Applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – Tips from a TSW Warrior

ITSAN asked Lorna about her personal experience applying for PIP during TSW Syndrome.

Why did you apply for PIP?

I applied for PIP as I’m unable to work due to Topical Steroid Withdrawal Syndrome.

What do you need to apply?

To apply, applicants firstly need to call the Department For Work and Pensions for Personal Independent Payment.

How long does it take to apply?

The applicant will be asked a few questions to see if they meet the requirements, then they will either be sent a paper application form through the post or an online application. It takes 12 weeks for a decision. If the request is denied, the applicant can ask for a reconsideration which can take up to a further 12 weeks. If this is denied the applicant can appeal –  this is usually what happens with Topical Steroid Withdrawal as it’s a very complex condition.

The applicant can then send evidence of their condition (I used ITSAN’s resources, lots of photos, a letter from my doctor, and and letters from close friends and family who has witnessed my condition and how it effects my daily life). It’s very straightforward to upload evidence to the appeal tribunal. Medical evidence holds more weight. 

What helped you during the process?

I won my case on my oral evidence. They took everything I told them as truth as they could see how much distress TSW had caused me. 

What would you recommend to someone going through TSW and wanting to apply for PIP?

I would highly recommend getting help from citizens advise or online tools before starting an application. I didn’t do this and I didn’t understand the process or the requirements, which is why my experience was very lengthy and very stressful. 

There is usually a face-to-face assessment after the initial application. Make sure the applicant doesn’t drive themselves to this appointment if they are generally not well enough to drive, as this will go against them (I made this mistake). This is why I didn’t get awarded the mobility component of PIP only the daily living component. Also make sure the applicant answers the questions on how they are at their worse. 

Articles recommended by Lorna: 

“How to Claim PIP” – from here.

“Claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – Fill in the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) form”- from here.

“Completing Your PIP Claim Form”- from here.

Find steps to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at GOV.UK. Learn more here.

“For anyone struggling financially, I’ve just been awarded the standard living allowance for Personal Independence Payment, the UK disability benefit. It wasn’t easy and I had to fight for it. It went all the way to appeal and today I won. The award fully recognises Topical Steroid Withdrawal as a disability.”

-Lorna, January 2022