This will be my spouse’s 2nd PIP assessment. Their first one was in January 2018, at a location right across from a train station. I came with them, and because the assessor didn’t understand anything about dyspraxia and how it affects adults, we were certain that my spouse wouldn’t receive it, but a few months later, a payment suddenly showed up in our bank account. Full disclosure, this is the only reason that I was able to stay in the UK. (PIP is one of the few benefits that qualifies a British person for an exemption from the income requirement for a spouse visa) Of course we’re not much better off…once I got the visa and was able to work full time, my spouse lost the other benefits! Still, they’d probably be dead if we’d gone to America, because we couldn’t have afforded the health care that they’ve received since then, so thanks, PIP! Because of my income, we no longer depend on PIP for the exemption, but it gives my spouse peace of mind and somewhat of a feeling that they aren’t sponging off of me (although don’t ask my opinion on this after I’ve worked all day and come home to the trainwreck they’ve created for me to clean up)
(WARNING, this paragraph contains mention of extreme self-harm)
My spouse has more conditions since the first assessment. Dyspraxia still means they can’t do some fine motor tasks, and their executive functioning, memory, and time management is terrible. They had a terrible and terrifying relapse of depression and anxiety, leading to a 3 month admission in a mental hospital (during which time they strangled themself and lit themself of fire, requiring skin grafts and a 3 week stay in a burns unit) followed by 3 other admissions and 3 trips to A & E without admission in the following 3 months. They couldn’t walk properly for several months, had flashbacks and hallucinations of the fire, and before their last admission, said that everyone, me, medical professionals, etc, was trying to kill them.
This time, the assessment centre is in Borehamwood, farther away as the crow flies, and according to the website, .7 miles from the train station, which is laughable. Probably, my partner can drag themself there with my help, and it will wear them out for days, but it has to be SO MUCH WORSE for people with greater physical conditions, and would have been impossible maybe 2 months ago, as my partner was more regularly using a cane, and, now that they are wearing restricting compression garments for the burns, they’ve had to go back to using it to avoid pain. Not to mention it’s on the 30th of December. Between the holidays, they’re lucky they have me, with a flexible work schedule, and aren’t dependent on another kind of caregiver who might have the holidays off. So should we go ahead and book a taxi from the train station, fight absurdity with absurdity? Does that extra step give more or less “evidence” that their condition affects them? I mean, a half burnt piece of bacon in full-body shapewear hobbling in with a cane should be enough to say “Yeah, still got it” right? I’ve looked at all the Citizen’s Advice information about points, but is there anything from experience that you can recommend, especially supporting someone with severe mental illness?