PIP, DLA and AA
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Evidence Letter from family for PIP tribunal

JurphJurph Member Posts: 346 Pioneering
edited April 2018 in PIP, DLA and AA
Hello, I wonder if anyone can offer advice on supporting evidence for my PIP tribunal.

I've had great advice off here previously.

Is it worth getting my Mum and my neighbour to write a letter to support my appeal? I'm a little thin on medical evidence.

I live with my mum so she knows how I struggle everyday. My neighbour has seen me on good and bad days and has been my saviour on occasion. They're both happy to write something but they're not sure how to word it.

Thanks!

Replies

  • feirfeir Member Posts: 396 Pioneering
    Have you no letters from the hospital or anything? Not sure family and neighbours will be classed as evidence because they aren't actual proof you have a disability. You need a diagnosis and what tablets you're being prescribed, things like this.

    They could help you fill the forms in though if you need that.
  • susan48susan48 Member Posts: 2,229 Disability Gamechanger
    @feir,
    unfair as it is not everyone has or gets a diagnosis, it took me years to get one and other areas of my illness are still not diagnosed.

     @Jurph I’m sure supporting letter won’t hurt and I’m sure there will be something online as a guide. 


  • markyboymarkyboy Member Posts: 368 Pioneering
    From my experience with PIP i also have fibromyalgia they are only interested in how your disability affects your daily life and letters from friends and family have little effect,PIP is all about Aids that you use daily and going out and buying these is not the answer but if a occupational therapists pays you a visit and recommends Aids to help you, they will supply them for you.
    To do this you have to get a referral from your GP

    I have been to 2 appeal tribunals and on both the disability expert asked me the question ,was my Aids that i use to manage tasks supplied and recommended by a OT
  • feirfeir Member Posts: 396 Pioneering
    True, my son has no diagnosis but gets some help. We had his school support our case as they're a special needs school so they were taken as ok for evidence, they also have a nurse and psychiatrists there.

    You not got anyone official who can back you up? Social workers, anything?

    I got 0 points because i had no diagnosis and nobody official to back up my claim of being disabled, and my GP was useless (and still are tbh but i've got a couple of consultants now so relying on them this time).
  • JurphJurph Member Posts: 346 Pioneering
    @feir I've got diagnosis letters from Rheumatologist and Mental Health team. These have been ignored.

    I have referrals for CBT, Pain Clinic, Physiotherapy and Rheumatologist but still on waiting lists.

    I have adverse reactions to the medicines usually prescribed so can't take them. Still working with my GP to find something that helps.

    @markyboy thank you! This is what I'm having trouble with. My OT was useless. They got a rail installed in my bath but they won't do anything else because I live with my parents. My parents cook for me, help wash my hair etc so basically said that help can continue.


  • JurphJurph Member Posts: 346 Pioneering
    All my conditions are invisible. I have proof of diagnosis but not of how I struggle.
  • markyboymarkyboy Member Posts: 368 Pioneering
    Before my first tribunal i got a consultants letter but on the decision notice they said that the consultant had only written what i had told him in regards to what i could or not do and he would not of had first hand experience of difficulty in carrying out tasks
    With occupational therapists they come to your home environment and what they say goes a long way with tribunal panel
    They even recommended a wet room for me and the council gave me a grant on their word and have just completed this.
  • markyboymarkyboy Member Posts: 368 Pioneering
    Sorry i did not realise you had already been down the road of a OT visit it is difficult to advise what else to recommend but i am sure someone else on this site can help you further
  • JurphJurph Member Posts: 346 Pioneering
    @markyboy I'm have that very problem. No one sees me day to day. They can't provide evidence.

    My OT was horrible.

    She asked lots of questions and I replied honestly. She recommended a shower be installed (the housing refused) and had grab rails put in.

    However, when I received her report, every section where my parents help she just put "no help needed". She didn't write that I'm helped, just that the council doesn't need to help.

    I can't add that as evidence as it implies I'm fine. 


  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    @markyboy I have fibromyalgia too, recently diagnosed after years of chronic pain. I struggle in the kitchen with safety and other things and never thought to ask my gp about o t, or pain management etc. Thanks. Also, when my gp wrote my supporting letter for my pip appeal, and then one week later I was diagnosed with fibro, when I asked for it to be added, he just hand wrote it on. I dont know if I should insist on a typed up new letter or not? I did expect one as I hadnt picked up the original or paid for it before he did that.
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • markyboymarkyboy Member Posts: 368 Pioneering
    i would not worry if it is typed or not as long as he has signed it.
    Not sure how long since you appealed but you might still have time to get a OT visit and letter.
    My first tribunal waiting time was 9 months from first applying.
  • feirfeir Member Posts: 396 Pioneering
    "I've got diagnosis letters from Rheumatologist and Mental Health team. These have been ignored."

    Just seen in another topic that someone elses medical evidence has also been completely ignored.

    Not sure what's going on but it looks like they are just turning anyone down now who doesn't get any help, and the worst thing is because of council cuts the help isn't there for a lot of people who need it. I honestly think the government has done this on purpose.

    There's no general election until 2022 so i think we're all stuffed.


  • markyboymarkyboy Member Posts: 368 Pioneering
    Very true i told my doctor i could not walk 20 metres he put that in a letter  and they ignored it when i questioned this they said the doctor only wrote down what you had told him he is not with you 24 hours a day.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    markyboy said:
    Very true i told my doctor i could not walk 20 metres he put that in a letter  and they ignored it when i questioned this they said the doctor only wrote down what you had told him he is not with you 24 hours a day.

    Obviously that is the case. Letters of that nature from a GP mean very little. If the DWP were to accept this type of letter then everybody would be getting their GP to write one. Luckily for me I had a report from a spinal consultant following tests of mobility on a walking machine in the hospital All of the info was recorded - speed, distance etc. The DWP had to accept that as the walking difficulties had been witnessed.
    My problem was relating to the difficulties that arose from a mental health condition. I told the truth about those difficulties, I even submitted psychiatric reports, CPN reports and even a discharge letter from the secure psychiatric unit. But because none of those actually stated what my difficulties were they disregarded what I had claimed and instead listed 14 or so one line statements saying that I had no mental health issues. For subsequent claims/reviews/re-assessments I didn't include anything relating to mental health as I could not prove my claims.
  • feirfeir Member Posts: 396 Pioneering
    They said they ignore mental health diagnosis to me anyway, unless you're on tablets.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    feir said:
    They said they ignore mental health diagnosis to me anyway, unless you're on tablets.

    Not entirely true, for the 3 face to face assessments that I have had I have supplied the DWP with an up-to-date copy of my repeat prescription list. Goodness knows what they think when they see 'Sertraline' - 150mg daily staring at them?
    They certainly don't accept that it is for any mental health condition.   
  • feirfeir Member Posts: 396 Pioneering
    Yadnad said:
    feir said:
    They said they ignore mental health diagnosis to me anyway, unless you're on tablets.

    Not entirely true, for the 3 face to face assessments that I have had I have supplied the DWP with an up-to-date copy of my repeat prescription list. Goodness knows what they think when they see 'Sertraline' - 150mg daily staring at them?
    They certainly don't accept that it is for any mental health condition.   
    That's what they told me about my mental health even though i'm diagnosed by 2 qualified people with moderate depression because of my circumstances and not because there's something chemically wrong with my brain. Tbh i think they just say whatever doesn't apply to you is what counts.I'm sure there are people who do take medication who have had their benefits stopped for others reasons.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,987 Disability Gamechanger
    You do not need a diagnosis for disability benefits. Just an accepted set of symptoms which limit functionality. Medical evidence is also not critical unless it fills a specific gap. 

    Anything you submit is evidence and you don’t need “proof” of anything. The burden of proof in social security cases is the “balance of probabilities” I.e. whether something is more likely than not. If something is said and it’s not inherently contradictory or inconsistent then it should be accepted as true. 52% of DLA and PIP claims succeed with no medical evidence at all.

    As far as evidence from your neighbour and Mum are concerned it’s an excellent idea. They don’t need to find any specific form of words. They do need to include the following:

    - how they know you and how often they see you.
    - any aids or appliances they’re aware of.
    - any anecdotes about assistance or care given with as much detail as possible.
    - focus comments on the specific points descriptors if they can. 
    - don’t allow them to comment on issues of fairness; how much the money is needed; how honest you are etc. Focus on relevant facts.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member

    Anything you submit is evidence and you don’t need “proof” of anything. The burden of proof in social security cases is the “balance of probabilities” I.e. whether something is more likely than not. If something is said and it’s not inherently contradictory or inconsistent then it should be accepted as true. 52% of DLA and PIP claims succeed with no medical evidence at all.

    Thanks Mike, if you don't need any proof of a difficulty you are then left with only a statement concerning the difficulty. I understand the basis of on which the DWP work as regards the balance of probabilities.
    It is becoming more clear to me that the claim form itself seems to be the key to a successful PIP claim.
    So providing that what you write on the form fits pretty accurately with a condition and that there is medical backup via a repeat prescription for the drugs taken to deal with that condition and maybe a copy of your medical history that is held by the GP, you should be home and dry?
    To me that all means that you should have professional help when filling in the form and the same when you have put all of the 'evidence' together. 
    Does that mean that those who manage to get that help would have a better chance of a good award over those that struggle without any assistance with the form leaving it to the last minute to return it as they just can't get their head round it?
    It seems to me that for the past 5 years I have been looking at the PIP system all wrong and added to that I have never been able to obtain any face to face help along the way. 

    I seem to remember that the government and the DWP both stated that there was no need to get any help or assistance as the system itself was simple enough for the average person to comprehend.

    All of that doesn't bode well for many like me  - my IQ must have been overstated for the past 60 years  after I passed the 11+, obtained good O & A level results and managed a first in maths at uni.
  • feirfeir Member Posts: 396 Pioneering
    Just noticed today that the PIP form itself says you can send in evidence from family, friends, or carers. Never noticed that before and don't think i would have if it wasn't for this topic. My ex is gonna write about all the stuff he has to do and how everything affects our family.
    There's a lot of good info in these forums that helps you make your case better, even though this topic wasn't about the PIP form itself. I also got a 2 week extension on my form because i read you could do that somewhere else on here. In other good news i got a letter from my mental health care providers and they work for the NHS so maybe they will take that as evidence now? We shall see.


  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,987 Disability Gamechanger
    Yadnad said:

    Anything you submit is evidence and you don’t need “proof” of anything. The burden of proof in social security cases is the “balance of probabilities” I.e. whether something is more likely than not. If something is said and it’s not inherently contradictory or inconsistent then it should be accepted as true. 52% of DLA and PIP claims succeed with no medical evidence at all.

    Thanks Mike, if you don't need any proof of a difficulty you are then left with only a statement concerning the difficulty. I understand the basis of on which the DWP work as regards the balance of probabilities.
    It is becoming more clear to me that the claim form itself seems to be the key to a successful PIP claim.
    So providing that what you write on the form fits pretty accurately with a condition and that there is medical backup via a repeat prescription for the drugs taken to deal with that condition and maybe a copy of your medical history that is held by the GP, you should be home and dry?
    To me that all means that you should have professional help when filling in the form and the same when you have put all of the 'evidence' together. 
    Does that mean that those who manage to get that help would have a better chance of a good award over those that struggle without any assistance with the form leaving it to the last minute to return it as they just can't get their head round it?
    It seems to me that for the past 5 years I have been looking at the PIP system all wrong and added to that I have never been able to obtain any face to face help along the way. 

    I seem to remember that the government and the DWP both stated that there was no need to get any help or assistance as the system itself was simple enough for the average person to comprehend.

    All of that doesn't bode well for many like me  - my IQ must have been overstated for the past 60 years  after I passed the 11+, obtained good O & A level results and managed a first in maths at uni.
    @yadnad It’s a controversial view but I think significant numbers of people don’t need help with the form unless they have problems with concentration, grip or tiredness. There’s no magic form of words that an adviser brings to the table that should make the difference between qualifying and not qualifying. It really is just about the anecdotal examples and getting people to understand the difference between assertion and evidence. If I say I’m arthritic; my knees give way and I fall a lot that might all be consistent and logical but the bit about falling is assertion. If I can give two or three examples of falls - when, where, how, witnesses, what happened next etc. then I have evidenced the assertion and, in the absence of those examples being unlikely, absurd or contradictory my evidence should be accepted on the balance of probabilities in the absence of evidence to the contrary. A HCP report is often evidence to the contrary. Picking them apart is relatively easy but if your claim pack contains nothing but assertion or examples which lack detail then you’re a long way from home and dry.

    A claim pack which says “I’m arthritic. I fall a lot and the last time I fell was last week in the garden” is a long way short of “I fall a lot. I fell last week in the garden. I was just walking on the concrete path to a flower bed when I think my left leg gave way. I don’t have support like crutches or a stick or cane. I fell into the soil to the left of the path but I cut my elbow on the concrete as I fell and I had nothing to suppprt me getting back up so I had to crawl on all fours about 20 feet to my back door step where there is a rail.”

    @feir occasionally I get relatives who desperately want to fill in that bit of the form. I would never discourage it but generally such statements are easily disregarded as they lack focus on the points scoring activities. I’ve certainly never seen a tribunal tip because of such statements for example as the general attitude is that it’s hard to dustingush between what someone does because the person needs it and what they do because they care/love the person. 
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    Thanks Mike. Yes I fully understand that and for someone that is able to explain in that way and in that depth on the claim form they should not need any help from the likes of the CAB. I believe that most people see these agencies as a way of using 'magic' words. The main problem for some, and I include myself in this is that whilst the knowledge and understanding is there it is almost impossible to put it down on paper. Not being able to set their stall out despite knowing what they want to see on the stall generally leads to doing anything that could resemble the facts.
    It's trying to organise the intelligence to co-operate with the hand.
    I must admit and I'll bet that I am not alone, that  as the form unfolds you start off with great gusto only to give up halfway through and put anything down as long as it appears to read OK.
    Patience is another thing, if you are ill, or depressed or just lacking the ability to assemble the wording in your head due to the drug regime that you are on then there is very little hope that a good job will be done.

    Personally I know where my problem lies. It is getting what I know down on paper in such a way that a stranger can see exactly what I mean - a flow of facts. That these facts match exactly the descriptors that I feel I qualify for. Unfortunately my hatred for the PIP system also comes into play, the way it was designed and how it is operated. With that in mind and whilst my intelligence exists, getting the information over coupled with an attitude of 'why bother, the cards are stacked against me from the start' - it is fairly obvious why I have failed each time.

    I know also that when at the face to face assessment people are either frightened, nervous and shy whilst others, a bit like myself, know that they must co-operate but underneath don't see the point in it all - the assessor will write what they want in any event. 
     
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,987 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes, agencies get lots of people in search of “magic words” and “you’ll know better than me what to say” type stuff. Worst culprits in some ways are actually other front line professionals who think that a little professional flattery goes a lot further than it actually does. We don’t “know what to say”. We simply pull out the stories and get them on paper. 

    I am especially a fan of/amused by “I can’t fill in forms/I don’t like filling in forms”. Find me a welfare rights officer who likes filling in forms. They don’t exist. We dint like it any more than anyone else but equally “not liking it” is not a reason for an adviser to do it. 

    This is what word processors were invented for. You draft all answers in Word and give print offs to others who can comment on accuracy, omissions and so on. Using speech to text software is good too. Tell your anecdotes to a microphone naturally and edit it later. Once you’ve a final version you can either hand write it in, using extra sheets if necessary, or, with a bit of experimentation print, cut out and paste the typewritten text in (much harder for Attendance Allowance by the way as they leave way less space). 

    I think the psychological barrier is bigger than the actuality. What you’ve typed above for example is excellent. If you can do that then you can do the form. 

  • feirfeir Member Posts: 396 Pioneering
    Not sure if i saved draft accidently but i can't see my reply? Was just saying i thought it was strange what OP was asking. especially as some of my evidence was flat out dismissed because of who it was sent by and not what it said, but since seeing the form last night PIP just leaves me wondering. It's no surprise people fail on their first attempt and have to go to a tribunal to win either.
    Told my ex to keep evidence basic and just say what's changed about my life with our kids and what he does for me.
  • feirfeir Member Posts: 396 Pioneering
    Yadnad said:

    Anything you submit is evidence and you don’t need “proof” of anything. The burden of proof in social security cases is the “balance of probabilities” I.e. whether something is more likely than not. If something is said and it’s not inherently contradictory or inconsistent then it should be accepted as true. 52% of DLA and PIP claims succeed with no medical evidence at all.

    Thanks Mike, if you don't need any proof of a difficulty you are then left with only a statement concerning the difficulty. I understand the basis of on which the DWP work as regards the balance of probabilities.
    It is becoming more clear to me that the claim form itself seems to be the key to a successful PIP claim.
    So providing that what you write on the form fits pretty accurately with a condition and that there is medical backup via a repeat prescription for the drugs taken to deal with that condition and maybe a copy of your medical history that is held by the GP, you should be home and dry?
    To me that all means that you should have professional help when filling in the form and the same when you have put all of the 'evidence' together. 
    Does that mean that those who manage to get that help would have a better chance of a good award over those that struggle without any assistance with the form leaving it to the last minute to return it as they just can't get their head round it?
    It seems to me that for the past 5 years I have been looking at the PIP system all wrong and added to that I have never been able to obtain any face to face help along the way. 

    I seem to remember that the government and the DWP both stated that there was no need to get any help or assistance as the system itself was simple enough for the average person to comprehend.

    All of that doesn't bode well for many like me  - my IQ must have been overstated for the past 60 years  after I passed the 11+, obtained good O & A level results and managed a first in maths at uni.
    @yadnad It’s a controversial view but I think significant numbers of people don’t need help with the form unless they have problems with concentration, grip or tiredness. There’s no magic form of words that an adviser brings to the table that should make the difference between qualifying and not qualifying. It really is just about the anecdotal examples and getting people to understand the difference between assertion and evidence. If I say I’m arthritic; my knees give way and I fall a lot that might all be consistent and logical but the bit about falling is assertion. If I can give two or three examples of falls - when, where, how, witnesses, what happened next etc. then I have evidenced the assertion and, in the absence of those examples being unlikely, absurd or contradictory my evidence should be accepted on the balance of probabilities in the absence of evidence to the contrary. A HCP report is often evidence to the contrary. Picking them apart is relatively easy but if your claim pack contains nothing but assertion or examples which lack detail then you’re a long way from home and dry.

    A claim pack which says “I’m arthritic. I fall a lot and the last time I fell was last week in the garden” is a long way short of “I fall a lot. I fell last week in the garden. I was just walking on the concrete path to a flower bed when I think my left leg gave way. I don’t have support like crutches or a stick or cane. I fell into the soil to the left of the path but I cut my elbow on the concrete as I fell and I had nothing to suppprt me getting back up so I had to crawl on all fours about 20 feet to my back door step where there is a rail.”

    @feir occasionally I get relatives who desperately want to fill in that bit of the form. I would never discourage it but generally such statements are easily disregarded as they lack focus on the points scoring activities. I’ve certainly never seen a tribunal tip because of such statements for example as the general attitude is that it’s hard to dustingush between what someone does because the person needs it and what they do because they care/love the person. 
    initially when the OP asked this question i did think it was a bit weird that they would take relatives or friends as reliable sources of info (especially as they dismissed some of my NHS treatment because of who had given it to me rather than what it said) also because they can say anything.
    I told my ex to leave it as basic as possible and to just mention what he does for me and how my life has changed in regards to the kids.

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