Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Impossible situation

Lynne53Lynne53 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
My Husband can only walk a few yards without severe pain stopping him.  He has been called in for a medical assessment to a building where the office is on fourth floor and the letter states to ring if he couldn't manage the 80+ stairs in the event of an emergency.  As he has a mild speech impediment and dyspraxia I make his calls and he gives his permission for this.  He has always had home assessment before so I rang to Check.
  I was given a list of centers miles away with ground floor rooms, but with no adjacent parking, all in areas we don't know.  If I could drive I could drop him off and then park but at the moment I am not driving for medical reasons.  I then asked about a home assessment and this requires a letter from GP. Heart in boots I rang  surgery to be told that doctors don't do letters anymore.  Rang back again to assessment phone line and there is no so!ution to this.  I attend with my husband due to his speech problems but I am on  crutches.  The advice is, miss the appointment then the DWP will send a form asking why.  He has to explain all this and then hope they don't construe this as being deliberately awkward.  Its hopeless and very depressing that nobody would offer any help or support.

Replies

  • Lynne53Lynne53 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    I didn't mention that my dad died recently and I am not up to confrontation and arguments. Still grieving and I get tearful easily.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Assessment companies will pay return taxi fares to assessment centres (they did for me) if the company approves this in advance.  Phone the assessment company's customer service number that should be on the appointment letter.
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Oh @Lynne53 what a stressful situation! 

    @Matilda 's advice seems sensible, try calling and asking for a taxi?  Let us know what happens.


    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • Lynne53Lynne53 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    I think the cost would be too high for them I don't think it  will be much less than £40 each way.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    You could ask if they have an upper limit for taxi fares, Lynne53.  If they want you to go for assessment a ground-floor centre, then they should be willing to pay the taxi fares if that's the only way the claimant can get there.  Atos say on their  letter that they pay taxi fares and they don't give an upper limit.  I assume that Capita have similar rules.
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    It certainly seems worth an ask.
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • MickeyMickey Member Posts: 16
    Hi @Lynne53 - that is a difficult situation. I think I'd be pursuing it with your GP though, the simplest solution here is a home visit and they are certainly available for this situation. I would consider putting a request for support in writing to the practice manager, explaining the situation.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Also, you could complain to your MP as assessment company are being so difficult.
  • Lynne53Lynne53 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    We have had another letter saying he must attend at the nearest ground floor centre where there is no car park. It's a morning appointment so the only way we can do it, because we don't know the area either, is book into a Travelodge the night before.  Then we will find an Asda or Tesco park there and get a taxi to wherever we need to be.  Then get a taxi back to the car.  No other way round it, he can't walk, I'm on crutches so it's a big mess. Apparently because we have lost four of our doctors the surgery is at crisis point and there is no way to get a letter asking for a home assessment.  I can see why people just give up and half starve themselves.  It's a real nightmare.  I wrote to our MP about bedroom tax and made it clear I was waiting to hear from him, that was early last year and I am still waiting so no help expected from him.




  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Lynne53 did you ask about them paying for a taxi?

    If they will pay for that, then that may be easier and cheaper than hotels, parking and taxis?
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Capita might be willing to pay all or at least some of your taxi fares to and from your home to the assessment centre, door to door virtually.  Suggest that you ask their Customer Services call centre.  Even if you would have to pay all the taxi fares to and from home yourself, this might well cost no more than paying for a hotel and then local taxi fares (unless Capita will reimburse the local taxi fares) Less inconvenience, too.  Suggest that you ask Capita what they will pay in taxi fares.  Then weigh up the pros and cons of taxi all the way there and back against a combination of car, hotel and local taxis.
  • Lynne53Lynne53 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    The round trip would be something between 60 and 70 miles..  in a taxi it would cost more than the Travelodge, there was a discount offer.  Plus on the morning of the assessment my husband will be very anxious and if we are already in the right town the pressure will be off him a little.  I am also afraid of making too much fuss.  To be honest we are not too sure why he has to go as he doesn't get ESA.  The PIP appeal has still to be faced.  CAB are just too busy to attend with us, but we have had telephone advice.

  • mossycowmossycow Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    Gosh, it's all a nightmare.  I've some experience of the same situation.  Going for an assessment,  they have no idea how stressful it all is.  Putting them on high floors and not near parking -  ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! 

    You seem to be handling it really well but gosh why does it have to be such a struggle? 

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    @mossycow, I think assessment companies like to make access to their centres difficult so that they can turn round and say that if people can get to them, then they cannot be all that disabled.  My PIP assessment appointment letter gave details of travel by public transport and then directions on foot (more than half a mile from nearest train station)!  No info about travel by car, parking or disabled access.  For an assessment centre for disabled people.  I phoned Atos customer services who had no knowledge about local parking so they approved my travel by taxi (about 16 miles round trip).
  • Lynne53Lynne53 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    I completely agree they choose places carefully so there is usually something to start you on the back foot.  The moment they spot you your assessment begins even though you might still be in the waiting room.  Often the interview rooms are at the end of a long corridor and if you're able to walk to that room it's all over for you.  Pain should be taken into account, the distress it's caused along with the fact that you have to do it again to get back
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    At my PIP assessment the consultation room was 16 metres from the waiting area.  The assessor decided that because I could walk this distance, indoors on a level, carpeted surface, then I must be able to walk more than 20 metres but less than 50 metres outdoors, which is a ludicrous inference.  I have pointed out in my tribunal appeal that the DWP's own PIP Handbook states that walking ability must be assessed outdoors using pavements and kerbs.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/519119/personal-independence-payment-handbook.pdf

    And there is the DWP's PIP assessment guide for 'professionals' where they advise assessors on ways to get claimants to contradict themselves and how to observe them informally.


  • catchacold2catchacold2 Member Posts: 19 Connected
    Matilda said:
    At my PIP assessment the consultation room was 16 metres from the waiting area.  The assessor decided that because I could walk this distance, indoors on a level, carpeted surface, then I must be able to walk more than 20 metres but less than 50 metres outdoors, which is a ludicrous inference.  I have pointed out in my tribunal appeal that the DWP's own PIP Handbook states that walking ability must be assessed outdoors using pavements and kerbs.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/519119/personal-independence-payment-handbook.pdf

    And there is the DWP's PIP assessment guide for 'professionals' where they advise assessors on ways to get claimants to contradict themselves and how to observe them informally.


    Great advice @matilda......The advice I often hand out when in an assessment is to make sure you give as much detail as possible when asked a question whilst keeping to the point. Failure to do so and the assessors is trained (as shown in their assessment guide) to write down their own interpretation of events using basic descriptive phrases that will not always reflect the claimants real personal  circumstances.
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    @Lynne53 Would you like to speak to someone on the helpline about this? They may be able to offer support. You can speak to them on 0808 800 3333.
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    edited January 2017
    Thank you, @catchacold2, though even when the person being assessed gives a detailed answer, the assessor will still leave some of the answer out in their report to underestimate the level of disability.  For example, I was asked about interests and replied that I go to concerts, theatre and cinema OCCASIONALLY.  The assessor, as I knew she would, left out the word 'occasionally' in her report!
  • Lynne53Lynne53 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    Thanks Sam we are not even sure why he has to have this assessment he was on ESA but that stopped about 2 years ago.  I rang to find out what was going on and the person I spoke to thought it might just be to get his stamp paid.  I lost my Dad a few months ago and it's still quite raw so my tolerance of stupid rules and tricks to catch you out is very low with the DWP. 




  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    DWP should tell you exactly why your husband needs an assessment. Is he on DLA/PIP? If not, I think he'd be eligible for PIP. After the assessment suggest he claims PIP (Personal Independence Payment).
  • Lynne53Lynne53 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    He had full mobility DLA. for life in the early 1990s.  Rules change and he was reassessed for PIP.  He scored no points at all fo mobility and surprisingly enough points for lower rate mobility. This meant the car had to go back and he was devastated.  The assessor had lied several times and we asked for a mandatory review.  This came back and he was still not given any mobility points and they also took away his everyday living needs.. We are now waiting for an appeal on top of the ESA assessment  
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Good luck with the PIP appeal - over 60% are successful.  Read Disability Rights website advice about PIP appeals.

    The DWP are being cruel to disabled people to save money.  Assessors lie and DWP are happy to believe their lies.
  • Angel40Angel40 Member Posts: 34 Connected
    Similar experience here. My fiance was awarded pip for two years, had a stroke got reassessed and lost the lot. Our mp is involved and we are facing 2nd pip tribuneral in two years. Atos ignored medical evidence and told lies so im involving the ombudsman. Its disgraceful
  • Lynne53Lynne53 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    My husband is in bed ill and I'm sure it's the stress that's caused it. I don't know where this is all going to end.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Sorry to hear that your husband is ill, @Lynne53.  Hope he feels better soon.  Just take all the PIP aggro one step at a time and try to relax in between.
  • mossycowmossycow Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    Pipping (as I call it....) is a marathon but there is hope xxx agree,  do a bit at a time and don't lose hope.  

    I waited years...  And finally it improved.... But I still need to sort ESA.... 

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

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