Hi everyone, i'm new to the forum and am hoping for some advice, support, and any PIP stories.
I'm mum to 16 year old twins, one of my girls was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 and a half, we claimed for DLA and it was plain sailing, no problems.........that is until September of this year when we had to make the dreaded leap from DLA to PIP.
I filled out the forms always going by her worst day, she had a face to face meeting at home with an assessor where i supported her through the process.
We got a letter yesterday rejecting her claim, so i guess her autism has been magically taken away.
She had mostly zero's, even though we outlined all areas in where she had problems, its like they didn't read or get any information regarding how her autism affects her. The assessor by the end of the interview was talking to my daughter like a 5 year old, how is this not put forward by the assessor as relevant???
They basically said that there was no evidence of of any cognitive, intellectual, or memory restrictions, duh yeah.....she's autistic! Some of the most intelligent people in the world are on the spectrum! It's blatantly obvious that this PIP system is not set up for people with a diagnosis of autism. They said that she has good GCSE grades of C's and D's, with level 5 in maths and english, what does that have to do with her PIP claim? I'm proud of my daughters achievements, she worked damn hard for those grades. All the things we said she found difficult are not addressed in the "my decision" section.
It appears that they are very happy for her to live an independent life living off sandwiches, pot noodles and cereals. The fact that she has no road sense and has nearly been run over twice does not matter a jot, she needs a chaperone outside of school to help with her road safety, her anxiety and confidence. She also relies on someone for conversational communication, as she finds direct questions intimidating, and will answer a *yes or *no rather abruptly. She goes to a college for young people with additional needs. She has poor fine motor skills (she can't use a tin opener, or chop vegetables/use a cooker without support), They say she can manage complex budgeting decisions!!!!! Are they having a laugh! The only budgeting she does is how to spend her Christmas and birthday money! She does go into the shop alone for the odd groceries but i always give her enough money to cover the cost, so you can't call that budgeting! She also needs help washing her hair as again her fine motor skills are under developed and if left to do it on her own she doesn't do it properly resulting in greasy hair when its dry, i then have a very tearful 16 year old because she can't bare it, and i then rewash it for her.
Her statement of education was sent in as evidence where it clearly stated she has a comprehension level of a 9 year old, again this appears to mean nothing!
My first reaction i have to admit was to cry as i realised that i was now going to have to fight for what my beautiful girl is entitled to.
I then felt extreme anger, how dare they take away a benefit that has long been in our family and used to support her, a benefit that has given her a life she couldn't have had without.
She needs this benefit to help her have an independent life, a better life.
I swear had a Teresa May walked past at that precise moment i would probably be sat in a police cell!
I've phoned PIP to tell them i want a second opinion, so now i have a month to send in a letter and gather more information, however, i've read on the internet that this is just a procedure and it will likely be rejected again and it will then be taken to a tribunal........really?????
I have to put my daughter through this charade for a benefit that will improve her life, and make her feel s**t about herself in the process????
I'm so angry! I feel am put in the position of making her sound less than human, less than worthy, pointing out all her flaws, making her sound a burden and for what???? For a benefit that she is infact entitled to?
Is no one taking into consideration her mental health needs, the fact that because the benefit is for her she is reading every single word i'm writing to PIP, and the fact that she will be at the tribunal listening to it all. Is no one thinking about the impact it's having on her, the fact that we've cheered every milestone, every achievement, and supported the beautiful soul that she is autism and all, only now to have to rake over every flaw, every difficulty.
PIP and the procedures young people have to go through to get it is morally wrong, and the people who assess, and make the decisions on young people who have had a diagnosis should hang their heads in shame.
Any support would be gratefully received.
I tried to click the reply button under your message but it doesn't work. The annoying thing is is that i named 3 people to back up my daughters claim, and they never contacted any of them, so it was basically the PIP form that i filled in and the assessors face to face interview (as well as the statement of education that i sent in), that they had to go on. I now know why such a huge number of applications fail!!!! It's because we are trusting them to speak/contact our listed people! So i am now in the process of getting a doctors letter to clarify formal diagnosis, as well as getting a report from her keyworker and head of the autism resource centre where she had a place during school. I've also asked for a report from her new college and their SENCo to back up Her application. You offered great advice and there is no need for an apology
Its good that your gathering that evidence now and its a shame the need for supporting evidence isn't emphasised more as it does make a huge difference. I have been awarded PIP both times I have applied as I backed up everything I said with substantial independent evidence. Don't forget that PIP isn't awarded simply because a person has a disability. The disability needs to affect the individual seriously enough against a specific set of criteria to be eligible. For example, 'if your daughter can read and understand basic and complex written information either unaided or using spectacles or contact lenses' she won't get any points in this area. If she got a C or D in English her skills are likely to be the same as her peers.