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Pip. Taking fresh evidence to Assessment

Ghandi
Ghandi Member Posts: 19 Connected
edited January 2018 in PIP, DLA, and AA
Hi everybody, hope you are all well. Just a quick question. I have had a letter to attend an face 2 face Assessment, as there is not enough information on my form, ( which was filled in by a so called benefits advisor.) l am trying to put together a full description of how my disabilities affect me, based on paperwork which was prepared and updated to be included in my forms, which it was not. Can l take this to my Assessment for the assessor to read before seeing me. Regards. Ghandi.
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Comments

  • Debbie_Alumni
    Debbie_Alumni Member Posts: 944 Pioneering
    Hi @Ghandi,

    Most people applying for PIP or renewing their PIP will be called for an assessment regardless of who has filled in the form and how much information is contained. I've come across more cases than I can count where a strong claim has been submitted with all the relevant supporting evidence and enough information to make a paper-based decision but an assessment has still been required. 

    Cuts to legal aid in 2013 removed 100% of welfare benefits legal help from the system. Prior to the cuts you could get help with form-filling for sickness and disability benefits. You could get help with appeals too. When the cuts were made, a lot of advice services closed or reduced dramatically. This means there are less advice services who can offer help with welfare benefits. The ones that remain are stretched beyond the limit. Please don't think too harshly of the adviser who filled your form in. Welfare Benefits is a really tough area to work in. There's been lots of changes to the benefits system and it's really hard to keep up to date and on top of everything. This doesn't excuse poor performance but we're all human and 

    It's good that you've collected evidence to take along to the assessment with you.
    The PIP Assessment Guide-part-1-Assessment-Process states

    If a claimant brings further relevant evidence to a face to face consultation which is not already on PIPCS, the HP should always take a copy of it and consider its relevance when completing their assessment report. The copy of the evidence should be sent to the CM with the completed report.

    I hope that helps answer your question.

    Have you got a date for your assessment yet?

    Best wishes
    Debbie

  • Ghandi
    Ghandi Member Posts: 19 Connected
    Hi, Debbie, thank you for your reply. I had a date Xmas week, and l asked for a home visit, backed up with a letter from my go. This was denied, and l received a date this morning. Jan 18th. The fresh evidence will be historical and updated, just hope they will accept it. I don’t know if l should send it to them, or hand it over at my Assessment. I am at my wits end with them. Regards. Ghandi.
  • CockneyRebel
    CockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,216 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi Ghandi

    Despite what the assessment guide saya , many assessors won't read new evidence presented on the day, some won't even accept it.
    As a precaution you could send copies asap and take a cpoy with you
    belt and braces

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • Ghandi
    Ghandi Member Posts: 19 Connected
    Hi CR, hope you are well, l am thinking of sending one to Atos and one to DWP.
    and take one with me. But a bit unsure of things. Regards. Ghandi.
  • debsidoo
    debsidoo Member Posts: 325 Pioneering
    Hi Ghandi
    I would take a copy with you as planned.I can only speak from my own experience but my assessor was reasonable and did look at my medical evidence at the assessment.
    you just never know so be prepared and good luck.x
  • Debbie_Alumni
    Debbie_Alumni Member Posts: 944 Pioneering
    Hi @Ghandi,

    It's difficult to know what to do for the best when there's so much reported bad practice going on with the assessments. There are really big variances throughout the country too so it's difficult to give a standard answer but the guidance is there for a purpose and should be followed by the assessors. You should feel confident to take your evidence along to the assessment and that it will be dealt with accordingly and in line with the guidance. If this doesn't happen, complain to the healthcare provider. 

    I fear at this late stage even if you sent off copies to DWP and IAS they wouldn't be processed in time before your assessment. It does make you feel like you have to send copies to everyone and for some this is a safe way to play things. 

    I had this issue at a PIP assessment I attended in the Autumn. I presented new evidence on behalf of the person being assessed and it was read, copied and sent to the DWP. Admittedly, the assessor initially didn't want to read any new evidence but when we got to a part of the assessment where the evidence became relevant it was read, considered and processed accordingly.

    I understand your frustration and hope that however you approach things with the new evidence that it's dealt with fairly and properly. Let us know if it isn't.

    Best wishes
    Debbie
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering

    Hi @Ghandi

    I think your strategy of taking a copy with you and sending to the DWP prior to their decision is a sound one. That way even if the assessor doesn't account for it in their report, the Decision Maker can have regard to it together with the assessor's report when reaching their decision. Unfortunately as CR says, the assessors themselves often refuse to have regard to evidence on the day.

    Kind regards,

    Mary

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • Waylay
    Waylay Member Posts: 971 Pioneering
    My assessor told me that they weren't supposed to accept evidence at the assessment, and I had to insist. Half of them don't seem to know the rules! 

    Be prepared that if you get a bad assessor, they won't look at any of your evidence, or even your form! That's what happened to me in October. Luckily, he also took terrible notes, so I can prove how useless he was by showing them all the mistakes he made and how the correct info was on my form / in my evidence.

    Hopefully your assessment will be fine (most are), but dodo  prepared that you may get given 0 points, or far too few points. This is happening to a lot of people lately. I think they're trying to convince people that they don't qualify, so they give up. Don't give up! 70% of PIP appeals are won by the claimant!

    Good luck!
  • Waylay
    Waylay Member Posts: 971 Pioneering
    Dunno, lillybelle. But guidance to the Health Professionals says they have to accept it.
  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,798 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Ghandi, how are you doing? How did your assessment go?
  • Ghandi
    Ghandi Member Posts: 19 Connected
    Hi, Everybody hope you are all well. I had my Assessment, and have a result.
    on the day of the Assessment my assessor was running late getting into work, so was eventually seen 25 minutes late. On entering his room with my independent witness he informed me that he was only going to ask about my mental health, it didn’t go well, he asked if l was ok to start, l was getting anxious and had to ask if anybody could see me, l was convinced that somebody was listening and looking at me at the door, l couldn’t talk properly l was in tears through most of the Assessment. It was pure agony. At the end he asked if he could examine me, but on seeing how stressed l was becoming he said that he would put down that l was not well enough to be examined, due to anxiety and stress. The DWP letter and results covered both Mental and Physical and in no way was a true and honest assessment of my Mental and Physical Disabilities. They obviously had not read my ESA Assessment paperwork in conjunction with the PIP Assessment paperwork for a full and comphrehensive report on how my disabilities affect me day to day. They used historic GPS, Conultants and Surgeons letters, and only had a questionnaire from my Gp, which l have seen and there is nothing on it that l haven’t included in my ESA/PIP forms. l was awarded 11 points Care Component, and 8 points Mobility.  Ghandi.
  • Ghandi
    Ghandi Member Posts: 19 Connected
    Hi Lillybelle. Hope you are well. I am not pleased about the outcome, l think the assessor just went through the motions and put down what he thought he had seen outwardly and then made it up as he went along. Reading the Assessors report and the DWP Letter, l am 100% sure that none of them read my past paperwork or Doctors, Surgeons or Consultants reports. I am gathering further information about how to decide whether to ask for a Mandatory Review.
    l have the backing of my GP, I have given him a copy of my historical ESA paperwork, he said he will read through it and then give me an updated letter.
    Cant think of much more l can do. I am at my lowest point now, l have 14 days left to sort this out. Don’t know what to do.  Regards. Ghandi.

  • Waylay
    Waylay Member Posts: 971 Pioneering
    They don't generally include your ESA forms for PIP... Maybe if you specifically ask them to?
    Did you send new medical evidence? 
    If you're unhappy with the decision, you can absolutely challenge it on the basis that the assessment was **** - er, not fit for purpose, I mean. If you're convincing enough, they may put the assessor's report aside and do the decision based on your papers. However, they may just send you for another assessment. Also, be warned: they can decide to take away points, too, both at MR and appeal. 

    I got standard, standard last time through MR. I thought I should have gotten enhanced, standard, but didn't want to risk losing what I'd gotten, so accepted it.

    Hope that's helpful. 

    H
  • Waylay
    Waylay Member Posts: 971 Pioneering
    You can do this! Don't take it personally. They do it to a lot of people. 

    Benefitsandwork have great guides!
  • Ghandi
    Ghandi Member Posts: 19 Connected
    Hi waylay, l am having a family meeting later in the week, l have to include them because they have all had input in my battle with Mental and Physical problems.
    l stand to lose more than l will gain, if things go against me. I am not bothered about the mobility as we only use the car for shopping and hospital appointments. I will have the car till September and then my son has promised his Mum a little run around, and my daughter has said she will cover any monetary loss. But l will collect more and more evidence and use my time chasing a corrupt system and government until either we all get what we are entitled to or l die trying. Regards. Ghandi.

  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,610 Disability Gamechanger
    If you think that your current award is 'safe' from reduction or removal, go for MR and appeal.  I was awarded standard both components PIP after assessment, MR made no change, tribunal awarded me enhanced both components.  Pleased I took the risk, of course.
  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,798 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2018
    Thank you for sharing this @Ghandi- so sorry to hear how tough you found the assessment and that your outcome wasn't what you were hoping for. As the others have mentioned, you do have the option to appeal and try for a higher rate. If this is something you and your family decide to do, you may like to read our guidance on DWP appeals, and we're also happy to try and answer any questions you may have.
  • Ghandi
    Ghandi Member Posts: 19 Connected
    Hi Pippa. Hope you are well. I think that at my age, and the health problems l have, ( COPD, Emphysema and Bronchiatasis.) Depression ( Suicidal Threats, Tendencies and Thoughts.) Anxiety and have Panic Attacks. I have Arthritis in both hips, both wrists, ( Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.) Left Elbow and Shoulder. But according to the ATOS Assessor and the DWP Decision Maker, l have the body of a 30yr old gymnast, and the mind and mental capacity of David Hawkins. I am in a position where l am not sure if my Body and my Mental Health would cope with the fight that lies ahead. I know l have the backing of my wife and children, but l don’t think l have the strength to go through what l went through 12 yrs ago.
    The DWP have added that l don’t have any upto date Medical Paperwork apart from my GP, (No Phsychiatrist, Counselling Input, No COPD Consultant, and No Nutristionist Input.) I will start with the last one, ( Not Offered.). Phsychiatrist lost me when he said because l can’t speak to people about my past,l was not helping myself, he then added, “If you killed your wife and told me, l couldn’t tell anyone.” That was when l walked out. Counselling, 1hour per month on a stop watch was never going to work, especially when the Counsellor started the clock and said,”You can talk to me. The only man who spoke to me with Respect and Compassion, was the COPD Consultant, A man who on our first meeting told me how it is, smoke and l would have very painful ending. When l told him l was a recovering alcoholic, and had Mental Health problems, and smoking was my only pleasure we made a deal, l would cut down on the ciggies, he would not preach to me. Great Man. So could l put myself through all of this again, I Don’t think l can, so am at a very dark place at the moment, and only 7 days until l have to decide. Sorry this is so long but, l can’t deal with this right now. Regards. Ghandi.
  • Ghandi
    Ghandi Member Posts: 19 Connected
    Hi, everybody. Hope you are all well.
    l have come to an executive decision. After having a long discussion with my family and My GP, l am going for a Mandatory Review, the reasons being that my wife had to fill in the form without expert advice, My GP has read my original, historical How Your Disabilities Affect You Day to Day. And has said that is a true reflection of my day to day life. And that l should have no problems with a Review/Appeal. He said that the DWP should have flagged the non-complete form as suspect and made enquiries as to what had happened. Any Help Gratefully Accepted. Regards: Ghandi.
  • Waylay
    Waylay Member Posts: 971 Pioneering
    Good for you, Gandhi. You clearly should get PIP, so you'll win! It will be stressful, but with your family behind you, and us, you can do this. I'm going through the same thing myself.

    Much luck!

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