Good evening all.
I am writing on behalf of my husband who was diagnosed with Asperger's around 17 years ago, at the age of 15. He is now 32 and of course still very much has difficulties. I have previously worked with Autistic young adults but am now a paramedic, so although I am a medical professional I am absolutely not a psychiatrist or even remotely qualified to discuss any diagnosis on the spectrum. My husband has been in receipt of DLA lifetime award (lower rate care and mobility) for many many years now, and as most of you are aware this is changing to PIP. He currently still gets DLA until this switchover happens. I guess the real question here is could he be eligible for the enhanced mobility as well as enhanced care? When looking through he descriptors and point scoring system we feel he qualifies for 26 points daily living care and then 12 points in the mobility section. He is able bodied (physically) but psychologically not, especially where planning and completing journeys, and communication difficulties that cause him absolute psychological distress if and when he's put in that position. If I'm with him he's fine to go places, but if not then he won't go out as I work long 12.5 hour shifts. He's probably he smartest and intelligent person that I know, but going outdoors without me is a huge no no for him.
Does anyone else have experience with PIP enhanced care and mobility and Asperger's? I'm trying to weigh up whether it's worth trying to fight and whether we stand a good enough chance as i want to keep the suffering of mental health to a bare minimum for him, as his anxiety will peak just like it did with the ESA support group tribunal, but we thankfully won that.
Sorry for the essay I have written and I hope you all have a pleasant evening.
I’m all too familiar with what you are saying. At one time I also had an horrendous experience at an ESA tribunal which is certainly impacting on my decision as to whether to appeal about a pip decision. I am extremely thankful to be on the standard rate but think it should be the enhanced rate. The “ reasons “ given for not getting the extra points don’t seem reasonable to me. Does your husband drive? Apparently if you pass your test and can drive that means you can plan a journey and follow it by yourself regardless of why else you may not be able to. As has been said on other threads please please get help to fill in forms with citizens advice bureau, welfare rights and use the Benefits and Work website to help give detailed responses. They won’t just take your word for things and don’t seem to read reports , they are looking for “ evidence “ but not really sure what that entails.. Gp, OT etc? Also having Aspergers isn’t a reason you have to explain why it makes things more difficult even then in my case they have ignored what I said. Do try to get support as you fill in the forms , I think this is crucial.
I absolutely second what Misfit61 says ~ please get support with it. I failed my ESA and PIP and couldn’t get it together to appeal. However, out of desperation, I called a benefits/advocacy support group, and they said they’re going to get me back on ESA and get PIP sorted out for me. I really need that financial support and the safety and reassurance it will give me. This will enable me to start moving towards work, and without it, I can’t do that.
Personally, even though the thought of it and the process is stressful for me, now I know I’m being supported, I feel passionate about going for it because I need it, I can’t see a way out of this hole without it.
It seems harder than ever now to get the correct level of benefits, but with the right support it’s possible. We were discussing this at my autism group today and one woman said she heard that if you win an appeal/tribunal, for PIP, you get the benefit for life, they don’t put you through the ordeal again.
Thank you so much for your replies. I am ever so grateful. I won the appeal for him, because of my experience in working with young adults and children with Autism. Although there was a GP at the hearing, we all know GPs are aware of mental health but a lot do not have the capacity to understand the spectrum as a whole. That was our advantage. I'm also aware they use paramedics and OT's to conduct such assesments and as a medical professional myself, I completely disagree with this as many others in the profession do also. I hope you both get the outcome you deserve! Also Misfit61 my husband does not drive, nor have a license. Will this go in his favour? I drive, but obviously I'm not the claimant. He had a free bus pass from the council but hasn't used it for several months due to his anxiety being so bad. He won't go anywhere unless we go as a family. I don't blame him I mean, I too have suffered with anxiety so can only imagine how it feels for him.
Would it be worth doing an update on a change of circumstance with his current DLA claim? To make them aware that he's deteriorated and far worse than when his claim was initially set up.
Thank you for the advice though, I have taken it onboard.
I generally hope you both get the outcome you want xx
I echo what others say about providing evidence. I am newly diagnosed with autism but have been awarded enhanced rate PIP twice (initial application and renewal) after the f2f assessment. At the time my labels were BP and BPD. I backed up almost everything I said with independent evidence and referenced what evidence I was providing when answering each question. I included A2W reports, OH reports, fit notes, a letter from my employer, a copy of my medical notes etc. Good luck
I think being unable to drive will probably be in your husbands favour in this instance. Your expertise will be really helpful.. knowing the professional side of things and the system..