I have read so many posts on here and in other places about people trying to claim PIP so I thought I would share a little of my experience. I applied for PIP in January 2014 because my employers were starting to talk about medical retirement and I would need something to live on. I had been off sick sine September 2014 when I was unable to evacuate the building fast enough during a fire drill. At that point I realised that I was being unfair to my boss, my colleagues and the pupils as I was unfit to be at work, despite all the allowances that had been made for me. My partner is self employed and work has been very slow over the past 2 years so we relied on my income.
In June 2014 I was classed as medically unfit to teach and dismissed from the job I loved. I was heart broken but I knew that it was the right decision for my employer. In time I came to terms with the fact that it was the right decision for me as well. By this point I had to change my car to an automatic as I didn't have enough strength some days to change gear. I bought a recliner that tipped me out as getting out of an ordinary chair was becoming too difficult. I needed increasing amounts of help round the house, despite a truck full of gadgets from the occupational therapy dept. I was walking with a stick for short journeys but using a rollator for anything more than 100 yards, with a built in seat so I could have frequent rests. There were so many things I found I now couldn't do such as hold my beloved dslr camera, go to the shops on a whim, play with my grandchildren at the park etc, etc.
In July 2014 I had an appointment in Glasgow for my PIP assessment. I took my daughter with me. The 60 mile round trip left me in agony for days afterwards and I was awarded 4 points for mobility and 7 points for personal care. I was devastated. I asked for a mandatory reconsideration and got the same result. By this time I was attending a pain clinic every Monday which left me wiped out till at least Thursday each week.
I asked my local welfare rights group to help me with an appeal. In December 2014 I was asked to attend an ESA assessment in Edinburgh, only a 30 mile round trip this time. The lady could not have been nicer, she never asked me to do any of the physical tests as she could see I wasn't able. She even arranged for a taxi to pick me up and take me to the train station. In January 2015 I got a letter which stated the the Secretary of State for Scotland had asked for more time to consider my PIP appeal but was turned down and arrangements had to be made for an appeal date to be set. I also got a letter to say I had been awarded ESA and put in the support group. As my ESA is contribution based and runs out in March 2015 I will have to ask my local benefits advice centre about what happens then, but it was still a relief to know I did not have to actively seek work.
Today I attended my PIP appeal along with a representative from the welfare rights group. It was exhausting both physically and emotionally. I have been awarded 11 points each for mobility and care so standard rate for both and awarded for 3 years. I am delighted by this obviously but at every opportunity I have railed against the system that puts people through this kind of trauma and stress. I know I am one of the lucky ones, to actually get an award, but like many of us on this forum, I would far rather be able bodied and fit to work. The physical and emotional toll this has taken is beyond words and I can totally understand those who cannot cope with the thought of appealing simply because of this. I could not have done this without support and the people who work in CAB and benefits advice centres, welfare rights group etc deserve a medal but we shouldn't need others to advocate for us, the powers that be should be getting it right in the first place.