Hello all! I've been a member here for quite some time but I don't recall ever posting. I just wanted to share my experience of claiming PIP and the outcome.
A bit of background first. I have acute osteoarthritis in my right ankle as a result of an accident 18.5 years ago. I retain less than 10 mobility of my ankle and have endured constant pain since 1996. I applied for DLA in 2002 and was refused but didn't appeal the decision.
After just getting on and managing for a number of years, I decided to apply for PIP at the end of February this year. This was due to a number of reasons:
I live in London and was beginning to struggle financially due to the additional costs related to my disability. (Taxis, take out due to having no energy or being in too much pain at the end of the day to cook)
The cost of living in London is high and in the brief period that I was out of work last year, I amassed debt due to not having enough money to cover rent and living expenses.
I was sent a letter for assessment at the end of May inviting me to visit Milton Keynes at midday on a week day. I called and told them that there was no way in which I would be able to make a midday appointment outside of London. They were fine about it and offered a rearranged date within 2 miles of where I live and my choice of either day of the weekend.
My assessment took place on Sunday 28th June. The woman who held the interview was nice enough and clearly explained what would happen before the assessment.
The components were: A timeline of my accident to present (including hospitals that I had been treated at, dates of operations, departments that I had been under the care of - Orthotics, physiotherapy etc and medication)
The next part looked at the impact of my daily living. I had kept a record of what special considerations I have to make in order to live. For example, planning my day so that I minimise energy expenditure and pain so sometimes that costs me in paying for taxis or take out. Also, I live in rented accommodation so this impacts upon my ease with stairs, and using the bathroom (which is upstairs... No rushing for me!)
The final part was regarding mobility. Where I live isn't that close to transport links. My closest bus stop is 0.3 miles away. The tube/train is 0.4 miles away. I gave the assessor the best and worst time it has taken me to walk to the bus stop (27mins and 73mins) I also gave on average how many "good" days I have per month (not many... Perhaps 3-4)
I summed up by talking about having to constantly make choices. I have to work as I can't afford not to. I'm a youth worker so availability of jobs isn't that high and I had to take a job where I could (the other side of London). Most days I take the bus the whole way as I'm not guaranteed a seat travelling by train/tube (I just can't stand for an hour... Certainly not if I'm expected to work a full day as well). I can take cabs for part of the journey but the minimum fare is £5 (even for 0.3 miles)... Also financially, I can't do this for the whole month. I leave my house at 6.30am and don't get back until 8pm or later and I'm not in any kind of shape to cook. (Even microwaved food is difficult... My bas lance is crap and carrying hot food whilst limping with a walking aid isn't great).
The decision came through really quickly. On July 7th I was awarded standard rate for both care and mobility (8 points for care and 10 points for mobility). It has already made a difference as my local authority have said due to the 10 points for mobility I am likely to qualify for a blue badge, disabled persons freedom pass and taxi card.
I hope this is useful for others who are still going through the claim process.