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Girlfriend finally received assessment report - a complete joke (full, long rundown inside)

PIPnewbiePIPnewbie Member Posts: 268 Pioneering
I don't even know where to start, but the assessor's recommended descriptors are justified by the most insane, illogical reasoning, some lies, mostly exaggeration and inconsistency.  The report is simply a joke.

Firstly, based on the points awarded, she has achieved just standard daily living ( and just barely, at square-on 8 points).  He's recommended 4 points for mobility (can walk between 50m and 200m), but 0 on the planning a journey.

Even her most widespread and life-ruining illness and condition, that dominates her life, Crohn's disease, with 4 bowel resections at aged 9, that causes her to be a slave to the toilet, exhausted, hating the idea of eating anything, needing her grandmother and other family to assist her constantly... she got the 2 point descriptor of needs an aid.

And to top it all off, he recommended a 9 month review.  9 MONTHS, when she is 26 years old and has been diagnosed as likely having had Crohn's, an insurable disease, since birth.

Just to go through the justifications (as this may help others with their claims)

Preparing Food:

b. use aid or appliance

"Observed to sit upright, leaning forwards to stand and to use both hands and arms to manage paperwork and to drink.  Appeared well balanced at all times."

I don't understand this.  She was sitting, and wasn't upright but leaning on forearms as her stomach pains were flared, and I had to help her stand and she leaned on me to walk everywhere.  She drank from a bottle of squash that I had to open for her first, which she merely rested the lid on after using it.  This is nowhere near the same as opening tightly sealed packets or jar lids.

This is the bottle that requires Herculean strength to lift and unseal (when it was already unsealed and 1/3 full, so weighed NOTHING).



Taking nutrition:

a. Can take nutrition unaided

"refers to the bottle of squash again"

She explained that due to her fibromyalgia and exhaustion from Crohn's, as well as temporomandibular disorder, she needs her food cut up small to chew, and her nan or other family member has to do that as she lacks the strength.

"no need for prompting"

She refuses to eat because she hates how she has to go to the toilet immediately after or sometimes during eating.  Her nan constantly cooks for her and pushes her to eat.

"is of average weight"

She was covered in a thick, heavy coat.  I knew her healthy-looking weight would cause a consistency issue with her report, so I purposely took printed pics showing the downward spiral of weight loss, going from quite overweight to now where she is currently normal range, but is slowly dropping weight all the time.  But he wasn't interested, the record will show her weight apparently, whatever that meant.

Managing Therapy

b. Can manage medication or therapy or monitor health condition unaided 

"no cognitive impairments and observed to give details of conditions and conditions from memory"

Uh, she had a folder with a list of all her conditions in front of her.  And isn't that the whole point of this interview, to explain how your conditions affect you?  If you're unable to do that, then how can you get an award?  There is absolutely no winning with these people.

She explained her nan needs to remind her to take her weekly humira doses and daily mercaptopurine, and that her mother comes over to inject her humira as injecting herself causes anxiety and she is too tired to do it properly.

She has a medical box for all her medication as it's a list as long as your arm.  It filled an A4 page.

Washing and Bathing

b. needs aid or appliance to wash or bathe

*same using the bottle, sit upright, leaning forward to stand, good balance, uses both hands and arms*

She's so exhausted and in pain most of the time, with her fibromyalgia stiffness and aching, she cannot stand over the bath to get in, has to be seated by her nan or family, can't wash her hair or lower legs, etc.  Absolutely needs assistance.

Managing Toilet Needs

b. Needs aid or appliance

Same nonsense with the bottle, sitting forward to stand, etc. etc. (you'll notice a pattern that he's used this to justify awarding her the least amount possible and only minimal points on things he has awarded)

Total nonsense and this is the one that should have scored her by and far the most points.  Absolute travesty and inhuman to not award e. Needs assistance to manage incontinence of bowel.  

She is in the toilet for what seems like the majority of the day.  She has to be helped there, and has to be close by family at all times to ensure she can get to the toilet before an accident as she needs to go so often and the toilet rules her life.  She is only incontinent 2 nights a week and 2 days a week due to the fact that she is always around family.

Dressing and Undressing

b. Needs aid or appliance 

Same thing again, use of the bottle, sitting forward to stand, etc.

It really does seem like the fact that she picked up her tall, easy to reach squash bottle, that was mostly empty, after I had unscrewed it, is being used to throw out absolutely everything here.  This is like an absurdist story writer's dream material.

Nothing for the fact that due to her fibromyalgia causing her to wake stiff as a board, that she needs help to dress overhead and to put underwear and footwear on.  Nothing for the fact that when she is incontinent she is exhausted, distraught, and needs her nan to help her undress and help her into the bath to shower off.

Engaging with Others Face to Face

a. Can engage with other people unaided

Apparently showed no anxiety, coped well with the interview, adequate concentration, no need for prompting.

No need for prompting?  She was at a consultation for which she HAD to answer the questions given to her.  She was slow to answer, was exhausted, but made an effort to answer the questions as that's what she thought she had to do.

She explained that she is fine interacting with medical staff or medical related staff such as he because she has done it all her life, but does not go anywhere, has no friends, stays in her room most days, and can't go out socialising, physically because of her condition, and mentally because she is just so tired and has no enthusiasm for life, given all her illnesses.

This is where she burst into tears where she had to recount the bullying she had at school where the other kids thought they would catch her Crohn's because of the word "disease" in it, how she had things thrown at her, mocked for her being tube fed with a tube up her nose, and having accidents in class, etc.  And the monster gave her ZERO points.

Making Budgeting Decisions

a. Can manage complex budgeting decisions unaided

"No global cognitive impairment, etc. No mental health, cognitive, or learning impairment."

Why is mental health the only factor considered for this?  Why not the fact that she is supported by her grandparents, they pay all the bills, withdraw her ESA for her, buy her clothes, shopping, etc. As she does not have the will or energy to do any of this?

What happened to diagnoses meaning nothing, and how it's about how your condition affects you?  None of this, despite hearing it constantly here and seeing it on the application, seems to matter.

Planning and Following Journeys

a. Can plan and follow the route of a journey unaided

"No anxiety, global cognitive impairment, no mental health, etc."

Explained quite reinforcefully, that it's the being out alone she cannot do.  She cannot undertake any journey alone because of the psychological distress of being incontinent without anyone there to help her, or because of not knowing where the toilets are.  She needs somebody with her at all times to help her walk and to assist her if she were to have an accident, there is an emergency pack in the car at all times with towels, cleaning products, spare clothes, etc.  

She was able to go to the assessment as I took her and she had not eaten for 48 hours to ensure she was empty, which she informed the assessor.

But nope, she's just fine and dandy to go out and about, exhaustion, pain, incontinence, weakness in legs and lower back, fibromyalgia, etc. be damned.

Moving Around

The only one he has gotten absolutely spot on, is b. can stand and move more than 50 metres but no more than 200 metres.  Nothing to really contest here.  And given every other sham in the report, I am most perturbed by his decision to be completely honest and realistic here.


Observations:

General Appearance and Informal Observations

Contradiction...

"Able to give details of medication and condition from memory
...
Read from paperwork and medications, using both hands to handle same held paperwork"

Exaggeration...

"Bent to floor, leaning to left side, to lift bottle to drink...

No she did not.  She put her arm down to lift the bottle on her left side, that weighed absolutely nothing, and even then she did it in a laboured manner.

"... unscrewed cap, used both hands, raised bottle to lips to drink"

Nope.  Cap was resting on top of the bottle rim, after I had unscrewed it in the first place. 

Lies...

"Does not look tired...

... Normal Complexion

... Speech was normal...

... fully alert

... adequate eye contact"

She fell asleep in the waiting room.  I had to wake her when called.  She was slurring her words, she cried at one point after holding it in for so long, she was exhausted as she had to take oral MORPHINE before the consultation as she was in that much pain, she was, as she always is, as white as a sheet in complexion, she looked at the floor mostly throughout, etc.


Well, with stories of the DWP, I hold out no hope of them even awarding standard daily living, and agreeing with the 8 points given.  So it looks like when the award letter (which should arrive tomorrow) comes, it'll be MR, which probably will get refused, and then awaiting Tribunal.

This was a disgrace.  Needless to say she phoned me to tell me all this in tears, and is in disbelief at the ignoring of all her conditions.

What immediately strikes me as odd is that he has given her 2 points for the preparing food, but 0 for nutrition and managing therapy, when both tasks involve the same routines, movements, mental alertness, and state of awakeness, but while she can't do one properly, in the other descriptors, in his view she can perform them as completely fine as a healthy person?

I recorded the assessment and now I'm wondering if and how I should use it.  I heard while it's not sanctioned by the DWP or government, there are cases where they have agreed with the recording and how it's a sham assessment report.

Replies

  • Peasmold_01Peasmold_01 Member Posts: 144 Pioneering
    Hey ho  did you tell the assessor you were recording the assessment before they undertook the assessment? If not, it cannot be used or submitted in evidence. Plus, you are required by law to provide a copy, unadulterated to the assessor at the time of the assessment  Sorry but unless you did all the above, your recording is a waste of time. The only thing you can do is use it for your own records to construct an application for an MR, but cannot refer to the recording as a form of evidence. You are technically in breach of the Human Rights Act. No court will permit a secret recording of an interview /assessment to used in a civil matter. Sorry to be so harsh  but that is the one thing that could scupper any appeal. Please do not mention it to anyone in the DWP or HMCTS. If you need further advice or support  come back to the forum. Good luck 
    Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to! 
  • PIPnewbiePIPnewbie Member Posts: 268 Pioneering
    All we want is the DWP to change the cannot plan a journey, as it is total nonsense.  We would be willing to accept standard daily living and enhanced mobility.  I don't know if this can be argued with the MR.

    But 9 months until review is also a joke.  She has Crohn's disease and fibromyalgia.  Her operations on her stomach are permanent.
  • atlas46atlas46 Member Posts: 827 Pioneering
    Hi @PIPnewbie

    I have read your post with great sadness, I feel ashamed that we put very disabled people ( as in your girlfriend), through such torment.

    I will post in more detail tomorrow, feeling bit low at the moment, PAIN!

    One thing I should bring to your attention, you cannot use your tape recording of the assessment, you do not need to.

    You both have detailed insights on how the discriptors apply to your girlfriend.

  • PIPnewbiePIPnewbie Member Posts: 268 Pioneering
    edited October 2018
    Yeah we will use the recording to refer to contradictions for ourselves only when appealing in written form or whatever.  Can't use it as evidence I guess, even though this forum has many examples of the DWP and Tribunal accepting it as evidence.

    I wish I'd just bought the cheap recording equipment for her now.  Two simple tape recorders.  It would only have been £50 from Argos for the two.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2018
    When requesting the MR they will look at the whole decision again and not just part of it. No one here can tell you if there's any risk to losing what she may already have but most MR decisions remain the same. If you can get some help from welfare rights or any other disability advice centre near her then i'd advise you to do this. 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.
  • PIPnewbiePIPnewbie Member Posts: 268 Pioneering
    edited October 2018
    When requesting the MR they will look at the whole decision again and not just part of it. No one here can tell you if there's any risk to losing what she may already have but most MR decisions remain the same. If you can get some help from welfare rights or any other disability advice centre near her then i'd advise you to do this. Good luck.
    Is there any rare occurrence of the DWP disagreeing with an assessment to the benefit of the claimant?  Because his reasoning for a lot of things made absolutely no sense.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Only 17% of MR decision change so it's very rare.
    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.
  • PIPnewbiePIPnewbie Member Posts: 268 Pioneering
    Only 17% of MR decision change so it's very rare.
    Sorry, I meant does the DWP ever look at a report and see glaring inconsistencies and contradictions and disagree with it, before it even gets to MR?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Its very rare for them to go against the report but it can happen.
    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.
  • PIPnewbiePIPnewbie Member Posts: 268 Pioneering
    Looks like it’ll be the tribunal then.

    Oh joy, a 9 month wait or something.
  • PIPnewbiePIPnewbie Member Posts: 268 Pioneering
    I have a question...

    Say the DWP awards standard daily living tomorrow, but she pushes for a mandatory reconsideration for more, and they stick to standard daily living, but then she takes it to a tribunal, do you still receive standard daily living in the meantime and any backdated money?
  • sue66sue66 Member Posts: 124 Pioneering
    So its not permitted to take a recording and use it as evidence, why? This needs to be changed, I say all assessments should be recorded, if the accessor is being honest in their report then there shouldn't be any contradiction  or problem should there. If you were questioned in a police station , you would be allowed to have a solicitor and a recording is always done, so if one is to be what can often feel like an interrogation procedure attending a f to f assessment then the same should apply, a recording.  We are dealing with peoples  quality of lives hear and  Im disgusted at what your girlfriend has had to endure, Simply shouldn't be happening or allowed to happen to anyone. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    PIPnewbie said:
    I have a question...

    Say the DWP awards standard daily living tomorrow, but she pushes for a mandatory reconsideration for more, and they stick to standard daily living, but then she takes it to a tribunal, do you still receive standard daily living in the meantime and any backdated money?
    Yes. Backdated money will be paid and is usually sent when the decision is made.
    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.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    sue66 said:
    So its not permitted to take a recording and use it as evidence, why?
    No, not if the claimant didn't get permission to record the assessment in the first place. Secret recording isn't allowed.
    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.
  • PIPnewbiePIPnewbie Member Posts: 268 Pioneering
    edited October 2018
    PIPnewbie said:
    I have a question...

    Say the DWP awards standard daily living tomorrow, but she pushes for a mandatory reconsideration for more, and they stick to standard daily living, but then she takes it to a tribunal, do you still receive standard daily living in the meantime and any backdated money?
    Yes. Backdated money will be paid and is usually sent when the decision is made.

    So yes if they award her standard daily living even after mandatory consideration, she will receive this rate while she awaits the tribunal to challenge for the higher award?

    As in receive standard daily living regular payments until the tribunal?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2018
    Yes. Except if the MR decision changes and she loses the standard daily living, there will be no award therefore no payments while wait for Tribunal.
    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.
  • PIPnewbiePIPnewbie Member Posts: 268 Pioneering
    That's fair enough.  Thank you for all your help Poppy.  As always, you are a great help.
  • ShlblyShlbly Member Posts: 128 Pioneering
    Its disgusting that these assessors can get away with lying like this and yes I do call it lying to anyone that wants to comment. What if the boot was on the other foot and we had lied, different story then. I’m so sorry your girlfriend is having to go through all this. However I have got a friend who had hers turned around at MR, but that is the only person I have ever heard of in the 6 years that I have been fighting against Atos aka IAS.
    You need someone to help with the MR, have you got a disability service anywhere near you? 
  • WaylayWaylay Member Posts: 922 Pioneering
    I had one of mine turned around at MR, but I had just come out of hospital (5 days IV morphine for the worst back spasm ever) and was suicidal.
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