Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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condition worse since PiP award

shuniishunii Member Posts: 1
 I was changed from high rate dla (in both categories to the new pip. While I was there my legal appointee was not allowed to speak on my behalf and the lady would not confirm her name or if she was with Atos or another company.I struggle with mental health issues as well as physical but there was no one there to assess my mental health. We had requested a home visit and were refused despite the fact I am unable to walk unassisted or without support from another person. The decision came back and my benefits were dropped by £70 a week which is the difference between eating or paying bills. I feel this decision was wrong and unfairly judged. Since this time I have been admitted to hospital and they have confirmed my condition is worse and I have had OT and social services making my ability to move around my home easier. I am sure I should still be on the higher rate but have been told if you appeal they stop all your money for months while they make a decision. I am at my wits end and often wonder if it is worth carrying on living with no dignity and being classed as a scrounger. I have worked and paid into this system since I was 15 years old.Please advise as I dont know where to turn for help and getting out of the house is not an option for me.
 I have been too scared to rock the boat with the dwp so have done nothing yet
 Any advice on what I can do, if there is anyone, anywhere who could put my case forward for me. I don't think I can cope with this amount of stress much longer.  I got the pip in January and was in hospital in June this year.

Replies

  • jakeboy2jakeboy2 Member Posts: 1
    Sympathy for your message.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 128 Listener
    Shunii

    OMG you need to APPEAL! 

    it's not clear from your message whether or not you're receiving any rate of PIP - but the only way to get the high rate reinstated is to appeal.  With PIP, they don't stop your the award they gave you whilst the appeal is ongoing so no fear of losing existing money there (however, the risk with appeals is that they can issue a brand new decision, so at the point this happens technically they can say 'no PIP for you at all sir/madam' ) -  but based on what you've told me I can't see that happening...

    The important thing, that you need to do right now is get that Mandatory Reconsideration in.  Instructions should be on the decision letter they sent you. 
    You only get a month from their decision date to do so, so hop to it! You need to tell them your reasons for appealling, but you can also say that you will be sending further evidence asap.
    Then, get straight down to an advice service for some professional support in handling the case.  There are benefit caseworkers who handle this sort of thing every day; it's their bread-and-butter and they'll know how to phrase things to get your situation across to the DWP.
    Scope has a service directory - http://www.scope.org.uk/Support/services-directory?Type+of+service=information - if you choose 'Information' from the service type drop-down you will be shown a list of info services nearby.  Failing that, talk to your local CAB.   Often, if you can't get to the office, they can send someone to your home.
    Send your reasons for appealling the decision over and the DWP will get a different decision maker to review everything again.  'Fresh set of eyes'.

    From what I've heard Mandatory Reconsiderations don't always have the outcome people are seeking, which is annoying to say the least; but once you have gone through this process you can progress to tribunal appeal... and your chances are more favourable.   I heard 6 in 10 get the result they are looking for.  Again, do it with a benefits advisor who has experience of MR and tribunals.  

    Tribunal decisions take time, yes.  But it's worth the effort - like you say, this money is vitally important to your life and it sounds like you're entitled to claim it; so don't let this erroneous decision and problematic system turn everything upside down... ...it can feel so personal, this horrible process that leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed and shamed; but the sheer volumes of people in your shoes right now that this isn't about you specifically; it's a systemic thing that sadly, we have to continue to manoeuvre within in order to access the things we need.   Don't give up, Shunii. 

    -B x

  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Member Posts: 947 Pioneering
    Hi Shunii, I'm really sorry to learn about your PIP and the way in which the assessment was handled. I'm concerned to hear that the assessor wouldn't give you her name or tell you which company she was working for. If you are able to find out which provider carried out the assessment, you should consider making a complaint about this. For convenience I've included links to both Atos and Capita's feedback pages. I don't think it is unreasonable to know the name of your assessor or who she works for. http://www.atoshealthcare.com/pip/feedback_pip http://www.capita-pip.co.uk/en/complaints.html Did you provide evidence from your GP or other healthcare professional about your need to have a home visit? Your legal appointee wasn't able to answer questions on your behalf and this is standard practice (unless the healthcare professional cannot understand your speech or you cannot understand their questions), they should have been able to add to what you told the assessor though and this is particularly important if carers are attending assessments with claimants. Every piece of information helps. The idea of a face to face assessment is to gather as much information about the claimant and their disability as possible. Carers are vitally important in filling the gaps and also supporting the person through the assessment which for some is really quite intrusive. The assessor's opinion should not be based on a snap shot of your condition on the day you attend the assessment, they should consider the effects of your condition over time. Don't feel scared to rock the boat with the DWP, easier said than done, I know but if we don't challenge these decisions and take them all the way through the proper legal channels then lots of people like yourself are going to lose out on vital money. I would also add that I've come across or heard about some truly excellent healthcare professionals carrying out assessments but we rarely hear about the good ones. Please do appeal and if you need further help or information get in touch. Best wishes and good luck Debbie
  • PhilipPhilip Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    I used to work for the DWP & I have seen what happens, if your condition has worsened, you can tell them, however, they could stop your current claim for you to submit a new claim, that's how the system has been set up. 
  • susiesusie Member Posts: 1
    Appeal every time! The process may seem daunting to the uninitiated but honestly with help it's easier than people think - the panel are very nice thoughtful & helpful & there to help you - get advice & go for it ! 
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