PIP, DLA and AA
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My experience with a PIP assessment - Asperger Syndrome

Carl1982Carl1982 Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited May 2018 in PIP, DLA and AA
I wanted to post somewhere my personal experience of the PIP assessment. I have no major reason for sharing other than as a theroputic release of my current anger and frustration. I would briefly summarise my anger as having 2 foundations. 1 - there was a lot of lies and half truths involved in my assessment, and 2 -not one person involved in the assessment proccess appeared to have any degree of knowledge into mental health and autism.

 Why do I feel that way? Here are a few exerts from my assessment by a disability assessor for Capita. At my assessment I explained about my school life. I can't recall the exact info given as he whole assessment proccess was a blur of confusion for me. My school life was thus...I was relentlessly bullied in primary school due to being different. Towards the end of primary school my responses got violent and I was suspended. In secondary school I continued to respond violently to bullying and was separated from the other students, and eventually expelled. I was then sent to a special needs school, but they wanted to transition me back to mainstream school. They did this, but I still found myself being bullied. It reached the point that I learned froma student that a large number of boys in the school (both my age and older) were planning on attacking me after school. They gave only one reason to the other students, that I was wierd. For that reason I fled the school and went to the first James Brindley school where I was given one to one tuition for a few hours a week, until I needed to prepare course work for exams, where I was placed in a small class at James Brindley.

 The assessor notes read about this experience ""He attended a mainstream in primary school, he also attended a mainstream secondary school, he has some support at the time from a special needs school around the time of his exams due to his being bullied." Due to my school situation my grades were also lower than I had the potential for and I recieved mostly grades D-F. My assessor notes "He gained 3 GCSEs at A-C and 7 in total"really highlighting the few good grades while making an easily ignored side note of the majority of my grades.

 I was also annoyed when asked about making budgeting decisions. I made it clear to the assessor that I am very unusually tight. I panick at the idea of spending money and try to avoid it at all costs. This I specified included, if I had £300 available and my wife needed new shoes for her disability, I would try to avoid buying them until she insisted, or went out on her own and purchased them. The assessor noted this down as"He reports that he tales his time when making complex decisions as he is cautious with money and his wants to prevent himself from making mistakes." I felt that this was very different to the situation I explained!

 Other things that upset me included the fact that I went into great detail on my difficulties with socialising. That I rarely understand people and that I choose to spend a lot of the time sitting at home alone rather than dealing with the pressures of people, but that in occasions (the good days that they ask you for) I will visit family or very close friends. The only information recorded was "He reports that he is usually able to engage with his family members, friends, and GP face to face despite his Asperger syndrome." Usually???

 I felt that I was punished for working 4-8 hours a week in a shop. I did explain thatI have tried looking for a longer contractbut have been repeatedly rejected at interviews (Screwfix said that they needed someone qualified for retail, Barclays that they needed someone enthusiastic, and an interview at Savers where the regional managergot angry at one of my answers eat...) and that even the current company declined me for a bigger contract as i was "Too quiet, and the customers will walk all over you" despite me never feeling that this was the case. One of my manages even told another staff member that I was the worst person in the store even though my tracked performances are always ranked highly. I also reported complete anxiety attacks every time I had tk verbally communicate time off to my managers, which is difficult because they have no facilities to put these down in writing. That's my work situation, and yet my assessor on multiple points went back to that situation to state that I reported difficulties in areas socialising, but I worked in a shop so I must be able to socialise... I reported difficilties communicatin but I work in ashop so I must be able to communicate...and so on and so forth.

 I was appalled that my original decline letter described physical tests (grab and pinch tests) that were not even performed as I was not physically disabled. When receiving my assessors notes I realised thatI had been watched as I lifted my bag, and pushed my wife's wheelchair. Fine, except that the assessors notes mentioned getting permission to record these details, which is false because I did not know that I was being observed in that way. It's a small thing, but it highlights to me the disregard for my rights that this assessment proccess has been showing.

I have explained how I don't fully understand how my disability affects me, just what others had told me, and this was put down as I had a good understanding of my condition. I didn't even know that my constant anxiety was caused by my autism until I spoke to another Asperger individual after my assessment. I was told that I answered all questions without promoting, even though I kept looking to my wife for answers that she couldn't help me with. I was punished for not being on medication (I've tried medication before but the side affects of the medication made me anxious/depressed any way) and it is held against me that I never had an emotional meltdown, even though an emotional meltdown for an autistic person in this situation would have resulted I an arrest. I've had plenty of breakdowns since then due to the stress that this proccess has put me through, in fact my living room still smells after an incident with a plate of fish pie found its way into a wall, but I don't think that the assessors genuinely want to see this anger, except as an easy way out. A person being sectioned does not need to be given benefits afterall.

Strangely enough I was also penalised points for being clean shaven, even though I'd had to stay at my in-laws home that day due to it being a smaller journey to the assessment center in stoke (which I was assured by the assessor was the selected centre as it would benefit me the most) and hadn'thad access to a razor that morning.

Anyway I've rambled enough but I just wanted to make a passing mention to the actual letters of decline at the same time. Honestly, the way they are written feels very aggressive to me. The first letter is very formal and bullet point ridden, offering no information on what it is that led to their decision. Then after writing a very long, detailed letter, for reconsideration, the letter came back with very passive aggressive notes, a lot of referring back to the original letter and no references to the letter that we wrote at all. At no point in the proccess did I feel that I understood what answers anyone was looking for, but anyone who knowsanything about autism would have known to expect this. They would also know that if you ask an autistic person to write in with any further details that you've overlooked, then that is what an autistic person will do. If you wantthat autistic person to go to a Doctor and get rediagnosed then tell them that (funny how my assessor said that the DWP would write to my GP for a letter based on my complete medical history, but the DWP say that they would never need to as they have enough medical information from the assessors notes. Funny that.

I know that most won't agree with my choice but I've decided not to go to tribunal. My health has already been negatively affected. I have palpitations and shortness of breath almost every day, and I'm in a constant state if anger, due to how I've been treated. I know that if this anger comes out at a tribunal then I will be arrested. If it doesn't come out then nobody will see me as disabled anyway, so what on Earth is the point. Good win for the Capita/DWP there but you don't need me to state that one do you.

Replies

  • markyboymarkyboy Member Posts: 368 Pioneering
    I put down on my application that i could not make budgeting decisions and at the assessment my i pad bleeped she said what was that and my wife said it was something we were watching on e bay and in her report she claimed that i had no problem with budgeting as i buy goods on e bay.
    This is what assessors do they are watching every move you make and form there own opinions and ignore medical reports
  • Niclevi99Niclevi99 Member Posts: 16 Connected
    I had my assessment on Wednesday and feel it was very rushed I too am autistic with anxiety and depression and agoraphobia  back pain and sciatica . I cried with nerves as soon as I sat down but she continued asking questions and spent most of the time typing and looking at the screen. I was quite deliberately evasive as I don't like talking to people I feel awkward and paranoid and it was intimidating. I think that because I work this will go against me even though I don't deal with the public face to face and don't start work til 12:30 as I start panicking every morning and have to spend hours calming down. Work is the only place I go I can't go to gp dentist or kids school don't socialise or visit family don't go to shops or pubs. I am nervous about what will be in my report and will update when I get it. They don't understand what they don't know or live through nobody knows except us. 
  • Carl1982Carl1982 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    edited May 2018
    markyboy said:
    I put down on my application that i could not make budgeting decisions and at the assessment my i pad bleeped she said what was that and my wife said it was something we were watching on e bay and in her report she claimed that i had no problem with budgeting as i buy goods on e bay.
    This is what assessors do they are watching every move you make and form there own opinions and ignore medical reports


    I was asked if I use social media (I can't stand the things) and stated that I don't use social media any more, although I have an instagram account that I stopped using as never had any engagement for things tgat interested me. Having that account was put down as me being able to socialise due to being active on social media.

    I suspect however that if the child of one of these assessors was on social media 100% of the time then they would not still be calling it a social life.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    edited May 2018
    Carl1982 said:

    I was asked if I use social media (I can't stand the things) and stated that I don't use social media any more, although I have an instagram account that I stopped using as never had any engagement for things tgat interested me. Having that account was put down as me being able to socialise due to being active on social media.

    I suspect however that if the child of one of these assessors was on social media 100% of the time then they would not still be calling it a social life.
    I don't agree, in today's world using social media is in fact classed as socialising. I think that what you mean is socialising as by our definition. Talking to a head teacher of a primary school a few weeks back on this subject and she said that social media is great for people who want to communicate with each other.

    Unfortunately the downside is that people now find it extremely difficult to 'socialise' on a personal level - they have problems communicating face to face with each other preferring to text each other even if they are in the same room.

    At 70 I regularly communicate with people via facetime, text and other social media platforms. It save time and not having to travel. In fact I spend upwards of 4 hours a day just dealing with emails! 
  • Niclevi99Niclevi99 Member Posts: 16 Connected
    The assessor is required to establish if you can 'engage with other people face to face ' as that is the descriptor definition so it shouldn't matter if someone uses social media as it doesn't require face to face interaction which helps those who have trouble doing so. I suppose you could class these discussions as social interaction but how many of us would actually talk face to face I know I couldn't. 
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