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wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,184 Disability Gamechanger
Category: Latest news
 Created: 08 October 2018

A former top civil servant who has a terminal illness has condemned the PIP assessment system a ‘hostile environment”.

Andrew McDonald was head of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority until ill health forced him to retire in 2014. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2007 and in 2010 with incurable prostate cancer.

He was awarded PIP with 11 points for daily living in 2015 and received the same score on review in 2017.

In March of this year, however, a further review awarded him only 2 points, in spite of the fact that his Parkinson’s has continued to deteriorate.

McDonald said that the system failed to take account of the way his condition fluctuates:

“I got dressed today without too much trouble, though my cufflinks eluded me. Two days ago, it took me 90 minutes because of the tremor in my hands, my lack of strength. Putting on jackets is a nightmare.

“That sort of variation from day to day could be captured in the system but, in practice, the people in the system I was working with were not capturing it.”

The decision to award only 2 points was upheld at mandatory reconsideration on the grounds that it was ‘surprising’ that the assessment had shown that his degenerative condition had improved, but it was now up to him to prove it hadn’t.

McDonald told the Guardian:

“I was shocked by the way this was being administered against the interests of some of the most disadvantaged people in the country. PIP is beset by profound administrative failures which work to the disadvantage of disabled people.

“My personal interactions with the process were perfectly pleasant; but the system as a whole does create the impression of it being a hostile environment and one where two of the foes are complexity and the sense that it is not a level playing field.”



Replies

  • MisscleoMisscleo Member Posts: 646 Pioneering
    He should know whp to.talk to about pip.
    Lets hope he has the sence to do something to help us and himself
  • YadnadYadnad Member - under moderation Posts: 2,862 Disability Gamechanger
    wilko said:

    He was awarded PIP with 11 points for daily living in 2015 and received the same score on review in 2017.

    In March of this year, however, a further review awarded him only 2 points, in spite of the fact that his Parkinson’s has continued to deteriorate.

    The decision to award only 2 points was upheld at mandatory reconsideration on the grounds that it was ‘surprising’ that the assessment had shown that his degenerative condition had improved, but it was now up to him to prove it hadn’t.

    Part of the problem is how you appear on the day of assessment.
    Either because it is a variable issue or maybe you present yourself as you want to be seen and not one that displays the condition, or a bit of both.

    As for variability I have to defend the assessor here as they only see the claimant for maybe 30mins or so and are expected to consider how someone with a variable condition is over a period of time - months or year. It is impossible to make a report over what happens in weeks/months hence it can be nothing but pure guesswork.

    Of course the claimant may describe the variability on the PIP2 form, but one of the purposes of the assessment is to 'test' the viability of that claim.

    The same goes for someone that has 'adapted' to their issues in order to live as near as possible, a life without too many restrictions.
    Should they change back and ignore those adaptions? Should they portray themselves differently to the assessor than they have become?
    So many people that I know that have extremely challenging health issues have found ways around the problems that they used to face. Are they any less disabled?

    As for myself, no one unless I had taken then into my confidence would have a clue of how much effort I put in to appearing to be 'normal' Should people like that be discriminated against?

    The assessor has a huge problem. Not only trying to establish to what extent a variable condition causes the claimant problems  over a lengthy period of time but also to try to dismantle the 'adaptions and changes made'  by a claimant to try to live a better quality life.

        
  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,184 Disability Gamechanger
    That’s the trouble, nobody goes out or to an acessment looking a mess unwashed ect, we all cope make adjustments to our lives to look and feel our best when out in public, so yes the accessors do have a difficult job and the comments I have had about how well I look, you can’t be that age you only look so old. Could you or I do any better in a short one hour interview?
  • YadnadYadnad Member - under moderation Posts: 2,862 Disability Gamechanger
    wilko said:
    That’s the trouble, nobody goes out or to an acessment looking a mess unwashed ect, we all cope make adjustments to our lives to look and feel our best when out in public, so yes the accessors do have a difficult job and the comments I have had about how well I look, you can’t be that age you only look so old. Could you or I do any better in a short one hour interview?
    When I have been to my three face to face assessments, I do appear to be very jovial, clean and well dressed, precise in the use of language, and as a town councillor, as I would be in a full council meeting or chairing a particular committee.
    As you say who wants to look a mess when out in public? I also have a can do attitude and nothing really fazes me at the time - it's when I get home I am knackered, moody and fed up with myself. 
  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,184 Disability Gamechanger
    Because some of us not all have a non visible disability, mine being I get about on a mobility scooter I look well talk sence,most times when not having fun with people. But behind the niceness and pleasantness, we you and I all have this thing in common making the money go further, paying the bills just like everybody else except we are disabled, on medication for many reasons hiding our worries and concerns trying to be part of soiecty.
  • JulesA65JulesA65 Member Posts: 33 Courageous
    My husband who has spina bifida has been awarded mobility but not personal needs PiP. Ok so how does he do his washing? he can cook his own meals safely? He can go to the toilet without a frame or wheelchair? The answer to all of these are no. I have to do them, but i can't get carer's allowance as he doesn't get personal care level high enough. And yes we are appealing. But it is unfair. I thought we'd done away with domestic service. 
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