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Supporting an Autistic adult to access Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Actions and outcomes

MR self-referred into the Western Bay Integrated Autism Service in April 2019 for a diagnostic assessment of autism. She told the service that she’d had “severe difficulties” since leaving university. MR explained that social situations are incredibly difficult for her and she is unable to attend appointments or meetings unaccompanied.


MR received a diagnosis of Autism in May 2019 and attended a Post Diagnostic Course in September 2019. Attending the course gave MR the opportunity to think about her autism and open up about her struggles. The IAS talked with MR about her rights as an employee and as an individual, and discovered that she’d had an upsetting experience with a PIP assessment, which she found traumatic and resulted in the loss of her payments. Due to her social and communication difficulties she was unable to effectively explain her struggles to an assessor. Without these payments, it was becoming likely that she would have to move back into her parents’ house, as she would no longer be financially able to live independently.


As a team, the IAS were able to support her to challenge the way she was assessed and acquire a re-assessment. The IAS were also able to provide evidence of how MR’s autism affects her day to day.


MR’s PIP award was successful, and she is now able to continue to live independently.


The IAS received the following email from MR’s mother:


“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and your team for all the support you gave MR and her PIP claim. She was awarded the full amount, which means she is able to stay living independently and afford things that will make her life easier. Thank you so so much for your help and telephone calls to PIP … just knowing your service is there to support us is a peace of mind and definitely has made a difference to our lives. We both cannot thank you enough for your support and guidance.”

Lessons Learned

On a practical level, the IAS have learnt more about the PIP system, how it works, how to challenge decisions, and how the service can support applications. This has been a good starting point on which to base future learning.


It took time to get to know this individual, she had lost trust in professionals and communication is a huge struggle for her. This successful outcome has proven that by using the team’s knowledge and experience of autism, they can gain the trust of autistic individuals so that they feel comfortable to speak openly.


As a relatively new team, the IAS have learnt that they can work together effectively to share information and skills. This example involved good team coordination. MR was assessed by the Occupational Therapist and Speech & Language Therapist, and then went on to attend the Post Diagnostic Course, facilitated by the Specialist Autism Practitioner and Wellbeing Support Worker. Whilst the Wellbeing Support Worker challenged the PIP decision, the Autism Practitioner wrote a supporting letter which was confirmed and supported by the Speech and Language Therapist in her capacity as diagnostician. It was a real team effort, and the team are delighted with the successful outcome.


Health Board:
Swansea Bay University Health Board