nurse, physiotherapist, OT, bowel and bladder nurse, care assessment, anyone else who you see regularly. You can also get carers who look after you to write supporting letters, even if they are friends or family rather than professionals. You can also send photographs of for eg, aids and adaptations in your home.

As Anthony said, take photocopies of absolutely everything you send. And send by recorded delivery.

And very important - take your time, write draft answers out, edit them and rewrite where necessary.

Good luck.