Lasting Power of Attorney

Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection & Deputyship

If you’re worried about losing the ability to manage your financial affairs finances or who will make decisions about your health or welfare either now or in later life, you may want to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney (known as an ‘LPA’)

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

Powers of Attorney

Keys facts about Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)

  • An LPA appoints an Attorney(s) to make decisions on your behalf.
  • It records your wishes and what powers your Attorney(s) should be granted
  • If you lack the required capacity to sign an LPA then an application can be made on your behalf to the Court of Protection for them to appoint a ‘Deputy’ in respect of your ‘Property and Affairs’ and/or ‘Health and Welfare’.

Types of LPA

There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)

An LPA is a legal document that is prepared by or on behalf of someone who may need assistance in managing their financial affairs or relation to decisions about their health and welfare. People are free to sign either document or can choose to sign both.  

A ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA

A ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA allows you to choose one or more people to be your Attorney(s)make decisions about you personally.  It can include decisions about your day to day life including care and support – subject to any restrictions or guidance you want to include.  It can also enable you to give your Attorney(s) the ability to give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment.

PLEASE NOTE - this LPA can only be used when you are unable to make the specific decision in question.  You cannot delegate your responsibility to decide on matters about you personally if you are able to do so for yourself.

‘Property and Financial Affairs’ LPA

A ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ LPA enables you to choose one or more people to be your Attorney(s) and make property and financial decisions on your behalf subject to any conditions or guidance that you want to include.

PLEASE NOTE - you can use this LPA whether or not you still have capacity to decide the decision in question yourself.

Both types of LPA require registration at the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used and should be registered immediately upon completion.

When do I need to have one done?

Anyone over the age of 18 is able to sign an LPA provided that they have the mental capacity to do so.  Often an LPA is signed where someone is beginning to lack mental capacity so as to ensure they have chosen who they trust to make decisions on their behalf.

For example, a person could have the mental capacity to make simple decisions (e.g. what to have for lunch today) but not more complex decisions (e.g. where to live or whether to have medical treatment). It also means that someone whose condition changes over time might have the mental capacity to make a decision one day but not the next.

What does ‘mental capacity’ mean?

Parents tell us they are concerned about their children who lack the mental capacity to make certain decisions and worry about what will happen when they become young adults. The MCA is the law which applies to decision making for people aged 16 and over who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) says that decisions made about someone who lacks capacity must be made in their ‘best interests’.  The views of the person’s friends and family must be taken into account when deciding what is in the person’s best interests.

Things like these should be considered…

  • The person’s past and present wishes and feelings (including any written statement they made when they had capacity)
  • The beliefs and values they would be likely to have if they had capacity
  • Things they would consider if they were able to do so
  • The views of others, including, if appropriate, anyone caring for the person or interested in their welfare and any Attorney or Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection

Enduring Power of Attorney

Whilst it is no longer possible to make an Enduring Power of Attorney ‘EPA’ any document signed before the beginning of October 2007 remains valid.  PLEASE NOTE – an EPA relates to financial matters only and confers no legal powers whatsoever to a(n) Attorney(s) in relation to decisions about ‘Health and Welfare’.

An EPA does not need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian ‘OPG’ before it can be used.  An EPA can be used by an Attorney(s) without needing to register it provided that you have the mental capacity to manage your financial affairs for yourself.  An Attorney must register the EPA with the OPG when they know or believe that you may have lost the mental capacity to manage your financial affairs for yourself.

What happens if I don’t have an LPA?

Without an LPA, your family may find it difficult to manage both your financial affairs as well as take decisions about you personally as they will not have the legal authority to do so and may not know your wishes. They may need to apply to the Court of Protection for an Order to be appointed as your ‘Deputy’ for ‘Property and Affairs’ and/or ‘Health and Welfare’. It can be costly and time-consuming to do this.

Putting both a ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ and ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA in place offers security for you and your loved ones and lets you decide what should happen if old age, illness or injury leave you unable to deal with your own affairs.

How Do I Get an LPA?

You can put an LPA in place yourself or you can visit a solicitor who can discuss your individual circumstances and concerns that you may have guide and advise you about your options. They will be able to complete all of the paperwork and register the documents with the Office of the Public Guardian.  A solicitor will be able to review your situation more broadly and challenge and advise you on other issues that you may not have considered as well as looking at the ‘what if’ scenarios about how your family may act.

Sadly if you no longer have the mental capacity to understand what an LPA is and the powers that they confer upon your Attorney(s) it will not be possible to sign an LPA.  In that situation an application for ‘Deputyship’ will need to be made to the Court of Protection.  A solicitor will be able to advise you and your family about your options and prepare the application(s) for you.

How much will it cost?

There's a compulsory cost of £82 to register each LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian in England ‘OPG’. If you decide to use a solicitor, you'll also have to pay legal fees to your solicitor who will be able to advise you before you decide.  It may be possible to apply for the OPG registration fee to be waved.  You will need to complete form and demonstrate that you are within their eligibility criteria e.g. your income is below £12,000 per year.

Anything else I should know about LPAs?

An LPA can appear to be a straight forward document but please be advised that without specialist advice from a solicitor there is a risk that it could be invalid or difficult for your Attorney(s) to operate if does not function as you intended.

Where there are any questions concern mental capacity, an LPA should only be signed once a suitably qualified medical practitioner has done an assessment of capacity and confirmed in writing that you have the required capacity to sign the document.

PLEASE NOTE – ordinarily this would be a specialist medical practitioner rather than a GP.

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Public Law & Community Care, including Judicial Review

judicial review

If you are a carer, or care for someone, then this is for you. When you depend on accessing community care and services on a daily basis and you lose it, things can go badly wrong. You can be left at risk, vulnerable and alone and often unaware of your rights. Find out here what you can do, how to get help and about Judicial Reviews.

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

What’s gone wrong?

Public bodies such as Local Authorities and health organisations make important decisions about the lives of vulnerable people and their access to services. Sometimes these decisions are unlawful and may need to be challenged. Sometimes the bodies delay making a decision or do not reply at all and this may also need to be challenged.

This might include some of the following things…

• Failure to carry out a community care assessment
• Failure to provide a suitable level of care following an assessment
• Withdrawal or reduction of a previous level of care
• Closure of care facilities such as day centres, respite centres, care homes or transport services
• Rights to welfare services, such as help with personal care
• Services to enable people to remain in their own homes
• Access to aids and adaptations in the home
• Direct payments and personal budgets
• Support for people on discharge from hospital, or to help safe discharge take place
• Incontinence services
• Wheelchair services
• Support to help people to access the community
• Challenges to closure of care homes and hospitals

This can also include Disputes between local authorities and NHS agencies about funding for care, including NHS continuing care.

What do I do next?

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you can seek assistance or advice about steps you can take to challenge the decision. You can seek advice as a disabled person, a carer or a family member of a disabled child or adult. How to challenge the decision will depend on the type of decision made and the type of public body that has made the decision – so it is important to get good quality advice. You may need to make a formal complaint, start an appeal process, or start a Judicial review claim.

What is a Judicial Review?

Judicial review is the legal process used to hold public bodies to account and to challenge unlawful decisions. There are very strict time limits for bringing a challenge so it is important to seek advice as soon as possible if you think that an unlawful decision has been made.

 

A claim should be issued in court promptly and within 3 months of the decision, and before that your solicitor would write to the decision maker to set out details of the claim and wait for a response. So, you may need to get advice and legal representation fast.

This is a complicated process that solicitors can support you with in bringing cases on behalf of vulnerable disabled people to enforce their legal rights. You usually find that most cases can be resolved before going to court once other options and routes are explored. Judicial review should only be used as a last option.

Legal Aid may be available for advice and assistance.

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A Guide to the Care Act 2014

What happens when my disabled child becomes an adult?  The Care Act 2014 offers carers more rights & protection both for themselves and for the disabled adult they care for... including parent carers! Find out how the Care Act can help you and your family here.

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

Care Act

How can The Care Act help me?

Disabled adults and their carers may be able to access these services and support including…

  • Care assessments and care plans
  • Respite provision
  • Day centre provision
  • Activities in the community
  • Support by professional carers
  • Personal budgets and direct payments
  • Local offer
  • Carer’s rights (see links below for more details)
  • Transition provisions for teenagers in the run up to turning 18

Duties Upon Local Services

According to the Care Act, there is no fixed timescale for the assessment process, but the local authority should complete it within an appropriate and reasonable timescale. What is “appropriate and reasonable” will depend on the circumstances, such as the urgency of the need for support. In certain circumstances local authorities should consider providing interim services prior to completion of assessment.

  • Care assessment should include a ‘plan of action’ – make sure that there is a lawful care plan which shows what services are going to be provided, who is going to provide them, and when.
  • Local authority and health care bodies/other agencies (such as housing) must work together.

Local authorities must also provide information and advice to people about accessing support services, even where those needs are not going to be directly met by the local authority.

Promoting Wellbeing

The general duty of a Local authority is to promote the individual’s ‘wellbeing’; this means that when making any decisions under the Care Act the local authority should bear in mind;-

  • Physical and mental health & emotional well-being
  • Protection from abuse & neglect
  • Control by the individual over day-to-day life (including over care and support, or support, provided to the individual and the way in which it is provided);
  • Participation in work, education, training or recreation
  • Social & economic well-being
  • Domestic, family, and personal relationships;
  • Suitability of living accommodation; and
  • The individual’s contribution to society.
  • Personal dignity (including treatment of the individual with respect)
Care Act

The assessment process

Eligible needs, criteria to be assessed

You can request an assessment by telephone or in person, but it is always best to do it in writing so that you have a copy. This is the first step! It is important to work closely with the social worker, and give them as much information and other assessments/medical evidence as possible so that they can properly assess your son or daughter.

The second step is to determine what the disabled adult and carer’s needs are. This is done via the needs assessment process. One all needs have been identified, the social worker will then identify which of the needs are “eligible” needs and must be met by the local authority.

  • Under section 13 of the Care Act, local authorities will need to apply the eligibility criteria that are set out in the Regulations as a ”minimum”. The local authority only has a duty to meet needs that are “eligible” needs according to this national eligibility criteria.
  • The criteria apply across the country nationally, and so there should no longer be a postcode lottery when accessing care support.

A “needs assessment” will be carried out in a case where it appears a person “may have needs for care and support”. Where a carer may have needs for support, a carer’s assessment should also be carried out by the local authority. These assessments should be person-centred, meaning that the focus will be on what the individual wants to achieve. The assessments must consider the impact of the disabled person’s needs upon other family members – this is called the “whole family” approach. The assessments will be carried out by a social worker using an assessment tool that identifies your care needs as well as the whole family dynamics.

If the individual lacks capacity to make decisions about their care, or will have substantial difficulty in understanding the process, then the local authority must provide them with an independent advocate that can support them in the assessment process. That is, unless there is an appropriate person (like a family member) who can support them.

What does a good assessment plan look like?

There is no mandatory template for a care assessment that all Local Authorities will follow but Assessments should cover issues such as…

  • Diagnosis
  • Health and development, milestones etc
  • Communication needs
  • Equipment needs
  • Culture and identity
  • Any behavioural issues
  • Day-to-day care needs
  • Personal care needs
  • The person’s wishes and feelings in relation to their care and support
  • Need for respite

There must be a plan of action setting out how the needs will be met. The local authority should set this out in a separate document (a care and support plan).

Care Act

Direct Payments & Personal Budgets

At the end of the care and support plan you the local authority must set out your Personal budget. This is the pot of money allocated to you to meet your needs as set out in the care and support plan. This pot of money can be accessed by direct payments, which is where you receive the money yourself and pay carers directly. The other option is for the local authority to buy in services itself (called “direct commissioning”).

The local authority should set out clearly how the personal budget is calculated, so you can see why they have arrived at the figure. If you are going to manage the money yourself via direct payments, it is important that you understand your responsibilities from now on regarding managing this account and the administration duties.

(For more details on this subject please refer to personal budgets and direct payments guides)

Financial assessments

Local authorities will need to carry out a financial assessment to determine if a contribution needs to be paid towards the cost of the care. If individuals have income and savings above the upper threshold amounts, that person will be a “self-funder”, meaning they will have to pay for the care.

Looking for more legal advice?

Find legal support for your disabled or SEN child. Know their rights at school & find specialist advocates and lawyers.

Transitions & preparing for adulthood

Although the Care Act 2014 applies only to disabled adults, it does contain some important provisions relating to transition, as disabled teenagers approach adulthood.

Local authorities must carry out an assessment where it appears that a disabled child may have needs for care and support upon reaching 18. This is called a “child’s needs assessment”. The assessment process will identify how the child’s needs may impact on their wellbeing, what outcomes the child wants to achieve, and what care would help to achieve those outcomes. Authorities will need to determine whether it is likely that support will be required after the child turns 18, and must then provide advice about how those needs can be met or reduced now, or prevented or delayed.

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Challenging a Refusal to Assess your Disabled Child

Challenging a refusal to assess your disabled child for specialist services

Disability Living Allowance Hearing

Has your council told you that they will not assess your disabled child so that they might have access to short breaks or any other support services or help? This is not about your child’s EHCP by the way but about all of the other help your child could get from your local council to support you and your family. Find out here about how legislation in health and social care can help you access short breaks and other help your child needs. 

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

How to ask for an assessment

Is there a minimum age?

There is no minimum age for a child to be ‘in need’ and for an assessment to be required.

Does my child need a diagnosis?

There is no requirement for a formal diagnosis before there is a duty to assess.

Here are the steps to guide you through the process…

 

  1. Ask if an assessment can be carried out from their social worker or the duty worker from the Disabled Children’s Team. The request can be made on the telephone, face-to-face or in writing by letter or email. Parents can simply ask “will the council carry out an assessment of my child under section 17 of the Children Act 1989?”
  1. If the answer is ‘no’, then a version of the letter suggested below can be sent. Local Authorities only have one working day to decide what type of response is required and to acknowledge receipt, so if no response is received within a few days, it is appropriate to write the letter  and send it back to your Local Authority.
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Click here to find out how the Care Act can help you and your family here.

What does a 'child in need' mean?

Children are ‘in need’ if they need help from the council with their health or development or if they are ‘disabled’. The term ‘disabled’ under the Children Act 1989 has a very wide meaning. It includes any mental disorder or any substantial and permanent physical disability.

It will be unlawful to refuse to assess children because they have a particular type of disability – for example ADHD or Asperger syndrome.

Legal duties upon Local Authorities

Assessments under the Children Act 1989 (and for carers under the Children and Families Act 2014) are the first part of the legal process that councils must go through in order to decide if a disabled child and / or their carers should be provided with services. The law says that councils must assess every child who is or may be a child ‘in need’ (see definition below under sources of reference).

  • Any assessment has to be carried out in accordance with the Framework for the assessment of children in need (‘the Assessment Framework’) which requires assessments to be carried out quickly and to cover all the areas of potential need that a child may have.
  • In some areas, disabled children and young people may be able to access some services without an assessment, such as clubs, however generally an assessment will be the way in which disabled children and their families access support services, short breaks, and funding via direct payments to buy these types of services.

Social Services Assessment...What happens next?

Once an assessment has been carried out the local authority must then decide whether it is necessary to provide the child with a service. Many authorities use their own ‘eligibility criteria’ to help them reach this decision, which must be published and available for families to see.

The social worker should then produce a “child in need plan” setting out what care and support is going to be provided, when, and how. The support to be provided to the carer, such as short breaks and respite, can be included in the same child in need plan.

REFUSAL TO ASSESS TEMPLATE LETTER

Click here to find a template letter from Irwin Mitchell which can be sent when a council has refused to carry out an assessment. The letter should be sent, by fax, email and post if possible, to Director of Children’s Services and also to the social worker (if parents have one) and to the Lead Member for Children’s Services (the councillor who is in charge of children’s services for the council). Click on the Link below, scroll down to the Heading Health and Social Care, below that are template letters.  Click on “Challenging a refusal to assess your Disabled Child for Specialist Services.”

What should I do next?

  • Parents should always try to resolve disputes with the local authority through discussions.
  • If an assessment has taken place and nothing has happened as a result, or parents strongly disagree with the conclusions of an assessment (which may be that the Local Authority does not need to provide services) then it will be necessary to take specialist advice.
  • If there is no response to a letter sent such as the one below requesting an assessment then again specialist advice will need to be taken.

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Lost in Transition – Part 18

Love Actually

Love Actually

Love is funny stuff.

Max, my fabulous 16-year-old son who has autism and epilepsy has been in love with his gorgeous Italian girlfriend for 2 years now. They met at school in the Cabin, an SEN supported section of their mainstream school in Cambridge.

Last year however, I had a horrid phone call from the school when they found out that Max and his girlfriend were having sleepovers at each other’s houses.

”…serious safeguarding issues Ms. Marek...”.

It sparked an equally serious response from me and the girl’s mum, I probably over reacted but their relationship is amazingly innocent. You see, they are both a lot younger than their years and haven’t even kissed yet. It is a relationship based on hand holding, declarations of undying love and lots of cute presents. I explained this to the school forcibly enough to get an unreserved apology. BUT they probably will kiss one day, they might even do more! Then what? How can a parent protect and support a relationship between two SEN young people? Is it even any of our business? There are after all, big conversations to have…big emotions, birth control…augh! Not yet though. I shall try to pop this terrifying thought in Pandora’s box just to the left of ‘hope’.

In September, the young love birds had to say goodbye to each other as Max left to go to college in Shropshire to do catering. An amazing college but a good 3 hours away from his girlfriend in Cambridge. Max has been so worried she’ll find someone else…. especially if that someone else turned out to be Max’s best friend who is still as school with her and a really nice chap to boot!

So here is my problem, we all hope our children grow up and find love. I don’t know about you but the thing that keeps me awake at night is the idea that my beautiful boy will become isolated. The idea of Max being alone, not hanging out with friends, not blushing when he asks out a girl, not holding sweaty hands on a date or having his first kiss.

I’m terrified of Max breaking up with his Italian girlfriend. The idea of him feeling heartbreak for the first time makes me feel physically sick. He’s been through enough challenges to be fair. All the medical stuff, struggling at school and making friends. I want to protect him from any more pain. Ridiculous I know. Love and heartbreak are normal and important parts of growing up and once again, this pain isn’t something I can shield Max from and that kills me.

Ironically, for my other son I want him to date lots, to have the great adventure that is love and heartbreak over and over again. I’m struggling with the inequality I’m feeling between the way I treat my two boys. After all, if my other son were to fall in love with a girl he meets at school and never dates anyone else at all I would be seriously worried.

Should I be worried about Max? Am I doing wrong to see them differently?

Last week I saw something beautiful. Max met up with his girlfriend for the first time in ages when he was back for half term. He brought her a dozen red roses. She melted, it was glorious…but her mum and I got thoroughly tearful. The young love birds held hands and coyly walked to the cinema with us mums following at a respectable distance. For now, I’ll try not to worry and remember the way they looked at each other walking in front of us. So delicate and tender. A true gentle innocence. It was enough to take your breath away.

Love Actually.

LOST IN TRANSITION – PART 16

Real Genius

GCSE results

Results day. I know I should be pleased for them. I should say “well done” to all the children of my friends that I’ve watched grow up with Max. I’m trying, promise. But the wild gushing of how incredibly bright they are, how hard they worked, how much they deserve their 15 A*s. Well, do you know what? I’m not proud of them, I’m green eyed with furious envy.

You see, my Max sat his exams this year too. Actually, that’s exam in the singular but that’s another story. He studied, he revised. He threw himself into the subject with everything he’s got and he failed spectacularly. He was always going to fail, I knew that too but there is something deep down that feels unfair about how hard he tried. The fact is that in order for people to get A’s there must be others that get C’s or fails. I just didn’t want it to be him, he could do with a win. He’s only 16 and his life has been so damn hard. I wonder how many other mums have spent time today with fixed smiles on their devastated faces? How many of their friends simply forgot that their children also sat a couple of exams? How many chose not to ask?

It’s all a bit ridiculous I know. But when our children were little and we heard the news for the first time that all was not well, we began to live a day at a time. We lurch to the next seizure, the next time they walk into a road without looking, the next MRI the next set of ECG results…fingers crossed every night as you fall asleep. Odd, but at the time, you don’t think about your little one never learning to read properly, never going out on the town with their mates (if they have any) or getting to GCSE results day knowing you’ll pretend the day isn’t happening.

Of course, it doesn’t end there. This is just the beginning of a much longer journey. No conversations about which university courses they’re interested in or what they’re going to do during their gap year while travelling around India. Instead its talk of if your local authority will continue funding their special needs 6th form that you nearly killed yourself fighting to get him into and then will he be able to get a job? How are his medical needs going to be supported? Will he ever leave home? Will he be lonely? Scared? Will bad people take advantage of him? Can I keep him safe?...I’m just so incredibly scared.

“If at first you don’t succeed, lower your life expectations.”

That used to be a lot funnier.

BUT....self-pity is terribly unattractive. Instead, I shall probably wallow for a little longer then pull myself together. I have to focus on this being his journey and it mustn’t be measured against other people’s journeys. Like all of our original children, they will hopefully grow up to be original adults. It has to be our job to take these ridiculous exam feelings and put them in a box, burry the box at the bottom of a lake then napalm the lake.

Big deal that other kids got 15 A*s today. Are they seriously going to grow up happier than Max? Will their lemon meringue pies make eyes roll in glee like his do?

So, stuff you world and the way you decide to measure success in my beautiful boy. That world can go spin. I’ll have another piece of pie thank you very much.

If you’re in the same place, you might want to check out these useful links…

IPSEA - https://www.ipsea.org.uk

Preparing for Adulthood- http://www.preparingforadulthood.org.uk

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

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Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

oqmzwnd3thu-helloquence

Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

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Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Personal Independence Payment

What is a P.I.P.?

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that helps you with the extra costs of having a disability or having a long-term health conditions. It is for people aged 16 to 64. The PIP is not a means tested benefit.

You'll find a great step-by-step guide to filling in the form on this page. Scroll down to the end of the page for lots more information about how to apply, how to appeal a decision and find lots of other organisations that can help you with your PIP application process.

Children under 16

You can’t make a claim for PIP for children under 16. For existing DLA for child claims the DWP will contact you  when your child is 15 years and 7 months old.

PIP Allowance

If you’re aged 16 to 64 you could get between £23.60 and £151.40 a week by claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The amount you get depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself.

personal independence payment phone number

Telephone: 0800 917 2222
Textphone: 0800 917 7777
Calling from abroad: +44 191 218 7766
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

How is it Scored?

How does the PIP get scored and how many points do you need?

PIP is made up of 2 parts, the daily living component and the mobility component. Each component can be paid at one of 2 rates, either the standard rate or the enhanced rate. You need at least 8 points to get the standard rate or 12 points to get the enhanced rate of PIP. You will qualify for one of these if  you need is great enough. The 'points' in each section range from 0-12 depending on the severity of need.

Component Weekly rate
Daily living - standard rate £59.70
Daily living - enhanced rate £89.15
Mobility - standard rate £23.60
Mobility - enhanced rate £62.25

In our step-by step guide below, you'll find charts explaining how the points are awarded.

pip

How to claim PIP

You can make a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim by calling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Someone else can call on your behalf, but you’ll need to be with them when they call. There are also other ways to claim if you find it difficult to use a telephone. The process is different in Northern Ireland.

Appointees

If a person can’t do things like tell the DWP if their condition gets better or worse, or about changes in address or bank details and so on, another person may need to act on their behalf, as their ‘Appointee’. This must be because of their illness or disability and not just because they are still a young person. Chat to the DWP on the number below to set someone else up as an appointee.

Claim by calling:

Telephone: 0345 850 3322
Textphone: 0345 601 6677

Before you call, you’ll need:

  • your contact details, for example telephone number
  • your date of birth
  • your National Insurance number - this is on letters about tax, pensions and benefits
  • your bank or building society account number and sort code
  • your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number
  • dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital

Carers are currently providing care worth £132 billion...which is the same as the entire NHS budget!

How do I fill in the form?

A Step-by-Step Guide to Filling in your Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Form

As soon as your form arrives, put on the kettle and work through our guide. It does take ages but we'll do our best to help you one question at a time.

personal independence payment

PIP Q.1 - List all the professionals that you see because of your conditions.

These can include your GP, hospital doctor, specialists nurse, community psychiatric nurse, occupational therapist, teachers, SENco, educational psychologist, physiotherapist, social worker, counsellor, or support worker. Say when you last saw them and include their contact details.

PIP Q2. Conditions & Medications

PIP Q2a - List all of your physical and mental health conditions and disabilities and say when they were diagnosis. If you’re not sure, just put down the year.

PIP Q2b - List all of the medications you’re taking and at what dose. Include any treatments you’re having or will be having and any side effects they have on you.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

...and while you're working hard on your PIP application, we wondered if there is anything else we can tell you about?

PIP Q3 - Preparing Food

This question is about if you can prepare a meal for yourself. Can you do things like peeling, chopping or opening packaging? Can you use a hob, oven or microwave oven safely?

PIP Q3a – What other help from an aid or appliance do you need to prepare and cook a simple meal for yourself? Do you need things like perching stools, lightweight pots and pans, easy grip handles on utensils, single lever arm taps and liquid level indicators?

PIP Q3b - Do you need help from another person to prepare or cook a simple meal?
Do they remind you or motivate you to cook? Do they plan the task for you? Do they supervise you, help you physically or do they prepare all your food for you?

PIP Q3c - Extra information - Preparing Food

Write down anything else about how you find preparing food tricky because of your condition. How are you managing now? How long does preparing a meal take? What help do you need? Is it safe for you to cook? Are you in pain or do you get tired?

 

Preparing Food Points
Can prepare and cook a simple meal unaided. 0
Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal. 2
Cannot cook a simple meal using a conventional cooker but is able to do so using a microwave. 2
Needs prompting to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal. ‘Prompting’ means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person. For example: you lack motivation to prepare and cook a simple meal on the majority of days due to a mental health condition, or need to be reminded how to prepare and cook food on the majority of days. 2
Needs supervision or assistance to either prepare or cook a simple meal. You may need supervision to safely heat or cook food using a microwave oven; or to claimants who cannot safely prepare vegetables, even with an aid or appliance. In cases of a risk of self-harm, there should be good evidence of the risk. 4
Cannot prepare and cook food. 8

 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP Q4 - Eating and drinking

This question is about how you eat and drink because of you condition(s).

Do you remember to Eat? Do you need help cutting up your food? Can you put food and drink into your own mouth and can you chew and swallow?

PIP Q4a – Do you need to use an aid or appliance to eat and drink - like weighted cups or adapted cutlery?

PIP Q4b – Do you use a feeding tube or similar device to eat or drink - like a feeding tube with a rate limiting device as a delivery system or feed pump?

PIP Q4c – Do you need help from another person to eat and drink? Does someone have to remind or encourage you to eat? Do they supervise you? Do they physically help you to eat and drink or do they manage your feeding tube?

PIP Q4d - Extra information - Eating and drinking

 

Eating and drinking Points
Can take nutrition unaided. 0
Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to take nutrition; or ii. supervision to be able to take nutrition; or assistance to be able to cut up food. 2
Needs a therapeutic source to be able to take nutrition. You may require enteral or parenteral feeding but can carry it out unaided. 2
Needs prompting to be able to take nutrition. ‘Prompting’ means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person. 4
Needs assistance to be able to manage a therapeutic source to take nutrition. 6
Cannot convey food and drink to their mouth and needs another person to do so. 10

 

PIP Q5 – Managing treatments

This section is about how tricky you find it to manage your treatments, monitor your condition and stop yourself getting worse. That might include monitoring your blood sugar level or noticing changes in mental state and pain levels.

Q5a – Do you need to use an aid or appliance to monitor your health conditions or take medication or manage home treatments? E.g. Do you use a Dosette Box for tablets.

Q5b – Do you need help from another person to remind you to take medications and treatment? Does someone supervise you while you take your medication? Do they physically help you take medication or manage treatments?

Q5c – Extra information - Managing treatments. Chat about the good days and the bad ones. Do you have any side effects that make managing your medication tricky?

 

Managing treatments Points
Does not receive medication or therapy or need to monitor a health condition; or can manage medication or therapy or monitor a health condition unaided. 0
Needs either to use an aid or appliance to be able to manage medication; or supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage medication or monitor a health condition. Eg. You might need help opening bottles or taking pills out of blister packs; help interpreting or reading blood sugar for the correct dose of medication; supervision to ensure the medication is taken properly; prompting to remind the claimant to take medication at the appropriate time(s). 1
Needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes no more than 3.5 hours a week. 2
Needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes more than 3.5 but no more than 7 hours a week. 4
Needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes more than 7 but no more than 14 hours a week. 6
Needs supervision, prompting or assistance to be able to manage therapy that takes more than 14 hours a week. ‘Prompting’ means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person. For example, a claimant needs 15 minutes of assistance with therapy each day Monday to Friday, or reminding to manage 8
disabled council tax and disabled bills

PIP Q6 – Washing and bathing

How does you condition affect you taking a bath or showering? Can you wash your body, limbs, face, underarms and hair and can you use a standard bath or shower?

Q6a – Do you need to use an aid or appliance to wash and bathe yourself, including using a bath or shower? Aids and appliances include things like a bath / shower seat or grab rails.

Q6b – Do you need help from another person to wash and bathe? Do they physically help you? Do they remind you when to wash and bathe and do they watch over you to make sure you are safe?

Q6c – Extra information - Washing and bathing

Tell us more about any difficulties you have when washing and bathing like risks including accidents a safety, the time it takes and if you have pain, breathlessness or get really tired.

 

 

Washing and bathing Points
Can wash and bathe unaided. You can wash and bath unaided, including getting in to and out of both an unadapted bath and unadapted shower. 0
Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to wash or bathe. E.g. a long-handled sponge, shower seat or bath rail. 2
Needs supervision or prompting to be able to wash or bathe. ‘Prompting’ means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person. 2
Needs assistance to be able to wash either their hair, or body below the waist. 2
Needs assistance to be able to get in or out of a bath or shower. 3
Needs assistance to be able to wash their body between the shoulders and waist. 4
Cannot wash and bathe at all and needs another person to wash their entire body. 8

 

PIP Q7 – Managing toilet needs

 

Talk about if  you can get on or off a standard toilet, and clean yourself after using the toilet. Can you manage emptying your bowel and bladder? Do you need a collecting device such as a bottle, bucket or catheter?

PIP Q7a – Do you need to use an aid or appliance to use the toilet or manage incontinence like commodes, raised toilet seats, bottom wipers, bidets, incontinence pads or a stoma bag?

PIP Q7b – Do you need help from another person to use the toilet or manage incontinence? Do they physically help you? Do they remind you when to use the toilet or do they watch over you to make sure you are safe?

PIP Q7c – Extra information - Managing toilet needs

Say how long it takes you to complete this activity. Is it different day to day? Tell them about good and bad days. Are you incontinent? How you manage it?

 

Managing toilet needs Points
Can manage toilet needs or incontinence unaided. 0
Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to manage toilet needs or incontinence. 2
Needs supervision or prompting to be able to manage toilet needs. ‘Prompting’ means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person. 2
Needs assistance to be able to manage toilet needs. E.g. If you require assistance to get on and off the toilet and/or to clean themselves afterwards, but 4
Needs assistance to be able to manage incontinence of either bladder or bowel. 6
Needs assistance to be able to manage incontinence of both bladder and bowel. 8

 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP Q8 – Dressing and undressing

In this section, you can talk about how your condition affects you putting on and taking off clothes, including shoes and socks. Do you know when to put on or take off clothes, and can you choose clothes that are appropriate?

PIP Q8a – Do you use an aid or appliance to dress or undress like modified buttons, front fastening bras, velcro fastening, shoe aids or an audio colour detector?

PIP Q8b – Do you need help from another person to dress or undress? Do they physically help you? Do they select your clothes for the weather, the occasion or the time of day? Do they tell you when to dress and undress or do they remind you when to change your clothes?

PIP Q8c – Extra Information - Dressing and undressing

Add anything here that helps explain how else your condition affects you doing this activity like how long it takes you to dress and undress or if only have difficulty dressing certain parts of your body?

Dressing and undressing Points
Can dress and undress unaided. 0
Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to dress or undress. E.g. modified buttons and shoe aids. 2
Needs either prompting to be able to dress, undress or determine appropriate circumstances for remaining clothed; or prompting or assistance to be able to select appropriate clothing. 2
Needs assistance to be able to dress or undress their lower body. 2
Needs assistance to be able to dress or undress their upper body. 4
Cannot dress or undress at all. 8

 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP Q9 – Communicating

How does your condition affect you communicating? That includes your speech, hearing or how you understand what is being said to you. (In your native language).

 

PIP Q9a – Do you need to use an aid or appliance to communicate with others like a hearing and voice aids, picture symbols or other assistive computer technology?

PIP Q9b – Do you need help from another person to communicate with others?
Do they help you understand what people are saying? Do you have someone who helps you by interpreting speech into sign language or do they help you by speaking on your behalf?

PIP Q9c – Extra information - Communicating

Mention it here if you have Tourette’s syndrome, Asperger’s or autism and find it difficult to communicate or if your medication has side effects that make it difficult to communicate. Does communicating cause anxiety and distress?

Communicating Points
Can express and understand verbal information unaided. 0
Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to speak or hear. E.g. You might require a hearing aid or an electro larynx. 2
Needs communication support to be able to express or understand complex verbal information. E.g. You may require a sign language interpreter. 4
Needs communication support to be able to express or understand basic verbal information. E.g. You may require a sign language interpreter. 8
Cannot express or understand verbal information at all even with communication support. 12


 

gwvmbgpp-pq-steinar-la-engeland

PIP Q10 – Reading

This section is about how you read normal sized text and understand signs, symbols and words (in your native language). You should also talk about if you have problems concentrating when you read. Talk about how you read and understand signs, symbols and words written or printed in your native language, not braille. How you understanding numbers, including dates and other day to day reading like timetables.

PIP Q10a – Do you need to use an aid or appliance other than spectacles or contact lenses to read signs, symbols and words like magnifiers or need to take breaks?

PIP Q10b – Do you need help from another person to read or understand signs, symbols and words? Does somebody else need to read or explain signs and symbols to you because you have a learning disability or a mental health problem?

PIP Q10c – Extra information - Reading

Write about how how your condition affects your writing. How long does it take you to write a letter?

Reading Points
Can read and understand basic and complex written information either unaided or using spectacles or contact lenses. 0
Needs to use an aid or appliance, other than spectacles or contact lenses, to be able to read or understand either basic or complex written information. E.g. You may require vision aids. 2
Needs prompting to be able to read or understand complex written information. 2
Needs prompting to be able to read or understand basic written information. 4
Cannot read or understand signs, symbols or words at all. E.g. You may require another person to read everything for them due to a learning disability or severe visual impairment. 8

 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP Q11 – Mixing with other people

This question is about how you get on with other people face-to-face, either individually or as part of a group. Do you understand how they're behaving towards you, and can you behave appropriately towards them?

PIP Q11a – Do you need another person to help you to mix with other people? Does someone else need to encourage you to mix with other people? Does someone help you understand how people are behaving and how to behave yourself because you have a learning disability or mental heath problem?

PIP Q11b – Do you find it difficult or stressful to meet other people?

PIP Q11c – Extra information - Mixing with other people

Explain any stress, anxiety or confusion you feel around meeting people. Do you need help to stay safe? Do you have good days and bad ones? How do they differ?

Mixing with other people Points
Can engage with other people unaided. 0
Needs prompting to be able to engage with other people. ‘Prompting’ means reminding, encouraging or explaining by another person. For example: may apply to people who need encouragement to engage with others in the presence of a third party. 2
Needs social support to be able to engage with other people. 4
Cannot engage with other people due to such engagement causing either –

i. overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant; or ii. the claimant to exhibit behaviour which would result in a substantial risk of harm to the claimant or another person. ‘Overwhelming psychological distress’ means distress related to an enduring mental health condition or intellectual or cognitive impairment which results in a severe anxiety state in which the symptoms are so severe that the person is unable to function. This may occur in conditions such as generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, dementia or agoraphobia.

8

 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP Q12 – Making decisions about money

This section is about how you manage money. Do you understand how much things costs? How much change you should get and how to manage budgets? Can you understand how to pay bills and plan?

PIP Q12a – Do you need someone else to help you to understand how much things cost when you buy them or how much change you'll receive? Do you need someone to do it for you or do they need to remind you to do it or how to do it? Do you need someone to help you understand?

PIP Q12b – Do you need someone else to help you manage your household budgets, pay bills or plan future purchases? Do you need someone to do it for you or do they have to help you manage your bills? Do you need encouragement and help to do it?

PIP Q12c – Extra information - Making decisions about money

How your condition affects you understanding money? Do you have a learning disability that makes understanding money difficult?

 Making decisions about money Points
Can manage complex budgeting decisions unaided. 0
Needs prompting or assistance to be able to make complex budgeting decisions. 2
Needs prompting or assistance to be able to make simple budgeting decisions. 4
Cannot make any budgeting decisions at all. 6

 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP Q13 – Going out

This section is about how your condition makes it tricky to go out. That includes how to plan and follow a route, follow a train and bus timetable or if you have severe anxiety or stress prevents you from going out.

PIP Q13a – Do you need help from another person to plan a route to somewhere you know well? Do you need someone to help you plan a route, or plan it for you? Do you have an assistance dog or specialist aid, such as a white stick? Do you find it difficult or stressful to handle change? Do you have a mental condition that makes travelling difficult? Do you need somebody with you to stay safe?

PIP Q13b – Do you need help getting to somewhere you don't know well?

Just like in the previous question about travelling to a familiar place this question asks about the same challenges but for an unfamiliar place. Is an unfamiliar journey different in terms of the challenges it presents to you?

PIP Q13c – Are you unable to go out because of severe anxiety or distress?

PIP Q13d – Extra information - Going out

Talk about tell us how your condition affects you going out if you. Talk about any orientation aids you use. Do you have good days and bad days? Do you feel anxious, fearful or nervous? Are you at risk of accidents, injury or do you get lost?

 Going out Points
Can plan and follow the route of a journey unaided. 0
Needs prompting to be able to undertake any journey to avoid overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant. ‘Overwhelming psychological distress’ means distress related to an enduring mental health condition or intellectual or cognitive impairment which results in a severe anxiety state in which the symptoms are so severe that the person is 4
For reasons other than psychological distress, cannot plan the route of a journey. 8
For reasons other than psychological distress, cannot follow the route of an unfamiliar journey without another person, assistance dog or orientation aid. 10 points. 10
Cannot undertake any journey because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant. 10
For reasons other than psychological distress, cannot follow the route of a familiar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid. 12

 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP Q14 – Moving around

This question is about you standing safely without help and if you can walk safely

PIP Q14a – How far can you walk taking into account any aids you use? To give you an idea of distance, 50 metres is approximately 5 buses parked end to end.

PIP Q14b – Do you use an aid or appliance to walk? Walking aids include walking sticks, walking frames, crutches, and prostheses.

PIP Q14c – Do you use a wheelchair or similar device to move around safely, reliably and repeatedly and in a reasonable time period?

PIP Q14d – Extra information - Moving Around

Talk about any aids you use, rest breaks you need, pain, the time it takes to move around, accidents and other risks. Do you need someone to help you? Do you regularly fall? Do you find it difficult to move around on certain ground surfaces? Do you use a wheelchair? Is it motorised or manual? Do you experience any other difficulties, either during or after the activity, like pain, breathlessness, tiredness, dizziness or anxiety?

Moving around Points
Can stand and then move more than 200 metres, either aided or unaided. 0
Can stand and then move more than 50 metres but no more than 200 metres, either aided or unaided. For example, this would include people who can stand and move more than 50 metres but no further than 200 metres either by themselves, or using an aid or appliance such as a stick or crutch, or with support from another person. 4
Can stand and then move unaided more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres. For example, this would include people who can stand and move more than 20 metres but no further than 50 metres, without needing to rely on an aid or appliance such as a walking stick, or help from another person. 8
Can stand and then move using an aid or appliance more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres. For example, this would include people who can stand and move more than 20 metres but no further than 50 metres, but need to use an aid or appliance, such as a stick or crutch to do so. 10
Can stand and then move more than 1 metre but no more than 20 metres, either aided or unaided. For example, a person who can stand and move more than 1 metre, but no further than 20 metres, either unaided or with the use of an aid or appliance such as a stick or crutch, or support from another person. 12
Cannot, either aided or unaided – i. stand; or ii. move more than 1 metre. 12

 

PIP Q15 – Additional information

This page is blank. Add any more information in here or on a separate page with your name and national insurance number at the top.

Add any reports from you family or carers here too....and that's just about it! You've definitely learnt another cup of tea.

 

Top Tips...

  • Get all of your professional reports as early as possible.
  • If you use information in the reports to give evidence of need in your form, then reference it and highlight relevant sections in the reports when you attache them.
  • If you're not confident hand writing your form, don't worry. You can answer pretty much everything by using separate pieces of paper that you attach to the form. Remember you MUST put the claimant's name and national insurance number at the top of each page.
  • Photocopy everything! You don't want to have to do the whole thing again.

When you've finished your form, post it off in the envelope provided.

You’ll then probably have to have an assessment to complete your Personal Independence Payment (PIP) application. This will be a meeting with a health professional who will write a report and send it to the DWP. You need to prepare for the meeting in advance. Happily, there's a fabulous guide from Citizens Advice HERE that will help you prepare.

DWP's intro to PIP's

This website includes an overview, details about eligibility, what you'll get, how to claim and what to do if your circumstances change.

Citizens Advice Bureau - PIP Language

This guide to the language used in the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment criteria. Whether you can get PIP depends on an assessment of your ability to carry out certain daily living activities and mobility activities. This is measured against a list of descriptors, which describe varying levels of ability under each activity.

Challenging a PIP decision

A CAB guide to appealing against the decision made about your PIP claim.

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Education

Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.

gwvmbgpp-pq-steinar-la-engeland

Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants

Finances

Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.

oqmzwnd3thu-helloquence

Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?

istock_000021104923large

Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.

Lost in Transition – part 11

The Man Who Came to Dinner

I've just got back from our first family holiday with my boys and my newly (in)significant other ‘Bob’. I wasn’t going to share this because I thought it might be a little close to home but seeing as divorce rates for parents of disabled children is through the roof I thought it might be handy to share.

All a bit of a scary idea really, proper time with my two boys in a confined space without wifi. Suicide in retrospect.

It should also have been apocalyptic weather but the Norfolk gods smiled kindly on us and we had a blissful time. A good thing too because all of them absolutely refused to play Pictionary with me (can't think why!). It’s not as if I went to St. Martins School of Art and worked as an artist for 15 years…. actually it is just like that.

But in short we had three days on the beach making sand sculptures, massive sand castles filled with lego figures and flags and Louis on his skimming board darting along the water's edge. We ended each day by toasting marshmallows while telling ghost stories and finally went seal watching at sunset. The kind of English holiday that memories are made of.

The boys were both seriously needy though...

It was as if they had to be 10cm from me at all  times. They even kept tripping me up walking in front of me. I get it, really. First holiday after the divorce with somebody else in tow. It's all a bit challenging changing the dynamic. After all they've had enough change for a lifetime. But Bob as usual was incredibly kind and patient. He's been here before of course with his two.

He hung back when they wanted me to themselves and answered all of their crazy technical, scientific and historical questions. I may just like Bob a bit more after seeing him with my two. Bob spent every waking minute making sure my boys were the most important people on the planet. He's a charming, kind man.

And now for the introspective bit...

Autism is a different way of seeing the world. It’s another language and Bob doesn’t speak it at all. For me it is weird to realise, but Bob has never met anyone with special needs before. He said something that I’m finding hard to shake,

“I don’t know what Max is thinking”.

Those few words circle like a washing machine. I see dads walk away from their ASD kids all the time. Max isn’t even his.  His own father didn’t stick around so why would anyone stick around if they find stuff tricky and they don’t have any reason to stick around? I’m trying to keep this in proportion. Bob gets on brilliantly with both of my boys. He spent this holiday flying kites, explaining how crystals form and holding my hand when he was sure the boys weren’t watching. He’s a good man. But it’s like throwing an enormous dinner party. Everyone praising the food, crying with the joy of their fully entertained taste buds, naming their first born after the dessert and then a small voice at the end of the table says…”but the starter was a bit salty.” So what do you remember of the evening?…yup, too much salt.

 

If you’re in the same place, you might want to check out these useful links…

 

The National Autistic Society- http://www.autism.org.uk

Epilepsy Action - https://www.epilepsy.org.uk

Lost in Transition – part 10

cake

Rear Window

It had been decided by the great and the good that the only way Bob’s Community College could decide if they could offer him a place was to observe him for a whole day in his natural habitat at school. The day was set for a Tuesday so Mrs. Bob from the College could also observe Max in his weekly after school cookery club.

Mrs. Bob from Bob’s Community College arrived bright and early. Of course I had no idea what was happening in Max’s classroom, just that it was happening. The email from the Transition Officer had clearly stated that,

“…they were not trying to catch anyone out…”

What? Were they?

It hadn’t even occurred to me that might be the case. What were they trying to catch us out with? What was there to figure out? All I knew was that Max was never going to get the math he needed to do cookery at a mainstream college and none of the special needs colleges did cookery. It sounded like we were waiting for the tagline at the end of a joke but it wasn’t at all funny.

Max took his usual place in his own little kitchen in the cookery classroom

He worked through the directions making the pastry, chilling it, peeling the apples. He worked alone of course but I don’t think he noticed he was. I hope he didn’t notice anyway. Most of all I hoped he wasn’t lonely.

I tried not to watch him cook of course, but I was. Mrs. Bob took her seat opposite me surrounded by chairs stacked neatly on top of tables (it was an afterschool club after all). She dismounted one of the blue plastic chairs and got her notepad out with a smile…

”You don’t mind if I sit here do you?”

Actually you frighten me, I thought, but...

“Of course, fab to have the company.”

I shut my laptop, tonnes of work to do too.

So much was riding on this one day...

If Mrs Bob thought Max’s culinary future was simply a hopeful parental dream, then Bob’s Community College would offer him a place without the cookery component. If Mrs Bob felt Max could handle level 2 math, then he could attend the mainstream cookery course at Bob’s Community College too. She kept taking notes and in-between each thought she clicked the top of her biro endlessly, constantly. What could she possibly still be writing about?

She’d been observing Max since 9am...

We chatted. The usual SEN small talk, games of SENdar in playgrounds, ASD eye contact, playing next to not with. It was like SEN dating small talk. An unwritten code of how to talk to SEN types. I kept noticing Max struggling with the right-handed apple peeler…He’s a lefty.

She talked about her family, how her son played golf and tennis right-handed but was in fact left handed. She’d noticed Max struggle with that bloody apple peeler. Then she said it…

”Max is doing all of this by himself isn’t he?”

By George she’s got it! Yup, that’s just how my baby boy rolls lady.

“I haven’t seen him this engaged or independent all day…”

Said Mrs Bob. I know! Seriously what have we been talking about for the last 3 months.

“Really?”

I said, I can’t actually pull off coy, but I tried anyway...

“So what do you you think he’ll do after college?”

An ungainly loaded question I thought.

“Well, I don’t see why he can’t get a job in a kitchen somewhere…”

She would make a terrible poker player, her left eyebrow shot up as she continued to scribble.

“Do you mean some kind of assisted work experience?”

No, an actual job, like a real person you crazy...

“No, just a job. Well if a couple of other people there are trained in the epilepsy stuff and I can get him help to get to and from work then I can’t see why he can’t work…”

“But he can’t do the maths can he? He won’t be able to do any of the measuring?”

What for washing up? Beating the hell out of some bread dough or perhaps even making sandwiches? Really?

“I don’t think all kitchen jobs need maths all the time. That kind of seems like a rather small obstacle to overcome in the big picture don’t you think?”

She smiled and continued to click the top of her pen…click…click…click. Terrible handwriting too. Mrs. Bob finally stopped the constant clicking of that freebie marketing biro and packed up her lined A4 pad into her plastic folder with a satisfying pop.

“I’ll get my report over to Miss Bob by the end of the week.”

Transition officer Miss Bob that is.

And there it was. Almost going unnoticed, a little wry smile...

A tiny ‘woman to woman’ moment. I can’t be sure it even happened and I’ll let you all know if this all works out but I think she got it. I think she could image Max training, him working, him living happily ever after. We’ll see. I won’t exhale just yet.

 

If you’re in the same place, you might want to check out these useful links…

The Children and Families Act 2014 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/6/pdfs/ukpga_20140006_en.pdf

The Equalities Act 2010 - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance

IPSEA - https://www.ipsea.org.uk

Preparing for Adulthood- http://www.preparingforadulthood.org.uk

Lost in Transition – Part 7

Much Ado About Nothing

You must first understand how wildly damaged I am. I have this horrible habit of not stopping, not giving up, ever. When I was a kid I lived in London and would always run for every bus, every train. I found myself getting really anxious if I didn’t. There is a simple explanation. If I always did my best, then if it didn’t work out I didn’t have to blame myself.

It’s a pretty naive idea but it’s stayed with me. Now when I work I get horribly obsessed. I won’t sleep until I’m done. And to be done I have to go above and beyond. Max’s transition is under my skin in the same way.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Contacting the shortlisted schools for more information was going to be a minefield.

So I did the only thing I could think of and got all grown up about it. I structured the questions based on some ‘fun’ bedtime reading namely The Children and Families Act 2014 and The Equalities Act 2010. The letters were formal, enormous and incredibly detailed.

I waited…then I waited some more. I got two responses after a week,

Thank you for your email requesting details regarding our post 16 provision for your son. Unfortunately we cannot provide for many of the requirements, therefore I have to regretfully say that we would not be an appropriate provision for him. If you need any further details regarding which aspects we could / could not provide then please do come back to me.”

The other school answered each question in the same amount of detail I’d sent them. They were surprisingly kind and open, they seemed to see him as a person. For the first time I felt as if Max’s promise might be able to be kept.

OK, one yes and one no. I sent out reminders to the other five schools through their main emails as well as the SEN department ones. I got two responses from PAs saying they would pass my message on. They either didn’t or the departments in question didn’t want to respond.

Instead I spent my time pouring over the school’s websites in shocking detail. Two felt right. I know, a terrible thing to trust your gut instinct but there was something that felt personal about these two. Less cattle like, they felt as if they were aiming at their kids having a future and weren’t looking at warehousing them. They didn’t’ even use the word ‘cohort’ in their about page.

I chatted to Miss Bob, Max’s Transition officer, about it and she arranged to speak to the rest herself. She has suggested visits and assessments. She wants more paperwork from Max’s school, from Max’s doctors, from his carers…it's endless. But at least it’s something I can get my teeth into.

 

If you’re in the same place, you might want to check out these useful links…

The Children and Families Act 2014 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/6/pdfs/ukpga_20140006_en.pdf

The Equalities Act 2010 - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance

IPSEA - https://www.ipsea.org.uk

Preparing for Adulthood- http://www.preparingforadulthood.org.uk