The PIP Process: Part 6 – The verdict 

So after my assessment I have had a wait which has felt like forever. Thanks to the enduring support of people from Twitter, I knew roughly what range of wait there was to expect. It still felt like an endless one though, and I’ve got off lightly compared to some.

Recovery time was needed from an assessment which left me feeling fragile and insecure. I still do to a certain extent, which is part of the legacy of the PIP process which there isn’t really any formal mechanism for dealing with. The assessor leaves, with yourselves and those around you left to pick up the pieces.

For ages now Fran has been intercepting the post. We knew that the arrival of the verdict was fairly imminent as a couple of weeks previously, we’d had what seemed like an utterly pointless letter telling us that they now had enough information to make a decision. Given the assessment I’d experienced I wasn’t surprised about this, but I was also relieved.

I was in the shower when Fran banged on the door. ‘It’s here, and it’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok!’ We were both in tears. I had got a result that was consistent with my DLA, and a long period of review. It was an outcome that I thought was fair, and I wouldn’t need to go to appeal, which I was very surprised about, as that’s what I was expecting all along.

There was a mixture of emotions. There was relief. There was reassurance that things were as I saw them and felt they should be. There was also a lot of guilt. A kind of survivors guilt. This is something I’m still experiencing. I feel so bad for those whose outcomes were not what they want them to be. I feel bad for the continued waiting that they are going through.

So whilst my own process is over in the short term (that is unless the goalposts are moved again as with DLA!) I am determined to keep raising awareness about the nature of the process.

For me, the right outcome has been reached, but by means which are totally wrong. The process is a damaging, inaccessible and costly one, which is still not fit for purpose. That a just outcome was reached in my case does not change my view on this. If anything, it reinforces my view, given the extensive process that I have experienced, and the extensive extra support (both practical and psychological) that I have needed to complete the process.

My own next steps are to use my experiences to hopefully help others in a personal capacity. As I write this, I’m fortunate enough to be going on holiday for a few days. When I return, I’ll do so with some further reflections and practical suggestions.

About the Author

Chris Whitaker was born and grew up in Cheshire, arriving in the world with cerebral palsy after a complex childbirth. Apparently, he was lucky to be here at all and has tried to make the most of life ever since! Chris has worked in the third sector for a few years now and is also a charity trustee. Making a positive difference every day is what drives him and he gets to see the impact the third sector makes. Chris has also been able to use his own lived experience as a disabled person to make an input into his working life.

Leave a Reply 6 comments

Jayne Linney - July 15, 2018 Reply

Hi Chris
I could not be more pleased for you, at least you can go away and enjoy your holiday. Well done xx

Gill Loomes - July 15, 2018 Reply

Thanks so much for your writing. It’s so reassuring to read of someone who has actually had a just outcome, while not glossing over the fact that the process is deeply unjust.
I’m going through it currently, and it’s traumatic and exhausting, and is exacerbating my symptoms (oh, the irony!) Am so hoping for an outcome like you describe. All best, and thanks again for your work!

Ros - July 15, 2018 Reply

You should never feel guilty, you have shown the rest of the world the horrendous process people are having to go through, which I hope will open peoples eyes and make a difference!!!

Enjoy your break!!!!

The Renaissance Gardener - July 16, 2018 Reply

Hi, Chris, thank you so much for writing so openly and honestly, again. I am very pleased for you that the process has now been brought to a satisfactory conclusion. You have certainly shone an important light on a situation that many of us don’t know anything much about at all. Blessings.

Cara Williams - July 17, 2018 Reply

So happy for you Chris 😊 Excellent news and such a relief. Keep shining the light for others enduring the needlessly harmful process which I believe is a deliberate strategy designed to put people off from claiming support they are entitled to. Collective action is needed to fight the system. All the best. Cara

Jacqueline Pluck - August 27, 2018 Reply

Thank you so much for writing this blog on the stressful PIP process. You have summed up exactly what every disabled person goes through. I have suffered with a severe disability since birth and was on DLA indefinitely since the age of 19. The PIP process made me feel like I had to prove I (and my numerous Consultants, Physios, Surgeons etc) wasn’t lying, rather than the DWP helping me make sure I was getting the appropriate help. Yes, I understand the powers that be have to winkle out fraudulent claimants but, there must be better method than the current one.

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