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Benefits confusion


Just looking to see if anyone has any experience of any of the below? I feel so lost in it all.

I have a home assessment for pip on thursday. I am terrified at the prospect. I didn't even realise it was what I had applied for, when I rang up for advice being fairly new to all the sickness benefits etc I got asked a lot of questions then told I was being sent out a form on how it all effects me, which I sent back then I got called and told my drs and consultants reports meant I qualified for a home assessment instead of going to the centre. So I'm a bit over whelmed by it all but grateful because having been off work sick most of last year and being declared medically unfit to do my role (English teacher) by occupational health so lost my job which has obviously impacted quite badly upon my family. It's I just don't know what to expect? I read that only 37% of claims get accepted. So I'm thinking i probably won't qualify but I'm scared as to what that will mean for my family. I've had so many problems with my asthma and being in and out of hospital my husband has had to have to quite a lot of time of his job and is currently having to work part time to help me with the children and some days to actually look after me as I'm finding it difficult to just walk up and down stairs etc some days. I feel so bad that I am completely impacting on so many people's lives around me, and that I am having to take all these benefits but I have no choice at the moment.

I am on contribution based ESA currently but I didn't have an assessment for that. I'm also waiting for family tax credits to make a decision. They originally assessed us on our income from last year which seemed crazy as we aren't on that wage anymore, hence why we were advised to apply. This has been going on for a few months which I understand these things take time but I don't know how much longer we can keep waiting.

I'm seeing new specialists this month so I am hoping they can get my asthma back to some level of control so I can get back to work even just part time for now would make me so happy, and being mum, i hate my poor husband having to do so much for me as well. he doesn't mind, he's very good about it, I am very lucky in that respect but being its not easy to accept. I feel like at 30 this shouldn't be how I live. But then it would suck at any age I imagine.

Sorry this all a bit of a release of everything once I started typing but if anyone has any advice or tips of experience on any of this at all I will be so grateful to hear it. Nobody around me has ever dealt with it at all. My husband has being speaking with the princess trust who support carers but other than that we are kind of just ambling through unsure of everything

9 Replies

Golly, doesn't the system run us through the mill!!

Where to start? Hmmm... Start by ringing CAB first thing in the morning. Get them on your case. They are very experienced at sorting out the quagmire of what's what with benefits. (They helped me fill my forms in and lodge a successful appeal when my assessment failed - from which you might gather that, if your assessment does fail, all is not lost)

Be aware that some of the assessors lie - ask what is being written down and request any falsehoods be corrected. Whilst you shouldn't overdo how badly you cope, have someone else answer the door and when asked for proof of ID get someone else to go get it for you - or just have it ready. Do not 'look your best' or 'put on a show', do not dress up for the meeting or put make-up on, if the house is a mess leave it like that, if you normally struggle to do something don't pretend you can do it for the assessor and if you are in pain say so. You will be asked to perform some physical movements (it was things like arm/leg raises, standing with eyes closed and arms out for mine). Questions, and exercises for that matter, are often asked in more than one way in order to 'catch you out' so watch out for that.

Did you make a copy of your claim form? Revise your answers and have it with you to confirm what you say now is what you said then. If you don't have a copy then use the points form below to assess where you fit in the scoring system. You can record assessments but require permission in advance and must provide a copy, either on CD or audio cassette, before the assessor leaves. Do not record without permission as this will invalidate the assessment.

Somewhat cynical but nonetheless true advice from elsewhere: 1) Maintaining eye contact is assessed as being alert and aware and also not suffering from any side affects from medication and therefore able to assess any dangers that your own actions could bring about. 2) Being Clean Shaven and Washed and Clean is assessed as having the motability and balance to have achieved this on your own and without pain, it is also assessed as not having any symptoms of Depression or Anxiety ! 3) Being Well Dressed in a Tidy fashion is also assessed exactly the same as being Washed, Shaved and Clean. 4) Being able to attend the ATOS appointment at their own location is assessed as having adequate Mobility and Balance and Self Awareness of Dangers and having not suffered any Pain. And therefore having failed all those criteria of qualification for PIP.

The CAB PIP points score

Explanation of PIP and what happens during the assessment with video

Here is an assessment of a home assessment from someone else who went through it

Now the important thing don't panic, it is only a review and I am sure that you went through plenty of those at work. Hopefully you will get one of the good assessors, they aren't all bad, but whoever you get, just be yourself. Even if it goes wrong there is an appeal system so it isn't like it is the end (if you do end up having to go to appeal make sure to take a local disability worker - not a health visitor or anyone of that ilk - with you).

As far as timescale goes, unfortunately there are too many people claiming and too few people assessing. Assessments are taking longer than expected - but not as long as they were. It takes about 6 to 8 weeks for a decision to come through as far as I can make out.

Hope that that all makes sense. Good luck :)


There is a website called benefits and work which is excellent. Also citizens advice website go through pip descriptors. I would suggest downloading The 'pip assessment guide' dwp in pdf format from Google. Read from about page 95 is really important to stress the reliability criteria which is safely, repeatedly and within a timely manner to do each activity and side effects of medication. After that section us the pip descriptors. When they assess you you come over friendly but don't trust this as helpful. Their loyalty is to Atos or Capita. Please read the pip assessment guide and I'm in forums on Facebook for disability benefits solutions. I was a nurse and the stress is caused me trying to claim benefits unbelievable. If the decline you pip you can put in for a mandatory reconsideration known as MR and then tribunal where people seem to win if they haven't gained enough points at assessment. Be wary of their friendliness. I know as my friend was a pip assessor!! Mobility, breathlessness, fatigue and exhaustion are important terms. Read what I've said starting with pip assessment guide. X good luck

1 like

I've just received my PIP decision letter. They got my application on 24th March, I had my assessment on 9th May, and the letter arrived on 30th June.

I didn't expect to get anything, was psyching myself up to do the mandatory reconsideration. I didn't get any mobility, but that is really hard to get without doing the MR. I was gobsmacked to get the daily living component, even though I had thought I did score enough points on the form. My main disability is fibromyalgia, and I honestly didn't think they would accept exhaustion as a reason it's hard for me to take care of myself.

My assessor wasn't very tricksy and did know a lot about the impact of my various conditions. That isn't always the case so be prepared to explain. There is tendency for the chronically ill to put a brave face on things. Don't. Be brutally honest about the hardships caused by your illnesses. Describe your worst days.

You can take someone with you who can speak to the difficulties you have. I took my partner. He described me falling asleep on the sofa every evening, sometimes before I've even eaten, having to wake me up for my medication, having to coax me into eating when I'm too tired to even sit up.

So, now I'm having to decide if I want to do an MR for the mobility component. You get four weeks from the decision date, and the letter explains what to do. I've been moved from DLA, and only got low mobility of that. I should have appealed for the care component but I wasn't well enough to fight.

Don't feel bad about needing benefits. So many don't claim when they are entitled. Benefits are a safety net for everyone. You are in genuine need. The CAB can help you find everything you can claim for, like tax credits. When you get PIP, and get back to work, you may be entitled to extra working tax credits.

1 like

I can't thank you all enough for taking the time to share your info and experiences. I'm so overwhelmed by it all and there is nobody around us who has ever claimed any of it so it's invaluable to hear people's input. We are going in to it all quite blind otherwise. It has all helped so much.

I am very nervous for the assessment on Thursday mainly because I don't really like talking to people about being like this and I find it all a bit awkward and often do the whole "brave face" thing but I know I have to be honest and hope they see it how it is for us. I've been having a really bad few days with my chest so if that carries on this week then at least they will see what we are saying.

Thank you again for the advice etc, I will let you know how it all goes.

Callie :-)


If your luck runs true to form you'll be having the best day you've had for weeks :-/

You are nervous because you are facing the unknown but don't be. Whoever turns up is just another human being and you can 'tell it as it is' because you will never have to see that person again. After they have written their report they will forget ever having met you anyway.

Good luck and, yes, do let us know how it goes :)


Hi I'm mark , about your pip it means you won't be able to return for work and you will get extra money on top of the ESA , there are 2 components daily living and mobility and its a point system, if you can walk 50 yards without aid or help you don't get mobility but the daily living one is when you need a carer help etc to do daily living things like shopping cooking getting around and about don't worry its a nurse who comes out and asks questions that's all they generally turn people down first unless your doctor and hospital say you won't be able to return to work but it all comes down to how much you need the help and assistance its questions like can you walk 50 yards unaided , can you cook a meal , make a drink etc if the answers are no then you stand a much better chance and if for example a partner looks after you he she can claim carers allowance hope this helps mark


I had a crushed ankle and other issues I got turned down first I kept appealing because its not rite and in the end I had a tribunal they contacted my drs and I was awarded pip after 18 months but there was a big backlog when it changeg from DLA to pip all the reassessments OK now they've cleared there backlog so 3 mo this is good I waited 18 having your drs reports or hospital reports helps because they won't check for you .


Hey, sorry I took so long to reply/ update my daughter has been in hospital so it's been a hectic few days. (She's much better now, back to driving me up the wall)

The lady that came out to do the assessment was very blunt but very understanding. I am not sure I will get anything still but when I explained I didn't even really realise I applied for pip she said "well it makes a pleasant change to come out to someone like you" no idea what she meant by it but at least she didn't think I was a complete waste of time like I thought she would.

She used to be an asthma nurse as well so she was quite clued up on things which was nicer than having to try and explain things.

She did however say "it must be awful being on such a high dose of steroids, With all the side effects I can see you have the moon face" this after my husband and friends have spent months trying to convince me I haven't got a round face from taking them 😂

She said I should hear by end of August. So we shall see. Thank for all the support and tips guys. I really appreciate it 😀



Hey, thanks again to everyone who offered advice I found out on Thursday they have decided I'm entitled to enhanced mobility part of pip for 3 years.

I am grateful so so grateful to be given help. But it's been much harder than I even thought it would be to come to terms with the acknowledgement that I am bad enough to be entitled to it.

Thank you again

Callie :-)


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