I had a call from DWP recently regarding my PIP application (I was awarded PIP for 3 years after my stroke so I have had to reapply). When I gave an example of the lack of functionality by saying that I can’t pick up a pound coin nor even a domino with my affected hand, she said to use the other hand.
"Use the other hand."
"That's not the point, is it. The point is the loss of functionality."
No remorse or empathy.
Also, just because I can put on a t-shirt it is now seemingly enough to prove that I can get dressed. I asked her if she was suggesting that I only go out on hot days, because my partner helps me with additional layers otherwise I'm in discomfort (have you tried putting on a layer and not being able to pull down the sleeve of the t-shirt after it has ridden up one's arm?). She told me not to be silly. I said it’s a pertinent question.
The fact I also need steak and chicken cut up is also not considered as far as the DWP is concerned, nor is removing something heavy-ish from the oven. In other words, anything that requires two working hands, it seems.
She also remarked, "After nearly 4 years we'd expect improvements, wouldn’t you agree?" I said something along the lines that people respond differently because every stroke is different. "But it's not impossible...?" she went on.
Anyway, she then said that she's going to reduce the award. I asked why has the award changed and why am I being penalised given that nothing has changed. She said about the ESA award report says otherwise. I was assessed by a doctor for ESA shortly after being made redundant a couple of years ago. In the report the doctor mentioned that I can cook a bolognese, without mentioning the need to prepare the ingredients beforehand. But that was enough for her. “Yes, but you can cook a bolognese.”
“Yes, but I need help with the actual ingredients, to prepare the ingredients [like chopping an onion] first.”
“Yes, but you CAN cook.”
And that’s where we ended, with her saying that we're getting nowhere and that I should attend an in-person assessment. I said ok. She then said that there will be a letter either with her decision or asking me to attend the in-person assessment.
I hope it's the latter. How can this be done over a phone call? They need to see people.
I found her whole language was designed to make me say something that I didn't mean to say, to fall into a trap and, of course, to confuse. And I'm trying to do and say all of this while having aphasia, while struggling to find not only the right words, but MY words. And after hearing some of the "traps" to try and get me to say something contrary to my situation, well, I'm speechless!
Merry Christmas all, and stay safe!