How to present myself? — Scope | Disability forum
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How to present myself?

laandh Member Posts: 3 Listener
I have my assessment with ATOS on Monday. 

My disability is complex PTSD, anxiety, eating disorder etc. So all Mental Health issues. However I’m a very outgoing articulate person, this means I often present as being totally fine. People a genuinely surprised when I list my issues and the problems.

Like I can’t cook a meal with more than 3 ingredients as it’s too complex for me to follow so I now have to pay someone to cook for my kids to ensure they’re getting healthy balanced meals, that most days I can’t follow a sentance written in an email and have to re-read it a dozen times, that I have horrid physical symptoms most of the time etc etc 

I feel like my self awareness and gregariousness May work against me in this situation. Do I down play it? I’m loathe to be dishonest in any way but have heard such horror stories that I’m all conflicted


  • debsidoo
    debsidoo Member Posts: 325 Pioneering
    Hi @laandh
    i would advise you to be completely honest at your assessment.Have you got someone that can accompany you to your assessment whether it is at home or at a centre this may help you to stay a little calmer.
    I and a great many others on this forum had really fair assessments,what you have to remember is that it is only the horror stories you hear,most assessments are pretty honest.
    I won’t lie it,is a pretty daunting prospect but it is one we all have to go through.
    Try to make sure they are aware of any specialist input and don’t let them rush you.Hope it all goes well.Good luck.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,451 Disability Gamechanger
    No, you don't down play it. I agree with debsidoo, you be completely honest and tell them exactly how you're affected. Have you sent in evidence to support your claim? They rarely contact anyone for this and the onus in you to make sure it's sent. They will ask you questions based on the PIP descriptors and how your conditions affect you. PIP isn't award based on a diagnosis.

    Yes, you do hear lots of bad stories and rarely the good ones. I'm one of the good ones, you rarely hear about. Never had a bad assessment report and neither has my daughter.
    Good luck.
  • laandh
    laandh Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thank you Poppy and Debsidoo. 

    You make a really valid point about only hearing the horror stories. 

    Its also worth remembering for me that you often hear of horror stories about the family courts and police not taking DV seriously. And that just hasn’t been my experience, every court hearing went my way and I self represented and the police come out over any tiny thing and I have various protection things in place. But I never present as a victim or confused about what I need. Being clear and confident has helped me in the past so I think I will roll with that. 

    It just is a fact that I struggle with the things I do 
  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,590 Disability Gamechanger

    Be yourself.  But don't dress up, for example.  Assessors do make comments in their reports about the assessee's appearance.  Comments like 'well kempt' to imply they can't be very disabled if they can groom themselves.  Also, I'd advise only to wear minimal make-up, for the same reason.  And minimal jewellery - a lot of jewellery might indicate to assessors and DWP that's what people spend their benefits on (I'm afraid that's how their minds work!).

    You might be asked questions about pets and hobbies.  Looking after pets and doing certain hobbies might indicate a high ability to concentrate and organise.

    Good luck on Monday!
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,451 Disability Gamechanger
    Be yourself i agree with. Don't dress up, well if you usually go out with make up on then wear it, if you wear jewellery then wear it on the day. If you do something different on the day of the assessment to what you usually do then this isn't being yourself.
  • wilko
    wilko Member Posts: 2,457 Disability Gamechanger
    Me to, I have had two PIP acessments both went well got the awards I deserved. I just presented the acessor my conditions and surporting evidence and was honest and truthful in all my replys to questions asked. Good luck.
  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,590 Disability Gamechanger
    We don't always present ourselves in exactly the same way, anyway.  Most people would present themselves differently at funerals than at weddings.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,451 Disability Gamechanger
    You can't compare funerals and weddings to a PIP assessment, sorry but i totally disagree here. By presenting yourself differently by dressing down at an assessment to how you usually are is trying to be something you're not and to me that's classed as fraud.
  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,590 Disability Gamechanger

    The point I am making is that we don't present ourselves in the same way on every occasion:  weddings/funerals is an example, not a comparison with PIP assessments.

    If you can find anywhere that I have said that someone should intentionally dress down at an assessment, would you kindly point it out?

    Anyway, the OP can of course make up their own mind whose advice to take, or they can take no advice if they prefer.  It's a free country.

    Disability Rights UK in their Handbook recommend that people don't dress up for PIP Tribunal Hearings.  Would you say that they are telling people to behave 'fraudulently'?
  • Pin
    Pin Member Posts: 139 Pioneering
    Be yourself, there were remarks re me being “well Kempt” but “looks tired” and neither went against me, both were accurate. There was also reference to me having a good understanding of my conditions and treatment which is again true. I did point out in answer to the “donyou wear clean clothes every day” question that my mum does my washing and ironing for me (she’s a saint), and the assessor wrote that in the report.

    try not to worry, go in, tell the truth and be clear on how your conditions affect you.
  • Yadnad
    Yadnad Posts: 2,856 Connected
    edited August 2018
    laandh said:
    Thank you Poppy and Debsidoo. 

    You make a really valid point about only hearing the horror stories. 

    Its also worth remembering for me that you often hear of horror stories about the family courts and police not taking DV seriously.
    To be honest there shouldn't be any horror stories involving claims for PIP. It would not happen if everybody who works in the system was to carry out their job in a professional, caring way, following the regulations and spending enough time to fully understand what the claimant is saying.

    My experience of PIP, unlike DLA, ESA and IIDB consisted of continual horror situations - all three claims/re-assessments.

    As for DV of course and it is right that the police take action whenever it is reported.
    Unfortunately as in the press earlier this week this only seems to apply where the 'victim' is a female. DV reported by a male is more or less ignored.
  • Maddison69
    Maddison69 Member Posts: 14 Listener
    Be yourself , now me I always wear pjs in house as there comfortable and don’t hurt my hips etc so I kept my pjs on I tied my hair back no make up as I don’t wear it anyway she asked if I could read etc ha e hobbies I said yes crocheting I use for my anxiety , asked if I had social media I said yes for my groups etc as my son as a health condition and my daughter and my father , also myself , she asked if I went shopping I said no do it online asked if I got my oredcrtiom  dropped off or picked it up I said picked it up in a taxi , it did get ovelwelming for me I started to cry because I got so anxious and I was on my own , she was a nice lady not sure what outcome is going to be just had report back looks like standard care and no mobility but I could be wrong will no in a few weeks when that dreaded envelope drops in letterbox , you can ask for your assessment report after your face to face I left it a few days and receive it today so I’m going from that about points xxx
  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,590 Disability Gamechanger
    I would mention for the info of Mike Hughes that he is one of the very few people I have 'ignored'.  I do get emails when he mentions me in his posts - but of course cannot read the posts themselves.
  • Yadnad
    Yadnad Posts: 2,856 Connected

    @matilda has actually posted several times in the past about dressing down for assessments until other views were expressed by such as myself. The no make up line was a part, but only a part, of that.

    However, I wholly agree with @poppy123456 but would express it slightly differently. I think being yourself is about being as comfortable as you can be in unfamiliar circumstances so that you are relaxed enough to give calm, well thought out clear answers to the best of your ability. That will obviously vary with personality and impairment so there is no once size fits all "don't do this" or "definitely do that". Do whatever will leave you as relaxed as you can be at a stressful time.  

    And there's me thinking that you could wear anything. For me, if I was still in the benefit system and had the guts by choice it would have to be BDU's - the full kit - looking as menacing as I could!!!


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