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Daniel, Personal Independence payment questions..

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Good morning All I hope everyone is well and have been enjoying the sunshine over the last few days...


I am starting a new thread as I would like some advice if it is possible on benefits and the fall out from having suffered an invisible injury "Nicola or SAH"


I have been out in the garden as much as possible and away from technology which has been lovely... our real wish fpr our life is a small holding and mini farm so we are trying to do some field tests in the garden and greenhouse to see what is possible to grow,  both naturally and as the summer phase passes assisted growing environments with light and heat... 


As my fiancé is Asian we tend to visit the Chinese and Asian supermarkets regularly and the costs for basic herbs and vegetables are ridiculous.... we hope there is a way to grown year round here and develop a business supplying high quality, organic Asian vegetables ....a dream nearly shattered by my "Nicola" (SAH) as I don't have strength or energy like I used to have...


My question is based around the ability to claim benefits or financial help in the UK... i have been sent an assessment form to complete for PIP having already put one in for being unable to work at this time..


The problem I see from reading the form and I would like others opinion on is how on earth do you answer the questions truthfully when each day is different..


Can I make a cup of tea?.. yes if you isolate that function... do I feel like I want to much of the time, do I need help to remember to drink enough ( I really thank everyone here for highlighting the need to drink as much as possible it is some of the best advice received so far)


Am I lucky my partner organises shopping so we have the things needed for me to live and survive.. Yes of course... would I survive alone?.. with food delivery and supermarkets delivering yes I guess but without Kae's help life would be far more difficult...


Can I dress myself.. yes I can sometimes.. sometimes I have zero energy but am happy to wander around in a Robe looking like a Jedi Knight... 


I have taken on board the advice you have all given before about taking it easier and being kinder to my poor brain... I can't trade Forex currencies as I did as I can't focus and concentrate in the same way and I surely can't develop properly with the hands on approach i used to take I don't have the physical power I had before..


However, for answering questions on the PIP questionnaire there is no space for the variable of time of day, how I am feeling etc which dramatically affects what I can or can't or want to do from motivation to actual energy....


Any answers and guidance would be greatly appreciated even though i have been very lucky with the aftermath of my " Nicola" it has most certainly been life changing ... like everyone I want to be self sufficient but do know that my greatest luck is having a partner who looks after me 


As it is still sunny I will venture outside again, some days I get very little done, mowing the lawn used to be a bit of exercise.... now it has become a mission....I do really miss the old 15 Yr old batman who had endless energy and hope there is a way for him to recover eventually...


Take care all and thanks again D x 

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I would strongly advise getting professional help filling in the PIP tome. Look for benefit advisors in your area, your County Council may well have some. Try to avoid CAB as they are not usually very good. Remember, PIP, is about your ability to carry out certain functions. 

There is a website on which there is a chap who, although not a trained advisor, who really knows his stuff.



I presume you have already claimed ESA.

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Hi Super Mario thank you for your reply...


4 hours ago, Super Mario said:

I presume you have already claimed ESA


Please excuse my ignorance I am very new to the world of benefits so I have no idea what the ESA is?  I have put in a medical form regarding my lack of ability to work at this time and am waiting on a call or meeting about that... 


I will read through the link you sent and see what advice I can garner.....


I have been told by a few people that the benefits system is very hard to negotiate if you don't come from or have understanding of its mechanics so I am quite in the dark about what I can or can't apply for in terms of assistance and as a SAH is invisible its so hard to quantify how able or not I am..


Looking forward to any other advice


Sitting in the garden enjoying the sunshine but feeling quite odd not being able to work, or working... its quite an unnatural state to be in..


Hope everyone is well and happy Dx 







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Hi Clare..


Again I will have to show my ignorance.... I signed up for UC and told them about my SAH so they sent me a Capability for work questionnaire.


This was a long form which I believed 1) would stop them asking me to look for work at the moment and may possibly bring some financial support if they assess me to need it..


I was told this is not the same as PIP which I have just in the last 2 weeks applied for even though I have been asking for help for the last few months it was only recently a new UC advisor told me I may be able to claim this also..


I say also, I am not getting any support for being unwell at this time just standard UC for not working.


16 minutes ago, ClareM said:

Dan, ESA stands for Employment and Support Allowance. Are you intending to go back to work when you are able? Or do you think that will not be possible?


 To answer your question Clare I have absolutely no idea what my future holds work wise... there are days when I feel relatively normal and there are days I can't do anything and lack motivation...I am struggling with not being the old me both physically and mentally...


Could I go back to my old professions.. unlikely ....but if I make a 100% recovery then yes.. without it being a 100% recovery then I don't think I could do either Propery redevelopment in the same way or the mental side of finance and trading full time...


How have others coped with this aspect of recovery as in a dramatic change of life direction??


I am not wealthy enough to retire so will need an income but don't want to go from seniority in my chosen fields to a job in muppet territory because of my SAH (sorry if that is not PC I hope people understand what I meant)


I hope you can recognise that my aspirations have not gone I just no longer trust my body and how I can achieve my goals and seem to be quite unsuccessful at navigating the benefits system so far..


As always looking forward to any thoughts and advice and hoping everyone is well.and happy   ....   Dx 



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Daniel, the benefits system is a minefield and even trained advisors sometimes have problems understanding it.

More about ESA 



As you are unable to work you should get contribution based ESA because your National Insurance contributions will have been paid for the 2 years previous to make you eligible. There are two groups of ESA, limited capability to work and unable to work.

Benefits and Work is another decent website although to get full advice there is a subscription but you can garner information without being a member.



Another place you could try is a Law Centre if you have one locally, again free advice and they could possibly help you fill in the forms. DWP decision makers look for key words so there is a knack to filling in DWP forms.


If you have already claimed ESA you should be on an assessment rate until you have a face to face assessment or a phone assessment to determine what group of ESA you are put into. The advice I will give you is at your assessment, face to face or phone, think very carefully before answering the questions. There is a tendency to understate one's problems, you must be brutally honest even though you may find it demeaning.


Please get advice on what you can or can't claim by contacting an adviser, you may well be losing money at the moment. Do not contact DWP for that advice as the phone jockeys are poorly trained and often give out wrong information.

If you fail ESA assessment then you will be told to claim Job Seekers Allowance in which you have to actively look for work.


Of course there is now Universal Credit too, this replaces ESA and Jobseekers but only in certain areas at the moment.


At one time I used to be quite up on benefits advice but things have changed over the years and as I no longer need that advice haven't kept up with current situations. It is a minefield now.

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1 hour ago, Eruditedk said:

This was a long form which I believed 1) would stop them asking me to look for work at the moment and may possibly bring some financial support if they assess me to need it..

Sorry, not always the case, some parts are means tested and income based, they will take your partner's income into consideration. They only ignore a small amount of it and the rest is deducted from what you are entitled to. If you get contribution based you will get the whole amount you are entitled to for 52 weeks


1 hour ago, Eruditedk said:

I was told this is not the same as PIP

Universal Credit is not the same as PIP. UC is support if you are unable to work.

PIP is a tax free payment to help with the costs of care you may need, the 1st component. The 2nd component, mobility, is to help you  with costs of getting around. I'm afraid you really do need to have mobility problems and things like finding your way about amongst other criteria to get the mobility component.


If you have claimed Universal Credit then ignore my earlier reference to ESA.


If you fail any assessments, don't just sit back and think that is that. Apply for a Mandatory Reconsideration which is done by a different Decision Maker, they often fail. Then you can take your case to an Independent Tribunal. As I have said previously, you would be wise to get help from a professional to guide you through the minefield.  

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Thank you Super Mario for the advice it sure does seem like a minefield and your comments have made me realise I must take some advice tomorrow and look for an advisor as you suggest.... 


Having only known the UC system and the advice or lack of it i have received from them I need some guidance as to what is possible and how best to present my case.. 


As mentioned its the invisibility of a SAH ...we dont have huge plastercasts or visible signs that allow people to recognise we are injured....


I look relatively normal haha well the same, just a bit fatter than I did before it happened...!!


Thank you again, I hope everyone has a good night..  Dx 

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On a further note, keep copies of everything you send to DWP, including "fit notes"

They are notorious for things going astray.

Any phone call you make to them log the date, time and who you speak to.

Sounds a faff but you may need it as evidence if things go awry.


If you need to ring them the best time is just as they open or you could be hanging on listening to Vivaldi (if they still use that) for goodness knows how long. I have heard of waits for well over an hour. 

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I got PIP and know what you mean, I went to CAB (Citizen advice) they filled in the form which is good in two ways saves you the headache and the other and more inportant is they know exactly the way to word it (as it can all hinge on a word or phrase) and No there is no normal day each one is different you go with your bad days.


I also get ESA and their are different groups to this so dont be put off, the lovely people at CAB sorted me out.



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Hi All I hope everyone is well and enjoying the sunshine...


Thank you all for the advice I spoke with the CAB and read lots of pages online then filled in the PIP form so now I have been told I will have to wait approx 8-10 weeks before they send for an expected phone call assessment as there is still a backlog due to COVID..


I am finding the benefits or lack thereof system to be pretty unhelpful and very slow there seem to be long delays with the processing of everything... I don't know how you are supposed to survive and remove stress and pressure from your life so you can recover if you had to solely reply on them....


I have been enjoying the good weather and not really doing very much which is a very strange state to be in...I went from living at 1 million mile's and hour to almost standstill with my "Nicola" and find it very frustrating and actually quite stressful...some days seem to drag on and on but at least being able to be outside helps..


I hope everyone is doing fine, take care and be happy Dx 

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Daniel, I hope you have kept a copy of the form. You need to keep copies of everything you send to DWP, things get lost easily or they deny knowledge of  ever receiving it.


Do you think you meet the criteria for PIP?

From DWP site

"have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for 3 months

expect these difficulties to continue for at least 9 months"


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Hi Super Mario thank you for your reply...


I have kept copies of everything.. good training being in banking I am very good at record keeping and documenting situations and communication... 


Do I qualify?... therein lies the problem with my "Nicola" ... 


Rather than being the instantly recognisable diminutive red head who's annoying voice cuts glass in an instant and brings anger and annoyance on sight ...


My Nicola SAH left no visible imprint to the outside world... as I have said before apart from the addition of a few KG I look and sound the same as before it happened.. 


For short periods of time depending on the day I am able to function...


However, am I able to live and perform as I could before on a regular basis... absolutely not... 


A good example will be today.. for no reason I can identify I have not slept a wink all night and finally got up at 5.30 this morning as I was driving myself mad and didn't want to disturb my fiancé or the cat who were sound asleep.. 


Based on the last few months I expect I will not be able to function very well at all today... I will have little energy or motivation to do anything which will include being able to organise food and drinks for myself or do any required shopping.. as a description today would be a day I would stay in my robe watching Jeremy Kyle and Judge Rinder so would qualify for benefits in an instant 😀


I am very very lucky in that my fiancé takes care of me and is perfectly capable to running the show while I recover so I can lean on someone...if I was alone I have no idea how I would have survived this last 4 months..


Will this translate into financial support...I don't know / doubt it... based on the timeframe it is taking to organise any help since Nicola arrived I would be bankrupt and living under a bridge before any help comes my way...


My garden has just (this morning) been sprayed with an awful chemical as the lawn area is covered with Ground Elder so none of us can go outside today as its quite toxic...its taken me 2 hours to write this message so you can see I am not functioning well at all today ..


I wish everyone else a happy and successful day, take care and enjoy the good weather.. Dx 





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