DWP assessments – a pass or fail exam.Posted: July 16, 2014
The building I went for my PIP assessment in is probably the most inaccessible building I’ve ever been in during my 32 long years on this earth. ATOS in this area will do home assessments for people with mobility issues, which is good as the entrance has three heavy doors you have to be buzzed through, the tiniest waiting room of all time and the tiniest assessment rooms.
PIP assessors are a medical professional of some sort – OT, physio etc. which means the chap I saw should at least know a bit about what’s going on. He was really nice, which was good, but I felt like the assessment wasn’t thorough, and just went through everything I’d already written about in detail on my form. He asked about what conditions I had, the medications and their side effects. He was supposed to ask about a “typical day” but in fact he only covered eating and drinking and didn’t ask any more. The quote of the day was: “I need to write down an explanation of what this condition is because the person reading it won’t know about it”. Confidence boost right there!
Then there was a “physical” which was composed of your usual basic physical tests – touch your toes, squeeze my fingers, push against my hands and so on. If I’d have applied with a mental health condition I’d be quite confused by this point.
I did take someone along with me – my mum – who took notes (she didn’t ask if she could but she wasn’t stopped). The ideal person for me to take should’ve been my husband but a) see above re. wheelchair accessibility and b) it would be a foolish idea for me to walk into my PIP assessment with someone who is more disabled than I am.
It was exhausting. Towards the end I just couldn’t get all my words out. I missed so much. I feel like the right questions weren’t asked. I feel like I wasn’t enabled by the assessor to make sure I explained everything.
It felt like an exam. It felt like I should revise, make sure I can remember everything, make sure I answer the questions with the right answers. I felt like I was being tested, and I would come out with a pass or fail. Because the system is set up to make us fail. It’s set up so that we feel like we’re having to say and do the “right” things to be able to pass the PIP exam. We have to prove our disabilities, our illnesses. And rather than a system designed to make sure people receive the support and help they need, rather then a system that will hold your hand and guide you through with your best interests at heart, it is designed to put you on trial. To say “prove it”. And even when you do, it doesn’t always believe you.
I’m currently working on the assumption that I’m going to have to appeal. I figure that way, if I am successful first time it’ll be a nice surprise, but I’m being realistic. But this phase is done. Now I wait for the brown envelope with the PIP exam results in.