Medical Mondays
PIP Medical Assessment

A few weeks ago I had my PIP Medical Assessment – for any of you who don’t know, PIP stands for personal independent payment & is the new form of benefits for those with disabilities in the UK. When you apply for PIP you have to fill out a long form about how your disability affects you, provide contact information for any doctors or specialists that will be able to help explain your personal situation, & you must also attend an assessment where a medical professional assesses you & how your disability affects you.

So, as I said, I recently had my medical assessment for my PIP application & if I’m totally honest, I’m not sure how it went. The experience wasn’t as horrific as I expected it to be, but my mum & I both left feeling like we had been interrogated & like everything we had said had been lie, even though it definitely hadn’t been.

In the assessment, the assessor actually repeats a lot of the questions you get asked on the long form you fill out & send off before you get your assessment date; I’m guessing they do this to see how much your answers in real life match up to your well-thought out responses on the form. Having my mum with me definitely helped me feel like I could be more honest about my life at home, & it was nice having her there to back up the more sad details of my existence. The questions range from how you cope with preparing meals, to your social life, to your personal hygiene routines; some of the questions feel incredibly awkward to answer, but after so many years of answering awkward questions I don’t really feel that embarrassed by any of it anymore… I definitely felt ashamed & uncomfortable though.

When I think back on the assessment, I remember that I kept looking down at my hands because I didn’t want to look the woman in the eye when I told her about the days when I’m in too much pain to wash & how I’ll avoid eating or showering if I can. I hated admitting how much my illnesses affect me & I hated telling this woman things that even the people closest to me don’t necessarily know about. There were also questions about my mental health; about being suicidal & self-harming, & answering those questions made me feel sick.

When the assessment was over, I asked the woman whether she thought she knew whether I would be allowed to have some financial help for things like my medication & hydrotherapy; she said that she obviously can’t make any promises but she did think she knew what the response would be – she also said we could appeal the decision if we had to. That just made me think she was thinking I wouldn’t be accepted as being disabled enough to receive help. So, I may have gone through all of those awkward & uncomfortable questions for no reason… yay.

I’ll keep y’all updated on what happens, but I’ve been told it’ll be at least 3 months before I hear whether I’ve been granted any financial help or not. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please?

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