PIP, DLA and AA
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A good assessment and bit of hope

LMJLMJ Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited February 2019 in PIP, DLA and AA
I wanted to share my experience of my DLA to PIP assessment to hopefully encourage people that there are some very good assessors out there and not to be put off applying. We know it can go wrong but sometimes it can go right too.

My assessor (a nurse) spent 1 hour 45 minutes with me, she was gentle, kind and listened closely to everything I said. She asked no 'yes or no' type questions and instead asked me to describe the difficulties I had for each descriptor, she didn't rush at all. The most surprising (and slightly mortifying) thing for me was she used the bathroom and then said to me that the next questions might be difficult but she noticed spider webs on my shower and in my bath and would I like to share with her why I don't use them as she didn't see that mentioned on my form? This resulted in me bursting into tears of shame and admitting I can't stand to use a shower or get into bath and instead cleaned myself with wet wipes. I had left this off my PIP form out of embarrassment. She kindly said that it was important that I shared things like that because they were very important to my claim and she would never judge me-I did receive points for this. When she left she told me to keep fighting to live because my life was worth it.

I received my letter today of Enhanced Mobility and Enhanced Care for 6 years. On DLA I had low mobility and standard care so both have increased. I claimed for severe mental health issues including psychosis (she was very patient with repeating things as I tried to hear her over the noises in my head), Psoratic Arthritis and Postural Tachycardia. The only medical evidence I gave was my therapists report which granted did mention that she had been contacted on my behalf by the police the last time I tried to go out alone and fell to pieces in the street onto my hands and knees unable to catch my breath (hence the police and later an ambulance turning up).

I should add that it was a home assessment by Capita and that I tried extremely hard to complete the exercises she gave me, so much that she told me to stop and helped me back into bed. She said the exercises had shown her a lot and she could see that I really tried to push myself and she appreciated that.

There are assessors that are fair and who do care out there, I just wish everyone could have someone like this one. As a side note do be aware they notice what is in your home if the assessment is done there, I had forgotten about the bathroom spiders and was amazed she noticed them!

One quick question if I may? Am I correct in thinking that ESA, housing benefit and council tax will be informed of my new award so I don't have to tell them? Thank you.

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    HI,

    That's great news! You're right, there are good assessors out there as i've never had a bed one either. There's no need to inform anyone about your award because everything else will stay the same and DWP will tell your local council anyway.
    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.
  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,355 Disability Gamechanger
    @LMJ,  Hello and welcome, Well done you for  being honest to your acessor and the honesty and compassion of the acessor has proved that all acessments are  not filled with lies and untruths. S for your housing and council tax benefits you will need to inform your council the change in your circumstances to have your benefits updated as the DWP will not inform the council about your award update.
  • FitznspatzFitznspatz Member Posts: 45 Courageous
    Can I also put in a word of praise to the assessor as my wife’s experience was also exemplary. She too had a home assessment, something unilaterally offered by Capita. Mind you the session got off to a tricky start with a phone call from the assessor asking ‘Where are you? I’m on the doorstep ringing the bell and no one is answering’. He wasn’t, he was in the next village where the occupant was out.

    That was readily sorted and he spent about 40 minutes in the house. In preparation for the interview my wife had assembled the various aids like ring pulls, mug filling alarms etc that make her life easier and were referred to in the application. He said that was not absolutely necessary but thanked her for doing so and said he noticed them on the table when he arrived. He added he also noted the grab rails in the porch and by the front door, and her white stick and other walking sticks in the porch. I think they are trained to be observant about such things.

    The whole conversation was relaxed and interactive. He listened very attentively and there was never a sense he was trying to catch my wife out. At one point he asked permission for her to copy the various body movements he was making. Naturally not all could be done and when my wife said she would rather not doing a particular bending motion for fear of triggering giddiness and a headache he immediately agreed.

    After the introductions were made I chose to go into the next room to give them privacy but I was well aware I could have been present. I was, however, listening to all that was said! Nothing would have caused embarrassment although at one time the discussion veered onto suicide plans, something written in the application and the matter is not a secret between us though I choose not to ask about it or press the matter.

    In total the interview lasted 40 minutes and the assessor thanked my wife for being so helpful and for the clarity of her answers. We took that as a good sign and, for the first time, I believed there was now a better than 50:50 chance of there being a positive outcome. My wife was always more optimistic but, unlike me, she had not heard some of the depressing reports on Radio 4 of people being refused PIP despite obvious disabilities. 

    We should here within 8 weeks, said the assessor as he left the house. That took us to early January but ... nothing. Phoning the helpline just elicited the reply that the matter was still under consideration. Phoned again in late January but still nothing. In early February they told us that they had asked the assessor for some extra information and that had been received on January 28th. A decision would definitely be received within 2 to 3 weeks. Knowing they wanted extra details led to some despondency but we should not have worried because a ‘good news’ letter arrived on Friday, just over 14 weeks after the interview. The award holds firm until 2028.

    I do not know if this will help anyone but with her application my wife submitted a double sided sheet of A4 listing her various medical conditions (among them 6 cancers and a brain aneurysm), the date of diagnosis, the hospital giving the treatment, the name of the consultant and a cross-reference to the photocopied sheets confirming the veracity of this. Even if it was no use in the PIP process, it was still beneficial to have a coherent medical summary. Time and again my wife is asked to give new medical staff she sees a brief summary of her medical history and this synopsis can just be passed over.

    LMJ, I am delighted things seem to have worked out for you. You had no reason to feel embarrassed and I am sure your reaction just added weight to your claim. How fortuitous that the assessor needed to go to the loo. My wife often says that you rapidly abandon inhibition when faced by medical staff prodding here, there and everywhere. After having had two incidences of grade 3 breast cancer she said she almost had a Pavlovian response to taking off her top when seeing someone in a white coat. As she says, the vet was most surprised!
  • LMJLMJ Member Posts: 2 Listener
    edited February 2019
    Thanks so much for the advice everyone and I am glad that other people had good assessments too. I am still amazed my assessor helped me get more points by pointing out the bathroom, I was truly expecting it to be an awful experience but she did all she could to make me comfortable. I really hope assessors like her don't get burnt out and quit, they are the ones we need.

    Should I ask for the assessors report? I can see where she gave points from the decision form and I agree with them. I tend to react badly to reading about how unwell I am so haven't so far but will if I might need it in the future?
  • curiousmom1996curiousmom1996 Posts: 35 Member
    I’m happy for you. I recommend getting a copy of the assessment report. We also had a home assessment. It lasted for a whole hour and a lot of questions were asked. 
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