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Change in circumstance

shnwttnshnwttn Member Posts: 18 Connected
Over the past year, there have been several ‘occurrences’ which I believe to be changes in circumstance such as my health worsening, change in medications, being subjected to substantial harassment owing to my disability, the witnessing of an exceptionally traumatic incident (which has resulted in my ‘self medicating’ with medications bought online in order for me to be able to function on the most basic of levels and sleep without constant flashbacks/reminders of said traumatic incident) amongst a number of other ‘changes’.

I have called both PIP and ESA helplines who have both said they don’t believe this to be a change in circumstance and have written to the DWP to advise of these changes but have received no response.

Can anyone advise if they believe these issues would be regarded as a change in circumstance and if so how would I go about making the DWP regard them as so.

Thanks in advance.

Replies

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,917 Disability Gamechanger
    You can’t “make” the DWP regard something as a change of circumstances if it is not. A CoC is something that a reasonable person would think would impact their entitlements so you would need to have identified the specific points scoring activities which you would now score on or score more on and you’d need to show that this would move you from non-entitled to entitled or from standard to enhanced (PIP only).

    Your health “worsening” is not a change of circs unless it leads explicitly to extra points. So, which points and why?

    Changes in meds are also not a change of circs unless they lead to either an improvement in the consequences of your ill health or a deterioration due to side effects. Again though, that deterioration would need to score points. So, wguch points and why?

    A traumatic incident might count as a change but only if you have reported it to your GP; provided a detailed description of the event and the consequences. Those consequences would need to have been there for at least 3 months and would need to result in specific extra points. They would also need to be likely to be there for at least 9 months going forward so you would need clear evidence to that effect. Clear evidence is not you asserting that you will have those symptoms. It’s someone medical saying so. 

    Constant flashbacks would need to be more clearly defined. If it doesn’t interrupt a points scoring activity in some way to prevent it being performed tel9ably or repeatedly then again it may not come into play. Again, which activities and why?

    You have submitted requests to DWP but then appear to have dropped the matter upon refusal. You have a right to appeal provided it’s within 13 months of your refusals so why not exercise it? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. However, in order to make your assertions stick you need to clearly evidence them and accept that thus far DWP do not think you have. 

    I strongly recommend you get some advice ASAP.
  • ForeverHopefulForeverHopeful Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Bless you shnwttn, I am in a similar position myself, so I do sympathise and thank you for raising this. My health has deteriorated significantly in the last year and care needs have increased accordingly. I contacted the DWP regarding this and they sent forms to complete, which someone else completed for me. They were returned on the 15th December 2019 and did not receive any contact or letters between then and before lockdown started. My carer contacted the DWP after lockdown (I had been ill and in hospital 3 times up to lockdown) and as usual waited at least an hour to get through. Carer asked if a letter had been sent as I had not heard anything, no it is still in process was the response and because of COVID we are extremely busy unfortunately. Since then my care needs have significantly altered due to serious medical changes. Yes it is exceptional circumstances and I understand that, but it has taken so long before lockdown to process, I am beginning to think DWP are just stalling until it was due to be reviewed in August. I welcome any additional information or comments on this situation. I have lost patience with the benefits system, where genuinely seriously ill people are having to face the stressful, anxiety inducing jumping through hoops every 3 years or less.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,917 Disability Gamechanger
    The implication of using a phrase like “genuinely seriously ill people” is that so,whistle others who are not are somehow leaping ahead. This is simply not true. 

    Change of circs are being processed at present but the absolute priority is people with zero income. You have at least connected the deterioration in your health to an increase in care needs. The key is connecting explicitly to points. 
  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 3,710 Disability Gamechanger
    @shnwttn hi, what rates of PIP do you currently receive? which group are you in for ESA?
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • ForeverHopefulForeverHopeful Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi, thank you for responding, I am currently on Standard rate care and Enhanced rate Mobility Component. I'm under Support Group for ESA and Receive enhanced disability premium (I live alone).
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,917 Disability Gamechanger
    So, there’s nothing to be gained from reporting to ESA at all and only enhanced rate daily living might be at stake.
  • shnwttnshnwttn Member Posts: 18 Connected
    In my own circumstance and from what I have read of ForeverHopeful it’s not about gaining ‘more’ financially from the DWP but as I’m sure you are aware the reassessment process can be long, arduous and exceptionally invasive. I am having to claim these benefits owing to mental health issues and whilst I am undertaking this process my health declines a great deal. In my own case, for a number of different reasons I have had to fight to keep my benefits almost persistently for the last three + years, all the while trying to recover from my illnesses. Therefore I am hoping that what I believe to be a change in circumstance, of which I have wealth of evidence of (medical, reports from social services, the police etc.), would mean my benefits could be extended or there would be no need to reassess me for a substantial length of time and would therefore allow me to recuperate from my illnesses without further ‘interference’ .
  • ForeverHopefulForeverHopeful Member Posts: 4 Listener
    I can totally understand, your scenario sounds very similar to mine. My mental health deteriorated significantly as my illness and number of illnesses got much worse. Unfortunately I previously had many suicide attempts starting at a young age due to Physical and Mental Abuse. Just over a week ago I tried again, but one of my carers called back when her shift finished to find me unresponsive and she called 999. I too on completing form due to changing circumstances included all the reports Hospital, GP, Medical scan results, Social services, Mental Health reports etc. I think the hard part is I feel so damn useless right now and like with many other people it is very upsetting. As my user name suggest I live in hope but each day it get's more and more difficult. I really do hope and pray that things do work out for you and everyone else in a similar position.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,917 Disability Gamechanger
    Okay so I think what’s going on here is that you’re both using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. 

    Both of you have enduring health conditions which ought to have resulted in longer awards. Both presumably have evidence nothing is going to change soon in terms of prognosis, treatment etc? Both of you appear to have tried to pursue an argument around having had a change of circs rather than an argument about your original decisions being wrong in the first place. 

    You can challenge the length of your awards without the amount of the award being looked at. The case law supporting this can be found at https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/caselaw/item/whether-pip-appeal-can-be-pursued-where-sole-issue-of-challenge-is-question

    You need to write in and ask for a 10 year award on the basis that you have long term conditions etc. Lay out past history (briefly and bullet pointed - they hardly need chapter and verse). A long history of short or indefinite DLA awards will also help. You need to ask DWP to identify the specific evidence which supports a shorter award (there is rarely any) and enclose a copy of the above decision plus their own guidance on award lengths, which for PIP can be found at http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-1113/UIN_174062_-_Award_period_guidance_10.10.18.pdf.

    If your request fails then you’re off to appeal but DWP tend not to win such cases unless they can point to a specific piece of evidence other than their own HCP report. So, plenty to crack on with : ) 


  • shnwttnshnwttn Member Posts: 18 Connected
    You are possibly right regarding your sledgehammer analogy.

    However in spite of being given a three year award at the end of 2017, I have largely spent the last three years proving my eligibility for benefits. The DWP have used all manner of ‘tactics’ to disprove my claim which I believe to be owing to the fact I took a stand against their conduct during my application for benefits when my case was taken to appeals court (the list of which is too long and protracted to speak of here). 

    I was unaware that you can request a longer award timeframe. Considering I have had to claim benefits for almost 8 years and my health has worsened in this time and my GP has written to them advising that my illnesses are likely to be long term, this is a course of action I will consider taking.
  • katho31katho31 Posts: 694 Member
    best of luck with this, take care and keep safe :)
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,917 Disability Gamechanger
    shnwttn said:
    You are possibly right regarding your sledgehammer analogy.

    However in spite of being given a three year award at the end of 2017, I have largely spent the last three years proving my eligibility for benefits. The DWP have used all manner of ‘tactics’ to disprove my claim which I believe to be owing to the fact I took a stand against their conduct during my application for benefits when my case was taken to appeals court (the list of which is too long and protracted to speak of here). 

    I was unaware that you can request a longer award timeframe. Considering I have had to claim benefits for almost 8 years and my health has worsened in this time and my GP has written to them advising that my illnesses are likely to be long term, this is a course of action I will consider taking.
    Slightly OT but DWP are not capable of “tactics” and I would put such thoughts to one side. Lots of people appeal and in 34 years I’ve never come across one specifically victimised because they did so. Concentrate on a challenge to the award length; pursue it to appeal if needs be and I suspect you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
  • shnwttnshnwttn Member Posts: 18 Connected
    Thanks for your reply. 

    Whilst I understand we would all hope that the DWP employing tactics are just delusions of those who take umbrage with the DWP, a simple search online brings up innumerable cases of this happening including first hand accounts, news stories, video footage etc of said ‘tactics’. 

    I am in no way saying that the whole of the DWP is corrupt or is purposefully trying for to deceive its claimants, but it is widely know that some of the companies it uses have. Again, OT but I also would suggest when it’s assessors were given bonuses for each claimant that failed in their claim (again, wildly reported on) was one such tactic.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,917 Disability Gamechanger
    edited May 2020
    Unfortunately your "simple search" has taken you to a load of conspiracy based guff. It has, for one example, been amply demonstrated repeatedly that the accusation that HCPs got bonuses was abject nonsense. The opposite story, like all truly great conspiracies, continues to circulate. I've seen it posted on here several times in the past year. It'll probably persist for the next decade or more but it won't make it any more true.

    The actual truth is this. https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3764-pip-assessors-paid-bonuses-for-getting-through-more-assessments-a-day

    I'm ideologically wholly against DWP and how they operate but the reality is far more **** up than conspiracy.


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