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Confused about who decides on paper based assessments

kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
Recently I helped my GF fill in her PIP transfer form. She suffers from bipolar and has a distrust of ‘officialdom’ in the broadest sense of the word

Anyway I must have done something right for after two planned f2f assessments she received a phone call that she didn’t have to do a f2f

Here is my confusion.I live in Northern Ireland and Capita are responsible for all PIP assessments in NI. From the beginning my GF was completely out of it when thinking she’d have to do a f2f so I concentrated very hard on trying to get apaper based assessment.when the second f2f was scheduled I visited my local MLA’s Office (our local assembly) to see what he could do. The first piece of advice was to get a letter from her GP saying something along the line of she shouldn’t travel. Done.  Doctors letter off to Capita

With the letter safely in the post the MLA sent an email to one of the Senior Civil Servants running PIP here in NI asking for a paper based assessment and giving a broad outline of my GF problems.  Within three days she had a telephone call from Capita saying she didn’t have to attend the interview that it would be paper based.

Here is my confusion: Capita are the group that decide on what kind of an assessment should be carried out BUT it looks very much like they changed their minds after my MLA contacted a senior official within the Dept. Is this normal?

Another thought that crossed my mind was that a PBA might be more beneficial to the claimant as there is no one sitting opposite just looking for reasons to deduct points..I’m a cynic ! Perhaps with a PBA claimants might just get that extra few points they need

Another idea occured to me; with the Governments U-Turn On Mental conditions and Capita’s own financial worries they might all be trying to avoid a bigger mess

Replies

  • JennysDadJennysDad Member Posts: 2,308 Pioneering
    Hi Kevin, @kah22
    Congratulations, first of all, on what you appear to have managed to do for your girlfriend :smile: What you've done is to get a politician - I take it - to sit up, take notice and intervene, and much as we might hate it, politicians are often the most powerful allies in such circumstances. So well done.
    I don't think there can be much doubt that the f2f is the modern version of the Victorian Ladies' Charities, summoning people to appear before them precisely because they know it will make it more uncomfortable and difficult. Their simple aim is to reduce the amount of benefits paid out, seemingly regardless of any suffering they may cause. Paper based assessment might well be better for claimants, but I don't think making things better for claimants is any part of their philosophy.
    And yes, like you I suspect that the Carillion farce, the discovery that in trying to save money they've actually had to spend more to deal with the consequences, May's insecurity in the role of PM and Capita's own failings make this a very good time to apply whatever pressure we can.
    Warmest best wishes to you and to the GF,
    Richard
  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    edited February 2018

    In a sense we here in NI are lucky in that it is a small pool and as such everyone knows everyone else. While in my MLA’s ( Member of the Legislative Assembly) Office the MLA and his office manager were both referring to the PIP Civil Servant by his first name. Certainly seems strange that the change from a f2f to paper based assessment came only days after that email was sent. 

    Maybe it’s because our politicians are back around the table talking again that the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) don’t want to upset anyone and maybe now is the time to squeeze a little harder. If necessary squeeze I will  :)   >:) 

  • JennysDadJennysDad Member Posts: 2,308 Pioneering
    Hi Kevin @kah22
    Yup. Keep on squeezing :smile:
    Best
    Richard
  • mayfairmayfair Member Posts: 39 Connected
    Hi @kah22 have you had any word on the paper based decision, my son is having one as well, it’s been over a month and it’s still with Capita.
  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    No. No word yet but I’ll get back to the Forum when a result comes in
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    kah22,

    Congratulations on avoiding the f2f assessment for your partner. You're right that it is usually the assessor who decides whether or not a face to face assessment is needed. But I can also see that it's possible where an MLA contacts a civil servant who then contacts Capita, that could be sufficient pressure for them to agree to paper based only. After all, Capita are dependent on the contract with the Social Security Agency, so in a sense, the civil servant can tell Capita what to do...

    I think the smaller populations involved in N Ireland probably make this sort of intervention more possible too. I think you're also right that with the pressures the Assembly have been under they'll be wanting to avoid criticism and help people as much as possible. So indeed, use those factors to get the right result.

    I think many of our MPs in GB wish they could be that helpful, but they are often overwhelmed and the bureaucracy is much bigger of course.

    Good luck and do let the forum know when you have a result.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    I’m curious, but I’ve noticed in a number of post, both here and in Forums elsewhere, that  in GB  it seems unusual to have a Paper Based Assessment. Any idea what the figures are?

    I’ve been doing a bit of checking and here in NI it’s running at 12.5 percent. When I think about it thatks quite high and yet there seems to be a higher proportion been knock off: Concerns raised over NI assessments
  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous

    I was incorrect in my opening post. I was doing some calculations the other day, taken from government statistics for Sept/Nov 2017. The figures showed there were a grand total of 24,160 claims for PIP in NI (of those 150 fell under special rules the remainder were a mixture of new claims and reassessments) 

    Of the 24,160 the DfC confirmed, under a FOI request, that 1970 of those were paper based assessments which is just a fraction over 8%, (not 12.5% as I originally stated.) Assuming that the larger number of cases under special rules were paper based that takes the rest down to about 7.58% for ‘ordinary’ cases.

    Is that a higher or lower percentage than in the rest of the UK. If only out of curiosity I  really would be interested in knowing what are the figures across the water like?













  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    mayfair said:
    Hi @kah22 have you had any word on the paper based decision, my son is having one as well, it’s been over a month and it’s still with Capita.

    As promised I’d get back to you.  Received a text yesterday  the 12 March informing me that they had now ‘received the written report of your PIP assessment...(and)...that as a guide you should here from us within 4 weeks.’ I’m assuming though that is just a rough guide to keep themselves covered

    That kind of surprised me because the good people over at benefitsandwork reckoned that on a PBA I should here the result within about 2 to 4 weeks we’re now into the sixth week and looking at, possibly, another 4 weeks. That puzzles me!

    Still there is one bright side that’s DLA guaranteed for another few weeks anyway
  • mayfairmayfair Member Posts: 39 Connected
    @kah22 thanks for letting me know, we are now into the 6th week of a PBA as well, thought it would have been a bit quicker 
  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    mayfair said:
    @kah22 thanks for letting me know, we are now into the 6th week of a PBA as well, thought it would have been a bit quicker 
    Have you got the ‘we passed it over,’ message yet. Keep me informed
  • mayfairmayfair Member Posts: 39 Connected
    @kah22 I have had no letter,text or phone call from them, I’m only getting my information from phoning them. 
  • mayfairmayfair Member Posts: 39 Connected
    @kah22 the assessor’s report was received by the DWP on the 21st of March, have you received any decision yet?
  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    mayfair said:
    @kah22 the assessor’s report was received by the DWP on the 21st of March, have you received any decision yet?
    No not yet. With a bit of luck sometime this week or early next week. They sure as hell keep you waiting.
    From what I’ve read online my own guess will be low rate care and no mobility. Possibly but unlikely no award. I’m shaping up for the next round  

    In going to start a new thread entitled Subject Access Request SAR. Let me know your views 
  • mayfairmayfair Member Posts: 39 Connected
    @kah22 hopefully you hear from them soon, do you know if they contacted any of the medical professionals that you put down on the form?

  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    edited April 2018
    No word yet  :s

    We’re running into the final week and I’d hoped the decision would be in by Easter.  Still if the Decision Maker had a nice break they might award maximum points.  Well we can hope  :)

    Anyway Happy Easter everyone

    Kevin
  • mayfairmayfair Member Posts: 39 Connected
    @kah22 I’m still waiting as well phoned on Friday it’s still with the decision maker and with them closed Monday and Tuesday it’s going to take a bit longer. Happy Easter to you and hopefully you get word soon 
      
      
  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    edited April 2018
    Thought I’d pop by and give an update.

     We received a text on 12 March informing us that the department had received the assessors report (based on a paper based assessment) and that we should here from them within 4 weeks

     So far no PIP news but she did receive a letter this morning from ESA telling her that they had received new information and she was been placed in the ESA support group, she was there already. I’m hoping that that new information came from the PIP people and that that is a good omen for PIP.

    What do you think? I’ll come back when I’ve more definite information Kevin
  • mayfairmayfair Member Posts: 39 Connected
    Sounds good you should receive the decision letter soon, I hope you hear word soon as it has been a long wait for you both 
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,258 Disability Gamechanger
    Have you asked for a copy of the report ?
    PA3 I belive for paper based

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    Have you asked for a copy of the report ?
    PA3 I belive for paper based

    CR
    I dot want to ask for assessment yet but as soon as it is then I’ll ask
  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous

    First of all my apologies as this is a longer message than I normally post.

    My friend has received her PIP award; standard rate care at £57.30 week and no help for mobility. The award to March 2021. As mentioned in other posts the assessment was paper based and the condition was Bipolar.

    We now turn to whether or not to look a mandatory review, she has received 11 points; that 1 extra would make a difference. I should say that while she will go for a MR but not to a Tribunal but we’ll not be saying that.

    In their ‘How I made my decision’ section the DM stated that ‘they used information provided by the letter from your psychiatrist. This comment I find particularly interesting: ‘The information provided by the telephone advice from your psychiatrist . From what I’ve been reading this seems to be uncommon ie they contacting the psychiatrist. I would imagine this is something I should ask for specifically in a SAR: . What advice did he give? They didn’t mention the GP’s letter or the support letter from myself.

    While I appreciate that a mandatory review may look at all descriptors in the hunt for that extra 1 point I would be homing in on the following. Preparing Food, Eating and Drinking, Reading, Communicating and Making Decisions about Money

    Preparing food. 2 from 8 For this activity she was awarded 2 points for needing prompting. However, I feel that they did not take into account her assertion that: ‘ It is not safe for me to use the hob because when in bipolar depression I cannot concentrate enough to complete the task and when in a manic state working with boiling water and naked flames becomes dangerous.’ Should that pass the reliability test? Not been able to do it safely. She has actually burned herself on a few occasions. I also feel that they should have given weight to motivation, concentration, and distraction.

    Eating and Drinking. 0 from 8 I feel they should have considered her lack of motivation because of deep depression and the tiredness. Again all mentioned in her application.

    Reading 0 from 10 In her submission she stated that when she gets ‘a letter from say Benefits people telling me e.g. about a change in benefits I am getting I have to get help in understanding this Form and what various parts of it means or which applies to me. The main part of why I needed help here was because I just couldn’t concentrate and I became very tired and depressed and afraid I will loose my benefits.’ Could the likes of that possibly cover 8 c or d.

    Communicating: 0 from 10. The DM said they decided that she can express and understand verbal information unaided While my friend is more likely to be in a depressed state she wrote that when she is manic she talks at lighting speed and constantly changes subjects. But when she is on a low she just does the bear minimum of talking. She very seldom uses the telephone. When on a high she has got violent and struck me, all this was mentioned in her form.

    Making budgeting decisions. 2 from 6 For those with bipolar this, I think, is a big one. The points were for making complex budgeting decisions but in her submission she gave three examples of how she treats money, this was when she was on a high. £80 clothes form second hand shop, £500 to a nephew getting married and £40 to a beggar in the street.

    While I will go through the other descriptors these, I feel, would be her strongest points, but please if you have any suggestions about PIP and Bipolar share them. 

    I not including here anything to do with mobility partly because when we filled the form in the High Court hadn’t declared the effective ban mobility illegal and we didn’t put as much effort into it as we did with the care section.

    I would be interested in your views and what the next step should be. That 1 extra point would make all the difference.
     
    Kevin

  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,258 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi kevin

    Starting from the last, HCP & DWP should be assessing both parts of the claim so if mobility, is an issue go for it

    Remember that the majority of time comes in force so can you be sure that the descriptors mentioned are apparent for the majority of time ?

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • mayfairmayfair Member Posts: 39 Connected
    Hi @kah22 can’t offer any advice but I’m hoping it all works out please keep us updated on how things are progressing. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Only 20% of MR decisions change and she does risk losing everything. That's a big risk in my opinion. Why risk it if you're not planning on taking it to Tribunal. The chances of a Tribunal going in your favour is around 70%, if you appear in person.

    At Tribunal, if they were planning on lowering an existing award they have to warn you first. This gives the claimant a chance to cancel the Tribunal before the hearing.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    We’ve applied for a copy of the Assessment Report and a SAR as we are going to MR

    Here is a breakdown of the GF assessment

    Preparing Food. 2

    Eating and Drinking. 0. Not surprised

    Mananging Treatments. 1

    Washing and Bathing 2

    Managing Toilet Needs. 0 Didn’t claim here at all

    Dressing and Undressing 2

    Communicating 0. This is an issue worth pushing, I think Yes?

    Reading 0 again not surprised but would like to here opinions

    Mixing With Other People 2

    Making Budgeting Decisions (complex) 2 No simple decisions

    Zero points for mobility. Again I wasn’t surprised as we had submitted our claim days before the court case result

    Initially I wasn’t surprised at the zero points for eating and drinking but then a contributor over on a bipolar Forum said he had actually got 4 points for this. I can see where encouragement can come in. I’m wondering if the descriptor also applies to over eating. When my GF is manic she will hardly eat anything but when in a depressed state she can’t seem to get enough.  I’m wondering how to approach this descriptor.  Ideas anybody ?

    Communication seems a big one for me and I’m stunned that we didn’t get any points there considering we did with mixing with other people. Again I’d appreciate how best to get this across to a DM when you are dealing with a flexible condition like Bipolar

    I’m also thinking of making a stronger case for mobility as we did not when filling in the initial Forum. At that stage it seemed mobility was been withheld from those with mental health so we didn’t put that much effort into it , I don’t expect to be awarded anything this time around but I’m putting the information out there for the big review when it starts

    Kevin

  • whistleswhistles Member Posts: 1,603 Disability Gamechanger
    Just my two pennies worth. 
    My award is also 2021, reviewed in two years. I decided to leave it alone. I will have to do all this again in two years anyway.
    Having an end date allows me to put a diary together etc.

    If you get esa does this not include the premium or has this stopped now? 

    I wish any one week with the MR. But I left it alone.
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • kah22kah22 Member Posts: 52 Courageous
    Sorry don’t know about the premium I’m just helping my GF with all the research; she’d never get it completed

    Pat the moment my attention is focused on these two descriptors communication and eating a drinking, I be happy to hear your experiences

    Kevin

  • Laurastanners4Laurastanners4 Member Posts: 20 Listener
    I got this text and was surprised. It must have been the extra evidence and ftf Assessments causes me stress. 
    We've received the written report of your PIP assessment. We will write to you once we've made a decision on your PIP. As a guide you should hear from us within 6 weeks. You don't need to contact us unless any of the details you gave us have changed. Thank you.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    I got this text and was surprised. It must have been the extra evidence and ftf Assessments causes me stress. 
    We've received the written report of your PIP assessment. We will write to you once we've made a decision on your PIP. As a guide you should hear from us within 6 weeks. You don't need to contact us unless any of the details you gave us have changed. Thank you.
    It's a standard text message that's sent to everyone that puts a mobile number down on the PIP2 form. DWP just keep you updated through out your claim and there's always a report written and returned to DWP decision maker, who then makes a decision.

    You can ring DWP and ask for a copy of this report, this will give you some idea what the decision will be. Good luck.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • Laurastanners4Laurastanners4 Member Posts: 20 Listener
    Thanks but iam not waiting on the phone to the DWP it causes me stress 
  • Laurastanners4Laurastanners4 Member Posts: 20 Listener
    This is me reapplying before my current award ends no review due to going to tribunal for current award 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    There's no really any difference, apart from the review form being shorter but you should ignore the shortened version anyway and put down as much information as possible. The process for both is the same.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • YadnadYadnad Member - under moderation Posts: 2,862 Disability Gamechanger
    There's no really any difference, apart from the review form being shorter but you should ignore the shortened version anyway and put down as much information as possible. The process for both is the same.
    Is there any basis for saying that? If you are right I don't understand why they don't issue a full PIP2 form. What is the point of a shortened version and how do the DWP expect you to deal with it.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Yadnad said:
    There's no really any difference, apart from the review form being shorter but you should ignore the shortened version anyway and put down as much information as possible. The process for both is the same.
    Is there any basis for saying that? If you are right I don't understand why they don't issue a full PIP2 form. What is the point of a shortened version and how do the DWP expect you to deal with it.
    Yes, the basis is the same reasons why you should always put as much information down on the PIP2 form, there's no difference. The more information you put down the better for you.  Why did they bring out the shortened version? I've no idea, but claimants seen through this and realised that ticking the box "no change" can do more harm than good. They state on the review form that there's no need to send in any evidence they've previously seen.. would i listen to that and not send the evidence i sent before? Nope, of course i wouldn't and why wouldn't i? because i'll never ever trust DWP or the HCPs to look back at previous evidence i've sent, they most likely wouldn't in my opinion.

    Dealing with it? People don't because they will always worry, panic, have sleepless nights, not eat, experience more anxiety and always ask questions that people just can't answer... for example how long will it take after the assessment to make a decision, how long do i wait for a MR decision, no one can answer those questions because it's the same as asking how long is a piece of string. Basically the worry and stress of reassessments makes people worse than they were to begin with, which means they simply don't deal with it.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
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