What are the common PIP assessment questions on Mental health?

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This blog will discuss common PIP assessments asked in the case of disability related to mental health disorders. 

We will also discuss what PIP is, the criteria of eligibility and what mental health is. 

What are the common PIP assessment questions on Mental health?

Here are is a list of areas based on which PIP assessment questions as asked related to Mental health:

Identification

The individuals who are taking your assessment- face to face- will most probably be asked with identifying details and cross check them with the details and documents they have on hand. 

About your medical diagnosis

Next they will ask you about your mental disorder diagnosis as in:

  • How long you have had it
  • Who diagnosed it and when
  • How it is managed
  • What the symptoms are
  • How it affects you personally 

Another area that is explored is the variations of symptoms in terms of:

  • How your symptoms differ from the diagnostic criteria
  • How you experience it at least 50 percent of the days in a week or so. 

This is important because they might look into your case where you might experience extreme distress three days a week whereas you can manage the other four days- they will assess on how you can manage on those four days.

In regard to this it is important that you clearly tell them how it affects you for example, if you have been diagnosed with depression you might still be able to dress up, get to work but not be able to work because you cannot focus or concentrate. 

It is important that you stress on how this variation in symptoms occurs as opposed to someone with depression who is not able to even get out of bed so that they can understand and assess you accurately.

It is important that you explain this variation in terms of days so that they take notice of it, note it down, and this can be a case for support in case your application goes to the tribunal hearing. 

Medication

The next topic that is assessed will be your medication. Whether you are taking any form of medication for your mental health disorder. 

For example, if you take antidepressants for your depression diagnosis. Make sure you mention how you take it, your dosage, how it affects you, and also the side effects of antidepressants and how it is affecting your quality of life.

if You are not taking medication, explain why you cannot take the medication or why you have not been prescribed it. For example, some medications are not prescribed due to allergies etc or side effects causing you to discontinue the medication.  

This part of the questions can also include individual therapy, if you are in any form of therapy, skills training etc for example, speech therapy or social skills training for your mental disorder, the cost of therapy etc. Make sure you mention these to them.

Activities

Questions related to activities will also be included such as preparing food, planning your day, doing errands, taking medication etc. 

These questions are not easy and not simple, so pay attention to them and answer as best as you can as to how your condition affects you daily activities and how difficult it makes it to do these things. 

For example, someone with anxiety might have a hard time going outside to bring in the mail or buy groceries whereas people with depression find it hard to feel motivated enough to eat and maintain hygiene etc. 

Explain clearly and accurately how the condition affects these activities as well as what you can do. At times, if your assessor does not seem to understand your experiences, make sure that you put your distress due to your condition clearly- how it affects your quality of life. 

Take charge if you must if the assessor is not exploring questions related to activities, make sure that you explain your side of the story such as needing assistance, inability to work, as well as issues related to your safety.

Another question area that is explored is that of toilet management and hygiene. In the case that an individual is unable to manage toilet use by themselves, it needs to be explored, clearly, and with great detail.

Usually, it is important to mention what counts as aid when using the toilet such as a railing, a board, or another individual.

Mobility and movement

Now, another area that will be explored with questions is mobility- in terms of your ability to get from point A to point B, and how you do so. 

At the same time, you might also be explored regarding your ability to use transport, get yourself from one point to another without assistance from other individuals such as being able to coordinate maps, public transport, go and come back without assistance etc

It is important that you express how mobility is affected by symptoms of your mental disorder such as unable to go to public spaces due to agoraphobia, inability to engage in social situations due to social anxiety etc. 

Now, another area that is explored in PIP assessments is that of movements. This needs to be explored and the assessors should be able to understand, based on your description, how it can be limiting to the individual’s quality of life and their ability to work or socially interact. 

What is PIP?

PIP stands for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which is a financial benefit that is paid to between the ages of 16-64 who need financial help because of a long-term illness, disability or mental health condition. 

PIP is a financial assistance and benefit that does not affect your income, capital or savings of the individual and you can also claim other benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit even if one claims PIP.

An individual can apply for and be paid PIP even if when they are in and out of work and one’s payment to National Insurance does not affect PIP. However PIP might affect Constant Attendance Allowance or war pensioners’ mobility supplement.

PIP consists of two components, and people can qualify for both components or only one. These components are:

  • Daily living component
  • Mobility component

PIP claims upon approval are paid into your bank or post office account every four weeks after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) assesses you as eligible for the claim and also determines what rate you are to be paid. 

Awards of PIP are for fixed periods of time like a certain number of months or years and once this period ends you can make another claim to receive these awards.

What are the PIP criterias?

PIP assessments has criterias for two components (mobility and daily living) and these criterias that are assessed includes the following:

Daily living

Criteria related to daily living activities includes having difficulty in the following areas due to your autism diagnosis:

  • Needing prompting or supervision to cook and prepare food
  • Needing prompting or supervision to eat food
  • Needing help managing therapy or monitoring a health condition 
  • needing prompting or supervision to maintain hygiene. 
  • Needing assistance in managing toilet needs 
  • Needing assistance in dressing and undressing 
  • Needing communication support)
  • Needing prompting to read or understand written information and reading.
  • Unable to interact in an appropriate manner, understand body language and establish relationships
  • They need assistance when planning a budget or managing and paying bills

Mobility 

Criteria related to Mobility includes having difficulty in the following areas due to your autism diagnosis:

  • planning and following a journey. Needs assistance to make a journey and take care of all details related to making this journey like scheduling, planning, billing etc. 
  • Struggle with limited physical ability to move around.

What is mental health?

In very simple words, mental health refers to our overall cognitive, emotional, and behavioural wellbeing that is concerned with what we think, feel, and behave. 

Mental health is a crucial part of a person’s life as any disruption in their mental well-being can impact their daily lives, their relationships with other people, and also their occupational progress as well. 

Interestingly, this relationship between mental health and the various factors such as relationships, jobs, day to day activities is bi-directional meaning that such factors can be affected by our mental health and at the same time, these factors can affect our mental health. 

For example, stress at our jobs can impact mental health well-being and this negative state of mental health can impact our ability to handle work responsibilities thus adding more stress. 

Here are some official definitions of Mental Health:

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Mental health is a 

“…state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”(WHO)

The WHO stresses on the fact that mental health is a fundamental aspect of our lives and no person can have complete health without a positive state of mental health. 

The WHO also acknowledges that mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders and the state of one’s mental health is influenced by the socioeconomic, biological and environmental factors that they live and interact with. 

There is also an importance of community effort that WHO puts forward regarding mental health promotion and regards this as a community effort and an important aspect of policy making in terms of health and welfare. 

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines Mental health as,

“…a state of mind characterised by emotional well-being, good behavioural adjustment, relative freedom from anxiety and disabling symptoms, and a capacity to establish constructive relationships and cope with the ordinary demands and stresses of life.”(APA)

According to this definition of mental health, there is emphasis on the fact that mental health is more than just the absence of mental illness.

Rather, positive mental health is characterised by the ability of a person to establish positive and constructive relationships, and also meet the demands of their daily lives as well as stress. 

According to the APA, mental health of a person can also be identified by their level of emotional and behavioural adjustment and the presence and absence of disability. 

Conclusion

This blog discussed common PIP assessments asked in the case of disability related to Mental Health. 

We also discussed what PIP is, the criteria of eligibility and what Mental Health is. 

What is the best way to answer for PIP questions?

The best way to answer your PIP assessment questions is to be honest, and stick to describing how you re affected most of the time, and add concise answers that are consistent across contexts. 

What conditions automatically qualify you for PIP?

Conditions that qualify you for PIP in most cases include:

  • Psychiatric disorders 
  • Medical conditions that has been diagnosed by professionals

How many points do you need for PIP?

You will need to meet 8-11 points for daily living to qualify for PIP.

Does PIP contact your doctor?

Yes, the DWP will usually contact your doctor when you submit a PIP claim as per the information you send when you file a claim.

References

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association; 2013.

Questions asked at PIP Assessment. Disability Claims. Retrieved on 7th February 2022. https://disabilityclaims.uk/questions-asked-at-pip-assessment/

About Mental Health. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. 28th June, 2021. Retrieved on 7th February 2022. . https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm

Mental health: strengthening our response. WHO. 30th March 2018. Retrieved on 7th February 2022. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

Mental Health. APA Dictionary of Psychology. Retrieved on 7th February 2022. https://dictionary.apa.org/mental-health

Saloni Dattani, Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2021) – “Mental Health”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/mental-health’ [Online Resource]

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