Long time no see, I know, but now I'm back with what I hope might shed some light on a tricky time for others. Towards the end of last year I struggled to find what I was looking for, which is odd given the dearth of info on this internet of ours! We had the dreaded switch from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) coming up for Smiler, and I honestly didn't know what to expect. While I could find several really informative guides to filling in the main PIP form itself (which I will share when I get to that bit) I was after more of an overview, a shared experience or two of what actually happened and when. Because of that, I'm going to share our experience here in the hope that it might provide a bit of clarity for other parent carers going through the same thing. I have gone back and forth a bit about sharing the details as they're specific to Smiler, and there's the whole "how dare you share that info about your child without their permission" thing. In response to that, my reasoning is that I'm not sharing anything that is embarrassing or distressing to him, and I'm confident that since he gets a lot out of being helpful to others he wouldn't have an issue with my trying to make this process a little less worrying for someone else going through it.
So, lets start at the beginning. Smiler has been on DLA since just before he turned one (reviewed when he was three, eight, and thirteen) and his sixteenth birthday was in September 17. He's always been on high rate care and high rate mobility, and we've never had to appeal or ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) or anything - it's always gone very smoothly. Partly, I think, because he had a definitive medical diagnosis very early (at ten days old), and we've always been able to send several clinic letters from different consultants referring to his myriad medical conditions, and school paperwork referencing his level of development and understanding. His most recent DLA award expired on 24th March 18, exactly six months after his birthday.