I was cry­ing and walked into a wall but as­ses­sors just keep fill­ing out their forms

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS -

Mother-of-two Jamila Shaikh, 59, said she broke down in tears dur­ing a “dis­tress­ing” as­sess­ment process.

The test left her so stressed she walked into a wall and was al­most knocked out.

Mrs Shaikh, who works as a com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, has cone dys­tro­phy, an in­her­ited ocu­lar dis­or­der which leads to blind­ness.

“I was reg­is­tered blind 15 years ago,” said Mrs Shaikh, who lives in Glas­gow’s west end. “It was ap­par­ently a faulty gene.”

Mr Shaikh’s hus­band, Us­man, and their two daugh­ters of­fered to ac­com­pany her to the ap­point­ment to be as­sessed for PIP, but she in­sisted on go­ing alone.

She said: “I went into the build­ing in Glas­gow with a white cane but peo­ple were not very un­der­stand­ing. They gave me di­rec­tions to the as­ses­sors but I was like, ‘ok, but how do I get there’.

“At that time, I could just about work out shad­ows and shapes. I man­aged to fol­low the as­ses­sor into a room.

“They did not put their hand out to as­sist me. They just watched me be­cause they think you’re try­ing it on. Straight away I ex­plained that I’m reg­is­tered blind but they wanted to do all these ridicu­lous tests. They kept ask­ing me if I could see let­ters on a chart on the wall. I said I couldn’t even see the chart.

“Then they asked how many fin­gers they were hold­ing up. I could only see a shadow. How am I sup­posed to work out how many fin­gers they are hold­ing up?

“Then they had me walk about. They told me to walk across to a wall. They asked me if I could dress my­self.

“I started cry­ing be­cause it was so de­grad­ing. I am a vul­ner­a­ble per­son and there was no friend­li­ness. It was just a tick box ex­er­cise. They were very cold.

“I was so up­set I be­came stressed out and dis­ori­en­tated and I bumped into the wall. I was stunned and I had a bump on my head which came out straight away. “One of the peo­ple in re­cep­tion came to help but the as­ses­sor just got on with their pa­per­work. “When I got home I told my hus­band and he was to­tally shocked. He felt bad that he didn’t come with me but

I wanted to be in­de­pen­dent and in­sisted on go­ing on my own.” Mrs Shaikh was awarded PIP but she crit­i­cised the sys­tem which left her in tears.

“I didn’t ex­pect them to be so cold,” she said.

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