Completing forms properly
I am disabled, I have advanced MS and I cannot work. Completing forms properly is essential if I am to receive any state benefit.
PIP (Personal lndependence Payment) and Incapacity Work Benefit are forms for benefits I have had to complete. These forms are a nightmare, lots of difficult questions. They must be answered correctly if you are to have any chance of receiving any state benefit. The money you receive will give you more independence and a better quality of life.
There is one rule, never understate your disability.
There are two approaches to completing forms properly.
You are horrified at the number of questions on the form and the knowledge you need. The temptation to dump the form in the pile labelled ‘Deal with it tomorrow‘ is often irresistible. You know the form is there to be completed but you ignore it. Finally you pluck up the courage to look at the form. Only then do you realize the form needs needs to be completed by tomorrow.
What do you do? You immediately start to answer the questions. They seem terribly easy and straight forward and before you know it all the questions have been answered. You post it and now its only a matter of waiting for the benefit to be paid into your bank account.
The chances are that you will not get any benefit or the payment you receive has been reduced. This is because you did not answer the questions properly.
The second approach is much more measured. This technique will improve your chances of answering the questions correctly so that you receive the benefit.
Read through the form
Make sure you understand the basic requirements. Here are a couple of them.
- Make sure you know the completion date for the form.
- Some forms demand that you answer the questions using a pen with black ink.
Answer the easy questions first
- Age, address, date of birth.
- NI number, you will probably got to look that up
Questions that need a bit more research
- The answers to some of the questions might be in old bank statements, old payslips. Find the answers to these questions. You might need to make phone calls or write letters.
You have now answered all the questions that require straight forward answers
There are now some difficult questions to answer. Try to answer all these questions in one sitting. Write the answers on a separate sheet of paper.
Look at the questions and your answers on the next day. The chances are that you will need to change the wording or rephrase a sentence.
Now the important bit. Questions relating to health and state of mind, for example; how many times do you stumble or fall over each week.
Never understate your disability
You might be OK now but 2 months ago it was a different story. For example you might have had a relapse and you could not get out of the house but you are OK now. The temptation always is to make your problems seem trivial. Don’t.
When you have answered them don’t be shy, ask for help. I would recommend that seek help from another person who knows you, such as your partner, sibling or a close friend. There are people who know how to answer these questions. The problem is that the questions on the form are not that different but each one is looking for an answer to a specific problem.
Using your information a professional will word the answer correctly. They can help you write out the answers succinctly, use the right words or phrases.
Now copy these answers onto the form.
Read the answers on the form and make sure you have answered all the questions that need an answer. Don’t forget to sign and date the form. When you have completed the form take a copy (Scan or Photocopy). Keep the copy in a safe place, you may well need to refer to it later.
Post the form. If you have to send documents that are difficult to replace, e.g. birth certificate then use recorded delivery or deliver it by hand and get a signature.
There is now a much better chance that you will receive the benefit payment. If after a couple of weeks and no news then phone up the office and give them a ‘gentle nudge’. In other words ask if there are any problems with the form.
Click here to find out if you are receiving the correct benefits.