After the horrific year I'd had I really just couldn't face applying again & going through it all once more. I frantically applied for jobs & didn't get so much as a whiff of an interview (hardly surprising with over 100 sick days under my belt in the past year.) I would have given, and still would give my right arm for a solution to my financial situation not involving DWP.
Sadly new businesses generally aren't a quick fix to anyone's cash flow (probably more the opposite in fact) so I'm in a position where I really need the PIP money in order to provide any mobility aids, gadgets to make life easier & even a carer to do some of the things I can't do for myself.
So, in August I finally brought myself to apply for PIP. I got help from Sheffield ME Group in the form of a fabulous chap named Chris who has ME/CFS himself & gives up his time to help others in difficulty. Chris also happens to have great taste in music (we may have got a bit side-tracked chatting about rock gigs we've both been too. ;)
"We have received your PIP2 'How Much Your Disability Affects you' form. You will be contacted by a health professional if you need to attend a consultation. It can take 26 weeks or longer for an assessment. You do not need to contact us unless your circumstances change."
September 12th I posted off my form & on the 17th I received a text from DWP:
Fast forward to today, 22 weeks into those 26 weeks. Adam very kindly called DWP on my behalf (he makes all my phone calls wherever possible because my anxiety where that's concerned makes me throw up, pass out & just triggers a whole load of symptoms, basically writing off the next week or so of my life.) DWP passed the buck, predictably, giving the number for ATOS. Interestingly their recorded message informed us that there was currently a 16 week wait for appointments, the advisor informing us it was in fact a 14 week wait now. When pressed to give an estimate of how long I'd have to wait for my appointment he told us that August applicants waiting for home consultations were currently being processed & that I could expect my appointment by April, but that he really couldn't make any promises.
Basically I can kiss goodbye to any hope of an appointment within the 26 week time frame. I can only hope that this time they decide in my favour and grant me PIP, otherwise I'm not sure I can face a further 10 months+ of potentially asking for reconsiderations, appealing & possible tribunal. I'm trying to stay positive but it's so damned difficult with all the hurdles they put in the way...a huge chunk of me just wants to curl up & die so I don't have to go through it all again (& also so I don't have to face having to figure out how the hell to live on thin air.)
Not the most positive way to end a post I know, cross your fingers for me folks!