‘Debts and bills are piling up’ Woman left feeling ‘worthless’ during PIP claim process

Personal Independence Payment: Advice on how to claim

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The average PIP claim takes five and a half months according to official records from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), yet readers have been contacting Express.co.uk to vent their anger because they claim many are waiting much longer. A 51-year-old mum from Twickenham says her case took much longer than a year, and if it wasn’t for her family, she wouldn’t have been able to survive. She fears the cost of living crisis is only going to make things much worse for vulnerable Britons.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk she said: “I feel worthless.”

Ms Ellingham continued: “I see how some people say claiming disability leaves them feeling suicidal.

“Luckily for me I have my family to support me but what happens to those that don’t?

“I’ve worked hard all my life to just be forgotten about.”

Since speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Eltringham’s PIP claim has been awarded but it took an arduous battle to get there.

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It’s not the first time Express.co.uk has heard from a PIP claimant who is unhappy with the DWP process.

Last month Lara Burwell said that she had also found the system relentless.

She said: “Despite the life changing side effects of my cancer, the DWP told me that there was no evidence that I had any issues that would impact me day to day.

“Fast forward three years and two more tumours and I’m still fighting to get the support I’m entitled to.”

Macmillan Cancer Support deals with cases like this every day and says people are waiting way too long for a decision.

Eve Byrne, director of advocacy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “It is unacceptable that people are waiting an average of five months to receive their Personal Independence Payment.

“This is adding even more weight to the shoulders of many people with cancer, who are already up against the devastating financial pressures of both a diagnosis and the rising cost of living.

“The continued delays are causing huge anxiety for people living with cancer, with some telling us that they simply ‘can’t afford to live’.”

The Department for Work and Pensions declined to comment when contacted by Express.co.uk.

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Initially, PIP claimants need to fill and send off the How Your Disability Affects You evidence form to the DWP.

They will then be assessed by an independent healthcare professional.

People can ask Scope or Age UK for help filling out the forms.

More information on the criteria and how to apply can be found on Gov.uk.

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

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