I’m Ellie Wilkinson. I study zoology at Nottingham University and I have cystic fibrosis. So I’ve always been on disability
living allowance since I was young So they kind of phased it out into PIP, that’s the Personal Independence Payment. And I got the letter through asking
me to apply for PIP and I kind of… assumed that it would just be pretty be okay because I’ve always been on disability living allowance, there’s never been any issue with that. So why wouldn’t it be okay? So we sent off the claim form,
got invited to a face-to-face interview with an assessor. She asked me a lot of questions
about my day-to-day life but I was quite healthy on the day of interview. She kind of mistook that to mean I was always healthy meaning that I was always healthy, I assume. So when we got the letter through with the decision it was kind of a bit of a shock Ellie got in touch with the helpline when she was refused Personal Independence Payment and based on the assessor’s opinion of her she wasn’t given enough points to qualify for Personal Independence Payment This meant that she wanted to dispute her decision and I helped her with preparing for an appeal. For the first appeal we sent off a letter that my parents and Sangeeta and me all kind of had an input into. But no extra evidence as it was just asking them to review the existing evidence and make a decision on it. We also got a negative back from that one, which was quite upsetting because that meant we had to proceed to take it to tribunal. Ellie is… somebody who has a condition that fluctuates, which is very common with cystic fibrosis. She’d had some bad periods in hospital, some not so bad periods when she was able to conduct her full time studies. With all those different kinds of days, we tried to work out how her
condition was most of the time. So on the day of the tribunal, I was the one who was standing up presenting my data telling them that they should give me this benefit. So then they sent us out of the room, and then when we got called back in they they kind of slid a piece of paper over and they were like ‘Here’s your decision’ and I was like ‘whoop, yay!’ because it was a yes. It was a huge relief. I’ve been able to study more because last year I had to redo the year because I was so ill but also I got to the point to be honest that I couldn’t afford to stay at uni. Well Ellie is a perfect example of where if you give somebody a small amount of information and guidance on the rules, then they can then use that
to evaluate their own condition to prepare their own case, and it is something that empowers her to take that forward and then fight her own appeal. To anyone else who’s going to do the same thing, applying or appealing, the first thing is stay calm, if you think you can get it, you can. Just keep appealing, it’s a lot of work, but it is worth it. And the final thing is definitely ask for advice the Cystic Fibrosis Trust has
been amazing with their help. There’s a lot of support available, there are people who know about this and can help you and definitely use them.