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Dissertation on WCA's and PIP assessments

I'm Faye, an anthropology student at Goldsmiths University of London. I'm writing my undergraduate dissertation on WCA's and PIP assessments, and the disability benefits process more broadly. If anyone has anything they would like to share about their experiences, please do, I would love to hear them.

Replies

  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    edited May 2017
    Hi @Faye_anth, It would be great if you could write about the assessment from the claimants, sorry customer's point of view. This is what disabled people are called by the assessment companies which is very appropriate as they're making a fortune.  
               I have read a lot about the process and what goes wrong but very little about how it makes you feel to go through one of these assessments. It's like you are a naughty child who lies all the time and no matter what you say you're not going to be believed. After an hour of torture during which time you've been verbally beaten into submission you end up in tears. The frustration and anger that you, a grown up with far more experience of life with all it's ups and down than this stranger, so called a "Health Professional" could ever have is over wealming and worse is to come. You have still got to suffer the shock of seeing the report they've written when the lies are coming from the other direction. Some people have wondered if their report had got mixed up with someone else's it's so different from what actually happened. There's a section entitled "Informal Observations" where free reign is given to the assessor to write whatever they want and usually contains the first lies about the distance and how you walked to get into the assessment room. On my report in this section my assessor described how, during the assessment itself, I took the plastic label (round the middle) off a water bottle whilst holding it between my knees. Why would anyone do that! As a  so called "Health Professional" you'd think she's know it's the thing at the top you unscrew to drink the water. This never happened by the way. Next comes "Mental State" with comments like"Doesn't look tired, Doesn't seem agitated or anxious, Well kempt, normal complexion, no obvious sweating. What gives them the right to treat us like this? So that's 2 things on their customer charter broken for a start: RESPECT and HONESTY. I could say a lot more but I'm sure there'll be lots of others wanting to tell you their experiences.   
  • MolMol Member Posts: 52 Connected
    I agree with everything said by wildlife, also I would like to add how on my report the assessor contridicted what she wrote on the first report on the day of the assessment compared to what was said on the report and it was all totally wrong anyway. She could not even describe me as being a large person with large build, She put down I was average build which I have pointed out on my Mandatory reconsideration that if I am in front of her and she cannot get a glaringly obvious thing as my height and size right then the rest of the report has a lot more errors to be polite. I stopped on the way to her office but should not of known as she left me in the corridor whilst going ahead with my partner, which I have also pointed out.
  • Faye_anthFaye_anth Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi @wildlife and @Mol ! Thanks so much for your replies and I'm sorry to hear you've both had such awful experiences. Wildlife, I definitely will be trying to write it from the claimant's point of view - mainly what it means for people to be assessed, and how it attempts to categorise disability in ways that are often quite far away from the experiences of disabled people. It seems a bit mad to base a person's life on an assessment which takes a matter of hours. What do you both think would make the experience better for you? Is it mainly the attitude/inaccuracies of the majority of assessors or the criteria that is set out in the assessments or anything else? 
  • jose2jose2 Member Posts: 128 Pioneering

    @jose2,

    If you want to get in touch with me, let me know how you can go about getting in touch with me,can tell from beginning(assessment )DM and now in process of Tribunal Appeal  no secondary MD for me, straight  to Judge for him to decide )  ,or just look at all my posts on this site.

    All inaccuracies care my health, DWP  putting phone down on me  that phone call cost £4+, PIP rude with me about just asking this girl to add two amounts of figures up ,(they can't add up either )that they would leave me £55.00 short every month ,she told me she didn't like my tone, after 4 times asking her she finally agreed that I was right  ,how quick everything done to get rid of me ,less than a month. I will not go away, how I started to doubt I was really ill, after assessment ,even asked my Dr if I really had this, that and other wrong with me. She looked at me gone out ,didn't know what I was talking about ,Atos /.PIP they don't even write to your Drs for info on you, they neither got my hospital records. So shocked by all this. In 2 weeks spent £36 s for telephone calls ) I can ill afford.  

    This site and the people on it are wonderful and have helped me so much, Look at all posts,these ,me and other's that are so distressed by all this, absolutely awful for them and me.

  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    edited August 2017
    Hi @Faye_anth, In answer to your question I would say that all illness/disability that you have provided medical evidence for should be believed and accepted without question. Then a lot of people wouldn't need a face to face assessment.  Doctors/therapists that treat us are far more qualified than any of the assessors so why should they be trying to assess whether or not we have these problems. They should scrap the  informal observations, the physical examination and the cognative tests which prove absolutely nothing. This would allow for the assessment to focus entirely on how the claimant is affected by their disabilities, how their needs vary and what help they need. This is what the assessment is supposed to be for, not to over rule our Doctors. 
               At present people who have had an offer of something are at risk of losing it if they appeal. All offers should be binding and only the parts the claimant doesn't agree with reviewed again saving both time and money. This would make the process much fairer.   
              As the system is now disabled people are being forced to be in the worst possible condition to be offered the very benefit that is supposed to improve their quality of life. Where's the sense in that! You have to stay indoors as stepping foot outside on your own means to benefit providers that you don't need any help with mobility. Anything that you would want to do to help yourself by way of therapy, diet or even just having a positive outlook and I must add taking care of your appearance goes against you for the amount of points you can score. What's even worse is that they've brought in more regular reviews even for the elderly and permanently disabled who are obviously not going to improve so you know you have to remain as bad as you can be or get worse, you can't afford to do otherwise. Even better you need to deteriorate to continue to qualify for money you absolutely need. I have always tried to help myself but this creates an inner conflict knowing if I improve I won't be able to afford even the basic things I need to live. Where is common sense? They're wasting so much time on worthless assessments and spending so much money paying contractors for something DWP should be doing and doing properly and fairly. The whole process needs overhauling and if it was they wouldn't need to lie and cheat people to save money. 
  • JusticeJustice Member Posts: 206 Pioneering
    @ wildlife. I agree with that , Wildlife. I think it very insulting for them to state in the reports that the " Claimant" was well presented, they do it in the work capability one too, seems standard. Do they expect us to turn up with dinner all down our fronts? Perhaps in future one should not shower for a few weeks before the assessment, and wear your dirtiest oldest gardening clothes, if this wasn't so awful it would be laughable, where are these people coming from?

    Please mail me Wildlife so that I can mail you back, I would really appreciate that,I have some specific things I would like to run by you in a mail if that's ok. 
    Thanks :-) justice
  • Faye_anthFaye_anth Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi @jose2, thanks for getting back to me. Wow, sounds like you've been through it all, such a shame that it made you start to doubt your own illness...I bet it was the last thing you needed. It is just ludicrous that the phone number isn't free as well. If you'd like to speak more about it, you can always e-mail me if that's convenient for you? My e-mail address is [email protected]

    @wildlife thanks again for your reply, it's all really helpful and so ironic that a system which is supposed to help people live comfortable lives sanctions you for trying to do just that! May I ask if your assessment was for PIP or ESA?

    Can I also ask everyone who has posted (and any potential future posters) if you are okay for me to quote what you have said in my dissertation. If not, I will leave what you have said out of course! Once I've finished writing it I can also send you a copy to read if you're interested.
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    edited August 2017
    Hi @Faye_anth, Yes you can use anything I have written. As I am 66 my assessment was for PIP. 
  • jose2jose2 Member Posts: 128 Pioneering
    edited May 2017
    Hi @Faye_anth,thank you I will do that, give me a few days to get everything
    together,reports,dates when did I this and that etc!,tomorrow I have to just see to another problem c/o more pension credit,no-one told me because I'm my own carer I should be on an and attendance rate and I was missing out £47.96 per week,The Macmillan help -line have been wonderful with me, it was a lady there who was adding up all monies I received each week,I nearly dropped off my chair when she told me amount I should have been getting since 2009,speaking to Mac 7th April ,as it was a bit late in the day to ring PC 0800 no- that was  10th April - 8-30am and asked if I  could make a claim for this,she asked me various questions and  brought up all details of and about me ,asked if I sent them form  back ,she then found that I had ,and said you never put a claim in for Attendance All,I told her I only found out about it on Friday 7th,she told me amount due and would rectify all, said a date when it would begin,I was overwhelmed with emotion,then on 15th April Good Friday-got a letter pension credit asking where form was and why hadn't I sent it back to them-'one hand doesn't  know what other hand doing here again'! , so will ring them again first thing tomorrow ,like been on a rollercoaster or like a rat in a ferris wheel -round and round all the time, terrible .But I will definitely send all dates and what not to you.  And as @wildlife I too am getting on in age now 67yrs +-4 months off my 68th birthday and sent for a PIP assessment,so anything I send you is alright with me too,I have looked at a speech by ATOS /Goverment  Parliment by Baroness Thomas of Winchester 4th May 2016 ,they don't even know their own rules and regulations they give to us mere mortals to follow and adhere to on PIP form .Don't know if someone on this site sent for us to follow link        Questions on  Assesor's Qualifications,and another link I found myself on youtube 'a chap refusing to have an assessment done by just a nurse and he was filming it  or someone else was ?  'bravo to him he was so brave! I nearly myself didn't  get out of the taxi when I found out what a hill I'd have to climb up to the building where ATOS PIPs assessments were done,  or around the other side of said building that it was down a steep hill- I nearly told taxi driver to take me back home!. My disabilities are numerous  and have been for years -will send you all, from getting out of taxi-through assessment until I got home-sat down ,pad and pen and wrote every detail beginning to end about assessment,then I went and collapsed on my settee and went to sleep.
    Bye for now ,one more thing look at monies they pay these nurses  for each assessment done,(they have to get at least 10 per day done) and if it was a Dr doing assessments  ,though very rarely )the amount is ludicrous !,and and after thought on my part,when I came out of my assessment 12-40 pm the waiting room was jammed packed with people, ? about 30+ could have been more and relatives or whatever with disabled. 
  • MolMol Member Posts: 52 Connected
    HI I also forgot to mention that I asked the assessor if I could read what she had wrote down, she replied that I could not and I could get a copy from DWP. I mentioned this on my mandatory reconsideration,  I watched on You Tube how the assessment should take place, it clearly shows the assessor showing everything she wrote down then asking the person who was assessed if they agreed with it, this never seems to happen. it comes under PIP assessment on you tube.
  • Faye_anthFaye_anth Member Posts: 5 Listener
    edited May 2017
    Thanks @wildlife, please let me know if you would like to read the finished product - I would love to know what you think!

    Hi @jose2, thank you so much for getting together all the information...please don't go to too much trouble on my account though! I hope you get everything with the pension credit resolved soon, it's not made easy for you at all, is it. I'm glad to hear that Macmillan have been able to help you though - it seems that organisations like that and forums like this one are one of the very few ways that people can get any help!

    Hi @Mol ah yes, I've watched that video too...it definitely does not seem to fit with many people's experiences! Thanks for pointing it out, I'll be sure to include it.


  • JusticeJustice Member Posts: 206 Pioneering
    tried to call the DWP today to find out if they have Hubby's MR for his ESA on file yet. I wasted almost half an hour, then when it finally connected to a person they cut me off before i could speak, probably was their coffee break, really these People are unbelievable. Why do they not get on and do the job they are being paid to do, and do it properly?

    i called our MP who then contacted them. They told her it is not on the system yet ( it should be according to the MP), so she asked me to mail her a copy of it and she can scan it over to them, apparently they will accept that. I also sent the tracking umber for the original letter as I know it was delivered to their mailing centre in Wolverhampton. 

    Anyway MP said she will do her best to chivvy them up a bit, doesn't always work but she wil try, at least that saves me the dtress of hanging on the phone wondering if they will cut me off again.
    Sometimes I despair !
  • JusticeJustice Member Posts: 206 Pioneering
    sorry for typos, I should have read it first, am falling asleep x
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    Hi Faye-anth, Yes I would like a copy when it's available. I will email you so you have my address. I also rang yesterday to be told that my further evidence I sent has been sent back to ATOS for reviewing. That's the very people who made such a pig's ear of it at the assessment stage. I asked why and was told "because they have more medical knowledge than we do". I replied "You mean you have none and they have very little." "We're only office workers" she said. This might explain why the case workers feel totally unable to make any decision of their own preferring to use what I'm sure they know by now to be false reports from under qualified assessors. I then asked if it would be a Doctor who would be seeing the evidence. She went to check and said "No a nurse". I thanked her and tried to feel grateful they were still looking at it even after the MR.     
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