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PIP, Walking & Work

Hi all

I posted a while ago about people's experiences of claiming PIP linked to respiratory issues & started a claim a few weeks ago. I got the form this week & am working through it. Much of it is fairly easy to describe, & I've had good advice from an advocacy organisation, but wondered if anyone has any thoughts or experience around a couple of issues.

Firstly, walking distance. The form seems slightly ambiguous in that it reads as if they are asking what distance I can walk at all. Now the truth is I can walk around, just that I get very short of breath almost immediately, and oedema/pred-induced muscle weakness means that my legs don't function walking uphill. I'm going to explain that in the text section, but is it reasonable to tick the 'Less than 20m' box for how far I can walk?

The other issue is around working. My situation is that I couldn't continue to work as I was doing & so have taken a 25% p.a. pay cut on zero-hours contracts to be in an environment where I can function. I just can't afford not to work, but am worried about how best to communicate that it's still very difficult to work but I have to whether I like it or not. I realise it's not clever not to tell them, but wonder again has anybody got any experience of communicating to them about working & coping?

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Re walking - based on my own successful pip claim- do NOT say you can walk more than 20 metres. I actually measured how long it took me to do it. I said I could do it in the morning and, with a rest, could repeat in the afternoon, but that I could not do it with a lesser break. If you say you can walk more than 20 metres you will Not get full rate mobility.

Re work. I work 32 hours over 4 days but it is HIGHLY adjusted eg hours, office location, parking space, flexible hours. My assessor said it was good for me to work so long as I am able, not only for financial independence but also for social gains.

I had very strong supporting evidence from my GP, my consultant, my manager at work, and the OH department at work. This worked very much in my favour.

Biddy, Blf adviser, was worth her weight in gold re advice and I strongly advise you to ask her to check your application.

Iffit helps, despite being highly stressed over it all, the actual assessment was very pleasant. She did, however, note things like how long it took me to answer my door, that I used my inhaler during the assessment, and was visibly/audibly breathless.

I wish you the very best.

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Thanks - good advice. I had an appointment today at the hospital & measured out mentally roughly 20m. I could only walk slowly so although I covered the distance, I couldn't do it quickly & was out of breath before I crossed the car park.

Re. the work, I was a classroom teacher but couldn't cope with moving around the school, restraining pupils, carrying books home to mark, decorating the classroom & so on. I moved into 1:1 special needs tuition where I'm in the child's home & effectively have a class of one! But it's supply, so can end at any time.

Many thanks for the advice.

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I've done both of your jobs 😁 I now work as a researcher in SEN - desk based and pupil free! 😂

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Well I’ve dropped from 30+ to one, so losing that last one sounds like an interesting idea :D

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Hi one of the criteria is not that you can do something but that you can do it in reasonable time and how quickly you recover. If for example you could walk 20 metres but it takes you 20 minutes and it takes you 2 hours to recover then that would get you points. x

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Thanks - this is really at the heart of the mobility part of the claim. I am extremely slow on my feet now through a combination of breathlessness & oedema (in some ways the swelling is a bigger issue than the breathing as the weakness I feel in my legs is awful). I can move myself around, even over reasonable distances, it just takes me forever & I need to keep resting.

Anyway, the form is going in the post today so que sera sera!

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Fingers crossed. x

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This is gonna sound awful but i know someone who has other illnesses and kinda combined them. Yeah i know its ridiculous but tou have to do whats right for u. X hope all goes well u deserve it. Doesnt help wrkin in n worrying about jobs n money etc.. stress wont help u. Hope ur ok. X all the best with it.

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Thank you - I have a bit of a cocktail of things so will merge it together.

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End of day its not ur fault. Ur trying ur best dont forget that. Hope all goes well for u. Hope u get it u deserve it :-)

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Thank you :)

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Yes you need to tell them everything you have wrong with you so they can take into account any accumulative effects. x

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No it isn't ridiculous Seb1 the PIP assessment is not based on an illness so much as how your illness or illnesses affect you. Definitely include them all.

They (assessors) should take account of how long it takes you to something and if you need to rest afterwards or in pain and if you can only do it once ot twice a day. The measurement is against what a normal person can achieve. You do have to be specific in saying the effects of doing something. All the best with it, glad you have some support and advice.

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They do take this into account. If for example they say can you do this and you can and say yes. But if it takes you 3 times as long as someone else and knackers you up for an hour afterwards then it is very important to say this also. The thing Is that you must be able to do something in a timely manner and without adverse affects. x

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From those days when I used to help people with forms (pre PIP), walking was always about walking a distance mainly outside, not the very short walks we do in own homes, so walking to a local shops etc. Also I learned to focus on the. person’s worst scenario, not a good day. This was always hard for the people I helped, as often the inclination, understandably, was to not focus on how hard it could be, but to stay ‘positive’. But for this I think it is important. Part of my role then was precisely to help because of this. Someone in your responses suggested you get help from someone called Bibby . Perhaps that is worth following through, just to get that extra moral support.

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I think you're right about the positivity angle. It's been my defence against asthma all my life really & even my hospital letters mention me saying that I'm OK (one quite helpful one pretty much goes on to say - 'but he's obviously not'.) I've worked all my life & whilst I'm not at all judgemental, my own perspective is of someone who will always try to focus on what I can do, not what I can't & worry that I'll just look like I'm putting it on for money.

I've only ended up applying when I've reached a point where I've accepted that things can't go on as they were any more, so I clearly need a new mindset!

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I think that is why it is good to get that help, however competent you are at doing it yourself. So just for then focus on the difficulties - or let someone else do that - but once it is over, and you (hopefully) have your PIP, go back to your usual positive attitude. (By the way it vaguely resonates with me - I didn’t recognise for years I had a problem, and when I did realise, I just thought I must avoid being wuzz. In the end I ended up in hospital, so in the last nearly three years I have had to focus on recognising my difficulties, in order to deal with them better, and in a more timely manner. It has been hard, but good, and thus I am now in a better place, asthma wise.)

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I truly hope you manage to get Pip.

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I remember your previous post. My advice remains the same contact Fightback they are experts in their field and have various means of getting in touch. The principle of PIP is it is how your health condition/s impact on the ability to manage on a day to day basis and key words are reliably, repeatedly and safely. And is non means tested also available to people working. The government are talking about merging the Universal Credit, ESA and PIP the article is on Fightback's facebook page.

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Hi Smoggy. I took your advice & subscribed to them & they reviewed a draft version of my form whilst I was waiting for the actual one to arrive. They gave me some useful feedback which I’ve incorporated. The downside was that most of their guidance forms tend to be asthma plus other problems, hence why I thought I’d look for some specialist advice on here :-) They have been very good though!

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PIP is not related to your ability to work. It replaced the old Disability Living Allowance which was about recognising the limitations you face in daily life.

It is hard but stick to the descriptors. We want to explain and tell our story, but at the end of the day this is based on a computer system which wants to fit your ability / dis-ability into boxes. Saying how you are effected day to day and giving specific examples of what you are unable to do -relating to the descriptors which score you points - whether work based or daily living based is the best was of showing how you fit into the PIP scoring system. It is stressful as we normally try to make the best of how we are and not think about the normal things we can no longer do. However as Wheezycat says it helps us to be realistic about our health challenges and to better deal with them.

I first applied for DLA when I was on Incapacity Benefit. They referred me to a disability advisor and when she heard how my ill health affected me she said that I would qualify for DLA. It was a shock at first but afterwards a relief that the struggle I faced daily was recognised.

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I’ve got a sort of ‘trial run’ coming up next week as I’ve also applied for a blue badge. I know that my walking ability is diminished - today for example my pred swelling was so bad I could hardly dress or move. Teaching, even 1:1 was really difficult so I guess I just have to find the right way to get that across to them!

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Are there benefits advisors in your local council? It does seem harder to be able to get PIP if in work which is wrong. I think they are making things impossible for people with chronic illnesses and/or disabilities to get the money they are entitled to. You can ask Fightback to complete your PIP form but there is a fee.

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There is an independent benefits advice service although I don’t know much about them these days. Without being too specific, I also have a close relative who does some casework for local politicians & she is telling me pretty much to expect a knock back from the local office to start with (sadly she tends to come across the horror stories in her job) but that my chances at appeal could be good.

The Fightback resource has been a goldmine for definite.

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Always remember it’s how u are on your worse days

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Another way to answer questions is u can do it once but not repeated

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