For many of us going through the DLA to PIP process, it’s a devastating slide into everything we never wanted to face.
What can’t you do. And why?
After years of muddling through, re-adapting, making concessions for MS, we have to admit our endless ‘shortcomings’. Our failings.
We realise, sometimes with a huge thud, just what we can’t do. I plunged into a deep depression, because I actually thought I was doing ok, bar walking into walls and falling asleep at the slightest opportunity.
My forms took weeks to fill in. Painstaking. Personal, hideously personal. Numerous extra pages of ‘Cont. Info’ were included.
48 pages in all. Basically, my entire life in one document.
As a birthday present last week, a huge pile of tribunal papers arrived along with cards and flowers. Nice touch.
Buried in amongst over a hundred pages, I discovered that my form had a ‘considered/writing up time’ of 12 minutes.
I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty impressive. To read a compressed life with MS, all 48 pages, plus consider them and write a response in 12 minutes is speedy by anyone’s standard. Bearing in mind it’s not a new claim, but a transition from a lifetime award for DLA.
A face-to-face consideration was required. Which happened – apparently – although neither me nor my witness recognise the meeting she refers to. And this ‘health care professional’ appears to have the upper hand in my forthcoming tribunal.
Her ‘evidence’ is the ‘truth’. She was here, in my house, for 50 minutes in total. That includes losing her way (my mum directed her on the phone), coming in, setting up her laptop, talking to me (without looking at me), packing up and leaving.
It appears my entire tribunal rests upon her ‘clinical’ finding and ‘observations’.
To destroy someone’s life in 50 minutes is bad enough, but the lead-in took 12.
I am that insignificant. All my pain, my symptoms, my life being turned on its head. Not only that, the end of my planned future, being sacked from work, the endless relapses, the invasive treatments I’ve had. Not to mention their side-effects (hello, Fatty-Puff-Me).
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the person who knows me and my MS probably better than most, my wonderful MS nurse, cannot write a statement for the tribunal. Aside from the logistical nightmare that this would cause for the under-funded department, they have been ‘told’ by the DWP that their evidence is ‘meaningless’ and ‘patient-directed’ so therefore inadmissible.
So I face a tribunal based almost solely upon evidence of someone who does not know me, triggered by someone in an office who does not know me.