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PIP

Hi all. I either want advice or just a good old rant, I’m not sure which. I applied for PIP last August after a really bad relapse that kept me off work for 5 months. I went into mortgage arrears and was in a really bad way. I went through the interview process and was told I was entitled to nothing. I asked for mandatory consideration and still nothing. I’m going through the appeal process at the moment. I’ve had the bundle from the DWP. Their main argument for refusal is that I’m just a malingerer and that there is nothing wrong with me. Apparently I can’t be that bad because I work. They seem to have missed the fact that i AM this bad because I work. It takes up all my energy. I feel so shot when I’m finished that I don’t look after my home or myself. I’m too drained to cook, clean, bathe myself sufficiently. I get awful nerve pain. I basically have nothing left. I have to work though because I have a mortgage to pay. My house is in such a state that even if I did have the energy to receive guests, I’d be too ashamed to let people in.

Anyway, I’m going through the appeals process and my first meeting with welfare rights is on Monday. I’m scared. When I met the woman from citizens advice she said I would “definitely” get it on appeal. I feel like that has been the commentators curse and that I’ll get turned down again. I don’t know what I’ll do if that happens. I don’t want the money to have loads of foreign holidays and some luxury lifestyle. I want the money so I can consider dropping hours at work and maybe get a cleaner to help me round the house. I don’t know what to do or what to say. This time last year I was genuinely considering suicide because I can’t see a way out of the mess that is my life.

I know know a few people who have got PIP and it seems to have been a simple process for them. Perhaps it’s because they are all unemployed housewives who have husbands who are carers. I feel their health is no better or worse that mine. I work because I have to or I’ll lose everything. It’s killing me. Since my diagnosis 7 years ago I’ve had 506 MS related sick days. To paraphrase Stevie Smith - I’m not waving. I’m drowning.

I’m sorry that you are having such a hard time getting the PIP that you deserve. The fact that you are working should not have a bearing and it is bad that you feel that this is the case. It is frustrating when other people have a seemingly easy time of benefit applications but I’m sure all those “housewives with caring husbands” went through the mill even if they appeared not to.

It is an exhausting business going through appeals but you have to stay strong and stick with it.

I’m going to say something now that might seem quite harsh and radical (but please know that I have been there too) Are you killing yourself to service a mortgage? Home ownership is laudable but not to the extent that it leaves you too exhausted and in pain to get any pleasure from life. Are there any other housing options that you could consider? Social housing? Downsizing? Private rented?

It is hard to see the other side when you are in the middle of a stressful situation but after 20 years of home ownership I now live in a council bungalow on a modest income (compared to my working life) but I have peace of mind and energy left over to do one or two nice things. I know that I was very lucky and that in some areas council housing is like hens teeth but perhaps there is another option that will not leave you so dependant on your job. Work to live not live to work and all that.

Please don’t think that I am unsympathetic- it just breaks my heart to think that you are stuck in such a miserable rut.

Jane

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The report I’ve received from the DWP mentions that I work a few times and even says that my reports don’t appear to correlate with the job I do.

you don’t sound harsh, but I’m not ready to give up on my home. That would leave me so flat that I really couldn’t cope with it.

The housewives themselves have even said that they didn’t have my struggle to get PIP.

It’s all just a mess.

I was refused at first, got my Ms nurse to rewrite my application which then was successful. Don’t sell your home, far too stressful! - get help with the letter! …amd maybe think about giving up your job I mean consider ill health retirement.

It was my MS nurse who filled in my application in the first place. I got her to complete it because when I was first diagnosed I applied but was turned down flat.

It’s so frustrating. The entire DWP assessment revolves around ‘you can’t be that bad, you work’. Odds are, if I didn’t work, I wouldn’t be this bad. I push myself to the limit everyday so I can be the best mental health nurse I can be. I don’t want the money do I can trot off to Hawaii. I want it so I could look at getting home help or maybe dropping hours. I don’t want to give up my home or my job. I love both. Surely it makes more sense to give me the little bit of help I need to stay in work and stay productive. It’s gonna work out cheaper for the government than continuing to push me to the point I break and do end up in social housing and on benefits? Why are they so short sightedness?!

Hi there serens

I’m so sorry you got declined PIP. I feel for you I am currently on sick leave due to a relapse and it got me wondering if I could physically continue my job role as a practise nurse. It breaks me to think this can have such an impact. I too tried to apply for PIP but was unsuccessful I was informed that although they rhave recogonised a long term condition I do not meet criteria for support. I do agree that they system does seem to be wrong. I wish you the best of luck and all the very best with the meeting.

Sorry to hear this Seren. I currently receive low rate care DLA and I’m quite certain I’ll lose it when I’m called to switch to PIP because I know they won’t consider I’m badly affected enough. My worst problem is fatigue. I work in admin for 30 hrs pw and, like you, I use all my energy at work and my housework is often left because all I want to do at home is sleep! I’m now job hunting because I currently claim tax credits and it looks as if they are the next target in the austerity measures and I’m barely breaking even financially anyway. I know this won’t do my health any favours if I work more hours and don’t have the half term breaks to look forward to but there’s no way round it.

As far as giving up your home and renting privately is concerned - don’t! I rent privately and I’m quite certain that my rent costs me far more than a mortgage would. I also have no control over the rises in rent whereas if your mortgage rates go up at least you can shop around and remortgage with someone cheaper. If I want to shop around for a cheaper rent, I have to go through the rigmarole of paying a month’s rent in advance and a month’s rent as deposit plus extortionate agent’s fees just to obtain a few references about me. Also, the only way to get my deposit back on my current place is to have the carpets, curtains and oven professionally cleaned! The amount that would cost me is almost as much as the deposit in the first place … It’s all a huge scam.

I agree that the current system is very wrong but I don’t know what we can do about it. They seem determined to break us and make us very much worse so that we end up more dependent on state benefits than we (or they) want us to be … it’s very depressing.

Tracey x

Hi Seren sorry to hear your situation is not easy

I have a mortgage and let out a room to a lodger. I did this for five years and it meant I was able to reduce my work hours. I don’t have a house just a flat. I got a good lodger and there is a government scheme Rent a room. The scheme allows us to rent a room out tax free for an income of up to £4250 per year. It helped pay my mortgage so I could keep my flat.

I agree too the system is not ideal and I hope you can find a way to make your life less overwhelming.

xx

My house is such a state that nobody in their right mind would want to rent my spare room. You wipe your feet on the way out. I haven’t had enough energy to clean it in forever.

My brother and my best friend both live about 60 miles up the road. When they get a chance to come and visit to help me out they each seem to crash in there. Renting a room out is not an option.

Good idea though. Thanks.