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Hi, my name is Andywheels56!

Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
edited September 2020 in PIP, DLA and AA
Hello everyone. Been a browser for quite some time but I need a bit of advice. To cut a long story short I've been very fortunate and never had to claim for anything in my life. However, in April last year I suddenly developed ringing and loss of hearing in my right ear. Went to doc's who sent me to ENT, had audiology test and an MRI scan done. Then went back for another audiology test and was told I needed a hearing aid. Had 2 hospital appointments for hearing aid fitting and a tinnitus meeting on how to cope with the condition. Had to retire from lorry driving because it was pergutory on my hearing. Anyway's, I started the pip journey and just winged it as best I could and scored 0 points. Put in for MR and then forgot to send in supporting evidence and got a letter back saying same result, 0 points. Have since phoned dwp up and they have said send any evidence you have to us before the 4 weeks is up. Should I also start the appeal process as well before they have taken the extra evidence onboard. Any advice gratefully received,Thanks.

Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,210 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome the the community

    I would start the appeal process as often they dont really go on the evidence unless it clearly states how your dily living is affected.

    If the evidence is just a diagnosis then may be worth starting. look at your report and see where you thin k you should have scored the points and why and use that to base your appeal. Give real examples of what happens when you try and do a task or if you cant do it why you cant

    There is lots of advice in our PIP section
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Hi Janer1967

    I know your right about going straight to appeal. I have read the knowledgeable among the community say give real world examples of what happens when you try do an activity, but I really struggle  to convey this message to print. I live alone, with an 83 years old father I look after and I don't really go anywhere, do anything interesting really. So every activity centre's in the home.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,210 Disability Gamechanger
    Dont worry about that most of it is about what you do at home 

    Where do you think you meet the criteria ? 

    If you are able to do most tasks you may struggle getting awarded 
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 3,192

    Scope community team

    Hi @Andywheels56, just wanted to wish you a warm welcome to the community :) 

    I'm glad you joined us. 

    I've moved your discussion to our PIP section so it will hopefully receive further responses. It also allows you to browse this section of the community for other relevant information from other users.
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  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    The main problem is my hearing. Although I was prescribed at the hospital with a hearing aid for my right ear( with a masking noise on it as well) I find that I cannot wear it all the time. It enlarges the sound too much, if that doesn't sound too daft. Without the aid the tinnitus just gets worse. Also find I struggle to hear what people say i.e. tele, phone and anybody who calls. I often have to ask them to repeat themselves. This leads to a lot of anger and frustration. Night time is the worst. I have a white noise app  downloaded to my computer and I play that all night long. without it I just wouldn't get any peace at all. The tinnitus has had such an adverse effect on my life that I avoid going anywhere I know is going to kick it off. Noisy places where their are lots of people, traffic, even the sound of of a boiling kettle and its on top note.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,210 Disability Gamechanger
    You need to convey all this in your appeal look at the descriptors for example food prep mention the kettle communications finance and going out will most likely give you the most points 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    HI and welcome,

    PIP isn't about a diagnosis, it's how those conditions affect your ability to carry out daily activity based on the PIP descriptors.

    Night time isn't part of the descriptors. What is part of the descriptors is being affected by your conditions for at least 50% of the time over a 12 month period.

    Medical evidence is only good if it states exactly how your conditions affect you, if it doesn't then it's not of much help. What will help is your anecdotal evidence and the best person to tell them this is yourself. Those real world examples is what's needed. You should also state who was with you, with you were and detailed explaination of exactly what happened.

    Do be aware also that PIP isn't about your ability to work. People claim PIP and work.


    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.
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Hi poppy123456

    Thanks for replying. The medical evidence I have is just the diagnoses. The meeting I had with the nurse from the tinnitus team at hospital was basically me talking about how it affected me. She did advise to use a white noise machine, relaxation techniques and yoga exercise. Could they be classed as aids. Hearing aid as well, does that count. 

    It's the anecdotal evidence I am having trouble with, especially when most things I do are in the house and on my own.
    Only on a Monday when I go do the weekly shop for me and get my dad his groceries and pension do I ever really go out.


    Thanks for letting me know PIP isn't about my ability to work, but I really couldn't have carried on lorry driving much longer as I was becoming a danger to myself and other road users. I was having problems concentrating for long periods at a time and getting tired very easily.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2020
    Two observations:

    1 - PIP for tinnitus alone is likely near impossible. You might arguably score on bathing because of needing to remove hearing aids but as you have one not two that seems unlikely. That just leaves social engagement and there won’t be enough points there to qualify. There is a level of tinnitus at which concentration can be extremely impaired and which in turn might impact multiple activities Removed by moderator. What points have you identified as relevant?

    2 - whilst night time is not mentioned by PIP in the same way it is for DLA that just means the onus is on you to describe how things differently at night. Removed by moderator.. 

    Did you get any advice about the merits of a claim before starting this?

  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Hi mikehughesq - was hoping you'd answer.

    Yes, I went to age uk first. The girl I saw there only thought I might score 2 points for communicating verbally, on account of the hearing. Pretty much that's all I put on the claim pack. Came back zero points. I just left it at that until the last minute and then asked for an MR. Didn't send anymore information and I got a letter back on the 27th aug - same result. Think I've got until a week mon to put an appeal in. Is it worth it or should I start the process again?


    After reading up on the subject and garnering more information, especially the other legal site you post on, I think I might score points in one or two other categories. They are - 


    1. Monitoring Therapy - Does a marpac dohm count as an aid to help me sleep. What about meditation classes or yoga for relaxation all prescribed by the senior nurse.

    2. Communicating verbally - Have real trouble understanding people especially when their is background noise. Sometimes the hearing aid makes things worse not better.
    3. Preparing Food
    4.Taking Nutrition
    5. Reading - Have read severe tinnitus hinders reading as is wonderfully documented.


    1. Planning and following journeys - Is a sat nav an aid. Cannot travel by public transport as it just sets the tinnitus offreally badly
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    I wouldn't advise you to start another claim because using the same evidence you just used will very likely see another refusal and the whole process starts all over again. Even more so if you were advised by age UK that they they you would only score 2 points because that's not enough for an award.


    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.
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Thanks poppy, I didn't think it was wise to start the whole thing again. The more I read up about pip the secret seems to be score a couple of points in as many descriptors as you can. The reason I was at Age UK was because the main lady their was doing my fathers attendance allowance claim, and boy did she know her stuff. Unfortunately they were too busy to see me so I was seen by her pupil who was just learning about giving advice.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    There's no "secret" to scoring any points. You can have a disability but if you don't fit the descriptors you won't score the points for an award.
    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.
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    My apologies if I have offended you poppy, I really didn't mean too. I meant to accumulate points. Maybe you could answer a question for me. Is the four weeks they give you, after a MR notice, set in stone to lodge an appeal to a tribunal. Or will the dwp give you a little leeway. The reason I ask is because I may seek advice from the welfare officer at Bolton council i.e. tell me if I have a case worth persuing.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You haven't offended me at all. The 1 month is not set in stone, you have 13 months to request the appeal and it's nothing at all to do with DWP at that point. It's HMCTS for the appeal.

    Getting some further advice before you request the appeal is a good idea because if it's not possible to score enough of points then there's very little point in going any further.
    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: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2020
    [removed by moderator- if you have an issue with how we moderate your content then please contact the team on [email protected]]

    @Andywheels56 to take each of your suggestions in turn:

    Daily living 

    1 - the activity is not monitoring therapy. It is managing therapy and monitoring medication. You will score nil because -
    - sleep is not one of the daily living activities.
    - your aid is not in connection with one of the 10 activities.
    - nothing in your posts thus far suggest you need prompting, supervision or assistance with medication or therapy.
    - your therapies have to be undertaken at home so meditation classes are our straightaway. 
    - yoga is irrelevant if you don’t need prompting, supervision or assistance.

    2 - there’s a theoretical 2 points for 7b on communicating but you’re not going to get that if your argument is that the aid can make things worse. You don’t appear to need social support as by your own admission you are capable of asking people to repeat. So, again nil points.

    3 - as observed previously but arrogantly and wholly unjustifiably removed by a moderator, if your level of concentration is such that you are able to constructs posts; follows thread etc. on a forum like this then the chances of arguing that your level of concentration is so damaged by tinnitus that you can’t prepare food is next to nil. There are absolutely some people with tinnitus for whom that will be applicable but even then it’s an extremely difficult one to evidence and argue. In your case you will need something far more persuasive than having left your employment. 

    4 - as regards taking nutrition I suggest you need to start reading about the activities. I see no connection between tinnitus and taking nutrition. See https://pipinfo.net/activities/taking-nutrition

    5 - what you have read about tinnitus impeding reading is again down to concentration and in some cases it is undoubtedly true. However, we’re not talking about “some cases” or whether the link is “wonderfully documents”. We’re talking about you specifically. If it doesn’t apply to you then that’s the end of the matter. 

    Mobility

    1 - I have literally no idea what your argument is here. If public transport sets the tinnitus off then how does that stop you following a route? You’re already on that route. Do you get off a bus and have to stand still until it passes? Is it somehow better in a car? This makes no sense and, frankly, like much of the above, looks speculative. PIP is awarded for the consequences of a condition not just because someone has a condition. Similarly it’s not about the general or expected consequences as written in books, leaflets or web sites. It’s explicitly about the consequences for you. 

    A sat nav has been held to not be an aid unless specifically designed or modified to assist the disabled. See https://www.gov.uk/administrative-appeals-tribunal-decisions/secretary-of-state-for-work-and-pensions-v-nf-pip-2017-ukut-480-aac.

    At the time of writing no such devices are on the market. I would argue that a sat nav ought to be an aid but I’ve yet to find an appropriate case to pursue the argument. 

    As per my previous post I see 2 points for daily living at best and I’m not sure what would be gained by pursuing the claim unless there are some key facts being withheld. This is essentially what I presume @poppy123456 is hinting at in her last post. 

    It’s rare to be able to say definitively to anyone on here that their claim cannot succeed but in your case the nature of the condition does not normally produce a successful claim had nothing in your posts this far suggests otherwise. 


  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Thanks Mike, that's well and truly burst the bubble. I told you I had no idea how to go about this. I seem to remember you saying something about somebody with severe tinnitus might possibly be able to claim. How severe does it have to be.


  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Can communication support come from a family member or friend ?  Or is it specialist support.
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    That would meet the criteria for Activity 7. Would that also be able to cross over into Activity 9 i.e. social support/prompting by same family friend/member. 
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    What about activity 1. A talking microwave count as an aid. Sound of pans boiling on the stove really sets he tinnitus off but I could live off ready meals. Got some really good ones in M&S. I suppose you could put in an easy to pour silent kettle as well. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    It doesn't have to be specialist support. Mike has already explained the communicating activity. You also said that you ask people to repeat what they've said which indicates you don't need social support.

    I would definitelty get further advice, although you did that before you started your claim and age UK did advise that you'll likely only score 2 points, which isn't enough for an award.

    Unfortunately, you can have a disability but if you don't fit those descriptors you won't score the points for an award.
    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.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,210 Disability Gamechanger
    Its about the aids you actually use not what is available
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Yes Janer , they are all in my kitchen, as well as my perching stool. I've got grab rails going up the stair's and their is something to get me socks on and off in the bedroom.

    poppy, what if I only talk to people I actually know. What if I need prompting from a family member/friend. Does that cross the threshold between Activities 7 and 9.


    Unfortunately my quest for further advice has fallen on deaf ears. The local CAB is only doing appointments for peeps who have had their benefits cut or stopped, and their website is only giving general advice, although I must admit it is very good. Same thing for the local council welfare service. None are doing face to face consultations. 








  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    As regards Activity 7 - who do they mean when they say "communication support"
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Ah double post. Already been answered by poppy.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    In your first post you said you have Tinnitus, is that correct? Then further on in the thread you mention aids around your home so now i'm confused, May i ask why you need the aids? Were they recommended by an Occuptional Therapist or did you buy them yourself?

    Why do you need prompting to communicate with others?
    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.
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    It was just a bit of blue sky thinking, that's all. Yes, I have tinnitus. It affects my daily living in ways that I could never have imagined. Having read the thread back again I realise that instead of trying to fit the descriptor to the tinnitus it should be the other way around. It should be how my tinnitus impacts me, and see if it is relevant to any of the descriptors.

    You are right poppy, why do I need prompting. I probably don't but I am by nature a quiet shy bloke, and having tinnitus just makes it more awkward. You have a feeling something is wrong with you i.e. you have a decease or something but the medical people tell you there isn't anything physically wrong, it's all phsychological, it's all in your head. No wonder I'm going bl***y stir crazy.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Oh i see. You can't make the descriptors fit you, that's not going to work. There are disabled people out there that don't qualify for PIP but it doesn't mean they aren't classed as disabled.

    For PIP you need to be affected at least 50% of the time over a 12 month period. There's very little point in taking it to Tribunal if you don't fit those descriptors because it will be a waste of time.
    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: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes Janer , they are all in my kitchen, as well as my perching stool. I've got grab rails going up the stair's and their is something to get me socks on and off in the bedroom.

    poppy, what if I only talk to people I actually know. What if I need prompting from a family member/friend. Does that cross the threshold between Activities 7 and 9.


    Unfortunately my quest for further advice has fallen on deaf ears. The local CAB is only doing appointments for peeps who have had their benefits cut or stopped, and their website is only giving general advice, although I must admit it is very good. Same thing for the local council welfare service. None are doing face to face consultations. 

    So there is in fact more to this than meets the eye and other health conditions going on? Impossible to comment further without there being full disclosure. 

    1 - how severe does the tinnitus have to be? It’s measured by whether you score points. There is no other measure.

    2 - there is no cross over between 7 and 9. One is about communication. The other us about social engagement. Go check out the rest of pipinfo if you don’t know the difference. 

    3 - I don’t see anything suggesting you need face to face advice. Advice yes, but there’s nothing I’m reading which suggests there is something requiring a face to face element. 

    4 - the whole suggestion about a talking microwave suggests you have things hopelessly backwards. Boiling pans setting your tinnitus off scores zero. The activity is prepping food. You can. 

    If you switch to a talking microwave you would still score zero because... you can cook. In order to score points for using a microwave the descriptor is very clear. You need to be unable to use a conventional cooker. You clearly can. 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,942

    Scope community team

    Hello @Andywheels56.
    To have your daily life impacted so significantly but not in a way that appears to neatly fit within the criteria of the PIP descriptors must be especially frustrating. Unfortunately as Poppy has said, many people whose daily lives are heavily impacted don't necessarily fit the descriptors.
    I know you're struggling to find advice and while Scope don't offer face-to-face guidance, our Helpline team would be happy to discuss this all further with you. 

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  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Think also that there might be some mental health issues which I haven't properly addressed. The 2 employers I have had in my forty years of working life recognised this. Was referred to physchologist's for talking therapy but found it to damned hard. I was in bits and just couldn't cope with talking about the way I was feeling. Begining of this year I referred myself to  counselling run by local hospital trust, and when they rang to arrange an appointment I convinced myself that I was alright and I didn't need them. Just had to get this off my chest after chatting to the friendly girl from scope helpline.


    Thanks for listening Georgia.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,033

    Scope community team

    I'm really glad you called the helpline, and that you found them helpful @Andywheels56 :) They're a great team!

    Talking therapy can be really hard, so you're more than welcome to get this off of your chest. Do you think if you were to access some counselling again that you'd be able to give it another go? It's totally fine to go in and say that you find things hard to talk about, and that they might need to help you through that process. That's what they're there for :) 
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  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Just reading pipinfo and going through some of the case law there is. Would I be able to use the argument of not being able to use hearing aid due to a sensitivity to the high pitched sounds amplified by hearing aid.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    As you only use 1 hearing aid, unfortunately, this doesn't count.
    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: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    I would refer you back to an assertion I made earlier in this thread. PIP for tinnitus alone is near impossible. We appear to still be in or around the territory of flailing around a little looking for a way through a door that isn’t really going to open at this point in time based upon this information.
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    What about the mild hearing loss in my right ear I have been diagnosed with. Would that alter your view or should I just give up on it as a hopeless case.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    I would say no. Sometimes people just don't qualify because you can't make the descriptors fit 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.
  • yanniyanni Member Posts: 50 Courageous

    Hi

    Like you I have hearing loss and tinnitus.

     If you have a mild high frequency loss you will probably have difficulty hearing TH S and F sounds which can significantly impact how well you can understand speech. For example  SOMETHING FISHY becomes OMEING IHY if you don’t hear these sounds. Hearing loss can also make it difficult to distinguish between similar sounding words such as bat and mat.

     The ‘mild’ diagnosis is only an indication of what volume of sound you can / can’t hear at a given frequency, it is not an indication of how well you can or can’t understand speech.

     PIP

    To get 4 points for the Communicating activity you need to have difficulty reliably understanding complex verbal information more than 50% of the time.

     The DWP give the example of  “I would like tea please, just a splash of milk and no sugar, as I always have sweeteners with me for when I go out” as an example of complex verbal information.

     To get 8 points you need to have difficulty understanding basic verbal communication more than 50% of the time.

    The DWP give the example of “I would like tea please” as an example of basic verbal communication.

     

    However you do need to be able to do this ‘reliably’. That is repeatedly, to an acceptable standard, in a reasonable time and safely. E.g. if you have to ask people to repeat themselves frequently or you can’t understand or misunderstand what is said, you can not do the activity reliably.

     The assessment should take into account background noise if you encounter these whilst living your normal life e,g. TV, music, other people talking, traffic noise etc.

     Any background noise can be a problem for anyone using a hearing aid as, unlike your natural hearing, the aid can’t tune in on what you want to hear.

     Also the assessment should ignore any lipreading ability you have and if you say you struggle on the phone ( or you find it more difficult to understand someone when they are wearing a mask) this could indicate that you are relying on lipreading to some extent.

     Communication support can be provided by friends or family and it doesn’t matter if you have the support or not it is the fact that you need the support The guidance in the PIP Assessment Guide doesn’t define the nature of this support, it just says people who don’t use sign language may need communication support “in other ways”.

     With regards the hearing aid making things worse / too loud / triggering the tinnitus:

     The DWP PIP guidance says that

    “If a claimant cannot speak or hear to an acceptable standard even with the use of aids then an alternative descriptor should be selected.”

     so the fact the hearing aid makes things worse or not is neither here or there in my view. If a hearing aid does not restore your ability to understand verbal communication to an acceptable standard then the DWP needs to look at the higher level descriptors e.g. communication support.

     The same guidance says that if you have “good reason” not to wear the hearing aid then you should have been assessed without it. The DWP may have decided that not wearing it because it makes the tinnitus worse is not a good reason but a tribunal (where there will be a disability specialist who knows about hearing loss and tinnitus) may decide differently.

     https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-assessment-guide-for-assessment-providers/pip-assessment-guide-part-2-the-assessment-criteria

     

    In terms of anecdotal evidence, think about when you go to the supermarket or post office, do you have problems there?

     You say you have difficulties understanding people at the door or on the telephone - that’s evidence.

    Explain what happened - did you have to ask them to repeat what they said, how many times, did you eventually understand them or did you smile / nod / agree and hope that was the right response?

     Also think about watching TV, listening to the radio and tannoy announcements - there is no requirement that the communication takes place face to face.

     Are there things you don’t catch or things that you ‘heard’ but don’t make sense? -

     Write them as evidence. One of my examples were I didn’t know if someone had said ‘There is the clove’ or ‘There is the globe’. They were talking about a monument so both could have been correct. Other examples are someone said something and walked away. I didn’t know what they had said.

    As you can’t control where someone speaks to you from, if someone speaks on your right side, can you understand them?

    What if they look away while they are talking to you? What if they have their back to you? (Again this is evidence that you rely on lipreading to understand speech).

    Do you have to ask the staff to repeat what they said? Do you understand the amount the cashier says? If a someone asks you a question do you understand what was said?

    If someone speaks at a reasonable distance can you understand them or do you have to move closer and ask them to repeat themselves? 

    Do you have difficulty understanding women’s voices more than men’s?

    (This is common with hearing loss as women’s voices generally softer and higher pitched and it is the higher pitches that are lost with most people when they start to lose their hearing.)

    Do you have problems understanding your Dad’s voice (elderly) or children’s? Again these voices are often harder to understand.

    Are you aware of occasions where someone was speaking to you and you didn’t realise until too late or until someone else told you that person was trying to talk to you? Perhaps a staff member asking if you need help or someone saying excuse me?

    I keep a note of these incidences when I know my PIP is going to be reviewed soon. If you did this for a week or two you would get some indication as to whether you would meet the criteria for getting more points under the Communicating activity for needing communication support.

    Social Engagement

    With Social Engagement I think you would struggle to get more than 2 points for needing prompting. For social support you need to show that you need support from a particular person and that it is only that person who can provide that support effectively, not just any well meaning friend or family.

    I have severe / profound hearing loss. At the tribunal the DWP argued that I only needed prompting for social engagement and the tribunal agreed (despite giving me 8 points for needing support to understand verbal communication).

    You can’t score points for this activity because of difficulties understanding what people are saying but if you become angry and frustrated with people because you can’t understand what they are saying them this could be seen as behaving in a socially inappropriate manner, which, in turn makes it difficult for you to establish relationships, both of which are covered by this activity. 

    With social engagement it is likely that a tribunal would ask you what you liked to do / what you were like before your hearing loss occurred to in order to assess what impact your ‘disability’ has had on this activity. If you didn’t mix with other people much before it could be difficult for them to see how it is the effects of the hearing loss that causes you difficulties engaging now.

    However mixing with others doesn’t mean you have to be the ‘life and soul of the party’.

    Before your hearing loss did you chat to or listen to your work colleagues? Did you ask where something was in a shop? Talk to someone in a queue? Ask for information / directions/ help?

    Any of this type of interaction which you no longer do, limit or minimise could be evidence of difficulties in this area caused by your hearing loss..

    The activity covers both people you know and people you don’t both in a 1-2-1 situation and in small groups.

    Do / Did you avoid group conversations or conversations with people you don’t know in case you mishear what is said and end up looking silly or do you avoid them because they make you feel frustrated?

    You can get points if engaging causes you anxiety because of looking ‘silly’ when you have to ask people to repeat what they said or you mishear what was said and say the wrong thing in response. I think you can also get points if the difficulties you have causes a lack of motivation to engage with people and you need to be prompted / encouraged to do so.

    As Mike has said, it is unlikely that you would score points for washing and bathing unless your hearing loss is severe enough that you wouldn’t hear a smoke alarm without your hearing aid in.

    Likewise I’ve never heard of someone getting points for preparing food just because they have hearing loss

    You mention a perching stool and, for dressing, a sock aid so I assume you have other difficulties aside from the hearing loss so there may be extra points for you in these activities. I don’t know anything about these activities so I can’t comment.

    Mobility

    Separately you may have a claim for Mobility activity 1 if you can not follow a route safely e,g, cross roads, hear approaching bikes, mobility scooters, reversing vehicles etc.

    As it is your right ear that is poor, this is the side that any traffic approaching comes from what you start to cross a road. You may also have difficulty locating where a sound is coming from - so think a vehicle is approaching from a different direction from where it actually is - and having difficulty judging how far away it is from you.

     If this is the case you may have a claim for enhanced mobility because not being able to hear traffic reliably is a danger whether the journey is familiar or unfamiliar.

     People will say that you can look for traffic if you can’t hear it but that is not the case. You can’t see round corners, over hills, through buildings, fences, parked cars etc.

     You may have difficulty following a route on public transport because you don’t understand announcements of early terminations, diversions etc.

     If there was background noise, would you be able to ask someone for directions if you became lost or assistance from a member of staff and understand what they were saying?

     You can send in any extra information and anecdotal evidence to the tribunal. The DWP will receive a copy of anything you send to the tribunal and the DWP will review the evidence before the tribunal (and do occasionally make an offer of an award before the tribunal takes place).

     I also only got 2 points for Communicating at both the assessment and mandatory reconsideration but I knew that this was completely wrong so went to tribunal and won. So if you think you meet the criteria it is worth continuing to tribunal.

     However if you don’t feel you meet the criteria it is better to let it go because the tribunal can only find in your favour if they have evidence that you meet enough of the descriptors to get an award no matter how much sympathy they have for your difficulties. 

    Hope this is helpful to you.

  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Yanni, I cannot thank you enough my friend. In your opening paragraph you have just described my symptoms perfectly i.e. high frequency loss. It may take me a while to read and fully absorb all the points you have made but you have given me renewed hope in my quest for PIP. 

    Just as an aside, and I know this isn't the correct thread, but could the same arguments be used for ESA. Applied in Jan, got accepted and just waiting for my work capability assessment which should be soon. Phoned the health advisory service yesterday and they said I was still on the list and it wouldn't be long now.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2020
    The work capability ass3essment is totally different to PIP, with different criteria. See descriptors for both groups here.

    For NsESA you need to be placed into the Support Group, otherwise payments stop after 365 days.




    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: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    What about the mild hearing loss in my right ear I have been diagnosed with. Would that alter your view or should I just give up on it as a hopeless case.
    Multiple posters have observed that PIP is about the functional consequences of a condition but not the condition itself. You sought face to face advice and were advised that you would score 2 points at best. You scored zero. You sought advice online and identified activities you thought you could score on. You were advised not and why not. You’ve then sought information from web sites often mentioned on here and asked questions about that. You were advised that your interpretations weren’t really going to fly. 

    Your persistence is admirable. Equally though, all the info you’ve provided and all the responses offered all rather point in one direction. All of us here are generally, and rightly, cautious about saying outright to anyone that they will not qualify. As much as anything that’s because you can never know how much info a person is holding back; struggling to articulate and so on. All that said I have yet to read a thing in this thread that would suggest to me that a successful claim might be on the cards bar references to talking therapy. As that has not been expanded on (and I wholly respect and understand why that might be) I’m not sure there’s anything to add at this point. The picture may look very different if there are other conditions with functional consequences beyond tinnitus but as yet there are not. 

    With that in mind what you do is up to you but in respect of your question above I’m afraid you’ve come full circle and are asking about whether having a specific condition helps. That question has been dealt with already. The condition is irrelevant. Only the consequences matter. 

    I have to date omitted mention of something you may consider relevant. That’s a deliberate act on my part. Let’s change that in the interests of full disclosure. I have tinnitus. I’ve had it since 1996 and until recently I would describe it as mild. Of my several health conditions I consider it the least troublesome. That’s my experience it may not be years. Also it was not mine at the outset. For the first 3 to 4 years I struggled; had what I would probably describe now as some mild depression and wondered if I’d ever be able to go to a gig or a football match again. I subsequently adapted and have had bigger fish to fry. In the last 6 months though it has become quite a big issue. Working from home in shared since I’ve had to use noise cancelling headphones and other local/household issues have contributed ti what I now see as quite a big deterioration. 

    Even now though I’m struggling to think of a single PIP activity I would score points on. My experience is mine alone. Yours is yours. However, as already stated twice, qualifying for PIP via tinnitus alone is near impossible and no amount of legal contortion is going to change that given the facts as presented.  
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Mike, I appreciate your openness and honesty, so I will share mine as regards the talking therapy. I have always been afflicted by what you might term as depression, never really felt good about myself, no self confidence whatsoever. You might not think so reading my threads but anybody can hide behind a keyboard. I have never been formally diagnosed by a doctor with it but have been prescribed various tablets through the years for it. My last employer recognised I had a problem as I kept having time of work. They paid for 6 meetings with a lady shrink through a company they use in warrington. I only went to 2 as I was in bits, I was a real mess and I couldn't carry on with the meetings. I convinced my company that I was fine and everything was alright but in reality it really wasn't.


    After I had been diagnosed with hearing loss and tinnitus I had a meeting with the senior nurse at the hospital. Prior to the meeting I had to fill in a questionnaire about the way I was feeling and how it had affected me. The senior nurse read my answers and said she wanted me to keep me in as they were concerned about my welfare. Again I convinced them otherwise and we talked about a plan of action going forward and we would review it at regular intervals. Christmas didn't go to well(it never does) so in january I referred myself to the primary care psychological therapy service run by our local hospital. The senior nurse had given me their details. In march they contacted me by phone to set up a meeting and yep, you guessed it, I chickened out again. I guess I am not destined to ever face up to talking about my demons.



  • yanniyanni Member Posts: 50 Courageous
    edited October 2020

    Mike 

    Andy has said several times that he has a mild hearing loss as well as the tinnitus.

    The loss was enough to cause him to seek medical intervention and the tinnitus bad enough to be referred to a tinnitus nurse which suggests it has had an impact on his ability to hear.

     If you have normal hearing you can’t know what extra impact tinnitus has on being able to understand what people are saying when you have hearing loss. This is especially true if the sound is buzzing, popping or crackling.

     With hearing loss you are trying to hear over the tinnitus noise with hearing that isn’t great to start with. My hearing test results have certainly worsened since my tinnitus started.


    A hearing aid doesn’t work for some people - hence the high number of people issued with a hearing aid who say it doesn’t help them and shove it in a drawer.

    A hearing aid can only use the remaining natural hearing. If the hair cells which transmit the high frequency sounds are damaged or dead no hearing aid will restore hearing to normal.

     As I said above, a mild high frequency loss makes it difficult to hear or distinguish sounds such as TH S and F so 

     “Even now though I’m struggling to think of a single PIP activity” can sound like

    “Even now    ough I’m  truggling to    ink of a  ingle PIP activity”

     Not being able to hear TH impacts words like THIS THAT THOSE THEY THERE THOUGHT THINK THING etc.

    Not being able to hear S impacts words like SAYS SOME SEE SIT IS ITS SHE HIS and lots, lots more.

     Add some background noise and it gets even harder.

     If the mild loss impacts the mid frequencies P H G and K become difficult to hear so the sentence may sound like:

     “Even now    ou         I’m  tru        lin     to    in     of a  in    le     I     activity”

     [Soapbox lecture over - wish I knew how to add those smiley faces]

     

    My understanding from the PIP guidance is that if the hearing aid can’t be used, the claimant should be assessed without it. Or if the aid doesn’t restore hearing to an acceptable level then a higher descriptor should be considered.

     Would that not be at least 4 points for needing support to understand complex verbal information (assuming it is for more than 50% of the time) ?

     I have not seen anything that says you can only get PIP if you have two hearing aids. The guidance says “a hearing aid”. 

     Andy said he has difficulty hearing on the phone - which suggest some reliance on lipreading - and when there is background noise.

     The use of lipreading is supposed to be excluded and the impact of background noise considered but it seems they rarely are.

    There is also the issue of distance. The assessor sits across a desk from you. In real life people do not usually stand or sit that close to you when speaking.

    The former assessor who used to post on here said words to the effect of ‘ if you can hear in the assessment we assume you can hear everywhere’ . When I asked her how she takes account of background noise and excluding lipreading the response was 'we don’t know about the legal stuff we just assess you'.

      That was my assessment experience. Nice quiet room, assessor facing me and speaking clearly. Not real life at all.

     Assessor decided I can hear with my hearing aids - 2 points.

     Tribunal awarded 8 points for communicating.

     I genuinely can’t see why if Andy has difficulty understanding speech either with his hearing aid or without it if he has good reason not to wear it, he would not qualify for extra points under Communication?

     Then possibly 2 points for needing prompting to engage due to anger and frustration at people when he can’t understand them (not behaving in a socially acceptable manner)? 

    (Not sure why being able to ask someone to repeat something means you don’t have any difficulty engaging with people.)

     And possibly 2 points each for needing a perching stool and a sock aid ? I appreciate he hasn’t explained why he needs these - as is his right - so we can’t know if he would or wouldn’t get points for these.

     I thought long and hard before I posted the above because I don’t want to give anyone the false impression that they will get PIP with hearing loss if they don’t stand a chance but in this case I thought it was more not understanding the descriptors and possibly not having a fair assessment rather than not being (possibly) eligible.

     Would appreciate your thoughts on the above?

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Advice has been given based on the information that was given.

    Even before a claim for PIP was started advice was given that 2 points would be possible and this was from an advice agency, although a score of zero was given once the decision was made, this still isn't enough for an award. If Andywheel had given all the information to the person from the advice agency about how their conditions affect them then i can't see how 8 points will be possible here.

    I have no idea where the aids come into it here because that seemed to be very random. When i asked if aids were bought by them or recommended by an OT i got the reply that "it was just blue sky thinking" so i took that as aids are not needed.

    For hearing aids i do believe it's 2, not just the one.
    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.
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,018 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @yanni - & I appreciate you're trying to help with the knowledge you have of your own disorder, & also @Andywheels56 - From what the original poster has said, unfortunately it seems unlikely he would gain a PIP award, & reasons have been given.
    As far as other aids mentioned, such as a perching stool, their use may result in gaining points, but their justifiable use could mean you might lose points, as their theoretical use could mean you could do an activity/descriptor using them. As the OP hasn't clearly mentioned why he got such an aid, we're left with just looking at his tinnitus, & him trying to get the descriptors fitting his needs, rather than his needs fitting the PIP descriptors. Altho tinnitus may impact his daily life, unfortunately, as mentioned, this will unlikely get him an award of PIP.
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Hi chiarieds, the advice I have been given by @yanni is excellent. He has described my condition perfectly. On my report from the hospital the consultant ENT specialist wrote " for a long time now he has had troublesome right sided high pitched tinnitus in the mixed hearing loss in his right ear" . The results from my audiogram show that between 2000 and 8000 my hearing drops to 55..


    As for the other aids I have mentioned, that was just a bit of blue sky thinking on my part. I don't actually use any of those. However, just reading some of @yanni's other threads has set me thinking. The flashing strobe lights to alert me if anybody is at the door is a good one. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    @yanni your thoughtful posts are welcome and you shouldn’t feel hesitant in posting. There is a temptation to go into great length in response but I’m largely going to resist and confine myself to a few general observations:

    1 - my earlier posts have dealt with all these issues at length. There isn’t that much to add.

    2 - I have dual sensory loss and absolutely understand the issues but we remain in the territory of trying identify a route to qualification that remains non-obvious on the known facts.

    3 - whilst DWP guidance can be helpful it is increasingly politicised and often plain wrong. It’s not the starting point for identifying points. Much of your posts are based on that guidance being an accurate reading of the regs when it’s unfortunately not. There are some fundamental misunderstandings e.g. voices on TV are not verbal communication. They are a broadcast to no one individual whereas verbal communication is one to one or small group. Your understanding of reliability is also backwards. The hearing loss here is in one ear. The claimant cannot understand initially but, unlike someone with say a learning disability, they can ask for repetition and then understand. No points. 

    4 - it is a myth that someone with hearing loss in one year loses directionality in the same way it’s a myth someone with vision in one eye loses all 3D. 

    5 - you have, as others have, mixed up social engagement and mixing. They are very different. The fact @Andywheels56 does engage and then gets frustrated rather than is  prevented from doing so also means the points you suggest aren’t engaged. 

    6 - the attempt to engage points for mobility is “inventive” but again falls short because he has never at any point said he cannot hear; never identified incidents or near misses and, in fact, we do start with our vision when it comes to navigation. Not being able to see round corners applies to all of us. It’s why we look for safe crossing points. It’s very rare to hear of anyone with hearing loss being in an accident or near miss when they have full vision for this exact reason. 

    I should be clear. My modus operandi is very much to look for points rather than rule them out but I am very clear that for all the speculating, blue sky thinking and attempts to start again/rethink this essentially remains a case where, on the facts presented, the Age UK assessment of 2 points looks spot on. 
  • Andywheels56Andywheels56 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    I have just re-read the atos healthcare consultation.  In the history of conditions section they have put nil next to the investigations and hospital admissions for both the mild hearing loss in my right ear and the Tinnitus. They have however acknowledged that I was diagnosed with depression/anxiety (forgot I had put that down on the form) and that I had made my GP aware of my suicidal thoughts. As I have documentation from the hospital that I was under the specialists care should this be the start of where I focus my appeal and then give real world examples under the descriptors that I think apply to me. All advice greatly appreciated.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Being under specialists care won't make any difference to an award.
    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: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    I have just re-read the atos healthcare consultation.  In the history of conditions section they have put nil next to the investigations and hospital admissions for both the mild hearing loss in my right ear and the Tinnitus. They have however acknowledged that I was diagnosed with depression/anxiety (forgot I had put that down on the form) and that I had made my GP aware of my suicidal thoughts. As I have documentation from the hospital that I was under the specialists care should this be the start of where I focus my appeal and then give real world examples under the descriptors that I think apply to me. All advice greatly appreciated.
    Focusing on their report isn’t especially helpful. You need to look at the strengths of your evidence rather than the weakness of theirs. Correcting inaccurate aspects of their report will not get you PIP. 

    What you now seem to be suggesting is that at the appeal stage you are about to change the whole basis of your claim. There is nothing wrong with that in theory but a whole heap of issues up ahead. 

    In practise anxiety/depression in isolation don’t score points unless we’re looking at you needing prompting to perform points scoring activities else you self-neglect. The picture you have painted this far does not suggest that’s a goer. Suicidal thoughts are not directly relevant unless there’s some evidence of acting upon them. Not something I would ask you to disclose here but linking to specific activities is a high hurdle. 

    Your evidence would have to be strong both medically and anecdotally, not something I usually say here, and again that’s not the picture you’ve painted so far. However, the additional hurdle you then face is persuading a tribunal of your credibility as a witness. Normally it’s not an issue which comes up much other than with the odd errant panel member obsessing on the wrong thing or appellants who actually aren’t credible. However, where you change the whole basis of your argument you can expect to me asked at length why. You can expect to start from a position of being disbelieved and of being somewhat cavalier with your approach. In short it is something tribunals are cautious and cynical about. 

    Can it be done? Yes of course it can but you will absolutely need all your ducks in a row. That will include medical and anecdotal evidence; explanations as to the about turn and, realistically, representation. 
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