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Cloudy with a Chance of Pain
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Trying to claim pip / esa is the stress worth it

Hi all

Having been told to apply for pip and esa. The stress it is causing me, I just don't know if it's worth it.

Both turned me down but I have appealed with a simply letter. My consultant write a support letter also. I scored zero for everything. The interviews and medical s are a waste of time. One of each thing claiming and no matter how much evidence I give them or tell them what my day to day life is they seem to make up their own mind anyway.

Has anyone succeeded in claiming? How do I get them to take notice of all my documents and believe my good and bad days?

I've worked 5 days a week full time since I was 16. I've never needed to claim anything but now I do I am disgusted at what a shambles the system is. I also have a letter stating esa sick note needed day after runs out. My gp office refuses to issue new sick notes until the day they run out... stressing me out big time

Why can't they just do one medical assessment and interview to cover everything which is surely a better use of their money. I have to get people to take me to them and wears me out

1 Reply


I'm really appalled to hear that you're also going through such terrible times with PIP. Yes, it's a terrible system and it causes more harm than anything else. I've personally been through so much trouble with them, it's actually made my conditions worse, and because they don't understand those conditions, or how they affect me, they have always been a nightmare to deal with, so I absolutely understand where you're coming from.

It also sounds like you need an ESA assessment as well – once you've had it, you no longer need to send sick notes from your doctor. But until you do have it, the headache and stress of having to always ask the GP for one, and the way ESA deals with you, is something you have to put up with - which is so terribly wrong. I absolutely hated it.

If the PIP people themselves are being completely unreasonable, the next step is Tribunal. I have twice had my PIP interviewer make terrible decisions and even outrightly lied on their report. They clearly had no idea how my conditions affected me, and refused to just "take my word on it". I couldn't prove what I was going through, either, because I was still on the NHS waiting lists, so I couldn't even get consultants to write me letters, since I hadn't even seen them yet.

The first time I went through this PIP nightmare, I used a charity that helps people with disability, and they helped me go to Tribunal – and I won it.

I also took a friend with me who had to help me with so many things, and her testimony also gave me credence, and of course that went a long way, too. It says on my report summery from them that was the both of us said, our Testimony, went a long way to them making their decision.

From beginning to end, the entire PIP system was a fiasco, but when I did win the Tribunal, not only did I get the financial support I desperately required, I felt vindicated, because someone had finally believed me, and recognised what I have to go through every day. For me, it was definitely worth it.

This time around (I've recently had a "re-assessment"), the same thing happened again, but I was far too ill to contest it. So I had to let it go and stick with what they gave me (it was a small difference in the amount, but nothing that reflects what I actually go through). I'm fairly sure I would have won it, but regardless, this time I am far too ill to do anything about it, which upsets me, particularly because the person I saw lied drastically and left out a lot of details I gave them on their report (I demanded to see it, and the DWP sent me a copy). I was horrified about what she had and had not written, twisting things and omitting facts, or downright lying.

At Tribunal this can't happen, because you're talking directly to the people making the decision. Nothing can be twisted or omitted, or lied about by someone else. This is your chance to set the record straight and tell your story to people who will listen.

So, my advice is that if you really do feel wronged, then apply for the Tribunal Appeal. There are organisations and charities that might be able to help too, like Citizen's Advice Bureau. They helped me just by letting me know of the local charities and organisations that could help me with it all, so it was worth calling them just for that.

It's not easy to go through all of this. And it's very stressful. But if you do win the Appeal, then you get what you need, and you'll also feel more recognised for what you have to endure on a daily basis. When you go to the Appeal, take someone with you (if you can) who can themselves be a sort of "eye witness" to your difficulties and back up your story. That certainly went a long way to helping me.

At the Appeal, you see reasonable, independent professional people (I saw a judge, a doctor, and a community social worker), and they will listen to you. Because this is your chance to speak directly to the very people making the decision for you (instead of talking to someone who'll lie on a report to make targets for their private-sector employers, then given to someone at the DWP, who idiotically believes everything they say), it's something I'd recommend to try and undertake, for your own sake, if you possibly can.

I would say it's worth going there, worth all that hassle and stress, and then make it count:

Be frank, be open and clear about everything you tell them, don't be ashamed, and tell them absolutely everything. They're getting the first-hand information directly from you, hearing your actual words, seeing your body language and expressions. Because they're getting it "from the horse's mouth", they'll be able to see and hear what you live with . They'll see the truth then, and usually they make the right decision, whatever that may be.

I hope something of what I have written may be of help, that you might at least know you're not alone in this... because, basically, all of us are. PIP does not favour the sick, which is deplorable, given that is who it was designed for. My experience of it has been terrible, but I did very much enjoy the fact the Tribunal sent the original PIP decision into the bin and remade it so it more reflected what I went though.

Good luck with this, and be as well as you possibly can be.

Take care x