PIP, DLA and AA
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Humiliated by PIP assessor.

EBGEBG Member Posts: 5 Listener
I went for a PIP review assessment yesterday (April 24) and while I was expecting it to be stressful, I was not expecting it to be utterly horrifying. I suffer from anxiety, depression and a mental illness called borderline personality disorder. In addition I have fybromyalgia and a chronic eye condition. My main claim for help regards my mental health problems which impact my life on a daily basis. The assessor was horrible. She clearly had no understanding of mental health matters in general and most certainly no understanding of the nature of BPD. She ignored my husband when he tried to exlain how nervous I was and how the whole process of filling in the forms and attending the interview had affected my mental stability. She then ripped into me demanding to know when I had last tried to kill myself and why hadn't I tried more recently. She demanded to know when I'd last self harmed, how I did it and how bad it was and then demanded to see my scars. I came away from the assessment feeling utter humiliated and degraded. All my hard won progress, all the good done by therapy was undone by that insensitive woman in an hour. I haven't slept. My mind is in turmoil. I feel worthless and my self hatred has been re-triggered along with the urge to self harm. The PIP process does not allow for mental health conditions at all. There should be a different process and there should be someone with a real working knowledge of mental illness in all its forms doing the assessing. Stability is a very fragile thing for people with BPD. My mental health has actually been made worse by the process and regardless of the outcome of the interview, it will take me months to recover. I don't think I can go through this process again, it's too much.

Replies

  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,941 Scope community team
    Goodness me @EBG, I'm really sorry to read this. Your experience sounds awful and I can only imagine how it's left you feeling. However, a lot of people on the community will have gone through similar things and will be able to relate to this. Hopefully you'll be able to draw some support from them.
    The PIP process is not particularly accessible for those with mental health conditions, but please know that we are here to support you however we can. If you wait a week, please call them up and ask for a copy of the assessor's report as it will give you an idea of how you were scored.

    As a member of our community you're important to us and if you are having thoughts of self-harm, it's important that you speak to someone qualified and able to help you.  Please call the Samaritans on 116 123 (free) or email them at [email protected]
    Please also give MIND's information about distracting yourself from self-harm a read as their tips may help you. However, as always, if you feel like you might be a danger to yourself, give 999 a call or go to your local hospital.

    Please let us know if you need any advice,
    Adrian
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    If you have a few minutes to spare, we'd appreciate your feedback on our online community.
  • zakbloodzakblood Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    i can relate, it seems they are either having issues with recruitment or staff retention,  as while it's not the same for all assessors, like in life it is for some, i myself have had 5, 3 really good ones, 1 really poor one, and well the least i say about the last nurse i had the better, hardly spoke English, only wrote half of what i said, and asked loaded questions just to catch people out and tbh had no idea on how anything affected anything or seem to care either, and little to no empathy so no idea why even in the job in the first place apart from money, plain and simple, so sorry to hear you also had a bad or poor one, your not alone, and i'm sorry for that, but it's a sad fact the assessments and system in place atm isn't fit for purpose, with the hurt, stress and pain it causes, no one should have to go through this when already at a low point in life
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    I'm very sorry that this has happened to you and that the assessor has made you feel so bad, I myself have severe anxiety, agoraphobia, social anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia, my first assessor never asked anything about suicidal thoughts but the one I had recently did but he did it in an understanding way and wasn't at all pushy or nasty about it. I think it depends on who you get really,  not all assessors are horrible. 

    If you are struggling, maybe give your GP's a call or if you have a support worker of some sort it maybe worth giving them a call. There's also the the options that Adrian has suggested.

    Sending you lots of hugs.
  • EBGEBG Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hello, Adrian, thank you for your kind reply and may I also apologise as I think I may have posted my message more than once by mistake. Thank you for the Mind link, it is a very useful resource. I will call and ask for a copy of the report, I didn't know you could do that, so thanks again.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    EBG there's a bug which is being looked into, it's been double and triple posting for a while now.
  • EBGEBG Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thank you for letting me know, I did feel embarrassed that I might have 'flooded' the forum with duplicate messages.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    It's ok :) The admins/mods will probably delete the duplicate ones with no posts in them.
  • Bevvy7andoverBevvy7andover Member Posts: 38 Connected
    This happens way too often someone needs to review what’s going on! My assessment was stressful and when I received the report I was shocked at what was written but also nothing from my hubby or carer was noted they took 14 points off me! I tried to get answers as to why aren’t these meetings taped??? So long story short I lost my car and yesterday 23rd I received a shock I wasn’t going to sit in front of a panel they reassess my evidence and gave me 15 points!!
    Don’t let it lay get the assessors report and file a complaint about this awful treatment yu received good luck xx
  • Nikki76Nikki76 Member Posts: 26 Connected
    Don't worry,my assessor said l had no mental health,or cognitive behavioural therapy, when my councillor,is that person,she argued with me that my depression tablets wasn't for depression,l said l have anxiety and l keep burning my food cos l am not focused end up burning my food everyday,she said oh everyone does that,I have a assistance dog,she also put on form l always go out with dog, when l clearly stated l take him to go out to shops,then she put on assessment,that l phone the doctors,l have done my appeal told judge in letter that my doctor like to see me all time,l said what if l had a emergency needed to speak to doctor,oh and schooling a lot on there bout my schooling,l said to judge if she asked me about my schooling l would of told her l was bullied at school..

    My friend had her pip stopped cos she stroked her cat,honest she had home visit ,and she wrote it in report...

    The pip assessors are doing every thing to stop people getting money...
  • EBGEBG Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi everyone and thank you for sharing your experiences. PIP forms and reviews certainly are not geared towards those of us with mental health issues. Life feels a bit unbearable at the moment and I can only hope it will get better.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,941 Scope community team
    EBG said:
    Hello, Adrian, thank you for your kind reply and may I also apologise as I think I may have posted my message more than once by mistake. Thank you for the Mind link, it is a very useful resource. I will call and ask for a copy of the report, I didn't know you could do that, so thanks again.
    No worries at all @EBG. As @WF2k mentioned, it happens sometimes and I've cleared them up. :) 

    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    If you have a few minutes to spare, we'd appreciate your feedback on our online community.
  • twonkertwonker Member - under moderation Posts: 617 Pioneering
    EBG said:
    Hi everyone and thank you for sharing your experiences. PIP forms and reviews certainly are not geared towards those of us with mental health issues. Life feels a bit unbearable at the moment and I can only hope it will get better. 


    After my first PIP assessment when all of my mental health issues along with the evidence was ignored when I completed the second claim/review I omitted anything to do with mental health as obviously whatever I wrote would be dismissed.

    Just come back from my GP who now tells me that following test I have Angina. I would imagine that that will be ignored as well as I also failed to mention the symptoms over the past 18 months in my PIP review. 

    Fortunately I do qualify for some PIP based on the provable impacts caused by my other medical issues
  • SWC0870SWC0870 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    HI EBG - sorry to here about your experience and can unfortunately relate to some of what you've highlighted.  On the back of my PIP assessment a couple of weeks ago I requested a copy of the assessment submitted.  I couldn't believe the amount of incorrect information that was included and have been quick to challenge even before my decision (probably to my detriment) has been made - couldn't refrain any longer.  Loads of false information - I suffer from chronic nerve damage post multiple operations on my leg and a lot of the insight she had was subjective and to cover herself - would use terms like "only a snapshot".  Just a couple of examples which highlighted the tone for me - " I was observed in the reception area standing up repeatedly and in the assessment without support"  What wasn't included was I cant sit down for more than a few minutes because of the pain I suffer - this was  highlighted by me at the start of the assessment that I would have to stand up throughout the session.  As per my application don't wear shoes with laces - as cant bend - assessor for some reason pointed out I was wearing shoes with laces - not true (I wore shoes with no tie laces) stated that I was repeatedly bending down throughout the interview - not true, refused to stand on toes-not true (couldn't due to pain).  Loads more - "I could walk at a normal pace - snapshot" I'm taking citalopram and still coming to terms with having cancer last year - the assessor couldn't understand why this would be stressful still now

    I recorded the session and await my decision which already have resigned myself that I will be appealing - unfortunately I didn't get a good assessor and now actively challenging a lot of the content as being lies (very strong word) - just couldn't believe the number of false points included!

    Not sure how I have faired in terms of points  - in one comment box  she recommended that my benefit claim should be reviewed in 3 years time.  Regardless of that - I approached this in an honest manner supported by the advice of doctor but found the whole interview very underhand/incorrect and clear that some assessors are motivated not to support a claim.

    Too many additional inconsistencies & false inclusions to mention - so have complained already highlighting the incorrect inclusions circa >10.

    Advice to all - record the interview and take someone with you - I couldn't on the day.  Best of luck all and will keep you all updated.
  • EBGEBG Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hello to all,

    Thought I'd post a quick update. I made a formal complaint against the PIP assessor, but as yet have not heard anything back, though it was confirmed that my complaint has been recieved and is 'allegedly' being investigated. I have not yet had a decision on whether or not I will be granted PIP. I am still suffering fallout from my experience with renewed depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts (which I'm getting help with.) What is keeping me going is my determination not to allow the woman who 'abused' me to get away with it, even if I have to sue her personally for the mental and emotional distress she has caused to me. If my actions make her think twice about inflicting the same damage on someone else then I'll be happy.
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 965 Disability Gamechanger
    @EBG - if you can try to channel your anger into something positive. It's difficult I know....

    I complained about my assessment and just ended up going round in circles, with letters apparently lost, replies that completely failed to answer my points but saying that it was their 'final look', the assessor 'couldn't remember'.The whole process just seemed to be there to cover up what had happened. I could go on ...

    Looking back I wish I'd used my time more fruitfully.... 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Don't expect anything to happen from the complaint you made, it rarely happens. If you've had a copy of the assessment report and it doesn't recommend an award then you could spend your time writing the MR request letter while you wait for the decision to be made.
    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.
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