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Dwp overlooked medical evidence- why ?

meri92
meri92 Member Posts: 13 Connected
edited October 2018 in PIP, DLA, and AA
I re applied for pip in June. Had the assessment and got 4 points for daily living then 4 points for mobility. My previous award was standard daily and enhanced notability. My conditions are mental health related. Well the original hp report had to be sent back for clarification and the second report only took some points from my GPs letter explaining my problems but ignored others so I went from 4 points to 7 on daily living but they took away the 4 points for motability. 

For the Mandotory reconsideration I sent in more evidence from my gp and sent in a letter from the personality disorder unit that I'm under but they wouldn't look at it. The thing is my doctors letter clearly says she can't leave the house un accompanied and that I need prompting to eat. But because the hp said she saw no signs of psychological distress (not true, I was extremely distressed)  that they can't award me pip. Even thought I've got 3 letters from my gp and psych all confirming the same thing. They've just cherry picked the evidence?

Now I have to go to tribunal but I'm absolutely dreading it. I'm not sleeping at night and my condition is the worst it's ever been in a while. I feel like writing to my MP about it because I've got all the proof they need they're just not taking it on board. I really can't deal with the stress of a tribunal and the wait is making so ill. What can I do ?
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Comments

  • markyboy
    markyboy Member Posts: 367 Pioneering
    PIP is not all about medical conditions it's all about how these conditions affect you in carrying out the descriptors laid out by PIP and that is how you get points
    May be that the points you were awarded where related to your condition but did not apply to other descriptors
  • meri92
    meri92 Member Posts: 13 Connected
    My evidence related to the specific descriptors. It outlined what descriptors applied to me and why. It wasn't just a confirmation of my diagnosis. 
  • Zebra88
    Zebra88 Member Posts: 55 Courageous
    edited October 2018
    As well as the appeal process you can also make a customer service complaint over the phone if you think your claim has been mis-handled... such as the decision maker not taking into account evidence from medical professionals who are best placed to comment on how your condition affects you. If it is a valid complaint it will be accepted and investigated as well as being put right.

    It also depends on how you answered the questions such as if you state you always have to have somebody with you instead of saying how much it varies, and said this is because if you have to speak to someone you don't know it will cause you anxiety, but you showed no signs of anxiety during the assessment that may lead the health care professional to believe that the anxiety does not affect your functional ability to carry out other tasks. If you said it varies then they cannot use that one day as proof of all days.
     I had a similar situation where I had been at home all day waiting for the assessment so not at work. I have an eye condition triggered by use of screens or flouro overhead lighting whereby I go temporarily blind due to migraines. She didn't see that during my assessment and therefore didn't award any points for a descriptor but I do use an aide or appliances to aide my vision on most days (at work when I need to use a screen most and the attack is more likely to occur and i also have medication for it). I put in a complaint that they hadn't properly assessed the proof i sent in or taken into account the variability I had already mentioned and the points were changed without needing an MR. I just put clearly why I think they hadn't looked through the evidence as the information to satisfy the descriptor was there and they just didn't read it.

    I dont know if that has worked for any one else but if you feel like they have not dealt with your evidence correctly you can complain.
  • meri92
    meri92 Member Posts: 13 Connected
    @Zebra88 thank you for the reply, i didn't even know you could put in a complaint like that so thank you very much for the information. 

    The DWP just kept repeating that I didn't show signs of psychological distress  at the assessment. This is what stopped them giving me any points that I needed to get an award. That's not true and I feel like there's no way I can prove that I was distressed on the day. It's weird because they actually took a second report from the hp and they second report only took some of the points from my GPs letter and not other points? 
  • Zebra88
    Zebra88 Member Posts: 55 Courageous
    edited October 2018
    I don't think it's whether you were distressed or not that this is the issue. I have really bad anxiety that makes me get palpitations when I speak to people I dont know but regards to functional ability it doesn't stop me from making phone calls repeatedly or (almost) reliably... so as far as how that would affect my ability to engage with people even though it is a huge problem for me I wouldn't get any points... If you see what I mean? What you need to prove is that the distress you are suffering affects the way you can do each thing repeatedly, reliably and safely. I know from experience they can and will cherry pick evidence, then end up looking silly (but still not held accountable) when you point out that you have already sent unrefutable proof as to what you are claiming. But I would just check that you know that the assessment is to check what they call "functional ability". So if you said something like your distress causes you to not be able to do something, ever, and you did it during the assessment then that would prove your point wrong. But it would make more sense if you said it varies and explained that because you simply had to go through the assessment process you could prepare for it with support, and you reacted differently to how you would if some kind of engagement was sprung upon you or if you had the option of avoiding it - and your medical evidence of how it affects you is how you are on a  typical day. I dont know if I'm explaining that well.
  • meri92
    meri92 Member Posts: 13 Connected
    the thing is this one thing they're using is in relation to me going out alone. I was accompanied by my partner at the assessment. If I had turned up alone then fair enough but he was there with me. They said to me "he was there for your own reassurance". They told me it's because of the new ruling on mental health and mobility because now the threshold is much higher and that they have to see signs off psychological distress otherwise they can't award you. So because in the report she claimed that I was composed and alert they said that I didn't show signs of being distressed about being outside. What they wanted to see was me breaking down in the assessment room and my partner having to calm me down or talk for me. He was having to talk for me and calm me down but because it went un reported by the hp I have received no points. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,407 Disability Gamechanger
    I think you have it wrong here, it's not just about what you're like on the day of the assessment. When writing the forms did you put down examples of what would happen if you went out alone? Or if you went out with your partner and there was crowds of people in a busy city, what is likely to happen to you? would you be able to find your way home if you were left alone for any reason at all? Are you likely to be in any danger when outside alone? These are the things they will want to know. A letter from your GP stating you can't leave the house unaccompanied will most likely not be enough here. What do you mean the 2nd report took some of the points from your GPs letter? and not other points?

    You state you need prompting to eat? what about the other 9 daily living descriptors?  to name some these are, washing/bathing, preparing food, dressing and undressing, communicating verbally? Do you have difficulty with any of these? if you do what difficulty do you have and why? These are the things they will be looking at, at the Tribunal.

    Are you getting help from someone with your Tribunal? I'd advise you to contact your local welfare rights for further help and hopefully they will be able to assist you with the Tribunal process and the evidence that you need to help support your claim.
  • meri92
    meri92 Member Posts: 13 Connected
    @poppy123456 I told them everything in original forms and MR. I explained what would happen if I went out alone I also had a letter from a psychiatrist who said the same thing. 

    The first assessors report from the hp was sent back for clarification. That's why they did a second one. The second one took into consideration my GPs letter and gave me 3 extra points. However they took away 4 from mobility that the original assessor had give me. This was all before the MR. 

    I rang them up to speak to a case worker at the dwp who told me what I've put on here. She told me because I didn't show any signs of psychological distress they wont give me points for mobility. Those are their words not mine it's even on the mandatory reconsideration letter. The hp report is being used over my evidence. 

    I didn't know that GPs letter didn't carry much weight for the Dwp?
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,407 Disability Gamechanger
    A letter from your GP that just states you can't leave the house unaccompanied and nothing else, doesn't carry much weight as evidence. A letter from someone that knows you well, stating all of your reasons and giving examples will be better.
  • meri92
    meri92 Member Posts: 13 Connected
    @mikehughescq i got as much evidence as i could. Psych letters gp letters letters from personality disorder unit showing I'm starting dbt. What more can I reasonably give ? If the hp report lied there's nothing I can do to fight it. Last time the tribunal believe my psych letter over the report and took my own world for it.

    You call my assessment of my evidence poor but youre not understanding my point I was making. I wasn't saying my partner turning up is evidence but if I had turned up alone it would have made it seem more unbelievable. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,407 Disability Gamechanger
    meri92 said:
    letters letters from personality disorder unit showing I'm starting dbt.
    A letter stating this is not evidence because it doesn't say anything in the letter about how your conditions affect you.
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,622 Pioneering
    Hi meri92, 

    The fact is that the DWP pay Capita to do these assessments on its behalf and accepting almost everything that a HCP says and the points they recommend is their way of justifying the contract. They will take more notice of them than anyone else you see who knows you better but that's what's wrong with the process we are working with at the moment.
    I have been to hundreds of tribunals and whilst I understand it's easy for me to say but tribunals are generally not as bad as a lot of people think they will be. You will be given a chance to explain how your health issues affect you and the tribunal will/should cover all the activities so nothing will be missed out. It certainly sounds as though you could do with representation so please try and seek it from your Local Authority's Welfare Rights team, if it has one. Good luck and all the best!

    Lee
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • meri92
    meri92 Member Posts: 13 Connected
    @BenefitsTrainingCo thank you very much that was a really helpful answer 
  • Yadnad
    Yadnad Posts: 2,856 Connected
    meri92 said:
    letters letters from personality disorder unit showing I'm starting dbt.
    A letter stating this is not evidence because it doesn't say anything in the letter about how your conditions affect you.
    Yes that is the point where claimants are too accepting that a medical report is everything that the DWP need.

    What a claimant should be doing is providing a substantial and acceptable letter/report from a recognised individual/source that does indeed only deal with describing what the impact is.

    The only definitive source of a report of that nature that I can think of could well be one from an OT from Social Services or maybe a privately sourced OT that has assessed the claimant and noted all of the difficulties and impact arising out of the disabilities. Having friends/neighbours/family writing letters of that nature should be treated as being sceptical as would a diary which has apparently been written by the claimant themselves. Such letters etc are open to exaggeration. 
  • Yadnad
    Yadnad Posts: 2,856 Connected
    edited October 2018
    I disagree. Best evidence is always the claimants own from claim pack onwards.


    I'm not convinced. Through my work with the government and after coming across some of the best liars and forgers in the country, I am left with the opinion that I simply don't trust anybody or anything unless I either can see it for myself or have someone I trust confirm it for me.

    Surely the DWP case mangers should also look at each case with that in their mind? Put it bluntly if someone produced either a hand written diary purporting to show the difficulties that they had encountered or a family member had sent a letter in saying - 'please accept what my cousin is claiming as it is the truth' type of thing and unless there is irrefutable confirmation from a qualified source then, personally I would not give that evidence much weight at all.

    Some people will write anything or add bits to try to obtain an award in my experience of the general public.



  • debbiedo49
    debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,904 Disability Gamechanger
    @Yadnad I disagree and try not tar everyone with the same brush. That just gives this community a bad rap
  • Yadnad
    Yadnad Posts: 2,856 Connected
    edited October 2018
    @Yadnad I disagree and try not tar everyone with the same brush. That just gives this community a bad rap
    I haven't intended to tar everybody. What I was surprised at is how much weight is being given to that type of evidence. Of course there are many more honest people around than dishonest ones. But when it comes to claiming benefits and hearing that the claimant's own statements are given so much weight, the opportunity is there for some to manipulate the system.

    I do accept that in my work I very rarely came across anybody that understood what honesty meant. That obviously has coloured my view of people to some extent. Even them being warned in accordance with the Perjury Act that lies will probably end up with them going to prison did not deter them.

    I was expecting the DWP case managers to be sceptical of that type of evidence simply because it had the opportunity to be exaggerated at best. 

    In my opinion the case managers are not doing their job properly if they just accept in good faith what they are told by the claimant, their relatives or friends. That type of evidence should be tested for the benefit of those that do tell the truth.

    It may well be the case that I would not make a good case manager in working for the DWP, I'm too disbelieving.
  • meri92
    meri92 Member Posts: 13 Connected
    My partner has written testimonies for me to support my claim. He writes exactly how he helps me in accordance with the descriptors and examples of how he does what happens if be doesn't, that has never been taken into account while making the decision by the dwp and I've done this twice now. Both times they have taken preference to the hp report otherwise I would have been given the correct award upfront. I won at tribunal last time and this time I have to go to the tribunal again.

    In my case evidence from my partner didn't make a difference and don't tell me I didn't put enough detail into it I know exactly what was said in the letters. The tribunal took that as evidence and all my medical evidence as sufficient for making their decision. They actually said it in the letter for the reason they gave me standard daily and enhanced motability. All of this could have been done by the dwp if the assessors didn't lie and down play everything. They have the exact same evidence available to them as the tribunal did but they both came up with different conclusion. 
  • Government_needs_reform
    Government_needs_reform Member Posts: 859 Pioneering
    I beg to differ just only using the Claim form and it varies what evidence is useful?

    Ok I'm gonna give you an idea what evidence I sent in with my PIP claim, this is only some of it and you can see I won't need a review.



    Also the FE continues over the next page I'm not adding that. 

    I also did the same for my ESA.
    ⬇️
    I created one of the campaign election videos for Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn,
    This is a new version of Emeli Sande, Hope "You Are Not Alone
    I highlighted everything that's wrong with this country from benefits, NHS, UC etc, but now we have to put up with the hate now that is the Tories. 

    You can see the video here.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P5o8hRHh9IY


  • Yadnad
    Yadnad Posts: 2,856 Connected
    meri92 said:
    My partner has written testimonies for me to support my claim. He writes exactly how he helps me in accordance with the descriptors and examples of how he does what happens if be doesn't, that has never been taken into account while making the decision by the dwp and I've done this twice now. Both times they have taken preference to the hp report otherwise I would have been given the correct award upfront. I won at tribunal last time and this time I have to go to the tribunal again.

    In my case evidence from my partner didn't make a difference and don't tell me I didn't put enough detail into it I know exactly what was said in the letters. The tribunal took that as evidence and all my medical evidence as sufficient for making their decision. They actually said it in the letter for the reason they gave me standard daily and enhanced motability. All of this could have been done by the dwp if the assessors didn't lie and down play everything. They have the exact same evidence available to them as the tribunal did but they both came up with different conclusion.



    In your case my comments have been proven. The written evidence from your partner was disregarded due to the fact that it could not be tested for accuracy and honesty by the DWP and the assessor.

    However at a Tribunal it can be and was tested in front of a doctor (instead of the assessor), and a legally qualified person (instead of the decision maker). In addition there was a 3rd person who had experience of how disabilities can affect people.

    With all three together in one room and asking relevant questions of you they tested all of the evidence and on the balance accepted what you had claimed on the PIP2.

    The system as it is in your case is fragmented. The assessor probably didn't display the same quality of questioning that the doctor did and the decision maker didn't take account of the regulations that make up PIP but the judge did.

    In addition there was a third angle to it at the Tribunal, your partner was questioned as to ;how he managed his life'.

    So in a way the decision maker made the right decision because not enough testing was carried out in order to qualify the PIP2 and it's contents.
    For Mike's comments to say that the best evidence is that that is written on the claim form etc including letters from friends & family in support is only as good as it can be tested to see if it all stacks up by questioning and observation of body language.

    Essentially your partner was let down by a fragmented and inefficient system which was more concerned with time being spent than getting to the truth of the matter.

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