The letter plopped through my postbox over the weekend and I felt like a Gold medal winner at Chelsea – my transfer from DLA to PIP was successfully completed. Huge sighs of relief all round.
I was awarded PIP at the enhanced rates for both mobility and care so continue to receive the same allowance as I did for DLA and don’t have to be re-assessed until 2027. Fantastic.
Family, except D of course, and friends look at me incredulously should I have cause to mention this. The main thrust of their disbelief being: ‘If people as physically disabled as you don’t get it, who in hells does?’
And it is hard to describe the psychological discomfort of being reviewed in this manner even for someone as articulately able as myself.
There is so much media attention on those with seemingly justifiable claims being turned down that, even with apparently unquestionable evidence of disability needs, you feel defensive, wary and stressed at the thought, and during the reality, of the process.
I am only able to liken the feelings to those which arose in the taking of key exams in earlier life when so much seemed to depend on success or attending an interview for a job you really need and aren’t sure you can do or being questioned after a work clusterf**k for which you are responsible. You know, that sickening blend of conflicting needs, desires, doubts and worries where your performance is under a microscope. Not pleasant.
For me, in the end, all went fairly smoothly.
With some grumbling, D&I completed the monster forty page form.
I attended an interview at a wheelchair accessible centre close to my home. I could have asked for a home visit but I do like to get out of the house when I can so I was fine with this. I’d expected to be interviewed as I don’t have a well-known illness but do have some dramatic consequential physical deficits. I figured they’d need to see what they weren’t able to understand.
The interview took over two hours. Again, not unexpected, as my physical difficulties are many, complex and, some at least, variable. The interviewer took her time, was pleasant and reasonably communicative in questioning and about what she did and how the process worked.
Less than six weeks later, I got my letter of success, awarded to 2027.
I can forget all about this for another ten years which is far enough away for me to relax … I might be dead by then so, no problem.
Happy days 💋🍾
NB DLA is disability living allowance; PIP is personal independence payment. Both are non-means-tested allowances given to help alleviate the additional costs of disability.
DLA is being phased out and has been replaced by PIP for all new claimants.
Long-term DLA recipients are being gradually transferred to PIP.