Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are vital for people with disabilities to live with dignity, but the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) medical assessments still result in absurd decisions, leaving people like Tereza very stressed, vulnerable, and in poverty.
Tereza is from Latvia. She came to Scotland in 2005 and worked in factories and bakeries. In 2011 she was diagnosed with arthritis in her knees, hips and hands. Long hours and hard physical work took their toll and by 2015 she was unable to work. In 2016, one of our Money Skills Advisers, helped her to get Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments (PIP). In Summer 2019, her PIP review form arrived and we completed it with her. It was clear at this point that her mobility had worsened, and she could no longer cook as her fingers locked frequently and she was unable to handle utensils. However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) medical assessment stated she no longer needed PIP, and her mandatory reconsideration was also refused.
Tereza asked us for help. At this time we were hosting a weekly Govan Law Centre session in our office, and so the solicitor applied for Legal Aid, got a detailed medical report from Tereza’s GP and sent it as part of the appeal to the Tribunals Service.
After significant expense, stress and a six months’ wait throughout winter, the DWP changed the decision before the Tribunal hearing and Tereza’s PIP was re-instated and backdated.
You are always there for me. I know that I can ask you if I need any help – I feel supported.