A post from our Community Correspondent Robert Terry, as part of our money and wellbeing theme.
In a last bid attempt at having my PIP benefits returned to the enhanced rate at an upper tribunal, I tried to argue that losing £3000 per year lowered a standard of living that I had become accustomed to.
I argued that a sudden loss of money, about £65 per week, had been detrimental to my mental health. Through no fault of my own, I was found to be physically disabled by the DWP . After their medical examination and interview, I had been awarded enough points for the then new PIP combined benefit. After three years of symptoms and tests, I was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition. But at the first review of my PIP, it was deemed through points that I was now less disabled than I had been before. “How can this be?” I asked the panel.
My plea was ignored and, a little more than seven months after my upper tribunal appeal, they issued a letter of decision, withdrawing my right to appeal. Then, rubbing salt in the wound, my next review of PIP benefits would be in four years and not after two like before.
It’s not only losing £3000 per year. It was losing the little extras that went with the enhanced rates of PIP. I also lose my vehicle tax exemption and, cruellest of all, I lose my right to ask for a companion ticket. I used to get a free companion ticket for concerts and festivals, but not now.
I’ve hardly been out since.
If you are worried about anything to do with the benefits you receive you’re not alone. Our Community Correspondents recently put together this helpful list of organisations in and around Glasgow providing advice on benefits and money issues.
Update: Robert recently found out that some venues will still offer a companion ticket at the lower level. Make sure you check.