If you have been able to work or have struggled with work you may be considering what financial support is available to you. This is particularly true for many sufferers of severe depression and anxiety. Not so long ago the government did away with disability allowance and replaced it with P.I.P or Personal Independence Payment. The new system was designed in order to make sure the people who really need extra help were getting it. But has it worked? Firstly let’s look at the application process.
Applying for the benefit
The process to apply for P.I.P. is not a straightforward one! If you are a person with a learning disability then you may well need some assistance. Getting the appropriate form to fill in, to begin with, takes some effort. You have to call a phone number and request an application pack, but you have to provide them with quite a lot of personal information before you have even started.
Once you have done this you are sent a form. This is not a one-page form but is a multiple page booklet. Even as a well-educated adult this form is probably going to take you a few hours to fill in. And that is just explaining how the condition affects you, once you have done this you need to provide them with evidence to support your claims. Doctors appointment letters, prescriptions, letters, reports, receipts. Seriously as much evidence as you can supply is advised.
What happens next
Well for a good percentage of people you will get asked to attend an assessment meeting. That is the stark and harsh reality. If you are suffering from depression and anxiety I hate to break it to you the chances of you getting accepted right off the bat are exactly zero! More often than not they will require a face to face. This an absolute nightmare if you suffer from, social anxiety might I add!
The face to face
These can be arranged so they visit your home, but they don’t like doing that. I had to take an hours train ride to my nearest centre, I’m not going to lie that was a bit of a drag. The meeting itself lasts about an hour. I found it to be relatively painless but I have heard of other people who have been treated quite badly during this process.
For a good percentage of people, it is rejection. There is a points-based system. Despite having to resign from work. And despite having attempted to take my own life on several occasions and the fact I can’t be trusted to take my own medication I was awarded zero points. Not a single one. If you make good eye contact and you are coherent you are not going to get P.I.P based on depression and anxiety. The letter from the “expert” suggested there was nothing wrong with me.
So I’m screwed then?
No, you can appeal the decision and you should. This involves compiling yet more evidence to suggest why the initial assessment was incorrect and why you should be entitled to help.
And if that comes back and they haven’t changed their minds?
This is the stage where most people get their decisions overturned. It can take literally a year to get to that point and they do backdate the payments. There is a good chance it may get to this stage, which in itself is a shoddy indictment on the entire system. In my opinion, the system is designed to prevent people from accessing it. It is the government’s way of saying “look we help our disabled people” but by making it so difficult to access they have the throw less money at it.