PIP form filling.
Please note that whilst this is for PIP form filling only, the gist of most of these 8 points apply equally to DLA and AA form filling even though those are not based on points scoring. So, on point 1 and some others you can substitute the word “activities” or “activity” with the phrase “bodily functions... but not always.
1 - Identify those activities you have any kind of issue with.
2 - Identify whether the issue is that you can’t do the activity at all; can’t do it reliably, can’t do it repeatedly; can’t do it safely or in a reasonable time. If any one of these apply to an activity then you can’t do it at all and it’s okay to say so. However, as well as ticking the box saying you either can’t do it all need help or aids, remember to say which one(s) of the above apply.
3 - Have a copy of the PIP points scoring system in front of you. The questions in the form don’t match the points scoring so it’s as well to be aware of this.
4 - For every activity you think you score points you need to think of 2 or 3 recent examples of incidents when you tried to do that activity. Describe in detail the what, when, where, who witnessed, what happened next etc. Don’t skimp on detail. It’s often better to type it up in Word first rather than write in the form. If it won’t fit then add extra sheets, remembering to put your name, NINO and the question to which the answer relates on each sheet. Alternatively, reduce the font and cut and paste the Word answer into the form. Note that doing point 4 correctly is far more important than supporting medical evidence in most cases.
5 - Use the extra information section to describe your conditions in detail; the specifics of the symptoms and especially how they interact.
Also, if applicable, use it to spell out that you want an ongoing award and explain why e.g. your condition is degenerative, you’ve done all the adapting you’re going to do etc. If you don’t specifically ask for an ongoing award you will almost always get a short one.
6 - Assuming your diagnoses are not in question and ditto the prognosis then ask yourself what gap in your evidence does medical evidence fill in terms of points scoring? If you can’t answer that then consider not sending it in. 10 reports all saying the same thing are no better than 1. Volume of evidence, especially medical evidence, doesn’t win you PIP and medical evidence is also not as helpful as your own anecdotes unless you are someone who lacks insight into their own condition e.g. someone with a learning disability or certain mental health conditions. Clarity and focus of evidence wins you PIP.
7 - Whilst PIP ask for the form back in 4 weeks they will grant a 2 week extension without question if you ask. However, there is no actual deadline for returning the form in the legislation so that deadline can be extended if reasonable. What could be more reasonable than having a medical condition which slows you down? Ask for an extension as a reasonable adjustment under EA 10 if applicable.
8 - By all means get an advice service to do this but if they don’t do most of the above then you’re better off doing it yourself. Welfare rights advisers do not have some magic form of words they use and their knowledge of the law, guidance or case law only occasionally comes into play at the firm filling stage. No-one especially likes form filling but unless your impairment creates specific difficulties with form filling there’s no reason you can’t do it yourself. It’s all about the anecdotal evidence.
If anyone has any questions further to the above then I will answer them on this thread alone.