PIP, DLA and AA
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Do Tribunal judges accept family as a witness in PIP assessment?

wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
edited April 2017 in PIP, DLA and AA
Hi, The question I have is in the title. ATOS will not accept my husband as witness to the things that were changed or invented from what actually happened in my assessment. I spoke to the lady who is investigation my complaint and she said he is not an independent witness. I presume they would say the same about friends or anyone supporting the claimant. I would like to hear your thoughts on this please... 

Replies

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    hi wildlife,

    I noticed this point in the other thread where you were posting. I don't agree with this at all. Your husband doesn't need to be an independent witness, he is still a witness. As regards the complaint, both your evidence and your husband's shouldn't be discounted. ATOS cannot simply dismiss the complaint - that would mean everyone who went to an assessment on their own could never complain.

    As for the tribunal, yes you can bring a family member as a witness. Tribunals will usually want you to give your own oral evidence but you can also call witnesses, within reason - your husband was at the medical so this does seem reasonable. There may be no such thing as an independent witness in this situation - ATOS are not independent either, as of course they want their service to look good. 

    Most tribunal members will have heard about the unreliability of assessors' reports before. They should take your comments seriously and apply proper reasoning to what you and your husband say. Of course, any other evidence (from a doctor or consultant) about what you cannot do, which contradicts the ATOS report, is very useful if you have it.

    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 for your reply that's very helpful. So when hubby tells them I didn't take the plastic label off  bottle of water they'll believe us (sorry to keep harping on about this). I won't rest till someone accepts that this never happened and the assessor is made to face up to what she's done to me. I've been told she's still working for ATOS so God help al the others she's assessing day in day out. I'm nearly there finding out whether or not she was even qualified. Watch this space..   
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    wildlife,

    I would struggle to see how a tribunal couldn't accept that you didn't do that, when you and your husband both state that you didn't. I don't know what reasoning a tribunal could use to decide to prefer the assessor's evidence when you and your husband clearly know that is a factual inaccuracy. Obviously the tribunal will have to focus on what is relevant to the points in the PIP descriptors.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    edited April 2017
    Thanks Will, Rather than just believing us I would prefer anyone reading what she put about the water bottle to realize that the actual action of removing the plastic label whilst holding the bottle between my knees is an obvious lie because that's not the way you open a bottle, you can't even get at the label and if I'd started to do this my husband would have stopped me. She's making me out to be a complete head case. At least I reduced a DM to complete silence by yelling my thoughts about this down the phone. I told her if she was prepared to lie so obviously then the rest of the report cannot be believed. They're still reviewing my claim for a 3rd time.
                    I would prefer it if ATOS complaints accepted it never happened and dealt with the person responsible..       
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi wildlife,

    I think the incident is important - for a tribunal, it gives them some reasoning as to why the rest of the report may not be trustworthy as an account of what you can and cannot do.

    For the complaints process, it is as much about injury to feeling. No one wants to be told something happened which plainly did not happen. Sometimes with a complaints procedure it's helpful to state what you feel would resolve the complaint, so you could suggest to ATOS that they accept your version of events in writing, for example, and take appropriate disciplinary steps.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    Thanks Will, It feels good just for someone to accept this did not happen and makes me realize how this has made me feel. Thank-you for mentioning feelings as I have not so far used this in my complaint. I don't think the lady currently dealing with my complaint at ATOS customer services  will ever agree to accept that it never happened as I had an argument with her over the phone about it. She just said no-one can prove it and MOH wasn't a valid witness as I said before. However I have a letter ready to send to The National Customer relations manager at ATOS and still have time to include my feelings as you suggest and to say what I want them to do about it. 
              I am still waiting for my claim to be reassessed before deciding to go to appeal. Like everyone I'm scared of losing what I've got which is standard rate for both. But whatever I do I will continue to investigate my assessor's qualifications. I'm waiting to hear from FOI at HCPC with information I hope they can give me about her qualifications. I haven't yet complained to DWP but they do know about the ATOS complaint which is helping to get the DM's to discount the assessor's "lies". 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Great wildlife - I would take your complaint as far as you need to. Let's hope the reassessment will go well and you won't need to appeal. It's such a waste of resources and so stressful when it could all be sorted out if the assessments were done adequately.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    You are sooo right. How long is it going to be before they realize the cost of all the MR's and Appeals could be used to pay the benefit bill they say they can't afford..
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