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My PIP reassessment was so impersonal

Tracey1963Tracey1963 Member Posts: 3 Listener
edited August 2018 in PIP, DLA and AA
I had my PIP reassessment today at home. I was first granted highest rate for both living and mobility two years ago. The appt. was for yesterday between 11 and 13.00 and at 13.05 they phone to say the assessor couldn't make the appt. it was rearranged for today. Same time. This caused me so much anxiety. 
The assessor offered no apology and didn't even introduce herself. She was impatient and would not wait for me to think before answering her questions. Some of the dates and times were hard to remember. She showed no compassion or interest in anything I or my mum had to say other than direct answers to her direct but vague questions. She was so impersonal and unfriendly bordering on rude. I've honestly never met anyone so cold and frosty. I don't ever want to go through it again. I don't feel positive for the outcome. 

Replies

  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Tracey63 Pleased to meet you welcome.

    Thank you for sharing. Sorry what you have been through. Shocking to hear and I feel for you.

    I may advise that you speak to your local MP about the treatment you received. I know will be interested. They are beginning to realise what is going on.

    You could complain to ATOS or Capita and see what happens.  Try that. I know members of our community have done with mixed results.

    All I can add we are here for support to advise you.  We are a friendly community.

    Have anything  want to know. Some one will be ready to answer.

    I hope have given you some reassurance and please take care.


    @thespiceman
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  • Tracey1963Tracey1963 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thank you for your kind words and support. I will certainly consider your advice. 
    Tracey 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Tracey1963 and a warm welcome to the community! I am sorry to hear about your experiences. I wish you the very best of luck with your claim and please do keep us updated!
    Scope

  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    I had my PIP reassessment today at home. I was first granted highest rate for both living and mobility two years ago. The appt. was for yesterday between 11 and 13.00 and at 13.05 they phone to say the assessor couldn't make the appt. it was rearranged for today. Same time. This caused me so much anxiety. 
    The assessor offered no apology and didn't even introduce herself. She was impatient and would not wait for me to think before answering her questions. Some of the dates and times were hard to remember. She showed no compassion or interest in anything I or my mum had to say other than direct answers to her direct but vague questions. She was so impersonal and unfriendly bordering on rude. I've honestly never met anyone so cold and frosty. I don't ever want to go through it again. I don't feel positive for the outcome. 
    Hi Tracy

    For a start this is the guidance that the assessor should be following when conducting a face to face assessment.

    1.6.8 The approach should be relaxed, allowing the claimant time and encouraging them to talk about themselves and put across the impact of their health condition or disability in their own words. The claimant and any companion should feel fully involved in the process and feel that the consultation is a genuine two-way process. Summarising back to the claimant what has been said is useful to show active listening and to ensure that key pieces of information have been correctly heard.

    With what you have said mirrors my experience of three face to face assessments in the past 5 years.

    I have no idea why they don't comply with the guidance but they don't - not always and not every assessor.

    It's too late for me to do much about this type of practice but as yours is very recent I would, if I was you, put a complaint into your MP and send a copy of it to the assessing company. It will probably get you nowhere as it would be your word against theirs.

    Best of luck and let us know what the decision is.
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    Good luck. Keep us updated on the decision. I would complain about them not following the advice to your MP. Also I recommend sending a letter to the company that did your assessment too. 
  • Peasmold_01Peasmold_01 Member Posts: 144 Pioneering
    May I suggest, and I know what I am about suggest may be stressful, but, try and write a statement of events. Start from when the first appointment was cancelled. Try and write, in chronological order what happened on the day of the assessment.  From the moment the assessor worked into your home, until she walked out. If you can, try and remember at what time she turned up and what time she left. Your Mother was there? If so, get her to write a supporting statement of evidence.Try and keep emotion out of the statement. For instance don't say "she was cold and indifferent." Rather, say something similar to. "In my opinion her approach was unprofessional and she appeared to be under a lot of pressure." Evidence everything you can remember, questions asked, questions not asked, that you thought should have been. Comments she made that were either derogatory or unnecessary. If she was rude or snappy, evidence that, but again no emotive language. When you receive the DWP decision, immediately request a copy of the assessors report. DWO must provide a copy. 

    Read through it and see if there is any discrepancy between your written evidence and what the assessor has put. (Example, I know of case were the assessor never asked the claimant to stand or do a tiptoe test, yet in the report he says he did.) You have 28 days to ask for Mandatory Reassessment. Write clearly and provide your almost contemporaneous notes/evidence. Sit back and wait and see what happens. Writing to CAPITA or ATOS, in my humble opinion, would not serve any purpose at this juncture. When you appeal, if you have to, then contact them formerly. They will have to respond and their response can be entered into the evidence placed before the tribunal.  Good Luck, and I'm sure if you returned to this forum for advice or help, you will receive overwhelming support.

                          (Humans are the only animals that blush, or need to!)
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    I disagree with that. If a decision doesn't go in a claimants favour then it's totally pointless mentioning any lies that may have been told in the assessment report. DWP will not be interested in any lies told. They want to know how your conditions affect you not the lies. Same for any Tribunal. When writing the MR letter request you should state where you think you have scored those points and why.

    Any complaints to do with the assessment report should be sent to the assessment providers not DWP.

    A copy of the assessment report can be sent to you before a decision is made, if you live in the UK. You don't have to wait until after the decision's been made to receive your copy.
    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.
  • Peasmold_01Peasmold_01 Member Posts: 144 Pioneering
    I disagree, I have had instances where a complaint regarding an assessor has resulted in another assessment, by the other company. I have also myself made formal complaint to the DWP and included it in my appeal, at the behest of my solicitor, who represented me at my appeal, which I won. I agree a copy of the assessment report can be provided by DWP before the decision is made, but that is only preempting something, and may even give greater cause for concern. Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise. If the assessment is wrong, the 'facts' as presented to the DWP and possibly a Tribunal are wrong. It is logic, if it starts wrong it invariably ends wrong, unless something happens to change that, and that is called evidence.

                            (Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to!)
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    On this occasion we'll have to agree to disagree. Getting a copy of the assessment report before a decision is made can save a whole lot of time if a decision doesn't go in your favour. It can take anything up to 2 weeks to receive a copy of the report and this can delay the MR letter request because the report will help when writing that letter.
    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.
  • Peasmold_01Peasmold_01 Member Posts: 144 Pioneering
    The 28 days to reply to the MR is not written in stone. Once one receives the first DWP decision, and requests a copy of the assessment, it is incumbent upon the DWP to note that, and should it take longer than reasonably expected, a quick telephone call to the DWP informing them of the delay will allow a further reasonable period of time to submit an MR request. Adding worries on top of worries is not a good way to start any process. My assessment was on  12 December, my decision letter was dated 21st December, it arrived on 4th January. I telephoned the DWP requesting the ATOS assessment, and told them the letter had only just arrived. They noted that, and gave me an extension, (1) for the assessment to arrive (2) to file for a MR. Trying to speed the system up, or circumvent certain protocols does not, in the end, usually work It just causes a greater level of stress. I am not a fan of the DWP, I am not a cheer leader for them, but the people who run the department on a daily basis, the humans we talk to, have rules to follow. They also have the advantage of knowing the intricacies and nuances of the rules and are able adapt them to an individual's situation. The caveat, don't try and bend the rules, or ask they be bent, to breaking point.  

                         (Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to!)
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,627 Disability Gamechanger
    @poppy123456 is correct and @yadnad got in ahead of me with some of the relevant guidance. This is the moment to complain as, if the complaint needs to be escalated, it may not be resolved before an appeal is listed. It’s also harder to argue that any distress was caused if you were so immediately distressed you just forgot to do anything for weeks or months! The complaint immediately loses impact and credibility. 

    It’s also completely relevant now as properly formulated complaints using the guidance against the HCP and linked to the report can produce a different recommendation of points from the HCP to the DM. 

    I must also comment on the idea that DWP staff have the advantage of knowing the intricacies and nuances of the rules and are able to adapt them. That is such a mis-reading of the reality it’s hard to know where to start. So...

    1 - DWP have never in their many forms since 1948 achieved an accuracy in decision making above 66%. When it became apparent that this wasn’t going to change the government abolished the annual report which posted the statistics.

    2 - Benefits legislation is derived from Acts of Parliament which allow the creation of regulations. In turn those regulations are interpreted using guidance produced by DWP but also by case law. Out of all those DWP are not trained on the Acts or regulations at all and their only contact with case law is when it changes the guidance. DWP also have internal procedural guidance. Some is published. Some they have to be forced to publish. The guidance, and PIP is a magnificent example of this, often bears no resemblance to the law itself. So, of the five things which dictate how the law is applied DWP staff get trained on, er,... two. They get no training on the law itself at all. Just their two lots of guidance.

    There are several recurring themes when it comes to bad advice on benefits online. I’ve not seen this one much on here to be fair but advising people that they should trust the DWP as they are the font of all knowledge and not try to bend the rules is amongst the most ludicrous of advice I have seen posted. The explicit reason 71% of represented PIP appears win is because of people who know the law, case law and guidance. I’m not referring to the DWP!!!
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    @mikehughescq fantastic post, thank you! I was hoping you'd see this and reply. :)
    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 Posts: 2,856 Member
    edited August 2018
    Thanks Mike that just about tops it all off.

    What really amazes me in all of this is that the DWP/assessors are effectively trained in one or two parts that make up the law, yet can't seem to even follow their own guidance which they are supposed to be trained in. Heaven help the rest of us if the  government are really that thick when telling us all that the DWP and their agents must be doing a wonderful job as nearly everybody accepts that their decision making is correct first time round.

    one gun, 6 chambers 1 bullet - played in the bars at the house of commons.
  • Tracey1963Tracey1963 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thank you all for your advice.  My daughter is in such a state of despair I don't know what to do now for the best. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you all for your advice.  My daughter is in such a state of despair I don't know what to do now for the best. 
    Other than her asking for a copy of the assessment report towards the end of the week, there's nothing she can do but wait for the decision. Good luck.
    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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