It’s probably time for me to give up on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – the non-means-tested benefit designed to support individuals with disabilities and long-term health conditions. I was deemed unentitled to PIP, despite having Multiple Sclerosis (MS), after a ten-month process, from initial application to the court appeal at which I represented myself, and lost.
The PIP benefit is renowned for being difficult to claim, and many applicants have waited much longer than I did, and faced extreme financial hardship as a result.
Which is why I contacted my local MP regarding my experience of the PIP assessment, and the impact it’s had on my life as a person with a serious health condition. My local MP, Andrew Turner, was very polite, and promptly secured a written response for me from his colleague, the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson.
While most people might feel excited to receive a fancy envelope with the House of Commons portcullis printed on it, I felt like burying myself in the garden (if only I didn’t have muscle weakness and ridiculous fatigue, right?). Unfortunately, the capability you might have to bury yourself in the garden isn’t one of the questions on the PIP application form, though it may as well be. And, spoiler alert, the letter didn’t give me any hope of claiming PIP, nor did it provide me with a cure for my incurable disease.