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Saturday, 19 March 2016

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP has been in the news all week. The government have decided that some of the adaptations we use to help us live independently are not adaptations at all and therefore, the points will be reduced. I'm not that worried myself because I don't think they'll get it through a vote. It does disappoint me though to have it reinforced that there are still people out there who don't realise that this could be them... tomorrow. An accident takes just a second and life changes forever!

Many people have asked me about PIP, so I thought I'd share a little bit each day about the different parts of the PIP assessment and how they affect me. It is quite a lengthy form and process but I'll break it down.

Firstly, PIP comes in two parts:

  1. Day-to-day activities
  2. Mobility
The first part of the day-to-day activities part, is about preparing food. 

Preparing food question - PIP form
Often people ask whether you can get PIP for certain conditions. The answer is always "No". You don't get PIP based on a particular condition. It's all about what you can and can't do. 

Both my conditions affect my ability to prepare food. Firstly, I can't stand for long enough to prepare a meal. One day, when we've finished all the adaptations to the house, I hope to be able to cook again from my wheelchair but for now, it is impossible. Also, my essential tremor makes the peeling, chopping, etc really difficult. Some days, I can do more than other days but I would never describe it as safe. 

Neil prepares all my food, apart from sometimes I go out to the local deli for lunch, when I'm at work. It is really hard when Neil goes away. That leaves me with nobody to cook meals. I used to try to get by but after several accidents and not being able to manage, now he prepares all the food for me, before going away. 

Neil chops veg for me in case I run out of meals

Freezer full of pre-cooked meals

Here are the PIP criteria for preparing food:

1. Preparing food.
a. Can prepare and cook a simple meal unaided.  0 points.
b. Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal.  2 points.
c. Cannot cook a simple meal using a conventional cooker but is able to do so using a microwave. points. 2 points
d. Needs prompting to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal.  2 points.
e. Needs supervision or assistance to either prepare or cook a simple meal.  4 points.
f. Cannot prepare and cook food.  8 points.
So how many points do you think I should score for this? I score two because I need an aid or appliance to cook a meal. I have to confess to feeling a little offended for Neil that he gets referred to as an aid or appliance, but hey ho! The point is, I could prepare food if we had an adapted kitchen. An adapted kitchen counts as an aid or appliance. We haven't adapted the kitchen yet because it all costs money. Other adaptations took priority. Neil can cook for me but he can't shower on my behalf, so the bathroom was more urgent.

This is just the first of many sections of the PIP application. I'll share more next time.

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