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I recorded a pip assessor lying and now iv lost my award

JohnyleeJohnylee Member Posts: 14 Listener

Hi everyone I'm hoping someone can help me, I had a pip assessment last week and I secretly recorded it turns out it was the right thing to do

I have now gone from higher rate daily and higher rate mobility to no daily and standard mobility. Il now receive less than 100 a month

The assessor blatantly lied, she described my upper body movements and said I was fine doing them but the reality is she didnt once ask me to do anything with my arms neck or shoulders and I can be heard saying I struggle to get dressed because of pains in arms and shoulders

I said I cant stand at the sink to wash the said I wash at the sink, she said I walked 20 metres from my seat to the assessment room but it's less than 20 metres. She said I walked 5 minutes from the car park but we didnt park in a car park

She said I have put on weight since my last assessment 2 years ago but how would she know that if shes never seen me before or even had my medical notes, I can be clearly heard saying iv lost a lot of weight because I'm on liquid diet due to severe barrett's oesophagus

I rang pip before a decision had been made and told them about the recording , 4hrs later I rang back they told me their decision which was to not award me what I'd previously been awarded

This is so wrong because a decision has been made on a false representation of me, surely this is fraud. The recording and my report is available to anyone who disbelieves me

What I'd like help with is, first who do I contact in regards to suing her and the dwp / atos, any suggestions for a solicitor?

How would approach a newspaper / tv news?

Replies

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

    I can't help with the suing question i'm afraid, for this you will need to get expert face to face advice.

    As you secretly recorded the assessment then if you decide to request the MR then Tribunal i'm afraid you won't be able to use that recording at the Tribunal. Had you got caught secretly recording the assessment then you would have risked the assessment stopping and your file being returned to DWP and you would have very likely been refused completely. You must tell them that you're recording it and use the appropriate recording equipment, handing a copy of the tape in at the end of the assessment.

    Even though you can't use the recording, your next step is to request the MR and you have 1 month of the date of the decision to request that. You should put the request in writing, stating where you think you should have scored those points and your reasons why. Adding a couple of real life examples of what happened the last time you attempted that activity for each descriptor that applies to you.
    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: 2,357 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello, recording your assessment was wrong and phoning DWP informing them of the recording was a mistake and you asked for your outcome. You now have to request an MR and as most MR awards remains the same so you will have to persue your case to a tribunal hearing which has a waiting time of 12 months plus. It was a foolish thing to do record with permission and then owned to the DWP and expect to have legal action taken seriously. 
  • JohnyleeJohnylee Member Posts: 14 Listener
    But the assessor blatantly lied this isnt just a difference in opinion of someone's health shes blatantly lied and made things up, let's say I didnt record it how would i of gone about the upper body movements that i was never asked to do but according to her i could do fine, it never happened so what would I do had I not recorded it

    They shouldn't be allowed to make things up and lie the way she has, its seriously affected my life in a very bad way 
  • CressidaCressida Member Posts: 839 Pioneering
    The problem will be the recording wont be taken into account as it wasn't done according to the rules. As far as I am aware you should have 2 identical machines and inform them beforehand. 
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 968 Disability Gamechanger
    @johnylee - as you have found out to your cost unfortunately there are guidelines as to recording interviews, one of which is that you must tell the assessor beforehand.

    Was there a reason why you did it covertly?
  • JohnyleeJohnylee Member Posts: 14 Listener
    Iv read of similar situations and they got the recording transcribed and the tribunal accepted it in that format, whether dwp accept it under their bullshit rules doesnt matter it clearly proves the assessor not only made out I'm capable of movements she actually fabricated something that never happened and she shouldn't be able to get away with it

    It's strange because I know someone who sued the hospital for negligence and had recordings of incidences that were secretly recorded and there was no problem so why should the dwp be different.

    They might choose to ignore the evidence for helping me get my award back but surely taking this to court is a different matter 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    A Tribunal isn't a court and because you secretly recorded it you won't be able to use that as evidence. As @cristobal has asked, was there any reason why you did this covertly?
    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.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Johnylee said:
    But the assessor blatantly lied this isnt just a difference in opinion of someone's health shes blatantly lied and made things up, let's say I didnt record it how would i of gone about the upper body movements that i was never asked to do but according to her i could do fine, it never happened so what would I do had I not recorded it

    They shouldn't be allowed to make things up and lie the way she has, its seriously affected my life in a very bad way 
    Had you followed the rules and recorded it correctly using 2 identical tape recorders and handed 1 copy in at the end then you could have used it as evidence.
    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.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,637 Disability Gamechanger
    A number of inaccuracies to correct here I’m afraid. 

    1 - the job of the assessor is not to hear what you say and just repeat it verbatim. They can form their own conclusion. Just because you say something does not mean it has to be accepted. Asserting you have limited movement without giving specific examples of incidents is not evidence. It’s just that. Assertion.

    2 - an assessor is not obliged to do any physical assessment. Indeed there are specific circumstances where they ought not to. The assessment is not a medical. It’s a conversation. 

    3 - the test is not whether you can walk less than 20 metres. It’s whether you can do so reliably. Walking more or less than that on the day is but one measure of your walking ability. It’s perfectly possible someone can walk > on the day but < generally and vice verse. 

    4 - you have made an illegal recording BUT there is nothing to stop you putting it into evidence. Tribunals tend to not exclude evidence. See Why I secretly taped my disability assessment http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41581060.

    That said, proving an assessor lied will not get you PIP. Identify what points you score and why. Then evidence a couple of examples per activity. That’s what makes your case.
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 968 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2019
    @mikehughescq - I agree with you - the most important thing, as is often the case, is giving evidence/ examples of what you can/ can't do. Showing that the "I said, she said" between you and the assessor is wrong won't achieve this.

    Can I just add something to point 1 about the assessor recording the assessment 'verbatim' as this was something  that the assessment provider was keen to hide behind when I raised this with them.

    Even if the assessor is summarising, to some extent, what you say it must still be accurate and in context, particularly if they subsequently rely on it to justify their conclusions.

    In my case there were numerous occasions - probably about a dozen that were significant - when this wasn't the case .
    For example:-

     I was asked "Can you walk to the postbox" and the assessor wrote "Yes" when I said "No". 

    "How often do you cook your own lunch?" A "Once a week", and "very rarely" recorded as "most of the time."

    "Is it your right leg or left" A "Both" - the assessor wrote "right leg only"

    These responses were relied on by the assessor to justify her findings and, as you can see, they are completely wrong.

    Fortunately for me this was easily corrected.

    @Johnylee - I'd suggest that you ask for a MR and as Mike says give different examples justifying why you should get PIP. Try to put the recording to the back of your mind - difficult I know...

    Good luck!
  • JohnyleeJohnylee Member Posts: 14 Listener
    Il try answer everyone, first of all I know it wont get me pip with the tribunal but I'm doing what I can to take this beyond that and try and bring a separate case against the assessor 

    My dad decided to record it because we were denied a recorded assessment 

    I apologise if I come across as angry but I am, she or other assessors should not be able to get away with this.

    Il take all advice on board and try get a good defence and evidence ready for the tribunal as I know the MR wont be won no matter what.

    I think the point of my posting this was not to fund a way to win my tribunal with the recording but to get advice on who to go to so I can bring a separate case against the assessor and atos also possibly the dwp. If anyone can point me in the right direction it would be very much appreciated. 

  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 968 Disability Gamechanger
    @johnylee - I hope this might help...

    Too late now obviously but the assessment providers, as far as I know, can't 'deny' you recording. This is because you don't need permission - you have to 'notify' them in advance, and comply with some conditions, give them a copy etc.

    There are two things that you need to address now - getting the PIP award that you should, and making a complaint about the assessment.

    Firstly - ask for a mandatory reconsideration and send evidence of what you can't do, what you need help with and how you manage. Use the DWP guidelines to help you so that you know exactly what they are looking for and give examples. Don't forget that you have to show that you are correct - not that the assessor is wrong (although the two might overlap)

    Secondly - speaking personally I'd forget about complaining. I recorded mine - with consent - and it was done very badly. As Ive already mentioned several key points were recorded wrongly - not open to interpretation, or misunderstanding but just wrong. The examination was carried out without consent and it's clear that I was in pain.

    I complained and got pages of what their procedures are, how the assessor couldn't remember - all of it was just standard stuff which didn't really address my complaint. It's fair to say I eventually got an apology of sorts...

    Looking back I spent too long being angry, getting stressed and getting nowhere. I should have concentrated on being more positive and this is what I'd advise you to do.

    Easier said than done though!

    Good luck - ask again on here if you need help with the MR...
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,637 Disability Gamechanger
    @cristobal it’s a valid point but all is not as it seems. When you say no I can’t walk to the postbox but they record that as yes then it depends on which part of the form it’s recorded in. 

    If it’s your description of a typical day then you’re right. They must record accurately what you said. 

    If it’s the scoring section then they are absolutely entitled to form a view and record something different to what you said. So, for example, if your claim pack says you can do 20 to 50m and you’ve put in GP evidence saying similar but Google maps shows the nearest postbox is 15m away then when you say no they’re perfectly entitled to look at the contradiction and draw the opposite conclusion. 

    People are, understandably, very poor at recognising the contradictions in their own evidence. That’s why us reps can be so important. We can pull apart the evidence; find the holes and fill the gaps. 
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 968 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2019
    @mikehughescq - hard to believe I know but I agree with you again!

    It is very hard to be objective - and in my opinion this is why some of the on-line tests aren't very good as people tend to 'overmark' themselves. 

    In my case it turned out OK as the assessor relied heavily on what I said, or was supposed to have said, to justify the score they came to.They didn't disagree and form their own conclusions - as they are entitled to - but 'agreed' with what I had said under typical day and they had recorded wrongly. Had they said "the claimant says X, but I think Y that would be a different matter.

    After a little bit of encouragement,and a period of 'that's not relevant' (which may or not be the case but it was the assessor that mentioned it in the first place) the report was re-written and everything sorted out...


  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,637 Disability Gamechanger
    :)@cristobal. I’ve no problem with online benefit calculators provided they declare their many limitations. As they rarely do then I have major issues with most of them and would never recommend them to a client in any circumstances.

    Ditto those for disability benefits. They are arguably a tool to encourage people to claim but is that wise or even needed? People aren’t put off by not knowing what they’d get. They’re put off by not having the benefit explained to them properly by the DWP in the first place and by the many scare stories in the press. People who use them are are most likely going to claim anyway. They just want to know what they’ll get. So, what tends to happen is that people use one of these online tools and often conclude they ought to get PIP in circumstances when advice from an actual human being would say otherwise or explain why some of the points they give themselves are not going to be applicable. Worse still people use them; conclude “but i can do that” and don’t claim when they would be entitled. 

    This is what happens when organisations try to channel shift and assume that face to face advice can be replaced by information on a web page. Advice and information are wholly different things. You cannot and never will be able replace one with the other. Charities which work with such tools really need to think long and hard as to why. They don’t offer accurate advice or information (I’ve never met anyone ever who scored what an online tool told them they would. Not ever. Not once.) and they do a disservice to both the charity recommending them and the punters trying to use them. 

    The most common outcome from using these tools is a person making a claim on wholly the wrong basis or which hasn’t got a hope in hell. I’d chap;edge anyone viewing this to come back and cite a case where they scored wgat an online tool said they would. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger


    The most common outcome from using these tools is a person making a claim on wholly the wrong basis or which hasn’t got a hope in hell. I’d chap;edge anyone viewing this to come back and cite a case where they scored wgat an online tool said they would. 
    My daughter scored exactly what i thought she'd score for her PIP claim and for her review too. For the review she scored 1 extra point for the medication prompting, which is exactly what i though but this is only because i understand the descriptors. Very few people do.

    For me the PIP self test is the worst one because as you rightly pointed out that people will think they should have scored X amount of points but if they understood is correctly they won't score anything like they think they should score. Some may not even qualify at all, yet they continue to re-apply, even taking as far as Tribunal each time.

    As for other benefit calculators they can be useful but only if you understand the benefits you're claiming, or if you're checking what you're claiming is correct. In this case they are only as good as the information you put into them.


    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.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,637 Disability Gamechanger
    @poppy123456 you’ve wholly reinforced my point about disability benefit calculators or self-tests. 

    The reasons I disagree as regards online calculators are as follows:

    1 - they don’t include calculations of housing costs or Council Tax. So, for example, someone could look at PC v UC and conclude that because one calc comes out higher they need to go for that one. However, neither can be calculated in isolation of housing costs and CT. Factor those in and you potentially get a very different answer.

    2 - claiming certain benefits used to guarantee access to free school means, prescriptions and other NHS costs. It no longer does. So, again, a calculator nay tell you that you’re better off on benefit x when overall you are not. 

    3 - same with travel passes and so on.

    In UC world these things are crucial. It’s largely a lobster pot and once you’re in there’s usually no way out. Any organisation recommending or linking to a calculator which doesn’t do an overall “better off” calculation is messing with stuff it doesn’t really understand and messing with people’s lives. 
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