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New Mobility Criteria and change of Descriptor wording

wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
Hi, Can any of the advisors help please. I got my MR result yesterday and not only has the Decision Maker used the new criteria that only came into force yesterday for the 2nd mobility activity but she's decided activity f. which clearly states needing someone with you on an UNFAMILIAR journey also includes familiar journeys. She said I do go out of the house. So if you so much as step outside your door on your own you will be considered as able to plan and go on an unfamiliar journey alone and that's every day or the majority of days. I know a lot of you are affected by this and it's needs clarifying. So Question 1: I claimed PIP last December so shouldn't they be using the old rules for claims before the new ruling came into force? I read that somewhere but now can't find it online.  Question 2: Does anyone know about ICE (Independent Claims Examiner) do they look at benefit complaints and is there a complaints dpt. at DWP you have to contact first? 

Replies

  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    Sorry f) in post above should read d). I spoke to a PIP advisor at DWP this morning and she told me they should use the old rules for claims before 16th March. So part of the question is answered. I aso know ICE is an independent complaints investigator but DWP are on their list of gov. dpts. they deal with. However not sure about a complaints section at DWP to complain to first. Does anyone know or have you made a complaint your self to DWP while your claim for PIP was still being decided and if so what happened? Did it affect your claim?   
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi Wildlife

    If you are unhappy with the outcome of the MR then you can appeal the decision to an independent appeal tribunal. You must usually do this within one month of the date on the MR notice using the form SSCS1 which you can find here. Bear in mind the whole award can be looked at if you appeal.

    If you are unhappy about the way your application has been processed (rather than the outcome) then you can complain to the DWP and then the Independnent Case Examiner if you are unhappy with the final response from the DWP.

    Claims made before 16 March should be assessed using the rules before 16 March. However, it seems the DWP may be appealing the Upper Tribunal decisions that led to the regulations being amended. This may complicate things a little but if you are unhappy with the MR outcome you should continue with an appeal nonetheless.

    I suggest you get help locally with your appeal and contact the Scope helpline if you are not sure where to find a local service. If you have any other technical questions do post them back here.

    David
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    Hi David, I really appreciate your advice and I know it is the normal thing to do to go to appeal next after an MR has been turned down but why should we have to put ourselves through so much when we are already struggling day by day with our disabilities. An appeal will not stop the assessment lies or the Decision Makers using the assessor's reports as the final decision because that is what's happening. Tribunals are turning people down just the same as DWP Decision Makers. Sorry but I'm made of strong stuff despite my body being in a state and I won't be treated like I have been. My assessor wasn't qualified to work for ATOS in the 1st place and her report is not fit for purpose. I don't think there was one accurate statement on it and she made a big mistake. One of the lies is so obvious to anyone (see my other posts for details) that I can't possibly let her get away with it. I have spoken to a different decision maker and won a 2nd Mandatory reconsideration on the grounds that there are complaints ongoing, my MP is involved and I have given them 11 reasons why they should look at my claim again: things they have not done correctly, not using medical evidence, not reading any of my letters describing how I do things and the help I need, not comparing evidence with the assessor's report and ONLY using  the assessor's report to make their decisions, not looking at what they've already accepted and saying if I have a problem walking because of this and this then showering would also be a problem without someone to provide support. Also that after the stress they have already caused me which meant I had to call an ambulance in February when my vision kept going 5 times in a week the same week I got the assessor's report full of well need I keep saying it lies I could not cope with going to appeal. Fortunately these were Opthalmic migraines but far more than I normally have. Enough is enough. I have got as far as being offered the standard rate for DL and mobility and do not want to lose that. So rather than go to appeal I'd rather continue with my medical appointments, tests and treatment and go for a supersession when I feel confident I can achieve it with no hassle. As regards getting help I don't want to put anyone off doing this but I'm the best judge of how I feel and what help I need and am fortunate to still be able to speak and write for myself. The advice I will accept is to complain to DWP about the way my claim has been dealt with. But will wait for the outcome of Mandatory Reconsideration no. 2.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi wildlife,

    I completely understand your point of view and if you don't wish to take it further after MR then I can see why. It is stressful and involves a lot of work to go to a tribunal.

    In any case from what you say a complaint is definitely needed as well because of the appalling assessment and report.

    It may be worth clarifying that as my colleague David advised, the case which led to the amended PIP regs is being appealed. That means that if you appeal and your appeal might be affected by the outcome of that case, your appeal might be stayed (not held until the other appeal is heard) or even possibly decided as if the other appeal was unfavourable to you. All that of course makes the stress of tribunal worse.

    Even once the new regs are applied (for example, if you were to ask for a supersession in respect of a period on/after 16th March 2017), 'psychological distress' remains relevant to descriptor 1(e) which is worth 10 points and 1(b) worth 4. (I do know that's not much help if you can't get any points in activity 2, as it leaves you with the standard rate mobility component at best, which as you say you don't want to risk).

    Finally as David has mentioned, you can't use the Independent Case Examiner unless you complain to the DWP first. But you should definitely complain direct to ATOS too if you haven't already done so. It's good that your MP is involved too. One can only hope that with pressure from MPs who are trying to help their constituents, the government may eventually move to assessments which are fit for purpose.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    Hi Will, Thank-you for your reply. I can't get my head round what is happening with the Mobility ruling. Who is appealing against the new mobility regs and do they want them changed back to the old rules? I only know that descriptor d) applies to me. Cannot go on an unfamiliar journey without another person. So much so I have made a strong case in 2 separate letters to have my 0 points changed to this. I have a 46 year medical history of engagement with mental health services due to serious illness involving 9 operations, 5 road accidents one serious and bringing up 2 adopted boys with disabilities causing aggressive, violent outbursts often directed at me. It is as I've got older that I've put a comfort blanket around myself. I have not been on an unfamiliar journey since 2003 when I took one of my son's to New Zealand to visit my sister. He went off his head and nearly killed himself amongst other very frightening things and I was the only one with him who saw it all. That was the last straw and something I cannot recover from. DWP know all this but still my assessor has so far got away with saying that "although I have been diagnosed with depression I don't take any medication or have any specialist input." I take an anti-depressant every night and have 46 years of specialist input. So my claim that descriptor d) applies to me is based on overwhelming  psychological distress being based on a long standing mental illness. As soon as I see unfamiliar landscape I panic big time and need to get back home. I need to say that after what ATOS and DWP have put me through I can't go anywhere alone. I have complained to ATOS. Please see my Complaint to ATOS discussion with an update of how that is progressing. In the meantime I've spoken to (wait for it) a very nice decision maker and they have agreed to look at my claim again, this time based on medical evidence, my very detailed letters and the fact that a tribunal would be far too stressful for me. I also rang DWP today and logged an update saying I will not accept any reports or letters from ATOS to DWP about my claim until the complaint to ATOS is complete. 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi wildlife

    It sounds as if you are doing the right things. As i said before it may help a great deal to have some help with this from a local service.

    As for the court cases we're not quite sure what the government's intentions are and we'll have to wait and see.

    Best wishes
    David
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
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