Penalised in my PIP assessment report for having a baby
I had my PIP review (07/03/2018. 3rd assessment) and I received a copy of the assessors report yesterday.
Just to give some context: I have been receiving pip due to a spinal problem which has caused a prolapsed disc which has had a hugely painful knock-on effect on the rest of my lower joints (flat arches, misalignment in knees and hips) I have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia as I have constant, agonising swelling and pain all over my body. My mobility is severely limited. I have muscle and joint weakness and a limited range of movement.
The assessor has listed and described my medical reasons at the start of the document and, throughout, has discussed my difficulties with each of the activities. However, she has undercut all her answers with the same quote "The level of restriction described in the functional history and demonstrated in the [medical assessment] is not consistent with the strength, range of movement, grip and dexterity required to care for an 8 month old child, which she does during the day"
However, she has failed to detail how much help I get with my little one each day. My partner ensures everything is accessible to me during the day before he leaves, I don't have to reach high or bend for anything as I cannot do this without being in agony afterwards. I have relatives popping in frequently to help me etc. I would have him in child care to help me, but I cannot afford this, so I have had to adapt my day and life to struggle on as best as I can manage.
I bundle the poor thing round like a sack of potatoes during the day as I cannot pick him up well. I sit on a wheeled office chair to move around with him as I cannot walk and carry him. I cry for hours each day because, although I'm trying my best, I struggle so much but have to carry on and the poor lad just smiles on despite me not being very fast to sort him out or to be able to hold him very long, or to have to lug him about as best as I can. I move him round the house in his pushchair which I cling on to for support to help me walk. It's not his fault things are like this, babies weren't even a consideration when I found out I was pregnant, but not having him was not a decision for us and I've struggled and paid the price for it the whole way through.
Other things she has written in the report which aren’t true are:
- During the physical assessment she has added exercises into the report that she didn't ask me to do (neck extension and wrist turning exercises) and has written that I did them without problem.
- Written that my spine appeared normal (it is far from normal), which she didn't ask to see and which she couldn't have seen well as I had a big jumper on.
- She has said she observed me walking 20m unaided. But her office was 10m max from the entrance and my partner was walking behind me and she was behind him, so there was no way she could see past him in the narrow corridor to watch me. Then on the way out, I held on to my partner as, during the physical assessment exercise, she took her hand off my knee without warning causing me to jolt and my hip to seize up.
- Reported that I have been told by GP to stop taking a medication, but not reported the reason why or the medication it was replaced with.
- Written a paragraph about me receiving physio for my spinal conditions, then in the last line of the paragraph, said I don’t have any professional input for my spinal conditions.
- She has ticked the box to say that I have no functional restrictions to my daily living and mobility. Is she saying that I have no medical problems?
Im just so confused as she has gone on to say a review in 3years would be appropriate. But from the tone of the whole write up, she's made so many lies and made it sound like everything is in my head and that there's nothing wrong. So why if, in her words, I have no functional restrictions, would I have a review in 3years? Surely they're now going to stop my claim?
Sorry, I'm waffling. The point I'm trying to get to is whether anyone has any experience of this. Is the DWP likely to side with the assessor who has basically conveyed that my conditions and symptoms have miraculously disappeared now I have a baby.
I just don't know what to make of it. Happy to attach photos of sections of the report if it helps. I know I haven't explained things very well. But if anyone can help make head or tail of it, I'd be very grateful.