PIP, DLA and AA
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Epilepsy application for a pip

DuraDura Member Posts: 8 Listener
edited April 2 in PIP, DLA and AA
My application for a change from DLA to a PIP for my wife took 1year from start to finish and went through application to tribunal, during this process I made efforts to find out why my wife's condition was underplayed at every turn.
When I made my telephone application for the forms to start the procedure, the lady I was dealing with, after she had listened to my reasons for making a new claim based upon my wife's worsening condition (it had been 10 years since she had been awarded DLA) asked 'Was I determined to  continue, as Epilepsy claims were often refused? I went ahead.
I had kept all records relating to my wife's treatment including photographing her injuries, documenting every fit and hospital discharge letters for a 15 year period.
This is my first recommendation keep it all along with a detailed fit chart.
I sent some 75 pages of paperwork and 10 photographs to accompany my wife's application however I don't think anyone took the time to read a word of it but you will need it for the Tribunal.
When you fill out the forms sent to you from the DWP remember they are looking so much for proof you are an Epileptic, but more how the condition  affects your daily ability to cope with it, your fit may leave you unconscious for 5 min or so, but point out the 2 hours after, that you are unable to think for yourself. Write about your worst day not your best.
Show documented proof that you inured yourself using an appliance ie Microwave and photograph of burn to support - how do you do this - tell the doctor treating you to note how the injury was caused on the paperwork.
In closing my comments on the first form filling - keep copy's of everything you send and take care that what you do send is clear for the reader, this is important, everything you send is digitalised at the post office sorting office nearest to the DWP offices and sent to the DWP in digital form and in BLACK AND WHITE - they never see the original documents. Photographs arrive at the DWP as black blobs.
I will continue to the next hurdle in the process tomorrow.  
                   
         

Replies

  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,404

    Scope community team

    Hi @Dura and a warm welcome to our community!

    Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience of claiming PIP.  We each come across different barriers and I'm glad to hear you finally got there at tribunal (I hope you were successful!). You've included some great tips.

    You mentioned basing PIP claims on worst days and this is an issue of some debate.  The general consensus is not to do that but rather to focus on how you are 50% of the time in a 12 month period.  For more insight as to why you can read this PIP descriptors thread.

    I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts and hope you had a nice day.  Speak soon :)
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  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,073 Disability Gamechanger
    Writing about your worst days for the vast majority of PIP claimants is poor advice. Epilepsy is possibly the exception, & where the 50% rule may often not apply, rather depending on the severity of attacks, & possible sequelae, &, as this post is about epilepsy, I can see where @Dura is coming from.
    For example, from the Benefits & Work Guide June 2018:
    Safety and supervision
    Until now, the DWP have argued that a claimant can only score points for being unsafe if harm is likely to occur on more than 50% of the occasions on which they attempt an activity.
    So a claimant with epilepsy who has seizures twice a week would not get points for needing supervision when cooking. This is because they could not show that it is ‘more likely than not’ that they will have a seizure on any given occasion when they prepare food.
    However, on 9 th March 2017, in CPIP/1599/2016 a panel of Upper Tribunal judges held that the DWP were wrong.
    Instead, they said, the decision maker should look at whether there is a real possibility that harm might occur and also at how great the harm might be. The greater the potential harm, the less likely it needs to be that it would happen on any specific occasion.
    So, if there is a real possibility that a claimant with epilepsy might have a seizure whilst cooking then then they reasonably require supervision for this activity, even though the chances of a seizure happening on any specific occasion may be quite small.
    They should score points for needing supervision even if they don’t actually have anyone to provide it.
    But the Upper Tribunal went even further than this.
    They ruled that where a claimant is at risk all the time, then they may also be at risk when carrying out PIP activities that do not carry any additional likelihood of harm.
    So, a claimant may not be at any additional risk of harm if they have a seizure when using the toilet or taking medication, for example. But, because they are at risk whatever they are doing, then we would argue that they still reasonably require supervision during these activities, because they cannot do them safely without supervision.
    Hope you didn't mind me adding that @Dura, & I hope to hear more about you & your wife's experience in successfully claiming PIP, & thank you again for sharing this.
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,404

    Scope community team

    Ah, no I completely stand corrected!  Thank you for that insight @chiarieds  
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  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,073 Disability Gamechanger
    We're all here trying to share what we know to help others @Cher_Scope, & you're certainly no exception :) Just have tried to help some members with epilepsy claim PIP before, & there have been a couple of very long threads about this. :)
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 3,804 Disability Gamechanger
    @Dura evening and welcome to scope, you can of course send to much information to support a PIP claim, send too much and most of it will go unread, I have epilepsy myself and successfully applied for DLA an then PIP, there are a number of things that matter more than others, how often do you have seizures and do you get any warning beforehand (auras) and is your epilepsy controlled by medication. Writing just about your worst days is NEVER a good idea. One of my favourite terms when completing  PIP form for epilepsy is "the risk and reality of having a seizure" 
    All benefits applications go initially to a post office sorting office at Wolverhampton and should always be posted 7-10 before the due date with proof of posting asked for when you post, you can if you need more time request it by phone and an additional 2 weeks is usually given.
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • DuraDura Member Posts: 8 Listener
    I made it clear that I am specific in that my recommendations relate to Epilepsy. If you do not use the worst days in your claim 90% of an Epileptics life would appear normal. You are totally reliant on the the 2017 High Court ruling on Risk - in our case the DWP did not use this ruling when assessing my wife, only at the tribunal was this taken into account and my over the top evidence come into affect.
       
  • DuraDura Member Posts: 8 Listener
    It took 3 months to receive a face to face appointment, one of the last before the phone assessments became the norm. At the time my wife had a elastic glove on her hand to reduce scaring from a burn to her hand, the burn occurred some 8 months prior to the assessment.
    Both my wife and I were at ease with the situation and began to feel the that the assessor was reasonable and  sympathetic all we said - this was not the case. My wife went through all the normal questions that  many others have replied to and in less than an hour we were out.
    About 3 months latter the results arrived in the post - Enhanced mobility but only 2 points for care, a very strange result and one that would result in her getting less through PIP than she had received with DLA. I put in for copy of the assessors report and on receipt of this, a request for reconsideration. It was on receipt of this that I realised that DWPs case was week and heavily riddled with false claims.
    I did not introduce any new evidence in my application for reconsideration, Just a short note out that they might care to read what I had sent in and that at no point had they applied the 2017 ruling. By now I knew the legal route would be my only way to a just result for my wife.
    The Tribunal procedure was easy and clear, nothing to be afraid of. The court sent me a  2 copy's of the paperwork sent to them be myself and that sent to them by the DWP. (2 because I had registered as her representative, she received a pack as did I).
    The DWP send a summery of how they came to the decision, it comes in this pack - read it carefully.
    The burn to my wife's hand I mentioned earlier resulted in a secondary burn to the whole of the palm of the hand, all of the skin was lost, it was caused when using a microwave oven when I was not at home. The DWP had been sent all the hospital reports stating the injury had been cause whilst using a microwave and a photograph of the hand.
    At the face to face the assessor was asked if he would like my wife to remove the glove so that he could see the damage caused he declined the invitation, in the DWPs supporting the decision document the said everyone cooking can expect small scolds on occasion when cooking, a direct quote. The had stated that my wife could prepare food using a microwave in making their award. My wife had spent 2 weeks as a inpatient at a burns unit with this.
    Only one of many inconsistencies that were within the document but a telling one.
    I will continue latter with the Phone Tribunal.
            
        
           
  • DuraDura Member Posts: 8 Listener
    You will receive a letter and a phone call from the court  as the Tribunal is being set up, they will offer you the opportunity to send more evidence should you wish.
    With the documentation sent to myself and the court I became a wear that the photographs I had sent in evidence to the DWP (I remind you that the paperwork is scanned and digitally sent to the DWP at their local sorting office)
    had arrived at their door as black blobs.
    When the court official phoned me I pointed this out, she checked her documentation an confirmed the same.
    She sent me her Email address and the photographs, which were crucial to my case were sent to the 3 members who were sitting on the board.
    I also made it clear in my reason for the appeal was that the DWP had failed to take into account the 2017 High court decision. 
    The date for the tribunal was set.
    I had received 2 copy's of the documentation, this was a great help, I left one in the order it was sent, the are numbered an the court would refer to the document the were dealing with by page number. I used the second set to make separate sets I intended to use in making my wife's case.
    All this was laid out in preparation in the morning.
    The judge will call and introduce the court officials who will assist him in coming to conclusion, in this case himself, a doctor and a expert in DWP law.
    I asked, had the court received the 10 photographs and are they clear and gave a second phone number, should my phone give up the ghost, a Speaker phone will help if you are representing someone, the court will ask if all concerned can hear what is being said.
    He put my wife at ease in a short conversation with her and then dealt entirely with me.
    I started into a well prepared description of my wife's case when he stopped me dead - Mr ............... the court has already made its decision if you are happy for he to continue?
    My wife from the outset had been awarded Enhanced  Mobility, it was the care component I was appealing against, the court found in my wife's favour and awarded enhanced rate.
    All I had to do was ask for the award be back dated and the length of time before reconsideration to be as long as possible - my wife's condition will not improve. All this took less than a quarter of an hour.  
    Result 6 months back pay and a 10 year before review.
    The court is paid for the time it takes to read all the documentation sent and they did review it all, there is no reason not to send all the evidence you feel is needed, you do not get a second chance after this point. 
    An admission, I sat on the board considering the introduction of pips into the county in which we live, I was representing the disabled community, no one in that committee could have possible seen the complete breakdown in the system it would bring.         
               
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 3,804 Disability Gamechanger
    Can I just say and I've said it before I hate the word "epilepsy", I am a person with epilepsy the condition doesn't define who I am.
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 1,252 Pioneering
    Dura said:..., no one in that committee could have possible seen the complete breakdown in the system it would bring.         
    How could you have done. I know there are contentious aspects to the PIP criteria but there is nothing inherent in it, in my opinion, that sets it up to fail. If the initial assessments were done properly and if the DMs spent enough time looking at all the evidence, with the assessment report being taken as one part of the evidence, then inappropriate awards would be less likely to occur. 
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • DuraDura Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Epilepsy is how the condition is referred to all over the world, how you see yourself as a person with Epilepsy is a matter for you. However if you are suffering with uncontrolled epilepsy it most certainly defines the quality and how you live your life  
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 3,804 Disability Gamechanger
    edited January 31
    Dura said:
    Epilepsy is how the condition is referred to all over the world, how you see yourself as a person with Epilepsy is a matter for you. However if you are suffering with uncontrolled epilepsy it most certainly defines the quality and how you live your life  
    I agree but it doesn't define WHO I am, i'm still me, and using old fashioned terms like "epileptic" doesn't do much to help remove the stigma attatched to the condition.
    As for the quality of  life my epilepsy has ridden a coach and horses through that over the last 23 years. But I must add that in all my dealings with the DWP over those years I have always been treated fairly and with respect. I have during that time claimed successfully IB IS DLA and PIP, my last assessment for PIP was carried out by someone who had decent knowledge of the condition and her report was both fair and accurate.
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
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