pip-aids

kippo1kippo1 Forumite
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Hi
A few questions on pip and esa if anyones got the time to answer thanks.
iv'e had long covid for over 18 months now with pain in my shoulder,elbow,jaw and spine,
from the moment i get up i put on a back support for my spine to reduce the pain,could this be
classed as an aid when i'm walking and cooking? i have looked at some pip examples on the internet
and have never seen this mentioned.I also use a brace for my elbow and shoulder but this is mainly in case i knock myself
and wearing the braces reduces the pain.I was also thinking of getting a smart watch which monitors your heart bpm and
sets off an alarm when you reach your max bpm therefore telling you to stop and rest so you don't go over your energy envelope,
could this also be classed as an aid?
Final question on esa,
if i applied for esa would i need a fit note? i had to leave my job last month due to long covid and am no longer working.
if i was assessed and put into the work group and not the support group i wouldn't be able to attend because of the chronic fatigue,
i'm normally flat out on my bed in the afternoons asleep.would i then need to tell them to stop paying me esa or just wait to be sanctioned

i hope some of these questions make sense,thanks for any help.

Replies

  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    For New style ESA you need to have paid the correct amount of NI contributions in tax years April 2019 to March 2020. You will need a fit note from your GP and SSP1 form, which i'm assuming you claimed this from your employer if entitled? https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance#how-to-apply
    New style ESA is only paid for 1 year unless placed into the Support Group. If placed into the WRAG then you could be expected to attend appointments with your work coach. You can see the descriptors for the Support Group here. https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/employment-and-support-allowance/esa-glossary/1353-support-group-descriptors
    Universal Credit may also be possible but whether entitled to this will depend on your circumstances. As it's a means tested benefit if you live with a partner, you claim as a couple. If you have savings/capital of more than £16,000 you're excluded from claiming. If you claim both of these together the ESA will be deducted in full from any UC entitlement. Use a benefits calculator to check entitlement.
    The smart watch will not be classed as an aid because people that don't have a disability use these all the time.
    The back brace is not classed as an aid for preparing a meal. I'm unsure if it's classed as an aid for walking, i suspect not.
    For PIP whether you're entitled will depend on how your conditions affect you against the PIP descriptors. It's not about a diagnosis. I'd advise you to have a read of this link it will give more knowledge of the PIP descriptors and what they mean.



  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    First off, the link poppy provided is your best starting point for PIP and covers all the basic issues you need to know.

    For more in-depth consideration of aids, https://pipinfo.net/issues/aids-and-appliances

    “aid or appliance”- (a) means any device which improves, provides or replaces [the claimant's] impaired physical or mental function;

    The discussion around atypical aids can be kind of complex.  Things that nondisabled people routinely use can still be classed as an aid if it's being used in a different way from the usual manner to provide specific help - e.g. one that has been established is needing to lay on a bed to get dressed (whereas sitting on the bed to get dressed is something nondisabled people also do, in which case the bed is not classed as an aid).

    The back brace, if it allows you to carry out an activity because of a specific connected function by decreasing pain enough for you to be able to do that activity better, might count.  You should do some in-depth reading if you're cognitively able to, and/or seek specialist advice about it.

    The smart watch could be seen as an aid for managing a health condition - though you'd have to specify how it replaces a function and my own brain is too foggy to think very much about that at the moment, and I'm not that would score points anyway - the relevant descriptor is 3b (iii) supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to monitor a health condition. 1 point which specifically does not mention the use of aids. 

    [Yet 3a only refers to 'unaided' which I'd only just noticed and is interesting.  If it does fit the definition of an aid then there may be room to assert you don't meet descriptor a and therefore score the 1 point anyway.  If you need to use a pill box or alarm for medication then you score that point anyway so no need to get bogged down with the smart watch.]


    if i was assessed and put into the work group and not the support group i wouldn't be able to attend because of the chronic fatigue,
    You need to tell them this, hammer home how overexerting yourself would make your health worse.  [People with ME know this from oh-so bitter experience already, so I'm glad it's being recognised already in long covid.]  This comes under the 'Substantial Risk' regulation for ESA and UC https://wcainfo.net/issues/substantial-risk-lcwra  Using the smart watch may not score you points here but mentioning how/why you use it lends legitimacy to your need to not overexert yourself.

    For both PIP and ESA you need to tell them whether you would be able to do things repeatedly, and if not, why not. 

    For ESA it's important to emphasise if having to do the activities repeatedly (i.e. in a work situation) would make your health worse. 

    For PIP it's whether you can do the activities reliably: 
    • safely – in a manner unlikely to cause harm to themselves or to another person, either during or after completion of the activity

    • to an acceptable standard

    • repeatedly – able to repeat the activity as often as is reasonably required

    • in a reasonable time period – no more than twice as long as the maximum period that a non-disabled person would normally take to complete that activity

    'to an acceptable standard' also includes without causing severe discomfort - severe pain, fatigue, breathlessness, dizziness, etc.  So if you can shower but it wipes you out for hours, that's not to an acceptable standard.  If the exertion of cooking a meal (according to their definition) leaves you too exhausted to eat it, that's not to an acceptable standard.

    All the best with it.
  • kippo1kippo1 Forumite
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    hiya
    thanks for your help,
    I would of thought using a back support for pain in your spine would be classed as an aid
    i mean who else would use one apart from someone with a problem with their back.
    Also are the dwp saying i could use the alarm on a smart watch to remind me to take my medication
    but i couldn't use it to remind me when my bpm gets to high.

    anyway if a get zero points on my claim i'll hire both of you as my solicitors at my tribunal lol


  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    kippo1 said:
    hiya
    thanks for your help,
    I would of thought using a back support for pain in your spine would be classed as an aid
    i mean who else would use one apart from someone with a problem with their back.
    Also are the dwp saying i could use the alarm on a smart watch to remind me to take my medication
    but i couldn't use it to remind me when my bpm gets to high.

    anyway if a get zero points on my claim i'll hire both of you as my solicitors at my tribunal lol

    No, the DWP aren't saying anything, that was just me musing there and I don't know what view should be taken under the law (I'm not a lawyer, and for good reason!).  We do know though that the alarm function for medication - if relevant to you - is replacing cognitive function (remembering) so is well established as an aid.  Whereas measuring your heart rate … I don't know, what physical or mental function is that replacing?  It could just be seen as a necessary tool, which obviously you wouldn't have to use if you were well, and nondisabled people wouldn't use it in exactly the same way for the same purpose (because they wouldn't need to) but it would be a complicated argument to take to tribunal for just that single point for that one descriptor. 

    I can't see how using the watch to measure your heart rate would be a function specifically tied to helping you do the various activities, that's all.  So you couldn't claim that as an aid under any of the activities except managing your condition.  (Definitely tell them if you use it, painting an accurate picture, it just won't score points by itself.)

    However if you have to stop in the middle of the activities because your heart rate's gone too high, that counts in the length of time it takes which IS relevant. Also if for example sitting means your heart rate is better and you don't have to stop so often/at all, sitting down (except for dressing, unfortunately) on something counts as needing an aid. 

    If you need to use braces for better function to be able to complete activity-specific tasks then yes those would count.  The question for each activity is whether the braces materially affect your function specific to each activity, or whether they 'just' make life more comfortable.  So whether you could reliably/repeatedly/etc. do the tasks without the braces or whether you definitely need them to be able to do the tasks.  

    If you haven't read the links yet - especially the PIP assessment guide - please do, they give a very good explanation.

    Your heart rate and managing your energy envelope is probably just one part of living with LC so certainly mention it, along with all the other symptoms you experience with daily activities for PIP, you just need to be aware of what aspects will and won't score points.


    For ESA managing your energy envelope is probably a bit more critical because it's not based on theoretical standards (which PIP in some ways kind of is) but based on your individual circumstances and what you could realistically manage or not in the workplace or if DWP asked you to do work-related activities.
  • peteukpeteuk Forumite
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    Cooking - is based on a simple meal for one.  Can you sit?  I cant see a back brace being an aid to cooking, this is more lightweight pans, electric tin opener, anti slip chopping board, thick handles. 

    Walking - Can you walk without the brace, what the difference in distance when wearing and not wearing the brace.  AIds usually for walking include grab rails, walking sticks, zimmer frames etc.

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