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PIP ASSESSMENT. TAPES ERASED. OVER 4 HOYRS AT HOSPITAL .

debz1941debz1941 Member Posts: 5 Listener
edited March 2019 in PIP, DLA and AA

I was up at 6.30am and started going into Jack to encourage him to wake up about 6.45am.  After going in several times, turning the lamp on, and putting his underwear and socks out alongside his clothes, I threw the sheets back..and brought an aerosol deodorant to jack and I proceeded to spray his armpits.  This helps to wake him up. Getting him out the bed took 40 minutes of going in and out the room. The taxi was booked for 8am as rush hour to ormskirk from southport the traffic was very heavy and wanted to avoid being caught in a jam and missing the appointment.

We arrived at the hospital at 8.40am and were in plenty of time for the appointment.  We arrived and jack walked slowly along the corridor towards bickerstaff house. We arrived at 9.05am and i proceeded to book us in and even though i brought lots of I.D he only took jacks passport.  Then the receptionist stated oh your the one thats recording.  I then had to fill out a form because i was using an audio recording of the assessment.  My sister and Jacks Aunt [removed by moderator] was a third party attending the assessment.

I was then called over to the window at 9.25am and told that we would not be going in on time as the previous appointment had overrun.  Jack was feeling sick and wanted to vomit and was very red faced and hot. I said what time would be seen. The receptionist stated go to the restaurant just a few yards away and come back at 10.05am.   So we went and had a cup of coffee and jack sat feeling like he was going to throw up.

We went back to Bickerstaff House and were there dead on 10.05am.  We were then told it would be another 30 minutes so approximately 10.35am before we would be seen… I told the reception that this was not good for jacks mental health state as he was already in a high state of stress.  I asked would we definatley be seen by 10.35am to which i was told the other person will only come out at 10.35 and then the assessor has to write up notes. Then he has to look at your notes before you can go in. I stated that I had sent my evidence and it had been received by special delivery on December 27th 2018.  I asked how he was going to read all the evidence before seeing us. The receptionist then enquired how much evidence i had sent. I said 400 pages of documentation dating from 2009 to present. He was not going to read all that before seeing us. The receptionist then stated the assessors do not  read any of the evidence sent  before the appointment which i found quite bizzare.

I was then told it was going to be about 11.30am before we were seen… We had been at the hospital since 8.40 and I was not very happy about Jacks mental state waiting that long.  I was told that it was  up to you to contact the DWP to re arrange but they still wouldnt read any evidence until the day of assessment, so we would just have to do this all again.  So i said we would wait, but would take jack outside for fresh air as he was becoming extremely anxious and very hot. I was told that someone would ring my mobile or pop outside and call us when they were ready.

A person [edited by moderator] came out at 11am on the dot, and apologized for the delay and said we could now be seen.. He also said he was training and someone would be sitting in listening.  I confirmed that was ok..

I had two brand new cassette recorders bought new from argos a few days prior to this assessment.  I still have the receipt and i paid 49.98 for the 2 together. I also had 2 sealed brand new BASF cassette tapes with me.   Both the recorders and the tapes were not opened till we entered the room and the assessor saw they were sealed.

One recorder was plugged in by myself, my sister (jacks aunt) and jack and the other the assessor took and plugged by him on his desk.    I then pressed the play and record buttons on the one by me and he stated he pressed the same on the one by him.

I first asked was he qualified medically to carry out an assessment and did he have knowledge of the Autistic Spectrum and Aspergers.  He stated he was a paramedic and had an Autistic son. I then asked why the 400 pages of evidence had not been read prior to the assessment,  I felt that the assessor would not have a clear view of jacks history from 2009 when he obtained his diagnosis. I was told that if the assessor reads the notes prior to the assessment and we dont turn up for the appointment, he would be in breach of confidentiality having read jacks notes.  I could not understand why this would be the case, as knowing the full background was important to make a fully informed decision. I was then told he had read the bullet points a few minutes before we entered the room on the application form. I know that the assessor would not have the full details of the  evidence, and as such would not have a clear, concise and full view of jacks needs.

A number of questions were directed towards jack re why he  cant do this or that and as jacks appointee I also answered as well .. Jack did struggle on understanding some of the questions and needed clarification.  

I then notice the recorder by me had clicked stop and needed turning over.  I then mentioned it to the assessor and he then checked the recorder by him.  He then stated that the record button was not down and it had not recorded anything.  He thought that he might have knocked it. He then stated oh well at least you have one recording..  I then said one is not admissible as evidence, two were required. The person listening in at the back then stated one was no good and two were needed.   The assessor then said, well we are finished now so why dont you leave both recorders with us and we will play the one you have a recording on and re do the one that hasnt recorded from this one.   I asked could i stay while he did this and i was told no, but we could wait in the restaurant area and he would come and get us when it had finished.

I then asked could i see a copy of the notes he had taken on his screen.  Which i have been told that i was entitled to do. I was told no, you will get a copy of the report from the DWP and i could read it then.   So i have no idea what was written down or even it was what had been discussed or correct.

I had not choice as one tape was no good, so I agreed to leave the two recorders with the assessor.

Myself, Jack and my sister then went to the restaurant and ordered something to eat and a drink.  

We had almost finished our meal and drinks when the assessor came into the restaurant.  He crouched by the dinner table and said there is a problem with the recordings. There was nothing on either of the tapes just white noise.  I stated that both recorders were brand new and i still had the receipt so they would not both be broken.  He then said there is a few seconds of voices then it goes to white noise.    I was extremely upset and really wasnt sure what to think at that time, but it did cross my mind that the tapes had been erased on purpose.  

I have since tested both recorders with the same tapes to record voice and they work perfectly fine.

So i have no transcript of what was actually said at the assessment and no proof as evidence.  I am extremely upset and disappointed at the way we were treated and how we were made to be at the hospital for over 4 hours.  We left the hospital at 1pm in a taxi to get home as quick as possible as Jack was drained mentally and physically. It cost 15 pounds both ways, so this assessment cost 30 pounds for travel….. Im also annoyed i paid 40 pounds for 400 pages of evidence that was not  even looked at and I paid special delivery charges to ensure that it was received which also cost 16 pounds. The recorders cost 49.98 and the 2 tapes were 12 pounds as they were new and sealed.

All in all i feel like ive been stitched up   I have since found out the assessor [edited by moderator] has been at Ormskirk as an assessor fir at least a few minrhs and is not a trainee.  Iv been ti the CAB  and contacted my local M.P Damien Moore who unfortunately is a Conservative.  ATOS complaint form is being completed at CAB on 18th March.  What advice can anyone give. 

Replies

  • Antonia_AlumniAntonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
    Hi @debz1941 welcome to the community and I am sorry to hear what you and your family had to go through with the assessment. How are you and your son doing today?

    I am happy to hear you have a date set with CAB and you have been in touch with your local MP. I hope you get a positive outcome from both. For confidentiality reasons, I've removed some names.

    Please keep us updated.
     
  • debz1941debz1941 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    thks for that.  the assessor said he only read the bullet points on the form, so defo wasnt reading the evidence.  as i wear a hearibg aid i wanted an audio copy myself to listen.  brand new cassette recorders bought few days prior to apt.  just seems strange bith dudnt record but on testing them mysrlf bith worked fine.  thks for your advice
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    I have to agree that 400 pages of evidence is very extreme. Less is often more when it comes to evidence. You also have to be careful that one piece of evidence doesn't contradict another.
    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.
  • frecklesfreckles Member Posts: 258 Pioneering
    I think there should be an independent person in on these assesements who independently records and takes notes of the assesement then when its over check the recording then three copies should be given out one to the claiment,one to the assessor and the other kept by the independent person that way there should be no skull duggery on anyones part
  • frecklesfreckles Member Posts: 258 Pioneering
    And even a independent sat next to the assesor making sure they don,t put lies down on there computer screens
  • GeraldGerald Member Posts: 214 Pioneering
    Hi in that case can someone tell me the point in sending evidence in as on your clam form it as if you have more evidence please send it with your clam form if know one is going to look at it as if some as gone to the trouble of getting reports from doctors and so on you can not win if there not going to read some of them as the next thing will be that was know evidence sent and there were no reports sent with the clam form how can you win a rigged game.
  • GeraldGerald Member Posts: 214 Pioneering
    ilovecats said:
    Gerald said:
    Hi in that case can someone tell me the point in sending evidence in as on your clam form it as if you have more evidence please send it with your clam form if know one is going to look at it as if some as gone to the trouble of getting reports from doctors and so on you can not win if there not going to read some of them as the next thing will be that was know evidence sent and there were no reports sent with the clam form how can you win a rigged game.
    Sigh . . . It’s not rigged. It’s set up to benefit the most disabled of people in society. Not every Tom **** and harry who happens to have a diagnosis and thinks they’re entitled to it
    How did I know it was going to be you ilovecats i like how you think disabled poeple do this just for money and the bit about  Not every Tom **** and harry who happens to have a diagnosis and thinks they’re entitled to it  do you think at we go to the assessment sit about just having a party with the benefit we get if so that is one hell of a thing for you to think as you have in the past pass put down you used to be a assessor. 
  • debz1941debz1941 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    my original post is not wether my son deserves PIP or not..  it is rather my concerns regarding the handling of the recording of it and how new equipment could both be faulty during the assessment, but work perfectly when tested after.  Its bafflling.  and yes i accept that the recordings prob wouldnt be listened to by a judge or whoever the evidence is sent to, but i wanted it for myself to go over what had been discussed.  It was advice  i was looking for.  im not looking for a slanging match.  i aporeciate everyones input.  but lets b civil guys 
  • debz1941debz1941 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    thk u for everyones input.  you have made things clearer.  didnt realise a few things.  thks again 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Yet again i find i have to agree with @ilovecats. He/she has never hidden the fact that they used to be an assessor and has always been completely honest every time they comment.

    Their comments are always extremely helpful, straight to the point and very knowledgeable. I have a good understanding of the PIP descriptors and what they mean but i have learnt a lot more than i already knew thanks to all their advice.

    So, once again @ilovecats thanks for all the advice you give here, it's really appreciated.
    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.
  • frecklesfreckles Member Posts: 258 Pioneering
    Hi lovecats do you think there should be one simple form for both esa and pip because they are virtually the same questions and also whats your opinion on winning a pip tribunal and then having to go through the whole process again with ESA surely it would save stress to claimants time for the DWP and money which could be spent better else where..... I no pip and esa are different benefits one is to asses whether your fit for work and the other is mainly to help disabled or mentally ill or health conditions.... i,m not having a rant at you but surely the DWP should look and see that if someone has got enhanced rate daily living and enhanced rate mobility component and is appropiate to a fixed term by a tribunal then its obvious to me that the so called person is not fit for work so why dont the DWP liase with one another and save a lot of time and money by putting people through virtually the same assesement questions as ESA & PIP like i said i,m not having a go at you..
    .

  • WilmaKnickersfitWilmaKnickersfit Member Posts: 5 Listener
    As a newcomer I think it is incredibly lucky to have a former assessor posting.

    I'm waiting for my assessment and I'm not looking forward to it because like so many people I have a number of health issues, mental and physical. I've had an assessment for IB (now ESA) and I saw how hard it was for the assessor to get all of the information recorded.  At one point when I was trying to add extra details she said she had more than enough information for my claim, so then I realised it was going to be OK.  I've completed two ESA50 review forms since then, but not been called for a face to face assessment.

    Then again  I worked for social security for many years (before it became DWP), so I am lucky to usually be fine when it comes to filling in forms.  The PIP form was a completely different matter and I had two previous forms which I did not return because the process made me ill (a story for another time).

    ilovecats I admit I have a negative attitude towards the third party companies who manage the assessment process, but it's because I read the Private Eye coverage.  The individuals employed to carry out the assessment have a job to do and it will always be the case that some will be better than others.  I just hope to leave the assessment feeling that I have been heard.   I definitely value your contributions on here.  :)

  • frecklesfreckles Member Posts: 258 Pioneering
    Just wanted to no what your thoughts were
  • Government_needs_reformGovernment_needs_reform Member Posts: 859 Pioneering
    edited March 2019
    freckles said:
    Just wanted to no what your thoughts were
    @freckles I will answer this for you, no I don't think only one assessment for ESA, UC merge with PIP Is truly a bad decision and will present more problems for claimants.

    The most striking announcement by Rudd was that her Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) plans to test if it can assess eligibility for both the extra costs benefit personal independence payment (PIP) and the out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA) through a single face-to-face assessment, at least for those disabled people who apply for the two benefits at the same time.

    Not on you life this is it a right design to do this, as we all know PIP is paid wether in or out of work.

    We are all going to fight this as there is so much at stake with everything that is wrong with that idea.

    But we’ve seen with universal credit how the idea of an ‘integrated’ digital system has been a Trojan horse for cuts to disability premiums.

    “We are worried that the proposed integration of PIP and ESA will be a way of further eroding the premiums that recognise the extra costs of long-term unemployment, by stealth.

    ⬇️
    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


  • Government_needs_reformGovernment_needs_reform Member Posts: 859 Pioneering
    @freckles also to add I can tell you ESA,UC PiP has for many years been crossed reference the benefits in using shared information. 
    ⬇️
    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


  • WilmaKnickersfitWilmaKnickersfit Member Posts: 5 Listener
    freckles just adding my 10p's worth here, but I go back to the days when there were no forms like the ESA and PIP forms.   It used to be the job of social security staff and doctors to assess and collect the information necessary for each benefit - and advise on entitlement to other benefits too.

    The first form to replace an interview was 34 pages long and nobody believed it would ever work.    Now the PIP form is 33 pages, AA 32 pages and the ESA50 is 24 pages.  All of these changes are intended to save money.  Yes, there's helplines and support available from organisations like CAB and Benefits & Work, but millions of people over the years will have filled in these forms themselves with the best of intentions and lost out. Thousands turned down don't appeal thinking the decision has been made and it must be correct. 

    The only way people will get their full entitlement is to bring the process back in house and use face to face interviews with the DWP staff involved with making the decision before any referral to a doctor for assessment.  As long as a 3rd party is employed to carry out one of the most important parts of the process there will always be vulnerable people going without the correct amount of benefits.  The companies are trying to make money at the end of the day which is why ATOS paid the government millions to withdraw from its contract early - it couldn't do it (its staff received horrendous abuse too). It does not matter if it is ATOS, Maximus, or Capita - the vulnerable will lose out. 
  • WilmaKnickersfitWilmaKnickersfit Member Posts: 5 Listener
    UC petition signed. 
  • frecklesfreckles Member Posts: 258 Pioneering
    Still think there should be an independant person sat in on assesements
  • frecklesfreckles Member Posts: 258 Pioneering
    Just out of curiosity who pays the wages of the tribunal panel are they payed buy the goverment
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 968 Disability Gamechanger
    Gerald said:
    Hi in that case can someone tell me the point in sending evidence in as on your clam form it as if you have more evidence please send it with your clam form if know one is going to look at it as if some as gone to the trouble of getting reports from doctors and so on you can not win if there not going to read some of them as the next thing will be that was know evidence sent and there were no reports sent with the clam form how can you win a rigged game.
    Whenever you apply for something - job application, promotion, or PIP -  I'm a firm believer in trying to get the person considering you application on your side. Make it easy for them to give you what you want.

    If you are lucky enough to have lots of relevant evidence i.e. relating to your loss of functionality not just a diagnosis, then personally I'd whittle it down to a manageable amount, and include the evidence which you believe clearly and concisely supports your case.

    I think if we're honest, and put ourselves in the place of the assessor for a moment, none of us would want to read through page after page to find relevant evidence and be faced with a case file several inches thick. In any event, as @ilovecats has explained, there isn't time to read it all.

    Still wearing our assessors hat, we'd all breath a sigh of relief if the applicant had already done this for us so you can quickly find the information needed ...and get to the next coffee break that little bit sooner!
  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @debz1941, just wanted to add how sorry I am to hear what you and your son experienced. It was clearly a distressing situation for you both and I'm so glad to hear you're being proactive and taking things further. Wishing you all the best with it, and please do keep us updated.
  • debz1941debz1941 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi Pippa   thanks for your comment .  Will keep you updated once I receice a reply.  in sure most of the advisors are brilliant and conduct assessments in a very professional manner.  Just may have been very bad luck regarding the cassette recordings, but we will see. 
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