Well it is finally over. I had my Capita assessment for PIP today. I must say I found it quite gruelling. I went in at 1.15 p.m. and we came out at 3.00 p.m.!!

On entering the building, we were told to sit down and wait. I am in a wheelchair which is pushed by my husband/carer. There were around 20 wooden table and chairs much like a café set up. I was surprised we were the only ones there as I thought with the supposed backlog the place would be packed. The only people there were two women at a table with an open laptop. One of the women turned out to be my Assessor. So I think that they were spying on us beforehand or maybe I am just paranoid lol. It turned that she was a nurse but she only told us this on our way out. I suppose I should have asked really at the beginning of the interview. I had been sat on my wheelchair with my feet up on an adjacent chair, as I get a lot of pain when my legs are down in a normal sitting position. I had been told that they watch you when you come in to see how you walk, what you are carrying, if you bend down when you are not supposed to be able to. I mentioned how few people were there and she said she had about 3 of every 6 appointments were no-shows.

Anyway, she called us into an office with just a table and chair and an examining couch. She explained what the PIP assessment was for and said she would be going through the form asking questions. She started off by confirming my illnesses (I have peripheral diabetic neuropathy and cervical spondylitis) and asked me which illness caused me the most problems. I told her both and she asked if that was due to pain and I said yes. She then asked about my prescriptions and asked if we had a print out from the chemist. (In actual fact, we had forgotten it. We turned around to get it but there was too much traffic so we decided against getting it as it would have made us late). We explained this to her but I said I had included an original print out which I had sent in with my claim form, so she looked it up. I think this slightly annoyed her as she had to go through several systems to find it - not a very good start. She asked if I had been hospitalised for each of the illnesses at any time and asked how long each hospital visit lasted for.

She seemed to focus on certain descriptor points. She spent some time asking about our facilities at home i.e. grab rails, raised toilet seat, electric bed, electric rising chair, etc. She asked me to describe how my husband/carer washed me in the shower. She wanted to know in exact detail i.e. did I stand up, did I have a stool to sit on and did I use the stool.

She asked about toilet habits and said could I sit down and get up off the toilet (which I can't, my husband has to help me get up).

She asked if I could make a hot drink for myself and I said no. She asked my why not and I said my hands jerk and drop things inadvertently. She asked if I had actually scalded myself and I said yes.

She asked if I could make a simple meal for myself and I said no. Again, she asked why not. I told her that I stumble a lot as my balance is rubbish due to the neuropathy. I'm also very disorientated at times and told here that one day I was cooking some chicken and forgot all about it and set the kitchen on fire.

She asked if I could peel a carrot. I said no and again she asked why not I told her that due to my jerky inadvertent moves, it was dangerous to do so. She asked if I had had any accidents and I told her that I had cut my finger which needed stitches.

She asked if I needed any supervision or help with taking my medication and did we use any aids. We said we had a dosette box. She asked why couldn't I manage to use the dosette box. I said my husband had noticed that I was missing doses or taking doses from the wrong day and just generally mucking it up. I took too much of one of the drugs one day and suffered severe hallucinations.

She was typing down comments to everything I told her.

She asked me what type of accommodation we lived in and I said a rented bungalow. She said can you get around the bungalow i.e. from the bedroom to the kitchen. I said I have a rollator at home which lets me walk a few steps and then sit down when the pain kicks in in my legs and back.

She asked me how far I could walk and did I use aids for that i.e. walking stick. She said she recognised I had the rollator at home but said how many metres could I walk. I said I was too old to work out metres but pointed from my chair to the wall (which was about 10 feet away) and said I could walk that far before pain kicked in and that once the pain kicked in, it was almost immediate for each step after that.

She then went back to the hospital question and said what procedures have you had done. I told her that I have had an operation on my spine, I had an Anterior Cervical Discechtomy on 3 levels with metal cages and something else (can't remember full name of it). I am on around 15 drugs per day and that includes 4 types of pain medication including morphine, duloxetine, pregabalin and amitriptyline.

After all this, she then asked me what hobbies I have, such as crosswords, Sudoku, puzzles, reading etc.

She asked if I watched t.v. and did I have a mobile phone that I used and a tablet, again, which I could use. She asked if I was on any social networks such as Facebook, Twitter etc., for which I said Facebook which I looked at now and again. I am sure these questions are some of those trick ones they use. For instance, I was told that if you said you watched t.v. that automatically meant you could sit down for an hour or two to watch a programme. I was also told that if you could use a mobile phone you had manual dexterity which could mean you could operate a till. So I'm a bit worried there. Perhaps someone can let me know about their experiences. I was also told, that in one instance the DWP looked up a claimant's Facebook and declared her fit for work as she spent nearly all day on Facebook. Mind you, I don't know how true that last one was [I]

You can understand why the interview took so long.

She asked if I could stand on tippy toes, then bend/crouch down and stand back up again and then bend to touch my toes. I said, not a hope and she didn't ask me to try. She then asked me to grip her two fingers on each hand and pull down on them. Then she asked me to make a circle with my thumb and first finger and she put two of her fingers in the circle and tried to push them apart and that was it for the examination.

At the end I said what happens now as I had heard all sorts of horror stories and was there any truth in them (one of my sister's friends has had a leg amputated, the other leg is badly ulcerated and her hands are almost claws due to arthritis and diabetes and they put her on low care and NO mobility). The Assessor said that if I was turned down that I should get the additional medical reports and send them in for a mandatory consideration. I hadn't sent any reports in with my claim form as I didn't know you were supposed to source these in order for you to pass them on to PIP when you apply. They tell you in the covering letter, NOT to ask for medical reports now that I had the claim form, as they said it might delay my application. So I didn't get one and I assumed they would ask my G.P. if they needed someone to confirm my conditions.

So, it sounded like she was almost telling me that I would fail, but to send in the additional reports and fight it. Maybe I am reading more into it because I'm so worried about the horror stories. I forgot to say I am being transferred from higher rate DLA and Mobility to PIP. I had been on an indefinite award. So I will have to wait and see.

I would love to hear other people's experiences. So please post links if you find anything along these lines. Has anyone got any thoughts on my assessment?