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Son not awarded PIP!!!

renison41 Community member Posts: 1 Listener
Sorry for the rant! My 26 year old son who has been entitled to DLA since he was 9 has been refused PIP with zero points!! He has Aspergers, but is very disabled by his Aspergers. He could never live independently and cannot complete the most simple tasks and use domestic appliances! Apparently, because he can take a bath, wipe his bum and dress himself he is classed as ok! In his face to face assessment he was asked about his education. I pointed out that he was first diagnosed at the age of 9 when he was at mainstream school. I ignored the advice of his CAHMS doctor when he was about to go senior school and sent him mainstream rather than special school (as advised) Six months into his studying for his GCSE’s, I was called into school and told they were letting him drop all his options because he wasn’t going to pass any exams! Afterwards he went to college on a course called Life Skills for people with disabilities and learning difficulties. This was all told to the lady doing the assessment. However, the decision came back saying he was fine because he went to mainstream school and college!! It’s just so wrong!! Also, because he also explained, the only food he can prepare is super noodles and ham sandwiches, he was classed as being able to prepare a meal from scratch. She also pointed out that he had good eye contact! Ironically my boy has never had problems with eye contact. Not everybody is the same. However, that went against him as well despite all the years of psychology reports I provided them with explaining his condition!! I’m so angry! Do you think there’s any point appealing? 


  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Community member Posts: 2,781 Disability Gamechanger

    I would say it's worth appealing, but be prepared for a long battle!  First step is a mandatory reconsideration, but only a small percentage of these actually change the result so you'll most likely have to a tribunal eventually.

    I also had 'good eye contact' mentioned, despite wearing sunglasses at the time (I do have trouble with eye contact and bright lights which is why I wear them), they must have had X-ray vision! :D 

    Also with regards to food, it sounds like he should've scored some points there but it's difficult as the super noodles show he can use boiling water safely for example.  But it sounds as if he wouldn't be able to use a microwave?  It's a bit of a grey area though as they are meant to use something like raw fish, potatoes and veg as a simple meal from fresh ingredients, but it seems like that's down to assessors discretion.

    I'm not sure psychology reports will be much use as evidence unless it explains his difficulties with daily tasks?  The actual diagnosis isn't of any interest to PIP.
  • mumofthetwins
    mumofthetwins Community member Posts: 41 Connected
    my son had eye contact reported but he has bad eye contact and had his sunglasses on the whole assessment so again goodness knows how ??
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 11,386 Scope online community team
    Hello @renison41 and a warm welcome to the community. :)
    I'm really sorry to hear about the outcome of the decision. Please do consider appealing the decision. The first stage of this would be a Mandatory Reconsideration. You can find out more about this on our website, but if you have any questions or need some advice about the particulars, please don't hesitate to ask.
    Community Manager
  • cristobal
    cristobal Community member Posts: 984 Disability Gamechanger
    @renison41 - it might be worth having a good look at the descriptors for each category so that you know exactly what is considered...

    As @overlyanxious has said, although 'preparing food' is about making a meal from fresh ingredients, the assessor seems to have concluded that if your son can pour boiling water, butter bread and make a sandwich then he is capable of cooking a meal.

    I wouldn't worry too much about what the assessor said but your son will need to give more explanation as to why he can't cook etc..

    Good luck!
  • david235
    david235 Community member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    With the "preparing food" activity, it is important to read the descriptors and the exemplification carefully. The relevant section of the PIP Assessment Guide part 2 (click here) gives the guidance that is given to assessors. In particular, note that descriptors B, D and E are "prepare or cook food", descriptors A and F are "prepare and cook food" and C is purely about cooking (and can only be awarded to claimants who are able to prepare food unaided).

    Preparing super noodles indicates your son is able to cook something once it is in a pan (note that bending to an oven is excluded from this activity), @renison41 , so that might rule out the F descriptor ("cannot prepare and cook food") unless he needs supervision on at least the majority of days to be able to cook super noodles safely. Is he doing the super noodles in a pan or the microwave?

    Preparing a ham sandwich indicates he has some skills with a knife - though perhaps not being able to extend to chopping vegetables safely with a sharp knife.

    This perhaps illustrates the problem the assessor had with this activity. You have given a clear explanation of the medical and psychological basis for your son's problems, also you have given an explanation of your son's limited abilities in the kitchen, but not why he is limited to super noodles and ham sandwiches. There is clearly a detailed narrative supporting the medical and psychological background to your son's problems (educational history, psychological tests and so on), but the assessor and decision maker cannot make the case for your son. Unless the decision maker has a sufficiently clear picture of the challenges your son faces in the kitchen with preparing and cooking food to conclude that one of the scoring descriptors more likely than not applies on the majority of days, he will score no points for the activity.

    I was awarded the F descriptor (""cannot prepare and cook food") for this activity - my problems are neurological and neuromuscular. I explained how my sensory symptoms, pain, fatigue and muscle problems all interfered with my ability to carry out the component parts of preparing and cooking food. I explained why my inability could not be improved by aid or appliance, assistance, supervision or prompting, also why I could not cook safely even with a microwave.

    Unless your son gives a clear understanding of why he cannot go beyond super noodles and ham sandwiches, and why supervision, assistance or prompting (reminding, encouraging or explaining) is not going to improve those abilities, the most he is going to score on this activity is 2 points (on a speculative assumption that one of "needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to either prepare or cook a simple meal" or "cannot cook a simple meal using a conventional cooker but is able to do so using a microwave" applies). Decision makers are not supposed to speculate; if there is no clear rationale to award any scoring descriptor, 0 points should be awarded.

    To stand a good chance of getting the 8 points for "cannot prepare and cook food" you should attempt to show that all the lower scoring descriptors likely do not apply on the majority of days. It might be as simple as ham sandwiches and super noodles is all he is comfortable with, and the limits imposed by his Aspergers mean that no amount of supervision, assistance, encouragement or explanation is going to push him beyond those limits - perhaps he will simply leave the kitchen or become distressed if you or anyone else tried those things. However, the decision maker does need a clear understanding of the likely futility of supervision, assistance or prompting to eliminate consideration of the D and E descriptors.
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