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I'd like to write a mandatory reconsideration letter for my PIP assessment. What should I include?

subssubs Member Posts: 11 Listener
edited August 2020 in PIP, DLA and AA
Hello

I recently had a telephone assessment for PIP and found that the person on the other side was contradicting almost everything I said.  For example.  When I stated that I could walk a few meters but with pain and very slowly, she just said I could walk fine and even mentioned so on the assessment report I received so I ended getting zero points for everything.  I wanted to complain but from reading stories online, it seems to be normal for them to do that so nobody is obviously telling them off for lying.  I want to have a mandatory reconsideration but dont know how to compile a letter that would help change their minds or even help if it goes to a hearing because they have created a picture of me being fine and not struggling at all from looking at the report.  Any suggestions?

Replies

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,054

    Scope community team

    edited August 2020
    Hi @subs! Welcome to the community :) 

    Just to let you know, I've moved your post into the PIP, DLA, and AA category so that more of our members will be able to find and answer your post. I think this is something that quite a few of our members have experience with, so I'm sure they'll be able to help you out. 

    You can also read more about challenging a PIP assessment on the Citizens Advice website, and the Scope website, which might give you some more insight into what to expect. 

    Please give us a shout if you want any help navigating the community, or need any other advice and support. 

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  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 3,229

    Scope community team

    Hello @subs and welcome to the community, glad to have you aboard :) 

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    Find out more about, and apply for, the Community Co-production Group.

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  • subssubs Member Posts: 11 Listener
    Hello and thank you.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    HI and welcome,

    Although you told them how far you can walk, the question may have also been asked further into the assessment in a different way which brought them to the conclusion on your ability to walk. Not all assessment reports are bad, lots of people have honest and truth reports, which are then awarded successfully, we just rarely hear those stories.

    For the MR you should avoid mentioning any "lies" that may have been told in the report because they won't be interested in any of those. They will only want to know where and why you think you should have scored those points. Also adding some real life examples of what happened the last time you attempted that activity for each descriptor that applies you, stating where you were, who was with you and what exactly happened.

    Hope this helps
    Good luck.
    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.
  • scotleagscotleag Member Posts: 88 Courageous
    Hi subs,

    Pretty astonishing that someone can determine your ability to walk over the phone! Like you I got zero points (after being on DLA for 20 years) but that was at a face-fo-face. I wrote a lengthy mandatory reconsideration letter covering everything I could think of in response to their report. I'll admit I was warned on another forum not to write too much but as I was expecting a rejection I wanted everything written down so the tribunal could see it included in the evidence sent to them. 

    It took about ten weeks for the MR to be rejected. I noted that they had ignored many of the points I'd raised so I included mention of every point ignored (specifically, not just 'they ignored what I said') in my evidence to the tribunal. I was polite about the assessor even though I really wanted to tear into them. I just pointed out where I thought they were in error in awarding zero points for specific activities and why the evidence I'd submitted should IMO have been accepted. 

    I think it's important to do this. Much as you might think the assessor was useless or lying it'll do you no good to say that either in MR or tribunal.

    The upshot was I moved from zero points to enhanced rate for both daily living and mobility at the tribunal. I hope your MR is successful but if not then please don't despair. Proceed to the tribunal. I know I'm not the only person to start out with zero and end up being successful.

    Good luck
  • subssubs Member Posts: 11 Listener
    The assessor even asked me if I was telling the truth about my ability to walk within the distance she asked about, basically saying I was lying.  I know there is no use contacting anyone about the assessor but when she writes things like this in my report, it really makes me angry and want to complain about her: I need prompting and encouragement to wash and change my clothes but because I have children and care for them, I have adequate motivation...  She just contradicted almost everything I said.  If I said I could stand but with pain, she finished the sentence off herself verbally and was typing in that I could do so fine and ignored what I had said.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    The minute you said "you can stand" was all they needed. If you have pain when standing and walking then the answer should have been no, not without pain.

    There's never enough of time to go into a lot of details during any assessment. The time to do this was when you filled out the form, without stating your whole life story, of course. Less is often more and keeping it straight to the point with those real life examples is always better.

    You can complain about the HCP to the health assessment providers. Details how to do this is on their website but i would concentrate on the MR first. Once that is done then you can complain.
    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.
  • subssubs Member Posts: 11 Listener
    Its not just a matter of them awarding me PIP, its about the assessor lying and contradicting things when on the phone and in the report.  How can they get away with doing things like that yet wanting people to have faith in the system? After reading stories about applying for certain benefits, I'm not surprised some people do exaggerate their condition in order to counter act the lies the assessors/DWP make up.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Lots of people successfully claim PIP first time without any problems at all. Obviously when reading stories on an internet forum you'll mostly only read the bad ones because if someone's had a decision they're happy with they don't have any questions to ask so we don't hear their story.

    Exaggerating your conditions really isn't advised because this is fraud. Always tell the truth and state exactly how your conditions affect 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.
  • subssubs Member Posts: 11 Listener
    The minute you said "you can stand" was all they needed. If you have pain when standing and walking then the answer should have been no, not without pain.

    There's never enough of time to go into a lot of details during any assessment. The time to do this was when you filled out the form, without stating your whole life story, of course. Less is often more and keeping it straight to the point with those real life examples is always better.

    You can complain about the HCP to the health assessment providers. Details how to do this is on their website but i would concentrate on the MR first. Once that is done then you can complain.
    Thank you.

    After going through the form filling, assessment and future MR, I've realised that to be successful in claiming PIP and selecting the correct descriptor, you need to be an expert otherwise like most people we just assume they are asking a very basic question and answer it so not realising that we could have stated 'no' like you mentioned but I did tell her that I can stand BUT with pain but she just ignored that part and many other similar things too.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome.

    You don't need to be an expert but it does help to have some understanding of the PIP descriptors and what they mean. MR success rate has increase from 17% to 54% now which is huge. By writing those examples for each descriptor that applies to you then you could be one of those 54%. If not it's Tribunal.

    Good luck.


    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.
  • subssubs Member Posts: 11 Listener
    The minute you said "you can stand" was all they needed. If you have pain when standing and walking then the answer should have been no, not without pain.

    There's never enough of time to go into a lot of details during any assessment. The time to do this was when you filled out the form, without stating your whole life story, of course. Less is often more and keeping it straight to the point with those real life examples is always better.

    You can complain about the HCP to the health assessment providers. Details how to do this is on their website but i would concentrate on the MR first. Once that is done then you can complain.
    Just for future reference, if I was to say 'No' to being able to stand due to pain/fatigue and was later asked if I manage to use and get to the toilet or use the microwave, wouldn't I have to answer 'Yes' to standing up and walking to get to do those things? Could you give me examples on how best to avoid contradicting myself but being successful in the applications as the whole process just seems to complicated and flawed if you answer simple yes/no and dont get a chance to explain yourself or they want to listen to anything you have to say regarding pain etc.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You shouldn't answer with just a yes or no because for this they can "assume" anything. If you can't do something safely, repeatedly, in a reasonable time period then your classed as not being able to do that activity at all. You should put no and tell them why you can't do that activity, followed by a couple of real life examples.


    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.
  • ComicmadtitanComicmadtitan Member Posts: 67 Courageous
    I've just finished my MR and sent it in the other day and I did what Poppy and others have said. I said what descriptor best suited my situation and explained and give examples as to why. I also gave some medical evidence with this and referred to that when writing about the examples just for that little bit more support. As much as I sympathise with you about the health assessor as I was in a similar situation, I wouldn't attack or state why they're lying. Be formal and nice about it and focus on getting the reward you deserve. Wish you the best of luck! 
  • ComicmadtitanComicmadtitan Member Posts: 67 Courageous
    Oh I forgot to add, I also included a letter from my mum who cares for me and she supported and stated why the descriptors I wrote are appropriate from her care perspective. 
  • subssubs Member Posts: 11 Listener
    Thank you everyone.
  • dawny63dawny63 Member Posts: 35 Connected
    Hi subs. My husband  got 0 points after  telephone  assesment.  He asked  for mandatory  reconsideration.  He found out today  hes got standard  care.  No mobility. He filled out exactly  how it affected him in more detail. Also gp wrote a letter which helped.  Always  worth trying. 
  • subssubs Member Posts: 11 Listener
    dawny63 said:
    Hi subs. My husband  got 0 points after  telephone  assesment.  He asked  for mandatory  reconsideration.  He found out today  hes got standard  care.  No mobility. He filled out exactly  how it affected him in more detail. Also gp wrote a letter which helped.  Always  worth trying. 
    Thank you.

    I asked my GP for a supporting letter but she said I would just be wasting my money as the details the hospital consultant wrote about my condition should be sufficient so I included this with my PIP form but I now realise most things dont matter when and if you get an arrogant assessor who has no interest in listening to what you have to say and just wants to get the conversation done with and will happily make things up themselves.
  • dawny63dawny63 Member Posts: 35 Connected
    He basically  went through all the descriptors  again. Said how he was affected.  Put real life experience  what happens  if does whatever.  If wasn't safe reasonable  time  ect. Think as was the first claim didnt put enough  in form. Its really  worth  doing.  
  • subssubs Member Posts: 11 Listener
    Thats exactly what I did in my PIP form but everything was overlooked so they might ignore all the effort I put into completing the MR letter too.  This whole process has put me off taking this further really.
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,051 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @subs - welcome, & I see you have had some excellent advice above. I'd just like to add, that like yourself, I'm in pain the moment I stand, & pain is perhaps something difficult to get across, but needs to be mentioned.
    We all have to use the bathroom, but walking to it is not taken into consideration, rather any difficulty you have once there.
    May I suggest, if you haven't already looked at these 'descriptors,' the following link may help, & please read the notes at the end. Please see: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/asset-library/Scores-for-PIP-Descriptors-2020.pdf
    On the whole a GP will not know about any difficulties you have with the activities of daily living, & whilst a consultant will likely know more about your condition, neither will they likely know any difficulties you face dressing, preparing a simple meal, bathing, etc.
    As mentioned, you need to give the details for any applicable descriptor, as to why you had difficulty doing/attempting this, what happened, did you need support/help, how did it make you feel afterwards, could you repeat the activity as often as you'd like, did it take you a long time to do? etc. This is the detail needed, even more than any medical info.
    Many members have felt angry when they see their assessment report or decision letter with 'inaccuracies,' & parts of a decision letter are unfortunately some 'cut & paste' comments, which may bear no apparent resemblance to your problems. The way forward is to try & put that behind you; your assessment is done, so concentrate on how to do a Mandatory Reconsideration effectively with the advice already given. :)



  • subssubs Member Posts: 11 Listener
    chiarieds said:
    Hi @subs - welcome, & I see you have had some excellent advice above. I'd just like to add, that like yourself, I'm in pain the moment I stand, & pain is perhaps something difficult to get across, but needs to be mentioned.
    We all have to use the bathroom, but walking to it is not taken into consideration, rather any difficulty you have once there.
    May I suggest, if you haven't already looked at these 'descriptors,' the following link may help, & please read the notes at the end. Please see: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/asset-library/Scores-for-PIP-Descriptors-2020.pdf
    On the whole a GP will not know about any difficulties you have with the activities of daily living, & whilst a consultant will likely know more about your condition, neither will they likely know any difficulties you face dressing, preparing a simple meal, bathing, etc.
    As mentioned, you need to give the details for any applicable descriptor, as to why you had difficulty doing/attempting this, what happened, did you need support/help, how did it make you feel afterwards, could you repeat the activity as often as you'd like, did it take you a long time to do? etc. This is the detail needed, even more than any medical info.
    Many members have felt angry when they see their assessment report or decision letter with 'inaccuracies,' & parts of a decision letter are unfortunately some 'cut & paste' comments, which may bear no apparent resemblance to your problems. The way forward is to try & put that behind you; your assessment is done, so concentrate on how to do a Mandatory Reconsideration effectively with the advice already given. :)



    Thank you and will do.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,998 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    We see hundreds of threads like this year. “My PIP form was great and my assessor was not”. In around 60% of cases neither of those statements are wholly accurate and thinking that way is the single largest barrier to getting PIP. This is compounded by seeing the phrase “reading stories online”. A red flag if ever there was one. People don’t post much in the way or positive outcomes online. Social media creates a vacuum of self-perpetuating extreme views and few stories online reflect the reality which is that most people who claim PIP get an award and many times when they don’t that’s actually the correct decision. Where it isn’t then around 75% of challenges to appeal will win. 

    Forget about your HCP assessment and absolutely do not write an MR “letter”. Use the form at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/683380/if-you-disagree-with-a-decision-made-by-dwp.PDF and take the hint. Less is often more. Focus not quantity is required.

    Identify the specific points you ought to have scored e.g. 1d or 4c and add 2 real world examples of the last recent occasion you attempted that activity. You will need full detail e.g. what happened, where, when, who saw it, what caused it, what happened next. On average you need between half a side of A4 per anecdote.

    Understand the difference between assertion and evidence. Assertion is “I fall twice a week”. Evidence is “I fell last week in my kitchen in the morning with my mother present. My left knee gave way and I collapsed forwards hitting my head on the oven door. I couldn’t get up by myself and my mother had to lift me up and call an ambulance because I split the left side of my forehead open.” 

    Anyone can assert. Only you can evidence. Once you’ve done this have a look back at your PIP 2 and play devils advocate. Did you assert or evidence?

    if you mention the HCP report at all it should be to highlight 2 maybe 3 irrefutable errors. You cannot accuse them of lies or having an attitude problem as neither are demonstrable and neither are relevant to your entitlement. You can only highlight irrefutable errors. Things like saying someone with no sight “made good eye contact”. Generally though focusing on the HCP report is an error. By all means undermine the credibility if you have brilliant unarguable examples but it’s far better to weigh up the strength of your own arguments than the weakness or theirs. 

    Final comment. I’ve no idea why Scope keep posting links like those posted by @Tori_Scope. The Scope link literally says 

    If you choose to write a letter, include all the information required by the online form.”

    I’m struggling to see what “insight” that offers in terms of the question posed in the title of the thread. 

    The CA link is marginally better in that it at least suggests what might be included.

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,054

    Scope community team

    Hi @mikehughescq,

    Thank you for sharing your advice on assertion vs. evidencing. Hopefully the original poster has found that helpful!

    I just wanted to quickly explain my thinking behind sending the two links:
    1. To provide a bit of context to the original poster. As you said, the Citizens Advice link gives some suggestions on what could be included, and the Scope link outlines what might happen if the DWP still don't change their decision. I know that's not what the original poster asked, but I didn't see any harm in sending it to them anyway for future reference and to perhaps put their mind at ease that this isn't necessarily the end of the road
    2. Other people will read this thread. I wouldn't want to assume that everyone reading this thread knows what a mandatory reconsideration is, or even that you can appeal a PIP decision. I therefore posted two general links that might give another reader some information they didn't already have. Again, I didn't see any harm in posting them
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

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  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,998 Disability Gamechanger
    Afraid I think that’s a nonsense @Tori_Scope. Scope already provides further information in a number of sticky threads in this forum which people would see as they enter the forum. Why not link to them? The suggestion in your post is that you are being linked to something which tells you more about what to expect with an MR. Your words not mine. It patently does not as I have pointed out above by quoting from it. It smacks of posting something for the sake of it and it seems to have become a thing recently with Scope. I’ve yet to see a poster say “thanks, that solved it for me”.

    Your position is also in direct contradiction of many other posts and discussions with Scope staff. I have argued that posters posting questions which have been answered elsewhere on the forum should be asked to search and linked to other threads. I was advised that people had the right to post what they wanted even if it had been asked and answered hundreds of times previously. Why then post links for other people when the organisational approach to this forum is that you assume people don’t read each other’s threads before posting? 
  • subssubs Member Posts: 11 Listener
    We see hundreds of threads like this year. “My PIP form was great and my assessor was not”. In around 60% of cases neither of those statements are wholly accurate and thinking that way is the single largest barrier to getting PIP. This is compounded by seeing the phrase “reading stories online”. A red flag if ever there was one. People don’t post much in the way or positive outcomes online. Social media creates a vacuum of self-perpetuating extreme views and few stories online reflect the reality which is that most people who claim PIP get an award and many times when they don’t that’s actually the correct decision. Where it isn’t then around 75% of challenges to appeal will win. 

    Forget about your HCP assessment and absolutely do not write an MR “letter”. Use the form at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/683380/if-you-disagree-with-a-decision-made-by-dwp.PDF and take the hint. Less is often more. Focus not quantity is required.

    Identify the specific points you ought to have scored e.g. 1d or 4c and add 2 real world examples of the last recent occasion you attempted that activity. You will need full detail e.g. what happened, where, when, who saw it, what caused it, what happened next. On average you need between half a side of A4 per anecdote.

    Understand the difference between assertion and evidence. Assertion is “I fall twice a week”. Evidence is “I fell last week in my kitchen in the morning with my mother present. My left knee gave way and I collapsed forwards hitting my head on the oven door. I couldn’t get up by myself and my mother had to lift me up and call an ambulance because I split the left side of my forehead open.” 

    Anyone can assert. Only you can evidence. Once you’ve done this have a look back at your PIP 2 and play devils advocate. Did you assert or evidence?

    if you mention the HCP report at all it should be to highlight 2 maybe 3 irrefutable errors. You cannot accuse them of lies or having an attitude problem as neither are demonstrable and neither are relevant to your entitlement. You can only highlight irrefutable errors. Things like saying someone with no sight “made good eye contact”. Generally though focusing on the HCP report is an error. By all means undermine the credibility if you have brilliant unarguable examples but it’s far better to weigh up the strength of your own arguments than the weakness or theirs. 

    Final comment. I’ve no idea why Scope keep posting links like those posted by @Tori_Scope. The Scope link literally says 

    If you choose to write a letter, include all the information required by the online form.”

    I’m struggling to see what “insight” that offers in terms of the question posed in the title of the thread. 

    The CA link is marginally better in that it at least suggests what might be included.

    Thank you, very helpful.
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