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Contacted MP regarding mandatory reconsideration

[Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 15 Listener
Hi everyone I’ve just joined this forum however I’ve been reading posts on here for months while going through my horrific PIP experience.

ill try not to make this too long but I applied for pip via telephone September last year. I have borderline personality disorder, anxiety with depression and bulimia. 
I also suffer with acute asthma and have severe allergies.

I had an assessment in February this year with independent assessment services  (Atos). The assessment lasted 8 minutes was very brief but the horror didn’t start till I requested the report. Firstly the assessor lied about how long we were in there and said we were in there 45 minutes! The whole report was lies it didn’t put any relevant information I stated and it also said the only evidence they’ve taken in to account was the how my disability affects me form. They made no attempt to contact any of my health professionals.

the most disturbing thing in the report is the accessor noted ‘claimant seems of average build so it would suggest she doesn’t suffer from an eating disorder’. Not that it matters but I am 5’8 and 9 stone! But bulimia has nothing to do with weight. I’ve suffered for 10 years been hospitalised and to be told by an occupational therapist that I was essentially not underweight enough to have an eating disorder. It broke me to say the least. 

Gathering from the report I knew I’d score 0 points across the board. Lo and behold 2 weeks later I got the report. 0 points. By this point I’d already complained about my acessor but had no response and then eventually got one just saying I must be lying. I filed a mandatory reconsideration via phone and followed up with as much evidence as I could get. I got a letter from my doctor, hospital admissions, letters when I was sectioned, reports from community care, statement from my Carer even letters from when I was in school. I also sent in my report from my UC assesment placing me in the LCWRA group. My actual letter stating my reasons was 6 pages long & I put in as much detail as I could explaining why I deserved all the points I thought I was entitled to and gave as clear examples as possible. I also noted I was effected by each descriptor on a daily basis. I was told I should hear in around 10-13 weeks. (Currently on week 5).

Back to present day I decided to write a letter to my MP while I’m waiting on my MR. I sent it yesterday & he responded that evening saying he’d speak to his contacts in the dwp & try speed up the process. He forwarded me an email this morning from a customer experience manager at dwp saying she’d look in to the concerns my MP raised and get back to him in 15 working days. I don’t really know how much influence that could have on the decision maker for my PIP.
 
I’m just doing everything I can to try secure it at this stage because I don’t know if I can mentally cope with months maybe years more or this and a tribunal. 

Has anyone else got experiences with their MPs and what they have done to help them and the outcome? 

Replies

  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @jessica9876 and a warm welcome to the community! Great to have you here. :)

    I'm sorry to hear that you have had a struggle to get PIP and that it has impacted your mental health as a result.

    Do you have enough support around you at the moment? I know the lockdown can be isolating.

    I hope you hear back soon.
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    Scope

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  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 15 Listener
    @Chloe_Scope thank you for the warm welcome Chloe. I am lucky I have my Mother as a full-time carer. I'm trying to keep myself as busy as possible. I will keep you all updated if I hear something else. 
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,256 Disability Gamechanger
    I wrote to two MPs after failing the assessment and never got a reply from either...both work in the health sector too!  

    It sounds like yours is much more willing to help though, so that's a good sign. :)
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 15 Listener
    @OverlyAnxious I'm so sorry to hear that. I'm hoping things got sorted for you in the end.

    I'm hoping so I suppose even a letter that says my MP is supporting me can help. Every bit counts at this stage!
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,256 Disability Gamechanger
    @OverlyAnxious I'm so sorry to hear that. I'm hoping things got sorted for you in the end.

    I'm hoping so I suppose even a letter that says my MP is supporting me can help. Every bit counts at this stage!
    Thanks, yeah I finally had the tribunal hearing a couple of weeks ago.  Took around 12 months from the initial application.  

    0 points on the initial decision, 0 on the MR, then 14 points at tribunal!  So even if the MR doesn't go your way, it's still worth continuing with the process.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,931 Disability Gamechanger
    The whole report was lies it didn’t put any relevant information I stated and it also said the only evidence they’ve taken in to account was the how my disability affects me form. They made no attempt to contact any of my health professionals.

    the most disturbing thing in the report is the accessor noted ‘claimant seems of average build so it would suggest she doesn’t suffer from an eating disorder’. Not that it matters but I am 5’8 and 9 stone! But bulimia has nothing to do with weight. I’ve suffered for 10 years been hospitalised and to be told by an occupational therapist that I was essentially not underweight enough to have an eating disorder. It broke me to say the least. 

    Gathering from the report I knew I’d score 0 points across the board. Lo and behold 2 weeks later I got the report. 0 points. By this point I’d already complained about my acessor but had no response and then eventually got one just saying I must be lying. I filed a mandatory reconsideration via phone and followed up with as much evidence as I could get. I got a letter from my doctor, hospital admissions, letters when I was sectioned, reports from community care, statement from my Carer even letters from when I was in school. I also sent in my report from my UC assesment placing me in the LCWRA group. My actual letter stating my reasons was 6 pages long & I put in as much detail as I could explaining why I deserved all the points I thought I was entitled to and gave as clear examples as possible. I also noted I was effected by each descriptor on a daily basis. I was told I should hear in around 10-13 weeks. (Currently on week 5).

    Back to present day I decided to write a letter to my MP while I’m waiting on my MR. I sent it yesterday & he responded that evening saying he’d speak to his contacts in the dwp & try speed up the process. He forwarded me an email this morning from a customer experience manager at dwp saying she’d look in to the concerns my MP raised and get back to him in 15 working days. I don’t really know how much influence that could have on the decision maker for my PIP.
     
    I’m just doing everything I can to try secure it at this stage because I don’t know if I can mentally cope with months maybe years more or this and a tribunal. 

    Has anyone else got experiences with their MPs and what they have done to help them and the outcome? 

    Part of the problem here is that I doubt anyone has familiarised you with the process you’ve entered into. Thus you’ve a number of assumptions informing your decision to go to an MP but the assumptions are incorrect.

    1 - The HCP is not there to “put any relevant information” you stated. Repeating or noting what you say verbatim doesn’t enter into it. The role is to form a conclusion on your functional ability to reliably perform the points scoring activities. The number or severity of your conditions is not relevant. Their consequences are. 

    2 - They would almost never contact your health care professionals. You’re the claimant. The onus is on you to prove you qualify. DWP have no role in helping you SI that. You need to provide the evidence.

    3 - GP letters are of arguably limited use other than when you have little insight into your own conditions. Evidence of hospital admissions or being sectioned don’t really say anything about whether you score points for not being able to reliably perform the points scoring activities. Your descriptions of what this’d admissions were for and what you consequently couldn’t do would be far more relevant. Letters from school are way before you claimed and wou;d likely be given little weight. The volume of what you put in is nowhere near as important as the focus and, with all due respect, the approach taken is one claimants often mistakenly take, i.e. throwing tonnes of stuff in on the assumption it must stick. 

    I doubt your MP has much to contribute here. The speed of MRs at present is dictated by the number of staff with access to the paperwork in the office and as you might imagine that really isn’t many. The success rate for MRs is essentially random. Your MP has zero influence on the quality of decision although doubtless they’ll take a credit if you’re in the 16%. 

    A tribunal will not take years. Average waits are down to 35 weeks or less but the success rate was 76% for oral hearings and appears anecdotally higher for telephone hearings. Few cases are proceeding by telephone as most are reviewed to see if they can be awarded on the papers. 
  • griff11griff11 Member Posts: 63 Courageous
    edited May 2020
    @OverlyAnxious wow that's brilliant news.  My daughter had 0 on assessment and 6 on MR so I've appealed .  
    @jessica9876. My daughter was very distressed by their reasoning for turning her down at both original decision and now MR .  They acknowledged she has OCD as we evidenced it but say it doesn't affect her because she understands her condition, is intelligent (has a degree) and is holding down a job.  She had to leave a previous job due to pressure on her about her MH and has only been in new job since January which is public sector and she declared her disability at application and they are supportive of her which enables her to work.  She strives to work as it greatly helps her mental health.  

    I hope your MP input and DWP reconsideration goes your way 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 15 Listener
    @mikehughescq Firstly I really want to hope your response is coming from a good place, and I understand how things written online can come across and be taken the wrong way, however I have to say you come across as extremely patronizing. I feel like you're the only one who made very wrong assumptions - can I ask what your background is? Do you work for Capita or Atos?

    On the letter I received it clearly stated for me to not contact my GP or health professionals to gather evidence as they would reach out themselves hence forth as to why I didn't at my initial claim stage. I have that written in black and white.
    In regards to hospital admissions there would be licensed professionals making recorded observations about my state and behavior which would fall under the descriptors - definitely relevant as you have already mentioned.
    Another one of your assumptions - I have recently left school so again these letters would be very relevant, as I would be spending 8 hours a day and teachers could see my behavior. 

    In regards to the appeal time it wasn't just a number I'd made up in my head. I asked the DWP themselves in regards to my specific area of the country (the most densely populated in Britain) and she said it would be an average of a year from when I first ask for an appeal.

    Hopefully you meant your comment in good faith but I'm going to be honest it wasn't very nice the way you came across so maybe just do not comment on my personal discussions in future :) best wishes.
  • GrinchyGrinchy Member Posts: 318 Pioneering
    nothing to add, but i wish you all the best on your appeal, sorry your going through this, they really do make it hard to get what you are entitled to
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,931 Disability Gamechanger
    edited May 2020
    @jessica9876 thanks for your response. I’m afraid you have wholly misinterpreted mine. My post was wholly in good faith.

    My post was solely intended to identify some barriers to the success of your claim based on your assumptions. You are of course entitled to wholly disregard it or place me on your ignore list. 

    However, I’ll respond to each of your points in turn. 

    1 - my background is 34 years advising or managing in the welfare rights sector. I have never worked for either of the companies mentioned and ideologically not would I. Some of what you assumed ought to have happened in your case is incorrect. It’s important to ensure you’re aware of that else your case could proceed on wholly the wrong footing. 

    2 - I stand by what I said as regards DWP contacting HCPs. Regardless of what DWP say in the letter, the circumstances in which they make contact are very limited. 

    The onus to seek further evidence usually falls on the HCP not DWP and where DWP had an issue with a HCP report they’re more likely to throw it back at the assessment company than seek medical evidence themselves. The HCPs line on this can be checked out within the HCP guidance at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-assessment-guide-for-assessment-providers/pip-assessment-guide-part-1-the-assessment-process#further-evidence-needed and specifically at 1.4.1 which says 

    “Additional evidence from professionals supporting the claimant should be sought where the HP feels it would help to inform their advice to DWP. The circumstances where obtaining further evidence may be appropriate include (but are not limited to):
    • where HPs feel that further evidence will allow them to offer robust advice without the need for a face-to-face consultation – for example, because the addition of key evidence will negate the need for a consultation
    • where they feel that a consultation may be unhelpful because the claimant lacks insight into their condition

    • where claimants have progressive or fluctuating conditions

    • where they consider that a consultation is likely to still be needed but further evidence will improve the quality of the advice provided to DWP – for example, because the existing evidence lacks detail or is contradictory or to corroborate other evidence

    • where, in reassessment cases, further evidence may confirm whether or not there has been a change in the claimant’s health condition or disability”

    Further down it says 

    “ 1.4.4 In the claimant questionnaire, claimants are encouraged to list the professionals who support them and are best placed to provide advice on their circumstances. HPs should give consideration to the fact that in cases of complex conditions, knowledge and involvement of the GP may be limited, with specialist practitioners potentially better placed in some cases to provide useful evidence. HPs should consider which professionals identified can provide useful evidence. They should not simply request evidence from all professionals identified as standard.”

    The text in bold has been bolded by me.

    3 - you have twice referred to hospital admissions. A hospital admissions notice contains information essential to your admission but makes no connection to PIP descriptors at all. 

    It would not for example be automatically obvious to a HCP or a decision maker (DM) how such an admission would relate to anything beyond perhaps therapy and medication unless it was spelt out point by point. 

    It’s also useful to remember that such admissions are in effect a snapshot but PIP has to project 3 months back and 9 months forward so such evidence can be quite powerful but not quite as conclusive as lots of people assume. I am not dismissing your evidence because obviously I haven’t seen it. I am trying to give you a balanced perspective. Your take is that the volume and diversity of your evidence ought to prevail. My observation is that there are always other ways to view such things. 

    4 - forgive my assumption re: your school evidence. Your post used the word “even” which I took to mean that you’d taken a comprehensive approach which included going back years to school. Evidence that old would indeed carry little weight. More recent evidence would have more weight but only if the evidence was directly relevant. My experience of evidence from schools is that it is rarely accurate; often underplays major issues and can be potentially damaging to a case. Only you can be the judge of that in your case but, again, what you can’t do is assume that the mere obtaining of it is a good thing. 

    5 - DWP will likely have little idea on how long it takes to get from appeal to appeal hearing in your area. The only people who can tell you that are HMCTS. What I can say with absolute certainty is that the stats from HMCTS are in the public domain. I’m citing fact rather than opinion so you can check out these stats at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/851597/Tribunal_and_GRC_statistics_supporting_document_Q2_201920.pdf#page12. See page 15 for average wait times at 8 venues as of December 2019. The longest you’ll see is 38 weeks. 


    Had you appealed in 2018 then it was absolutely accurate to say >52 weeks almost everywhere. Now that is no longer accurate and in any event you were asking people who don’t know and don’t keep the stats. 

    If you want to know the actual delay is for your area I would normally say ring your HMCTS regional office. However, at present staffing levels are low and the focus is on telephone only hearings. They ask that you don’t ring at all. 

    6 - if you post on a public forum then I’m afraid members of that forum choose which threads they respond to. Posters don’t get a say in that. You can of course put me on your ignore list.

    7 - I would strongly suggest that, if you haven’t already done so, you secure advice and representation. Clearly there were issues with your HCP report but then there generally are in what the Work and Pensions Committee referred to as a “significant minority” of cases. However, there are dangers in focusing on that report to the detriment of your other evidence. Proving a HCP report to be rubbish will rarely be enough to prove you’re entitled to PIP. 

    A DM will always hopefully look sympathetically at someone having been sectioned but their bottom line is that they need an explicit link to the descriptors. Your behaviour on admission does not automatically tell them where you’re likely to be in 9 months time and nor does it necessarily tell them anything about cooking, toileting, bathing, reading, budgeting or mobility. Have a look at your admissions report. Does it explicitly mention any or each of them? 

    What’s obvious to you is not obvious to a DM in a room in Bootle or wherever. That’s why what looks 8 points to you can often be a clear 0 points to them. That’s what you now have to fix. In order to do that in the first instance you need a critical eye on your evidence. 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 15 Listener
    @Grinchy Thank you. I do too. I'm honestly struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm glad your mum is there @jessica9876! I can imagine it is overwhelming at the moment, is there anything we can do to help?
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    Scope

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  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 15 Listener
    @Chloe_Scope really now I just need help for preparing for tribunal to get the enhanced on mobility side
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @jessica9876, that's understandable. Is there any other forms of evidence that you could use to support your case? 
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    Scope

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