PIP, DLA and AA
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PIP Tribunal

SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
edited December 2017 in PIP, DLA and AA
I made a claim for PIP in June this year. Eventually after much time wasting by the DWP I attended my assessment with a friend for support on 29th August 2017. The assessment turned out more like an interrogation, conducted behind the computer monitor with no eye contact, the Health Professional wouldn't allow me to explain or ask anything, stopping me every time with 'Just answer the question'?
20 minutes into the assessment, he asked me, 'Where do you see yourself and your illness in a months time'? I told him I couldn't answer that because it was an hypothetical question, and realistically no one could answer ?
He asked me again to answer the question, and said if you don't I will terminate the interview? I told him it was his prerogative but unfortunately I couldn't answer. He terminated the interview and told me to get out reaching for the door behind him and pointing.
I left with my friend.
I received a letter from the DWP 3 weeks later who stated as I had not attended my assessment my claim had been denied? I telephoned them. I was told that the IAS had not submitted a report, therefore they could not progress the claim any further. I told DWP in fact I had attended. The DWP kept me on hold and telephoned the IAS for answers? He cam back to me and said there was no report on the computer, the HP had not completed and submitted one and just left a note 'on file' which simply said - 'Became aggressive and violent'??
I called the IAS shortly after and was told the same, there was no report recorded just a not on file.
I submitted a formal complaint to IAS regarding the matter and the behaviour and spurious lies used by the assessor.
I sent a copy of the letter to DWP and asked them to reconsider my claim.
IAS replied with a 5 page letter informing me how professional they and their assessors were. They also then stated that a half written report had been 'found'. I asked for a copy of the report with printed copies of timeline information to make sure there were no discrepancies.
They never sent me the 'so called report' to date.
DWP wrote back and stated again they had reconsidered my claim with new evidence but were still unable to progress the claim without an assessors report?
I was again denied, and they said my only option was to take it to tribunal? I telephoned them and spoke with a manager who stated that the IAS did not need to send a report at all? I asked then what is the point of the claim , and she just said, take it to tribunal?
My form SSCS1 has now been submitted.
I cannot see me winning my claim as I fear that if IAS didn't submit the report it would be stalemate.
If I do attend a tribunal, will I be able to take my friend as a witness? I cannot find anything to say I can or I can't? He does not fit into the category - 'Representative'
I mentioned him only by name on the SSCS1 form.

Gerry
 

Replies

  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi Gerry and welcome

    Unless you have submitted enough evidence  your claim cannot progress until an assessment is completed.

    If you go to tribunal, the only ruling they can give is to reinstate your claim and you will then be required to attend an assessment. You may take a friend but they may not be alowed to speak.

    You can ask your local MP for assistance who maybe able to get your claim reinstated but you will still need to attend assessment.

    As you have no claim in payment, you can make a new application while waiting for your appeal as you could be waiting 6-8 months. This can be complicated. If you choose this route then any new decision will supercede the decision you might get from your first claim. Again , unless you can supply overwhelming evidence you will still be required to attend an assessment.

    If you haven't done so then a good place to start understanding the points system, descriptors and criteria for an award is the B&W self test

    http://www.mybenefitsandwork.co.uk/pip/indexxx.php

    Please come back with any questions

    CR


     

    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Hi CockneyRebel, and thanks for the welcome!

    I might just stick with the original claim, proceeding with a new one will take just as long?

    They know that I could very well sue the HP for slander/Libellous actions as he has failed to back up his claim that I was supposedly aggressive and Violent toward him which I totally refute - it just never happened! Also it is defamation of my character? I am a retired Police officer. During the interview, he passed a comment, he did not ask.. he just commented, 'I see you were a policeman' I asked IAS in my complaint, as an independent body, why would the HP be making such a statement? My previous occupation bears no reference to the interview or what was required? 

    The HP doesn't have a witness, but I do. He knows submitting a false report to the IAS and DWP will land him in very deep water?

    It would be interesting to see what happens? Either the DWP would need to negotiate the settlement without the IAS report or go to tribunal and see what reason the IAS has refused to send them and me a copy of the report (albeit half completed?) My guess is, the HP and IAS are trying to wriggle out of this, they've effectively messed up on it and I would like to see and ask questions if possible at the tribunal?

    I was told by the DWP that I may be required to go for another assessment on the second referral (by phone) to which I told them I was reluctant to do this unless they could guarantee I would not get the same HP, they couldn't.

    Gerry

  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    Of course the decision is yours.
    The likely out come of going to tribunal, if they find in your favour will be to put you back at the start of the process but 6-8 months down the road. Although you should have eventual award backdated.
    A new claim could see an award in much less time but without the back dated elemement.
    If the tribunal find against you or the consequent assessment and decision don't give you an award, which can happen, you will then have to start a new claim but probably a year from now

    Good luck with what ever you decide

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Thanks CR,

    I'm told by DWP it is the first time ever they've not had a report submitted to them by IAS?

    They told me my submission had enough points to receive an award, they just can't progress it further because the system would not allow this to happen unless a report was submitted?

    I'll wait and see what happens...

    Gerry



  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi Gerry

    Yours is certainly not the first reort that has not been submitted although admitting to a half written one might be a first.

    If they are admitting that you score enough points for an award then all that should be required is a paper assessment by IAS. I would get MP involved, they have acces to DWP that we don't

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hello Gerry

    How frustrating.  From your post, it looks like PIP have made  a decision on your claim, which was refused and now your case is at appeal. 

    I am confused as to why the DWP wrote back and stated they had reconsidered your claim with new evidence but were still unable to progress the claim without an assessors report. I am confused as they have progressed your claim in gathering 'new evidence' and then making a decision on your PIP application.

    Did PIP make any decision in regard to an award of points or did the decision purely state that you did not have a good reason for non attendance at an assessment? 

    At appeal stage PIP prepare a bundle of papers  that includes copies of your application form, copies of all decisions made, your appeal form, reasons for their decision and copies of all medical evidence used to assess your case. It will be interesting to see if any report (albeit half completed) is included in your appeal bundle, though the chances of this maybe slim. The 'new evidence' that PIP used to assess your claim should also be in the appeal bundle. 

    Please post back.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Good Morning Benefits Training Co,

    The 'New' evidence referred to was another letter I sent to IAS asking for the now newly discovered report they claimed they had in their possession? I asked them for evidence from the health professional as to my so called 'aggression' and 'violent Conduct' that was supposed to have happened? It is my right to see this report, but as yet, IAS have not replied or sent me or the DWP this report.

    DWP claim, that IAS do not have to supply them with a Health Professional report albeit they have used tax payers money - and IAS are contracted to do so?

    A copy of this letter to IAS was sent to DWP during my second referral, and that was the 'new evidence' they are stating? Interestingly, I telephoned DWP to ask how my claim was proceeding, I spoke firstly with a man from Blackpool who after hearing and seeing  the evidence stated my claim was 'Good' with the required points, but can't go further without the assessors report?

    He put me through to a manger who told me that he shouldn't be talking to me, but agreed, my claim was good but can't proceed with IAS report? He stated that I may be require to go for a further assessment? I stated that I was reluctant to do so unless DWP and IAS could guarantee I didn't get the same assessor before? I add at this point, I did not refuse to go, but just stated my reluctance?

    A letter arrived within 4 days telling me they still cannot proceed with the claim and refused it. The letter stated that if I would like to discuss my 'decision' then to call them. I assumed they were referring to my reluctance to go to a further assessment?

    I telephoned them and spoke to a woman manager who stated, your claim has been declined - thats it. You will have to go to tribunal. She kept talking over the top of me, and after several attempts to get my point over she seemed to be losing patience, in other words, she wasn't interested in what I had to say?

    I asked her three times why the letter had asked me to telephone them if I wanted to discuss my decision? I tried to ask if they meant about my reluctance to go to another tribunal, perhaps this would of taken matters further, as the previous Manager had indicated, but she just said take it to tribunal and the conversation finished there. I have now submitted an appeal.

    As for your question - Did PIP make any decision in regard to an award of points or did the decision purely state that you did not have a good reason for non attendance at an assessment?  It would seem the indicators I've been told by DWP are that my claim is good with the necessary points required, there is no dispute about my health, and medical reports, and my application was good.

    The first refusal was because IAS had not submitted their assessors report. DWP assumed that I didn't attend the appointment because of this and without checking IAS they sent out the refusal? I did attend my appointment with a friend for support. He is also willing to testify before the tribunal. My telephone call to DWP after receiving the letter made them contact IAS as to why no report had been sent, and then revealing the fact there was no report, just a note on record that stated Claimant became aggressive and violent?

    I believe had a good and honest report was submitted I would most likely have received my award, but I think we are all aware that both the DWP and IAS have targets, and that includes deterring people and even lying (TV documentaries and newspaper reports) to ensure that even the genuine claims are refused.

    Gerry.






  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering

    Hi Gerry,

    Wow. I can't say from reading that I'm 100% sure what's gone on with this.

    If it was me dealing with this case now, I'd be very interested to see what the DWP put in their appeal bundle - if your SSCS1 is in, then you will be receiving this very soon. After that you will have a better idea of what your appeal is actually about i.e. whether they're going to try and argue that you didn't attend the hearing, or whether they're going to admit you did, but say you didn't score enough points.

    Make sure you read their 'submission' bit thoroughly when you get it - as this going-on with the medical assessment could be a total red herring.

    If it comes to it and you want your friend to give evidence, I would highly recommend getting them to write it as a statement or letter and submitting it to the Tribunal in your own submission and/or with whatever evidence you're sending in - they can then go to the Tribunal (you can take whoever you want) and the Tribunal can ask them questions if they want to. If it's all in their letter though they may not have any other questions for them.

    Let us know what their argument is when you get it! - Like my colleague above, I have a feeling it's not going to include half of what you've been told.

    Kind regards,

    Mary


    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Hello Mary,

    Thank you, I'll keep you informed. As yet, I haven't heard from the appeals but as you say, it will be very interesting what they have said?

    Best Wishes

    Gerry.
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    @Syzygy I have read your story to date with interest. I suspect IAS have met their match and the assessor chose the wrong person to "accuse" of something that never happened. Firstly I would like to mention my own experience of trying to get my husband accepted as a witness in a formal complaint to IAS. Their reasoning for non acceptance was that he is not an independent witness being a friend/relative of mine. However you will know more about this than me. It would be useful at this point for you to do a "Subject Access Request" to obtain all paperwork including anything online, which has to be produced as a screen shot, concerning your claim. IAS will not be able (or should not by law) change anything that has been written about you including the false statement. This is a very easy process and is regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). All it takes is an email to IAS saying you wish to make a Subject Access Request and within 40 days (straight not working days) you should receive all data relating to your claim. This may even bring other things to light e.g. I found a false Professional Registration Number written by my assessor on one of my documents. 
              If you decide to take legal action you would be doing a huge number of people a very big favour as many of us have fought against lies written by assessors and got nowhere. I have had a complaint totally rejected by IAS which is now waiting in a queue at ICE for further investigation. Please keep us up to date with the progress of your claim..      
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    edited December 2017
    Hi Wildlife,

    There was something 'sinister' in the way that the assessor had made his statement? He wasn't asking me a question and I don't think it was even on the list of questions I believe they are given, perhaps someone can verify this? As an Independent body from Government, they do not have the right to comment, it is totally irrelevant to my claim unless he was out proving a point or using the fact to his own advantage, whatever his reason might be?

    A formal complaint was made to IAS who replied with a 5 page letter full of self praise? When I arrived at the interview, during and after, the assessor never made mention of travel expenses, and never offered any. IAS claimed the assessor was highly trained in his job and a professional through and through.. so when I pointed out his error, they just said well, people forget and make mistakes.

    I wasn't interviewed, but interrogated by this man, who never gave me the opportunity to answer his questions other than Yes or No. His last question before he terminated the interview was where did I see my health and self in a months time? Is that a professional question? It's very hypothetical, no one unless they possess a crystal ball can answer that!

    IAS have dug themselves in a very deep hole. When I wrote and complained a second time I asked for the half report they were claiming to have found. I said I wanted it in computer format with print out dates, timelines etc - a hand written copy is not acceptable under any circumstance.  

    I have not received such a report since asking in October 2017, DWP claim they have not received a copy either. 

    The question of  legal action is in the forefront of my mind, I have informed them that I am considering this course of action in my complaint letter, and I wanted an apology from the assessor for defamation of my character for spurious lies, and asked them to produce the evidence of such a claim? So far, they have been unable to.

    With regard to the subject access, this is going to tribunal and all matters and documents purporting to my claim has to be sent to the tribunal and a copy sent to me. 

    I'm sorry to hear that you, like many thousands who have had a bad experience from IAS (formerly ATOS) I have several relatives who report the same thing, we are not alone.

    I totally believe in Karma!

    Gerry.  

     
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,314 Pioneering
    edited December 2017
    Hi Gerry, Please excuse me if you know what a Subject Access Request is but the fact that you have linked it to your application for Appeal makes me think you imagine it wouldn't provide you with anything you don't already have or will see during the Appeal process. It is nothing to do with PIP but is something anyone can apply for to any company or organization who hold personal data about you. It includes info. you won't have access to any other way and best of all IAS/DWP cannot by law refuse to supply you with ALL that you are requesting. They cannot alter or withhold anything. They have 40 days to do this well within the timescale for a long wait for Tribunal. If they do not comply you can report them to ICO who will force them to do what you have requested. I did this myself and know other people who've all had a successful outcome. The Data Protection Act clearly states that companies cannot collect, store and process incorrect information about people which is what IAS/DWP are doing. I assume any legal action would be using this Act to prosecute them. That would be brilliant.
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Hi Wildlife,
    A subject access request has been sent to IAS.
    I have asked twice since 6th October for a report from their assessor. Initially, they stated that the report did not exist, this was confirmed by a telephone call by myself and the DWP.

    Since my complaint, they have now told me they had 'found' a half report by the assessor? In my second submission to the DWP which they turned down on the basis that IAS hadn't sent this half report, and that they didn't have to send it if they didn't want to (told me by a manager at the DWP)??

    I have received letter on Friday 22nd December 2017 from HM Courts and Tribunal Service accepting my appeal. They are writing to the DWP (no mention of IAS?) to prepare and forward a written response. My appeal is being arranged at the nearest court to me, it will be an oral hearing.

    Thanks for your help, I'll keep you informed...

    Gerry

  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Today, I have just received a reply from IAS. 
    They stated...

    Thank you for your recent correspondence.

     A request for the subject access report has been sent to the Department for work and Pensions (DWP) as soon as we receive the information we will be able to respond to you and release the information you have requested.

    Is there anyone who can tell me why has IAS sent this to the DWP? I am asking IAS for their documentation on me?

    My specific request to IAS was a copy of the access report that they claim never existed but have since found? They have refused to send the report to me and the DWP?

    Why will they not send it...Is this a joke?


  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Syzygy, With many subject access reports a certain amount of checking has to happen before they release the information. For example, it may be that they are double checking with the DWP about your identity (ridiculous as that sounds). DWP would almost certainly have to have the report, if it is available to them, as part of their bundle to the tribunal. As Mary says, I would expect that to be in there. Without it, I can't see how the DWP can make a decision that you failed to participate (I'm guessing a bit here, but I think it is more likely that the assessment company would claim there has been a failure to participate than a failure to attend - because obviously you did attend!) If that report doesn't turn up in the bundle, it might be worth asking the tribunal to issue a direction to make sure it is provided, though I would imagine it should be sent to you pretty quickly once DWP confirm (not that they are quick at anything!) If you are going to ask for a direction, I'd wait for the bundle before doing so, ask in writing, and explain to the tribunal what you've already done to try to get the report. Going back to where you are with your claim: if DWP had accepted that you did in fact attend and they have now refused you based on not meeting the disability conditions, then they have to show how they have reached that conclusion. That can only be on the basis of the report and the new evidence. Or, if the DWP 'cannot progress it further', then what is the appeal about? What decision has been made? Is it to refuse you on the basis of non-attendance (that will clearly fail) or non-participation (you refused to answer a question which you couldn't answer, entirely reasonably, and you were interrogated, so this should fail, too). I'm hopeful that this will be sorted out by the tribunal or possibly even beforehand, so it is worth ringing the DWP to say that IAS need something from them in order to send you the report. I'd also want to get clearer about what decision has been made, as Mary points out. If you don't have a decision letter with points mentioned, then it seems to me that this is still a decision about whether you participated/attended the assessment? Otherwise how can you expect to show that the decision is wrong, when you don't know what points were given? All this may well end up with you having to attend another assessment. You could ask for a guarantee that this is with a different assessor. You could also try progressing your complaint further (although as wildfire knows, this is difficult). However, because you've lost out (financially, and due to stress etc) I would continue to pursue this. Some people have been successful, eventually. It's also worth going to see your MP about this. Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
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    Michael Chambers
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  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Thanks Will,
    It is coming ever clearer what needs to be done? I can only assume that the DWP have rejected my claim on the basis of non participation? They are aware of the situation in a letter I sent them asking for a referral. They have not stated this is the reason - they keep going back to my not attending the assessment, and make no reference to non participation which is confusing me?
     I've been told by the DWP that my marking and points were 'Very Favourable' to my claim. I can only assume again that I have the necessary points but it can't progress because of the non attendance/non participation issue.

    Gerry
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Again, I am confused? I've just received a further email from IAS who now tell me,

    "All information of all records and reports are held by the (DWP) we do not hold any information at Independent Assessment Services and any requests for any data needs to be requested by (DWP) as we are governed by the (DWP).

    We will send all the details you have requested once the information has been sent to us by the (DWP).

    So, are IAS (ATOS) a french company contracted or owned by the DWP/Government? Do they not hold any records whatsoever?


  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering

    Hi @Syzygy

    No, ATOS are not owned by the DWP, but they are a contractor for them and work very closely with them. It's odd that they cite being 'governed by' the DWP as the reason for any delay, however I wouldn't be too put out at this point by the stock answers of ATOS, wait and see what they deliver in the report.

    SARs do typically take a while to be produced, as they are under a duty to ensure that the correct information is provided, but in any event I would expect you would be receiving your appeal bundle fairly soon, which will hopefully be enlightening in itself...

    Kind regards,

    Mary

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • ZededdZededd Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Hi there Gerry.
    I hope things have improved, but in the unfortunate event that it hasn't, you could always look into assistance with the tribunal?
    I know Disability Support Project are pretty good with this kind of thing. Their website is DSPUK.org.uk if you want to look into them.

    IAS seem to be getting a lot of bad press recently (since changing their name from ATOS following THEIR bad press) but I know the tribunals service is totally independent. They should be more open to the evidence.
    Just remember that the tribunal is to sort your PIP claim, not assess what a ****-poor job the IAS did with your assessment.
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Hi Zededd and other parties,
    Here is the latest from my PIP claim and appeal at the Tribunal service.
    DWP wrote to the Tribunal and asked for an extension to allow them time to gather more information regarding my appeal. (at this time I have not received any correspondence from either the DWP, IAS or the Tribunal service) In the meantime I sent a request for SAR's - the information that the IAS and DWP possessed on my claim.

    In the meantime just before Christmas I received a letter from the DWP's appeal manager. He said If I needed to talk, then telephone him. He gave me his direct number. I telephoned him as I had one or two questions to ask. His name was James.

    He told me that it was more than likely that I would have to have another assessment? I agreed on the understanding that the previous assessor was not going to conduct it. He agreed. I shortly received a letter from the Tribunal Service stating that the DWP had asked for an extension in time to collect further evidence. James telephoned me and asked if I could get a letter from my GP.

    In the new year I did this and sent of a request. After 10 days I didn't receive a reply, so on the Thursday 18th January, I telephoned the surgery and was told the request was sitting in a tray awaiting the Doctor to do the letter. The receptionist said 'I wonder what this is doing here'? She said I'll give it to Doctor today and ring us back on Tuesday.

    In the meantime I contacted James at the DWP who said he had also sent off a request and was waiting for it.. this was also nearly two weeks ago? I told him that my GP hadn't done the letter for me? He said he would send another request. He told me that the DWP had accepted my version of the assessment, (they had turned the claim down citing my deliberate obstruction in allowing the assessor to complete his task) 

    I have asked three times for the letter and the DWP have asked twice now. To date, still no letter has been sent. Two weeks ago, I received the SAR from DWP. It backed up my claim that the assessor had said I became, aggressive, violent and shouting at him, being totally false and untrue. My friend who went with me to the assessment provided the Tribunal service with a 3 page written statement and in that statement he told them that the assessor treated me with disrespect, wouldn't allow me to answer or talk and stopped the interview for no apparent reason other than because I wouldn't/couldn't answer a question he asked.

    The DWP now say that the assessors version is untrue. A telephone conversion on paper between the DWP and IAS clearly stated that the assessor told them I was Violent, aggressive and shouting at him and that was his reason to stop the interview. I pointed this out to James who asked, 'where did you get that information'? I told him that it was in the SAR's that had been sent to me. He replied, 'Well, I don't have any of that information'?

    In the assessors report which was written at the beginning of January it was mostly incomplete. He stated I attended alone, I was on crutches, and he halted the assessment because I became obstructive and refused to answer a question. There was no mention by him now of me supposedly being aggressive, shouting and violent toward him.

    I contacted James again, who stated that a re assessment might be needed as my GP had failed to send the letter. I agreed to this on the condition that the assessor who conducted the original took no part and the the new assessor was not told of my previous claim and circumstances due to possible bias. He agreed.

    A few days later, Monday 5th February, I received a further appointment to attend a further assessment at the same place on Wednesday 14 February 2018 at 9am.
    I attended the assessment as asked again with my friend. Upon entering the centre I spoke to a female assessor who looked nervous and said, your assessment has been cancelled? Did they not tell you? I told her, no they hadn't, and it appeared she wasn't told either!

    She telephoned the DWP and asked if they could send via the internet the relevant information and she would conduct the assessment now. They refused. I spoke on their phone to a lady at the DWP who said we will have to send you another appointment, she was unable say why the appointment had been cancelled?

    I was told that there was only one day available at the moment which was Monday 5th March 2018, I had a choice of times? I took the 2pm slot. After the conversation finished I told the lady who said that's fine ****** will be here to conduct it? (****** being the first assessor) I had been pressured into taking this date not realising it would be him.

    I went home very upset and and angry now for being so messed about. I sent a letter to the Tribunal service that afternoon outlining my frustration with the DWP and IAS citing a possible deliberate act of delaying my claim further which was causing me great stress and confusion now.

    Today, I received a letter from the Tribunal service stating they had refused any further extension to the DWP (They had put this in on the 24th January 2018) They stated they had fully accepted my explanation, and directed the DWP to put aside any previous actions, which were now unacceptable.

    They directed the DWP to offer a new assessment forthwith and then told me that I am still entitled to appeal the result and make a new appeal if I needed should they (DWP again refuse my claim) I am still awaiting a letter of confirmation for 5th March 2018, I did receive a letter yesterday saying I will have to wait for a further appointment???

    James had told me that again they tried to do a paper assessment on me very recently but this was turned down due again to insufficient evidence (Doctors letter) although they possess most of my records and reports from the medical establishment. He said the occupational therapist had also failed to respond. My GP practice which failed, was merged with another practice nearby. Most of the staff were given notice.. and my GP who had been treating me had done a runner, and no one knew where he was? I'm guessing they are unable to supply the DWP or me with a letter as I assume he would need to write it? 

    I'm beginning to think that bad luck has ridden with me all the way on this. Sorry it's a bit long. I now wish I hadn't bothered.. as I told the Tribunal service how can anyone treat a disabled person this was, it's inhuman and cruel.

    Gerry








  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    I'm just also asking because my friend stated that he believes that someone had been watching us prior to the assessment at 9am Wednesday 14th February. We met for a quick coffee at Sainsbury's before the short trip 500 yards to the centre. He said a man had sat down nearby, pretended to read a paper but was watching us?
    He then said that as we were preparing to go he got up and left, he was alone? When we left Sainsbury's entrance my friend said he was standing near the entrance watching us. I told him he was being paranoid? My friend is a retired Detective Sgt and insisted this man was watching us. He said on the first assessment that the assessor was in the cafe in Sainsbury's when we were before my first assessment??
    Do you think it is possible they would do this?

    Gerry
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Syzygy,

    Gerry - assessors are not part of the DWP's fraud and error service, so I'd be surprised if watching you in a location completely separate to the assessment was a regular thing that they do as part of their job. Having said that, of course if the assessor happened to be in the Sainsbury's cafe nearby, then they might draw conclusions from their observations of you there, but this is not what their guidance instructs them to do AT ALL. Observations are supposed be about what happens in the assessment centre building, and of course will include questions about how you got there. Whilst the guidance says that informal observations start when you enter the centre, in practice I wouldn't rule out possibly being observed out of a window, walking to the centre, in the car park etc, but in Sainsburys? I doubt it.

    Most assessors are incredibly pushed for time too, and spending their breaks watching people who they think might be about to go to an assessment would seem extreme. Of course, I can't rule anything out, but I think you have enough other things to worry about. 

    Another possibility, which I also can't rule out entirely, is that the person your friend saw is not an assessor but someone else entirely who does work for the DWP Fraud and Error Service. However, it would be unusual for them to carry out surveillance in a situation like yours, where you're not currently getting benefit.

    So as far as I can see you now have to wait and attend the new assessment. It's worth a phone call I think to see if 5th March is happening or not. 

    And also, whatever happens, definitely worth a further complaint (at least two, one to the assessment company and one to the DWP). You have been seriously messed about here.
    By the time you receive the right amount of benefit it will be several months since you claimed. Not acceptable. 

    As I mentioned before, your MP might be interested? The recent Work and Pensions Committee reports means there is (or should be) even more awareness amongst MPs of the appalling quality of assessments.


    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Thanks Will,
    I never doubted being watched or followed but my friend made the observation and made the comment to me. 

    In the DWP report sent to me it clearly shows that a conversation between the DWP and IAS last year the person at IAS read from a computer record that my assessor had telephoned them straight after my assessment was cancelled and reported to IAS that he stopped and cancelled my claim because I had become 'Abusive, threatening and violent' toward him, something I have categorically denied and also my witness supplied a 2 page statement to the Crown Tribunal Court never happened.

    In the SAR sent by IAS they have recorded this and instructed the assessor to fill out and complete a 'Clerical Incident Form'?

    This form was not included in the SAR or relevant documents asked for under the freedom of information act. I have written to IAS asking for a copy and a reason why it had not been included.

    My assessor has been proven to be a liar. My assessment was terminated by him on a lie, something which did not happen. He is supposed to be a health professional. He is a registered practitioner nurse. I have made a formal complaint to the NMC (Nurse Midwife Council) regarding his actions, and supplied them with all the relevant evidence and documentation.

    I have also got my MP involved. DWP and IAS he tells me will be investigated as he will now contact the relevant Minister and put all the evidence to him.

    I implore anyone who has been treated this way and had lies made against them by a health professional (in my case a registered nurse) to make a formal complaint against them through the relevant authorities? It is time we all started to fight back against these people, the DWP and IAS.

    IAS are withholding this report from my assessor had submitted - they may have even destroyed it, because in all their correspondence there is no mention of 'Abusive, threatening or violence'?

    I received a letter today from IAS of my appointment on 5th March and new assessment. My MP had stated he was going to contact them to confirm the appointment. 

    It is now nearly 10 months since my claim was made for PIP. DWP and IAS have been irresponsible, delaying, cancelling, and making excuse after excuse. My MP seems knowledgeable about PIP, I guess you are right Will.

    Gerry.


  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    It is fully my intention to sue my assessor and the IAS regarding these matters.
    Would anyone know if there are or is a Solicitor in the UK who would be willing to review my case and make legal representation for me?

    I am unable to afford the service of a Solicitor, and because of my ill health pension and Injury gratuity award I receive I am unlikely to be given legal aid?

    Gerry.
  • BrokenBroken Member Posts: 40 Courageous
    @Syzygy Well done for standing your ground and fighting back! What a nightmare situation, I do so hope that justice prevails and your final outcome is soon remedied. Perhaps you could ask for the "medical assessment" to be recorded? 
  • lillybellelillybelle Member Posts: 458 Pioneering
    Have you thought about writing to a national newspaper?
  • keirakeira Member Posts: 136 Courageous
    Hi Gerry,

    It's appalling what you have had to go through (and still are). Please try to remain strong and fight for the justice that you deserve. I have posted a link which may be of interest to you. Apologies if you are already aware of the case.

    All the best

    Keira

    https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/court-orders-atos-to-pay-disabled-woman-5000-over-dishonest-pip-assessment/


  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Good Morning and thank you to Broken, Lillybelle and Keira.
    Thanks for the links, it makes devastating reading. My complaint to NMC seems like it won't hold up much hope which saddens me immensely. If they are unwilling to treat my complaint seriously then as it says, a campaign to shame them will ensue.
    My real fight begins here it seems, we must keep the pressure on the different Governmental departments and MP's to make sure we all get Justice in the end.
    Thank you for all your support, it isn't easy being alone, disabled and being put through this heartless charade by the Government and it's cruel agencies. What concerns me more is that health professionals who we all assume were doing their jobs out of passion and love to treat people who are sick and needy of help. This in most cases isn't the truth, it seems some are just in for the status and money, nothing more, they should be shameful and think hard and deep into their actions and start looking for another vocation in life.
    The fight continues.

    Gerry
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Where we are at:
    IAS telephoned me the weekend before my 5th March assessment claiming that the centre they use isn't in use? The centre itself isn't owned by IAS but the rent it and then another agency (other than IAS) send their assessors in to do the assessment, so they are not directly contracted by IAS but as IAS claim they are of the same training and standard. I disagree. I also told IAS of my intention to record the assessment. They responded by telling me that they couldn't find an assessor to agree to this, therefore are unable to do this.

    Back to my MP - within a few days IAS came back claiming that the centre was now open again and they had found an assessor who had agreed to being recorded. (Amazing how they change their tune when an MP is involved!!)

    My advice to anyone now or in the future is to tell them you intend to record the interview, after all IAS do tell you and encourage yo to do so! (They just don't like it when you take the offer up, but it is a way forward to stopping these rogue assessors?

    I have a new assessment date Thursday 22nd March 2018 - it will be recorded.
    I have also received a reply from a NMC (Nurses Midwifery Council) investigator asking for more details which has been sent. I have informed him that the evidence against this nurse who lied, falsified documents and entries into official documents didn't have a defence for what he had done. He was also told my MP had been informed and I await the outcome but he was told that any other excuse they may try to use to defend this man was unacceptable and bad press and a complaint to the department that is investigating them will be informed.

    IAS have acknowledged my further request for the record which the assessor was asked to fill in immediately regarding my alleged threatening, abusive and violent conduct (which they did not included in the SAR) I have again warned them that under the Data protection act I have a right to see this report, and they must comply else it will go to the data protection officer as a refusal.

    Gerry.


  • jo1357jo1357 Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Hi syzygy

    My advice to you is keep going with this hun. I had an assessment last August 2017. ATOS at it again i see. Sorry but I refuse to use their guise of IAS. Same company same intentional mistakes. I got to the centre and five minutes before i was due to go in i noticed a missed call received 10 mins before my assessment to say it was cancelled. No reason given. I hadnt been out of my home in weeks. My husband had taken the day off ti take me there. 25 miles. I was left having a panic atttack having worried and stressed about it for weeks. Vomited at the side of the van. I contacted atos and they refused to provide me with a home appt and the female call handler was disgustingly rude and disinterested. My husband called back and spoke to a guy who said i would need a doctors note. The day after a woman supv from atos rang me to apologise for the first womans attitude saying she was going to be retrained. They gave me a home appt in mid september. Long and short she lied about doing physical exams on me. Etc etc. And i was subsequently refused being awarded 6 and 4 points respectively. I went to mandatory reconsideration and i got reports from my gp and psychiatrist. It was again refused. 

    I placed a complaint into atos who referred everything to the dwp who i was also complaining about as both decision notices contradicted each other. You see at this stage i didnt know what had been written. 

    Tbh... my stress and anxiety levels were off the scale. And my husband had ti do much of the leg work in dealing with both complaints.

    I contacted a law centre at tge beginning of december and spent 2.5 hrs going over my reasons for wanting to go to appeal.  In a nutshell.... she was not only inept but delayed at every stage. My close off date was the 28th december. I tried contacting her but no response back, so up until the 3rd jan i didnt even know if she had submitted the form. After that it got worse. Constant apologies for her tardiness.  I was now really starting to panic when in mid feb i got my tribunal date. I also at the end of january the day where the dwp respond to my appeal.... the documents they produced to ask that the appeal be withdrawn. I also got every document under the SAR including taped calls to the dwp call centre. I knew i wouldnt be using them in respect of the hearing but knew whatever the outcome and the several emails raising a complaint they said i hadnt. Bless the dwp... they even had 5 calls from my husband requesting a raising of a complaint in the paperwork provided under SAR. Anyway.... i tried contacting my solicitor 10 days before the hearing. Three days later she told me she didnt have time to contact my gp and said she would email a letter for approval. Another 2 days later and lots of chasing up and the letter arrived. In truth... it could have been written for a different client. In truth, I binned her for her blatant incompetence. Lots of anxiety over the next few days and lots of tears I managed ti contact my gp directly and my psychiatrist. And my private counselor. All three came up trumps for me. I received my gp letter expanding on her last the evening before my hearing. The psychiatrists one arrived by email at 1.30pm 1.5 hrs before my hearing. The counselors arrived the saturday before. And all three outwith the required seven days before.

    Thankfully the panel accepted it. A dwp member was there and believe me when i say she was ruthless. I cried and shook throughout. The judge and the doctor were kind and compassionate. But the whole thing traumatised me. I have no contact with anyone but my husband and my gp etc and live a very reclusive life. The dwp member asked if i had a mobile. When i said yes she asked who do i text. So i told her the truth i text my husband. She went oh! What about England..dont you text anyone in england? I am english and have lived in scotland many years and by choice estranged from my family. I thought that was below the belt. 

    Anyways I got through the onslaught 'just' but the relief of having had the courage to do it was a significant weight of my shoulders.  It has taken a lot out of my husband too who works full time. The panel told me that they had a lot of stuff to go through, not least of all my emails ripping both organisations to shreds. Anyone reading this.... please dont do that because it is deemed to show focus and concentration. Thankfully they believed the fact that i do these things as part of my illness at injustice and discrimination. 

    The next morning I rang the tribunals service to ask how long I would have to wait and she read out the result over the phone. The secretary of states decision had been set aside and I was awarded 11 and 10 points respectively.

    The moral behind my experience which has crippled me inside at the inhuman way i was treated throughout... is...NEVER GIVE UP NO MATTER HOW HARD IT MAY BE AND HAVE HOPE AND TRUST IN THE TRIBUNAL SERVICE.. also get the support of the people who are qualified to assess us... our own medical professionals not some general nurse or physio with absolutely no experience in the medical conditions that cant be seen. Shameful treatment and worse still a system that gives not a rats bottom for the needs of disabled people. (Ps... I too am an ex serving officer and could relate to the difficulties youve encountered)
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Hi Jo and thanks!

    I fully intend to see this through to the end and on the way put right the wrongs that people have done to me and thousands of disabled people like us!

    This isn't a political platform, so I won't go into my thoughts behind all of this. I will emphasise again, if you are going to have an assessment... REQUEST YOU WISH TO RECORD IT!!! They will not like it but it's the way forward. Government, DWP and ATOS do not like this, but it is your fundamental human right to do so, they cannot stop you. It is better to have hard evidence and corroboration with a friend/witness to prove some of these so called health professionals are hitting below the belt.

    When I asked to record mine I could feel the panic in ATOS.. first they refused a home assessment, then made excuses about the centre being shut and then they couldn't find a HP who would agree.. my MP intervened and they soon changed their minds, so it can be done.. please, I implore everyone to fight back against this.

    Regards.

    Gerry (Syzygy)  
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Hi all,

    Today's developments are - I have asked my MP to write to IAS requiring them under the Data Act and Freedom of Information to send me a copy and the exact contents of the note left on their file by my assessor. First, they denied such a note exists, then it does.. stating it was a very 'vague' note, but still not revealing the exact wording of what it says?

    They state in their email - Mr XXXX placed a brief note on the system indicating issues with Mr Gee's behaviour on the day. The assessor spuriously lied that I was abusive, threatening and violent toward him. 

    It is also apparent that Mr XXXX did not complete an incident report form and therefore we cannot cover up what doesn't exist. We cannot cover up anything. If a document exists Mr Gee has the right to see it. I therefore believe that in conjunction with the above reopening of this complaint that further investigation needs to be done. 

    Why does 'further' investigation need to be done? They now admit that a note was left by the assessor, but after several attempts to see the note.. they have so far made every excuse under the sun not to reveal it? My whole claim and it's refusal is based on this note. It is a claim and a lie the assessor used against me.

    As for the incident report form, IAS claim that the assessor did not submit one? Why? I have asked 'Have you approached the assessor and asked him the reason why he didn't submit one' A very pertinent question which they also refuse to answer.  IAS claim to be professional and will defend their assessors rigorously, but as on so many occasions this is total nonsense, IAS are just protecting their own backs.

    I will go to my assessment on Thursday, and I think I already know the outcome.

    Regards Gerry.
  • SyzygySyzygy Member Posts: 19 Listener
    Hi all,
    Attended my assessment as requested this morning. I was met by a new assessor who immediately told me that she would not allow the assessment to be recorded? I informed her that IAS were asked and had given the green light for the recording and would find a suitable assessor who would allow the taped interview? They informed me that they had done so.

    The assessor said she did not want to be recorded as she did not want it to be used against her???

    My MP has been informed and is writing to IAS and the Minister concerned.
    IAS wrote back to my MP today after he had requested that IAS send him a screenshot of the Non existant, then Vague, then oh we do have a note but you won't know the details because we're not going to show or tell you!! They said it was already in the SAR they had sent (at a time when they denied its existence I might add???) In the SAR, it shows that the assessor stopped the interview at 14.24hrs? But the report also stated he rang them about the incident at 14.22hrs?

    How the assessor called a full two minutes to IAS reporting the incident 2 minutes before stopping the interview is beyond me? Computers do no lie. As I have claimed all along, IAS have tampered with the reports, their SAR does not corroborate the time, and stating that a 'Note' left by the assessor didn't exist, then it did, refused to send the details of that note, then reported it was on their computer where they had previously stated no details were in the computer.. insisted it was very Vague? and refused again on asking by my MP, then refusing to supply a 'Screenshot' of the note.. something IAS said we don't do?

    I received a telephone call from the Information commissioners office before my assessment. They have taken an interest in this matter now. I have been told that after IAS have conducted their final complaint and if they still refuse to release the details of the  note to call them back and they will pursue the matter further.

    Hey Ho.... an interesting day so far. I did the assessment without recording it, reluctantly I might add as I didn't want IAS to again claim I was being obstructive. It went to the end.. I reserve judgement on it's outcome.

    Gerry

  • leesteukleesteuk Member Posts: 15 Listener

    Hi Gerry

    Whats happened with your assessment then ? good news or bad ??

    I am interested as I am in a similar situation !


    Regards

    Lee

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