Good morning all it’s been almost 2 weeks since I was given 3 days notice to attend my PIP renewal assessment so just wanted let you all how It went.
In the end I couldn’t get anyone close to me to come along due to the short notice so had to hire a wheelchair and ask a family friend to take me there and back but due to the personal nature of the interviews they did not come into the room so I had to brave that part alone.
The building was barely wheelchair accessible with a narrow front doorway at the top of a slight uphill gradient, the buzzer to get into the building was about 5ft + high so could not be reached from a seated position in a wheelchair and once buzzed the extremely heavy door had to be pushed forcefully inwards and held as it wouldn’t stay open by itself!
My companion buzzed in but as someone was leaving they held the door open for us but the wheelchair could barely get through so another gentleman who came from upstairs unlocked the other door from the inside and held that open too, honestly you couldn’t make this up and it seemed as through they had chosen the worst possible access they could think of for someone with mobility issues.
Next the lift, agin the doors are the slimmest of any lift I have ever been in and only myself and companion could fit into it with the chair and could not turn the chair around once in. The lifts opened onto the floor and there were then electric double doors leading into a waiting room.
I was called in the assessor and a security guard had to hold another set of doors open for me and we were then lead down a twisting maze of corridors past many seemingly empty rooms to the back of the building the assessor then disappeared out of site around the last corner so I was left to shout out “hello where are you please?” She then popped her head out of one of the rooms and said sorry I’m in here holding the door open for you.
My companion left and the assessment began, she was pleasant I told her about the sort notice she said I had to call in as it was not something she could comment on she did say that even at this late stage she could cancel the interview and I could go away and ask for a one off postponement for another date but after all it had taken to get me there I declined and agreed to continue.
I showed her the letter stating I could bring in supporting evidence and she took my papers and read the one and only pertinent medical letter I was able to get at such sort notice along with my old original letters that I still had from the first time round but said the diary and personal statements would have to wait until the end if she had enough time. When I first made my claim the DWP and Capita had pages and pages of eveidence but she I formed me they now only had one independent report I had paid for and no other eveidence had been stored for me so please let this be a warning KEEP ALL YOUR PAPERWORK AND EVIDENCE YOURSELF AS THEY DO NOT ALWAYS KEEP WHAT YOU HAVE GIVEN THEM PREVIOUSLY AND SO CANNOT USE IT TO HELP WITH YOUR RENEWALS!
The interview seemed to go smoothly although they do seem to try to put words into your mouth as to how much you can do and for how long etc but you must correct them and it’s apparent that they are trying to move the interview along at pace for obvious reasons as they have others to see so thank you to everyone who told me to write up a diary as I was unable to relay a lot of my daily struggles in the time allowed but hope it is looked at after the fact before the final decision is made.
She gave me time to compose myself a couple of times that it got a bit too much and slightly embarrassing for me due to the nature of the questions and at the end an hour had passed which was an age compared to the 20mins of my initial assessment years ago.
She said she would photocopy all my eveidence and give me a free post envelope to send it o to the the DWP as I hadn’t sent any with the renewal and she wasn’t able to read it all herself, this was so nice of her and I thanked her profusely.
My companion and I then struggled back into the lift and out of the building, again a passerby had to hold the door open for the chair, it’s almost comical that Capita are allowed to use these ‘accessible building’ labels when they are barely that and I saw others with walking sticks or supported by family and friends and wondered how they had coped or how any of us would cope with the accessibility had we been alone and how we were being judged on it 🤔
I called the DWP the following day to complain about the short notice they said it was Capita who issued the letter so I had to complaint to them but that they would put a note on the system that I had to send in additional eveidence that I did not have time to gather and that they would wait to receive it in order to take it into account before the final decision was made which was fine by me.
Capita took my complaint and said it would be looked into but what did I want and expect the outcome to be? I was flabbergasted and replied I expect your outcome to follow your own procedures and processes and not to be based on my limited knowledge! She the. Advised they would write to me in due course and so I wait. 😳