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PIP assessor

Wilma23Wilma23 Member Posts: 5 Listener
edited March 2019 in PIP, DLA and AA
Hi I am 58 suffered lots through my life...but to be now suffering with my health is causing lots of problems.
Hopefully I can get advice and chat to others in similar situations TY

Replies

  • Ami2301Ami2301 Community champion Posts: 7,152 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Wilma23 welcome to the community! Let us know how we can help you :)
    Community Champion
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • Wilma23Wilma23 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi I have had numerous operations leaving me unable to walk far. I am on PIP but lower payment so unable to get mobility.

    I depend a lot online shopping.
    I can drive on good days which are few and far between but then unable to even walk round a supermarket.
    I need help & advice on how to get the PIP assessor to listen 100% not twist my wording.
    I am know on liquid morphine amongst other medications.
    My hospital visits are arranged through TASL transport.
    Please advise
    TYIA 
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Member Posts: 7,732 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Wilma23
    Has your impairment got worse since you got PIP? You need to tell the DWP as soon as possible if your condition changes because this can affect your Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

    Examples of things that may change how your condition affects you include:

    • your condition gets better or worse

    • the level of help you need changes

    How to contact the DWP to report a change  

    Report a change as soon as possible. You can call or write to the DWP to tell them about the change, but you must write to them if you’ve changed your name. Once the change is reported, the DWP will write and let you know how it affects your PIP.

    You’ll need to include these details when you report a change:

    • your full name 

    • your date of birth 

    • your national insurance number 

    • the date the change happened or will happen 

    • the thing that has changed 


    PIP helpline

    Someone else can call on your behalf but you need to be with them so that you can give permission for them to speak for you.

    Telephone: 0800 121 4433

    Textphone: 0800 121 4493

    Open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm

    Calls to this number are free from landlines or mobiles. 

    The contact address to use is on your original decision letter.

    PIP Descriptors for Mobility

    You need to meet certain criteria to get the mobility part of PIP. To get the mobility component of PIP, you must have a physical or mental condition that limits your ability to carry out some or all of these activities:

    • planning and following journeys
    • moving around
    Activity Descriptors Points
    1. Planning and following journeys
    a. Can plan and follow the route of a journey unaided. 0
    b. Needs prompting to be able to undertake any journey to avoid overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant. 4
    c. Cannot plan the route of a journey. 8
    d. Cannot follow the route of an unfamiliar journey without another person, assistance dog or orientation aid. 10
    e. Cannot undertake any journey because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant. 10
    f. Cannot follow the route of a familiar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid. 12

    2. Moving around
    a. Can stand and then move more than 200 metres, either aided or unaided.  0
    b. Can stand and then move more than 50 metres but no more than 200 metres, either aided or unaided 4
    c. Can stand and then move unaided more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres. 8
    d. Can stand and then move using an aid or appliance more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres. 10
    e. Can stand and then move more than 1 metre but no more than 20 metres, either aided or unaided. 12
    f. Cannot, either aided or unaided, – (i) stand; or (ii) move more than 1 metre. 12 

    I hope this helps
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • Wilma23Wilma23 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Yes my condition has got worse.
    A tree fell onto my car in the high winds just before Christmas I wasn't 100% with driving before.
    I have had a shield put in my left eye.
    I had a fractured toe which required surgery then a pin in it ,its left it very swollen.
    To top it all have had major surgery on my right arm. I have been unable to use my right arm for over 2 years.
    I wanted to contact PIP., but they are very demoralizing and you think they're listening to you but they're looking at a screen not the person in front.
    I have had another epidural in my spine this year.
    I can walk but not far. 
    My health & mental health is strained to the limit...
    My hospital visits I get taken as I am unable to drive.
    Due to a pot.
    But total lack of confidence.
    I take various medications and more recently put on liquid morphine. 
    PIP assessments should be done on the individual and not text book.
    Please advise
    TY
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,258 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 2019
    Hi Wilma

    How long is your current award for ?
    There is no guaranteed way to get an assessor to listen to your side of your story. An assessment is carried out to determine your functionality ( or lack of ) on the given day. unfortunately this only gives a snap shot view of your life.
    If, after reading through the descriptors you are as sure as you can be that you meet the criteria for a higher award then you should put in for a change of circumstance. This will invariably mean that you will have another F2F assessment and your whole award will be reviewed.
    You will need to supply as much relevant evidence as you can and give examples of what happens when you attempt the activity.

    if your current award is due for review soon then you might consider waiting and preparing for that
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You say you're unable to get the mobility part? Are you under or over the age of 65? If you're over the age of 65 then you won't be able to claim the mobility part.

    Reporting a change of circumstances can be very risky. You need to look at the PIP descriptors before deciding what to do. A worsening of condition doesn't mean you'll be entitled to a higher award. It will depend on how your conditions affect you as to whether you'll score more points for a higher award. As know one here knows how your conditions affect you then i'd advise you to speak to an advice agency near you before reporting a worsening of condition.
    Community champion and 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.
  • Wilma23Wilma23 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    TY for your advise it should be clear cut but due to lack of transparency with PIP they are a law onto them selves.
    No wonder so many deaths & suicides and they're not made accountable !!
  • twonkertwonker Member - under moderation Posts: 617 Pioneering
    edited March 2019
    ilovecats said:

     High acuity painkillers are good piece of evidence as are physiotherapist letters detailing your functional ability.

    Is that actually true?
    From personal experience of someone that has been on Morphine, both liquid and the 12 hour version for years along with Pregabalin the nurse that held my assessment had me so tied up in knots that to shut her up (kept asking the same question over and over again but in different ways if my pain had gone because of the medication) I told her yes it had, is that what you wanted me to say?'
  • WaylayWaylay Member Posts: 918 Pioneering
    @ilovecats I totally believe that most assessors are honest and aren't invested in whether a claimant scores or not (I had a great PIP assessor a few years ago!), but I've also had 3 dishonest/incompetent/both assessors.

    The last one rushed through the assessment, kept cutting me off, and didn't even ask about suicidal ideation+self harm because he "had enough". He clearly didn't believe that I had anything wrong with me, and obviously didn't bother to read my form or my evidence. 0 points, down from 17 (standard/standard). He said I had no specialist input for my MH or my chronic pain. but I've been in a 2ndary NHS MH service for 7 years, and was nearing the end of a 1.5yr pain management programme at the time. Both were in my form, we discussed them both in the assessment (I have a recording) and I had a fantastic letter with functional info from the MH service and a recent psych, OT and physio assessment from the pain clinic with tons of functional info, among other pieces of evidence.I apparently had no signs of mental illness or pain, and no suicidal ideation or self-harm. I'd given him an A&E Psych Liaison write-up stating that I'd been brought to A&E by ambulance and kept in for observation due to high anxiety, ideation, and self-harm. It was dated the month before the assessment, He photocopied it, along with a couple of other pieces of evidence, to send to the DWP with his report, but although the other photocopies got there, the Psych Liaison one didn't. Oh, and I'm on gabapentin, tramadol, oral morphine, diazepam, venlafaxine and lamotrigine (and 5 other less exciting prescriptions). I got 19 points (standard/standard) at tribunal 11 months later, but in the meantime I spiraled into a severe depressive episode with multiple episodes of suicidal intent. Friends/partners had to stay with me for days at a time to keep me safe, and when I wasn't suicidal they still had to drop by multiple times a week to get me to eat and bathe. I lost over a stone anyway.

    It wasn't that I didn't write my forms up properly, either. I've helped multiple other people get PIP with no problems.

    And you don't believe that people die/commit suicide because of this system? Jodey Whiting, David Clapson, Susan Roberts, Paul Donnachie, David Barr, Stephen Carre, Mark Wood, Brian McArdle, Tim Salter, Linda Wootton, Michael O'Sullivan. Look them up. I'll add my friend Esther to the count. She killed herself last year after having her PIP and her ESA taken away in 3 months. She had Lupus, Major Depression and Borderline PD, among other things, and had Council Carers in twice a day, to get her up, washed, dressed and fed in the AM, and to make lunch and dinner, and then to do the washing up and chores and to get her to bed in the PM.

    There are more, and other evidence. You just have to look.







  • twonkertwonker Member - under moderation Posts: 617 Pioneering
    ilovecats said:






    As a former assessor, if someone comes in and they are on morphine, tramadol, gabapetnin, tapentadol, butrans patches etc . . . that would indicate to me that their pain is more severe than someone just on naproxen and cocodamol. 

    If they are claiming physical restrictions, I would then look at how they presented on the day as to whether they could reliably use aids or need a higher level of assistance. Painkillers are proof about your level of pain and the observations and physical movements (MSO) are what I would then use to justify the chosen descriptor. 

    On top of that, if there is a letter from a physiotherapist or occupational therapist detailing a high level of functional restriction and aids/adaptations made or being made to the property then that would also make me consider a higher descriptor. 

    This sort of claimant makes it much harder for people who genuinely suffer from these conditions to claim as the standard is set higher as we see SO many of those sorts of people who are over estimating their disability. PIP is not designed for the slightly poorly, it is designed for those who are truly disabled by their condition, not those who happen to have a diagnosis. 

    Sorry . . . Rant over . . .

    With regards to what the nurse said to you, we have to find out if your painkillers are effective however should not bully the answer we want out of you. If someone told me that their painkillers were useless then that it what I would write down. It makes ZERO difference to me if someone scores or not, all I cared about is whether or not I was being accurate and following the guidance.
    Taking the pain relief issue. It was clear that my first answers were not what the assessor wanted to hear. She was happy after I told her that the medication had removed all of the pain felt. That the allowed her to refuse the claim on the basis that I could not have any limitations/impact because of the pain.
    The true and sensible answer was what I had said previously that no I still suffer from pain which does cause the issues I had claimed for. But hey that was an unacceptable answer.

    Looking at it further no one should admit to any medication that helps as that is giving away the opportunity for points. So obviously those claimants that you see that not just over estimate but fraudulently claim will never admit to having any life unless you can prove otherwise. 
    What about those claimants that obtain prescription drugs for pain having already deceived their GP into prescribing them? In this part of the world there is a growing market for both Tramadol, Gabapentin, Pregabalin, Morphine etc.on the streets. Either they are being stolen or incorrectly/over prescribed. 

    Would you just accept at face value that what is on a repeat prescription list must be needed by the claimant? I know more than a few that sell them on after collecting the drugs from the chemist.
  • twonkertwonker Member - under moderation Posts: 617 Pioneering
    ilovecats said:
    @twonker if it is on treat prescription then we are not allowed to call people liars m. That’s the DWP fraud team’s job!
    So presumably an assessor will accept a repeat prescription at face value that is presented to them as being one where the medication is needed by the claimant to help with pain. To be honest unless the claimant says otherwise neither the assessor or the DWP's fraud team would ever be able to prove that the medication (a) isn't actually needed and/or (b) that the level of pain hasn't reduced. 

    The assessor relies entirely on a snapshot view lasting probably 45mins as to whether the impact said to be caused by pain actually exists?

    In my humble opinion the reliability factor of that snapshot view is certainly questionable.

    Now I fully understand why the assessor continually questioned my answers as presumably she was of the opinion that the pain I was in that was causing the impact didn't actually exist. To me now knowing this I don't blame her in her line of questioning despite as you say is against the rules.

    Definitely far too much importance is being placed on a repeat prescription as being proof of pain. I am never too old to learn something new every day.
  • TardisTardis Member Posts: 214 Pioneering
    edited March 2019
    twonker said:

    Would you just accept at face value that what is on a repeat prescription list must be needed by the claimant? I know more than a few that sell them on after collecting the drugs from the chemist.

    If this is true you will, of course, have reported them to the police? Otherwise you would be complicit in their drug dealing.
  • twonkertwonker Member - under moderation Posts: 617 Pioneering
    edited March 2019
    Tardis said:
    twonker said:

    Would you just accept at face value that what is on a repeat prescription list must be needed by the claimant? I know more than a few that sell them on after collecting the drugs from the chemist.

    If this is true you will, of course, have reported them to the police? Otherwise you would be complicit in their drug dealing.
    Strange that you mention that and you are quite right that action should be taken.
    The one individual that I do know that does this was reported to our local beat officer by me a couple of weeks ago. I gave name, address and what I know for a fact. What they do with the information I have no idea. I also reported what appeared to be two youngish lads in a BMW parked up in front of our house yesterday that not only did they appear suspicious but were seen  by me to hand something over to another driver of a car that pulled up and received what appeared to be 3 £50 notes (he held them up to see if they were genuine) I also photographed both cars and drivers. 
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    edited March 2019
    I have a high level of pain and functional restriction due to past illnesses, surgeries, car accidents and other life events non of which were considered by my assessor due to the restricted time element and blinkered view of a PIP assessor. I can't take some pain killers as they upset already chronic stomach problems and don't want to be reliant on them anyway so I grit my teeth and suffer every day. @ilovecats would you then say I have no pain and aren't eligible for PIP? Your reasoning, although I understand it's how assessor's are trained, is far too narrow to be able too look at each claimant's whole life events, illnesses, operations, car crashes of which I've had 5 and assess me in an hour. It makes my blood boil to read your posts. It's nothing personal but most of what you described applies to me but not for the reasons you give. So with your reasoning I'm a fraud and should not be on higher rate mobility and standard Daily Living but not be on PIP at all !!!! PS. I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD but you can also ignore that as I was only told that by IAPT when they discharged me as being too bad for their help. 
  • twonkertwonker Member - under moderation Posts: 617 Pioneering
    edited March 2019
    I think what ilovecats was saying is that the assessor would automatically 'pass' someone initially based on what medication you are prescribed with. Presumably in your case because you aren't prescribed the level of drugs that would give you this 'automatic pass' you would be suspected of over exaggerating your functioning due to pain. ilovecats seems to believe that if you are on what they would describe as 'end of life pain relief' it must be true.

    What I was trying to point out that just because the claimant wafts a repeat prescription list at the assessor it would be extremely dangerous and in my opinion wrong to take it as read that 'this claimant must be genuine'. The only reason why that statement is flawed is that I know two people that actually get this medication every month and I know for a fact that one of them sells it on the streets. Seemingly they have no need for the drugs but get them to supply others addicts. Should they be accepted as genuine PIP claimants?
  • wildlifewildlife Member Posts: 1,316 Pioneering
    @ilovecats I'm sorry if I've upset you in any way, it's not you I'm angry with but the rigid, tick box assessment process. I know from your posts you are a very caring, genuine person who did your job honestly and with the best intentions. So I'm not "damning" you at all. However some of what you write unfortunately adds fuel to the fire of feelings harboured by people who've been badly treated by the assessment process. Also, in my case with a review coming up,it causes concern that a lack of strong pain relief by way of prescription drugs, not having seen a neurologist or rheumatologist will go against me. My GP knows I have nerve damage, DDD, chronic adhesions from 9 years of PID causing abdominal abcesses from which I nearly died twice, gynae ops, occular migraines, osteo arthritis, Morton's Neuroma in my left foot, Peripheral Neuropathy and panic attacks all of which has left me with a health anxiety to name but a few of my problems. However as none of these can be treated or cured without further surgery which would do more harm than good she will not refer me just to get evidence for PIP. When I asked for an OT assessment at home I was sent a pen pushing admin lady who's attitude was so bad i would never have her in my house again. My physio reports were ignored due I suspect to lack of understanding of the way the results of a physio exam I had were written. So can I ask you what evidence I can get that would be accepted by my next assessor to allow me exemption from having to do the physical exam in my next assessment? I wish to refuse to reduce the risk of results being changed/made up on my report as happened last time. 
  • twonkertwonker Member - under moderation Posts: 617 Pioneering
    ilovecats said:
    wildlife said:
    I have a high level of pain and functional restriction due to past illnesses, surgeries, car accidents and other life events non of which were considered by my assessor due to the restricted time element and blinkered view of a PIP assessor. I can't take some pain killers as they upset already chronic stomach problems and don't want to be reliant on them anyway so I grit my teeth and suffer every day. @ilovecats would you then say I have no pain and aren't eligible for PIP? Your reasoning, although I understand it's how assessor's are trained, is far too narrow to be able too look at each claimant's whole life events, illnesses, operations, car crashes of which I've had 5 and assess me in an hour. It makes my blood boil to read your posts. It's nothing personal but most of what you described applies to me but not for the reasons you give. So with your reasoning I'm a fraud and should not be on higher rate mobility and standard Daily Living but not be on PIP at all !!!! PS. I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD but you can also ignore that as I was only told that by IAPT when they discharged me as being too bad for their help. 
    I’m damned if I explain anything and then damned if I don’t.

    I’ve never said that the absence of pain or proof of pain means that someone doesn’t ‘deserve’ PIP.

    I’m saying that evidence adds weight to a claim and is less likely to be scrutinised for inaccuracies.
    …..without that proof/evidence the claim will more likely be scrutinised for inaccuracies?
  • Freddy67Freddy67 Member Posts: 24 Connected
    edited April 2019
    To be honest the fact that so much focus is on medication is a little worrying, not everyone is able to take medication due to having stomach, swallowing problems etc. Or they've tried medication and it's not worked. 

    FM can be diagnosed by a GP providing they do the correct tests, a friend of mine who was diagnosed with FM spoke to fmauk about it. 


  • Wilma23Wilma23 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Freddy67 whilst I  am on a certain amount drugs.
    I also suffer with Dense diverticulitis & sigmoid loop.
    So yes my medication causes projectile vomiting plus esophageal mortality.
    Amongst other health problems.
    I thought this forum was to help advise etc., 
    I thank you for your input.

  • WaylayWaylay Member Posts: 918 Pioneering
    Yes @wildlife , I completely agree!
    @ilovecats I apologise if I sounded angry in my long post. I was angry, because what you wrote is exactly the attitude my assessor had, and it triggered some serous rage. Not aimed at you!

    Question: What about fluctuating conditions? I was having a horrendous back spasm at my last assessment, and was on a huge amount of tramadol, diazepam, etc., and I was crazy anxious. (The assessor ignored it all. *Arrrgh!*)

    But what if I'd hadn't been in spasm? What if I'd been having a good back day? On a good day I'm still in 3-6 pain, with stiffness and fatigue and sciatica. I still can't do much, because doing something like walking for 3 minutes or standing for 10mins would cause my pain/stiffness/fatigue to increase, and would be very likely to trigger a spasm. None of that is visible, though; I usually look normal when I'm not in spasm, largely because I've worked hard to look fine. If the assessor sees me for 45 minutes on a good back day and I look fine, my experience is that they decide that my chronic pain condition isn't very bad and doesn't limit my functioning nearly as much as I maintain, no matter how often I explain that it's "very variable", and "fluctuates unpredictably". (Of course, the assessor doesn't see me an hour later, contorted by a spasm in my bed, dry-swallowing a handful of opioids/benzos because I can't reach the sink. He doesn't see me stuck there, drugged to the eyeballs, for the next 3 days, peeing in a urinal in my bed because I can't get to the bathroom.)

    For many, many claimants, observations during the assessment aren't representative, but the assumption is that we're committing fraud.

    *Acting like you're fine (when you can) is a pain management strategy I learned at the Pain Clinic. Displaying your pain (wincing, rubbing the painful bit, sitting funny, etc.) makes you think about the pain more, makes other people more likely to notice it and bring it up, etc. Essentially, it centres your life around the pain, which limits you, makes social interaction more difficult, and makes the pain feel worse.

  • Freddy67Freddy67 Member Posts: 24 Connected
    I'm very sorry to hear that @Wilma23 :( I thought the same thing about the forums but it's not coming across that way.

    @Waylay that's a very good point you make about people who act like they are fine, as the saying goes, never judge a book by it's cover.
  • TardisTardis Member Posts: 214 Pioneering
    Isn't it helpful to know that an assessor may take a certain view on meds?  

    If you have a condition which would normally be treated by medication, but you are unable to take that medication, or the meds don't work for you, then it would be wise to explain that on the application form.
  • Freddy67Freddy67 Member Posts: 24 Connected
    I doubt people really think about explaining why they can't take a medication, I know I wouldn't if I was filling out a form, if I was on meds then I would obviously explain what I'm on and their side effects.


  • TardisTardis Member Posts: 214 Pioneering
    But it would make sense to do so if you are in severe pain and can't take painkillers, for whatever reason.
  • madquasimodomadquasimodo Member Posts: 130 Courageous
    One problem with normal people going to F2F assessments has been explained, its how you present yourself and how the assessor views your actions, an example if you take a load of medicine for various aliments, then say you attend something in a short time, its viewed as minor, they need to know you take pain relief, and how long it takes to function, they need to see what you take and how long the effect lasts after taking it.

    It seems harsh but its true, when I had a F2F there was a couple, one pushing the wheelchair, making a bit of a fuss going in, fair enough, but watching them go out she stood up and walked to the car, sadly it happens and we all get tarred by their actions.

    I could not do the job, I would probably accept every story given, there is a post in the forums by someone who had a lucky break with a good assessor and little evidence to support the claim, its rare most go the other way, no matter what you suffer from its what mood the assessor is in on the day.

    You can have mountains of evidence which can be tossed aside and ignored should they feel like it, going to the CAB might be an option, if your medication is severe perhaps try asking for help when going to the pain clinic if you have one.

    Sadly Doctors letter carry very little weight now, even hospital letters with your problems explained may not be enough.

    At least the DWP have now dropped the 80% target from rejecting reconsideration even though they say it was not a target, using the term “essentially an aspiration” does not hide the fact they pretty much just ignored MR requests.

    If anyone want to read up on it have a look at PIP and ESA Assessments inquiry Reports published on 9 and 14 February 2018. Government response published on 18 April 2018.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,946 Scope community team
    edited April 2019
    Hello @Wilma23, I'm sorry to read about your experiences. As both Sam and Poppy have advised, if you choose to try to adjust your claim you should be mindful of the descriptors and how your worsening condition affects your daily life.
    If you have any other questions (or need more advice) please don't hesitate to ask.

    [This discussion has been closed.]
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

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