PIP, DLA and AA
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My PIP claim (about Q13 Going out)

HeybunnyHeybunny Member Posts: 8 Listener
Hello! 

I am the process of applying for PIP for myself. I am diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, asthma, social anxiety, depression and ADHD. I am awaiting (hopefully) assessment for Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia.. I also have a underactive thyroid that is awaiting re-testing.

My question today is regarding question 13 "Going Out". I'm aware of the reliability criteria (Safely, repeatedly, to a necessary standard and in a timely manner) in regards to one's ability to perform an activity. 

My situation is this: I drive and have done so since 2011. I don't go out every day, maybe twice a week, more if I have appointments. I always use the car for this, unless I have to go into the city centre as the road system stresses me out, then I have to use the bus. Either way, I go with either my mum or my partner as I feel very vulnerable when alone. 

I use a satnav, just a regular one on my Android phone. I use this as although I can remember the directions to a familiar place within a 5 minute drive away, I get confused by further distances. Also, while on the familiar route, if there is a roadblock or diversion, I would be extremely likely to get lost without the satnav. Without it, I would get lost as I can't remember verbal directions as I struggle to absorb verbal information due to the dyspraxia and ADHD. I can't look at a map while driving, I only just get chance to glance at my satnav when I'm stopped/there's no traffic, so a full map would be impossible. My mum can tell me turns to take before I need to take them, or we can print off directions and my mum or my partner can read them to me. I can't follow the route of a familiar journey without help, in my opinion.

I know a regular satnav doesn't count as a navigation aid for PIP purposes, but I don't see what I can say if the assessor asks me if I use one. I don't think it's fair to state that a regular satnav can't be used as an orientation aid just because able-bodied/minded people can choose to use them. If I can explain why I need one instead of why it's a convenience, why can't I? :(

I hope I've explained my situation well enough, if I haven't, please let me know. Thank you. :) 

Replies

  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    They will use your driving against you and would probably argue that you could follow a journey unaided.
  • HeybunnyHeybunny Member Posts: 8 Listener
    They will use your driving against you and would probably argue that you could follow a journey unaided.
    Yeah, probably. My mental health affects my ability to do a lot, but not driving. I can operate the car just fine, it's navigation I can't do. I need an aid to navigate, yet they're refusing to acknowledge someone might need a satnav.  :'(
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    But a non-disabled person uses a sat nav too. That's what it's about - aids that disabled people use. If you weren't disabled, you'd still probably use a sat nav to get to unfamiliar places.
  • HeybunnyHeybunny Member Posts: 8 Listener
    I know. It just feels unfair, as I have cognitive impairments due to my ADHD and Dyspraxia, which are both disabilities, yet the only aid that can help me isn't counted, just because non-disabled people can use it. 

    I don't know, I guess if I was going to the other side of the country and I'd never been there, sure. I'm not disputing the fact that I might choose to use one for unfamiliar journeys even if I didn't have a disability, I'm stating I need one in case there is an interruption to the familiar route, because I can't work out alternative routes.
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    Some non disabled people have the same problem.
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger

    Read more at https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/27516/mobility-component-of-pip#2M5p3bzQSKuuRdRh.99

    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • HeybunnyHeybunny Member Posts: 8 Listener
    edited September 2017
    Thank you for posting that list, only the buddi could possibly apply to me though, since I'm not visually impaired/blind. I know my satnav doesn't count as a specialist orientation aid but since the PIP assessment guide (page 130) doesn't mention the use of satnavs at all, I would hope they won't ask me about them at the assessment.

    If I look at what it does ask, I should be able to say there is no orientation aid that would help me (Since satnavs don't count as one) and I need my mum or partner to actively navigate because if there were any kind of obstruction to my familiar route, I wouldn't be able to work out where to go.

    EDIT: Descriptor A for "Reading" states:
    "Can read and understand basic and complex written information either unaided or using spectacles or contact lenses."

    If standard satnav use means you can't get points for the activity, then why is the descriptor A for "Going Out" not:
    "Can plan and follow the route of a journey unaided or using a regular satellite navigation device."

    To me, it makes out that a satnav counts if you actually would require it because road signs etc aren't enough to follow a journey and you would legitimately get lost without one, yet it doesn't.

    You even have to show you need to use a medication reminder due to a condition, or a dosette box. Non-disabled people can use those too, so why is this any different? :(
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    @Heybunny I hate to be the bearer of bad news and this is only my experience of PIP. I don't drive and was scored 0 by my assessor and 1st decision maker. What they used as a reason why I could plan and go on a journey alone was a 3 minute private coach that picked me up once from the end of our close and was full of people I know and took me to the village hall for over 60's club and back the same way and they said I went to Church alone every week that is only 1 mile down the road on a Sunday evening when there are NO buses. This is false as MOH always takes me and is with me throughout. They refused to distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar journeys. I think one forum member got points for driving only a short distance a couple of times a week but that was alone and that was at Tribunal not awarded by DWP. So driving at all is bad news for this activity whether you use a satnav or not.  
  • HeybunnyHeybunny Member Posts: 8 Listener
    edited September 2017
    @wildlife
    Sadly, none of that surprises me at all. It's disgusting, if they'd said that about me, I'd have taken it all the way to appeal because the assessor outright lied about you.  :'(

    I read they count "public transport" as being able to journey unaided, so they probably ticked that box because of the coach, even though it was a private one. The rules are so stiff and don't allow for personal circumstances at all, it's ridiculous. I'm sorry you had such an awful experience with PIP.
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    Indeed they do count public transport as being able to journey unaided. I was given 0 points because I can get to my parents house. 1) I used to live there 2) I can only get the bus that stops on their side of the road because the other side of the road is impossible to cross safely 3) I still have some problems getting to the bus stop because of the issues I have with crossing roads. 4) it's a 15 minute journey. It's not like I was saying I was visiting my friend (I have no idea how to get there) some 10 miles away every week.

    You're having to prove that your needs are greater than that of a non-disabled person. We've got a ridiculous amount of road works down here atm and whilst some of the diversions are clear, (bus lane or they merge into two lanes instead of three) it sometimes isn't.
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    @Heybunny Don't worry I fought to get it changed and was successful. Now I'm on the war path taking action to stop this happening again. (see my other posts). My complaint is with ICE, ICO are dealing with the lies and my MP is on standby to take over if I find out my assessor wasn't even a qualified Paramedic. It really is time assessors were brought to justice. I'm sure there are good one's that we don't hear about but the lies need to STOP..
  • HeybunnyHeybunny Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Makes me wonder how they'll take my ability to use a bus but only with my mum as I feel too vulnerable/anxious to be that close to (potentially) many people when alone. I only use that to avoid the anxiety around getting into the city centre via my car.

    @wildlife That's great to hear! Amazing you're trying to get justice across the board too. :) I fully agree with you. 
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    Yep she chose the wrong person to lie about. I've still got issues about the daily living scores so can't afford to give up. I don't know how you can stop them writing a load of rubbish but there's too much acceptance going on. I know some people find it hard to fight back but those of us who can find the strength should do just that. The Data Protection Act is in place to protect us from incorrect data being taken, kept and used against us. ICO regulate this and I've brought a case against IAS to get my data corrected. The outcome will be interesting. Good luck in your PIP journey, hope you get the correct decision made in the end..
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Heybunny,

    Just to give you a bit more detail about the law on the satnav point. It's not an aid UNLESS a feature of its design makes it more suitable for someone with an impairment. So, even though non-disabled people definitely use them, you could argue that because of your specific conditions, you literally can't manage using other ways of navigating. The judge in that case argued that if the satnav was generally available (and not modified or specially designed for certain conditions) it wouldn't usually be an aid. However, it was left open that it might sometimes be an aid if a claimant is unable to follow the route of an unfamiliar journey without it.

    Secondly, you mention that you never go out in your car without your mum or partner. So, arguably, for reasons other than psychological distress, you need someone with you when following a route - and that scores 10 points (if you would not be safe without your mum or partner, for example, and could get lost, you could score points here). In fact, because even on familiar journeys, if the journeys are longer, you could get lost if you went alone, perhaps you should score 12 points!

    The law changed, as you know, so that for both those descriptors (10 or 12) we can't take into account psychological distress, but we can still take into account any risk to you or others from travelling alone. 

    Having said all that, I would be careful to be as specific as possible on your PIP2 about both of these points. It's likely that the assessment won't be sympathetic or nuanced, as everyone above has commented, and so to actually get the points that apply to you, you may have to take things further. But there is no harm in trying, and the PIP2 is part of the evidence the decision maker should (should!) look at.

    At the assessment, be up front, explain why you use a satnav and that you couldn't manage without it, and that even with it, you have to be accompanied whether on familiar or unfamiliar journeys. And keep some sort of record of what you say, because as wildlife and others point out, unfortunately the assessor's reports don't always bear much resemblance to what actually happens! But don't worry too much at this stage - there are a few good assessors out there and some people (albeit not many, it seems) get the right result first time.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • HeybunnyHeybunny Member Posts: 8 Listener
    edited September 2017
    Thank you so much for that response Will, it's really helped to set my mind at rest. I plan to get identical tape recorders (and permission from the assessor in advance) to record the assessment if I have one, which I most likely will.

    I have my partner or mum with me in the car at all times because I feel both "psychological distress" (I fear being attacked, verbally/physically or judged) but also were my satnav to fail somehow, I would need them to navigate for me. I know the first one is sadly, now not allowed to count for descriptors d and f.

    If I could ask another question, if I feel I meet the criteria for a condition but am awaiting assessment, so I'm not diagnosed, but feel it genuinely affects my ability to do some of the activities, can I mention it as a cause on the form? It's dyspraxia, which explains some symptoms that my diagnosis of ADHD doesn't, but it's extremely hard to get an assessment as an adult. I've been referred to an occupational therapist, but I don't know if they can diagnose me or not.

    Thanks wildlife, best of luck to you too. :)
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    The diagnosis doesn't matter. But do you have proof that your symptoms of Dyspraxia do cause you problems?
  • HeybunnyHeybunny Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Well I was only told I was referred for an assessment yesterday so in terms of written evidence from a medical professional, not yet. I can fully explain on the form how it affects my ability to perform several of the activities though. :)

    If I can't get anything else, my therapist might be able to write something. GP may be able to write a note saying he believes it affects me enough to warrant a referral.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering

    Hi @heybunny

    @Nystagmite is correct in saying that the DWP are interested in your ability to perform the relevant descriptors rather than what diagnoses you have.

    That being said, on your form I would put something like "awaiting assessment for dyspraxia" on the conditions section, and when going through the form, on the relevant parts something like "I have been advised that this may be due to dyspraxia, but am still awaiting assessment"  - if that is the case.

    Hope that helps!

    Kind regards,

    Mary

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