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Visual loss and zero points

1eyebandit1eyebandit Member Posts: 6 Listener
I had a lazy eye most my life and despite patching as a child my vision never improved. In 2019 I had an accident resulting in me losing sight completely in my right eye, my ‘good eye’. 
This has been a huge adjustment for me and 
while my depth perception was bad before, it’s now 100x worse. 
I was a chef before and had to give that up entirely. I’ve cut many fingers trying to cook, suffered burns, dropped/smashed/cracked more things than I care to count. My wife now does all of our cooking but even my eating is off. I’ve fallen getting into the bath when I’ve mistepped. I had an ambulance out over Christmas as I attempted the stairs alone as my wife was in the bath and I fell quite spectacularly.
We’ve been isolating since March due to my wife’s immune condition but so other than to hospital I’ve not gone out so don’t know how it’ll impact me but I can’t even play catch with my kid any more because I always missed the ball. My legs are bruised all over from walking into things. It’s stupid to admit but I’m going to feel vulnerable outside and don’t think I’ll go out alone ever again. 

The worst part is that the report insinuates I’m lying and says along the lines of  “while I acknowledge the catalogue of injuries resulting in treatment, there is no evidence these are of a result of the conditions reported”. Short of filming myself trying to cook or walk around I don’t know what else to do. 

Is it a case of visual impairment doesn’t meet criteria unless it’s complete blindness in both Eyes?

Visual loss and zero points 1 vote

I don’t know why it’s a poll but it won’t let me post without putting an option
100%
CandyK85 1 vote
Give up
0%

Replies

  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,446 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    Was this just the first assessment?  It's not uncommon to get 0 points, you'll find many threads on here the same regardless of the health conditions.  It's worth noting that PIP is about the descriptors rather than the diagnosis though so you need to focus on which descriptors you meet and how much you expect to score for each.  You've now got one month to request a mandatory reconsideration.

    PS - As for the poll, there are separate buttons to 'start poll' and 'start discussion' which is why you can't delete the poll here.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,644 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 6
    No need for a poll. Most people with central vision loss will score 12 points on both daily living and mobility and should get an ongoing/10 year award. Don’t expect HCPs or DMs to know anything about VIs. They simply don’t. The onus is on you to explain it. A successful claim from the off is perfectly possible with a good claim pack but of your claim fails then don’t have any expectations of turning this around at `MR. Realistically you’re off to appeal. 

    You may be tempted to lay into me for some of what I’m about to say. Please don’t. I have two complex genetic VIs; I’m in my 4th decade working in welfare rights and for the past 5 years the small caseload I carry as a manager has by choice been mostly VI cases. 

    Now, back to basics. Nothing stupid about admitting to vulnerability. The single biggest thing which will change that will be a symbol cane. Most of us are resistant to such things and often for years, believing wrongly that they’ll make us more vulnerable, when they’ll actually make the invisible visible; elicit numerous offers of help and give you opportunities to both explain what’s going on and gain some confidence. 

    In terms of PIP, put your report to one side and forget it. It isn’t going to feature at the appeal stage. Absolutely forget about the idea of “lies”. You can’t prove that legally and it won’t play well with the medical member  on a tribunal. Identify a couple of massive irrefutable errors within the report, literally three quick ones at most, make a note of them for your MR and appeal but solely as a means of pointing out that the HCP report has no credibility and then move on to focus on your evidence. Do not focus on medical evidence. It has nothing to say behind confirming what happened to you. 

    The issue you have is 

    1 - explaining the specifics of your sight loss.
    2 - providing detailed anecdotes around what happened when you attempted points scoring activities. What happened? When? Why? Who was there? What happened next? 
    3 - linking the above to the relevant activities.

    Most people think they’ve done both when they’ve done neither. You will need to have written at least half a page of A4 per activity 

    1 - you ought to be able to write 2 sides on this but you need to be realistic and honest. Lots of people with 1 functioning eye claim a lack of depth perception. Medically that’s untrue. You retain some depth perception; can tell that one object is front of another and most of the time you’re okay. What actually happens, as with all VIs, is environmental i.e. it depends where you are; what you’re doing; how tired you are and what the lighting is like. I have no 3D vision too, except, realistically I do. I can fly upstairs 2 at a time. Coming downstairs it’s all horizontal lines and misplaced footing. No-one would see an issue until there is one. You need to relate this far more accurately. 

    Similarly, and I appreciate that was your first post so you won’t have mentioned everything, the bigger issue when you lose one eye is the loss of visual field and your lack of warning on things crossing it. Not getting as much warning on cats, bikes, small children and animals; nor being able to see overhanging branches; being freaked out by insects which come out of nowhere and so on. You lose the ability to Gish each at anything and so everything you do is slower and yet accidents can still happen. Familiarity with a space is irrelevant. Accidents happen when the environment or you change. Your bath slips are a fine example. That won’t be lack of 3D or lack of that alone. It will have been being momentarily distracted; over-confident; a change in the light etc. 

    Equally, what about good old tiredness? Using one eye not two is a killer. Eyes are loaded with muscles. They tire like other muscles but that manifests itself in different ways say than a leg muscle. Being “clumsy” is not a personality  trait. It’s a direct consequence of having a VI as is falling asleep or being exhausted. These are things you need to articulate. 

    2 - in terms of points scoring you’re not going to score on can’t prepare food at all for example. The reality is that with one poor eye you can definitely peel and chop but there are issues around reliability. That’s what you needed to have got across. You need to understand the PIP points system and especially the concept of reliability as it relates to your VI.

    You ought to score points for prepping food; eating; bathing; possibly taking meds; choosing clothes (if that’s been impacted);reading and social engagement. You ought to score points for budgeting but no-one with a VI ever does. You won’t score points for toileting but need to write lots about it in order to paint the full picture of the impacts. You should score 12 points on mobility for being unable to go out without another person on a familiar route etc. Now go for it.
  • 1eyebandit1eyebandit Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Thank you @OverlyAnxious, it is reassuring to know I’m not the only one that receives no points at assessment. Has it happened to you? We’re you eventually awarded? 

    Sorry for the poll @mikehughescq, I hit the wrong thing and couldn’t work out how to remove it. Why would I lay in to you for your comments? They are helpful to my question and it is interesting to read someone explain so articulately some of my issues. My wife can’t understand why I have trouble going down stairs and not so much going up. 

    I very much am grateful for your comments on the cane, I have been very resistant but you’ve helped put a positive spin on it.

    Your comments regarding depth perception have been very interesting. I would argue I have trouble with it almost all of the time but I see your point that I can tell one object is in front of another. 

    Choosing clothes; what counts here? 

    Do you have any accessible links for information on the pip points system I could read? 
    From what you’ve said we didn’t give enough information. My wife read the questions to me and summarised my responses on the form. 
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,250 Pioneering
    1eyebandit said:Do you have any accessible links for information on the pip points system I could read? 
    See https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/personal-independence-payment-pip/pip-points-system
    Make sure you scroll down and read the comments on 'Reliably"
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,644 Disability Gamechanger
    Dressing - one eye will impact your ability to perceive contrast and colour and impact your ability to deal with fine detail. So, problems with selecting clothing. Possibly problems with colour matching and almost certainly issues getting stuff off hangers and handling buttons and zips etc. Then there’s the joy of putting things on backwards, inside out or with stains you can’t see or keeping things on you didn’t know have been marked by you spilling things on them. Easy points once you explain it and give a couple of examples. 

    The link from @calcotti is the one I always recommend. You will score on the activities I’ve mentioned because of the reliability issue i.e. you can do stuff but you can’t necessarily do it in a reasonable time; repeatedly, safely and often not to a reasonable standard e.g. prepping veg and dressing. DWP argue you know if you’ve dropped stuff but that’s easy enough to argue against. Toothpaste stains are a good example. No hot or cold to detect. 

    The problem with VI claims is that people talk in clocked and aren’t given the tools or language to describe what’s going on accurately. If you’re struggling with that e.g. the 3D then your wife will struggle to describe it in depth. However, hopefully enough clues now to get the depth of anecdotal detail you’ll need.
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,446 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you @OverlyAnxious, it is reassuring to know I’m not the only one that receives no points at assessment. Has it happened to you? We’re you eventually awarded? 

    Yes.  I eventually went on to get enhanced daily living through tribunal.  :)
  • 1eyebandit1eyebandit Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Thanks for the link @calcotti, much appreciated. 

    Thanks @mikehughescq, you’ve helped with more than just my PIP claim. Since the accident my wife has done everything for me such as lay out my clothes and gone are my button-downs, replaced with things that don’t require fastening. I can take a guess how well I’d get on with some of the thi bfs you’ve mentioned but it has made me feel the need to try and be more independent instead of giving up everything I used to do. 

    I have one last question. I had planned to type up my reconsideration letter myself rather than have the wife do it, but will this go against me? The report said zero for reading and gave my use of computers as part of the reason. I was a touch typer long before the accident and use screen readers although I’m sure you don’t need me to explain how that works.

    Thank you @OverlyAnxious, it is good to know some awards do get corrected.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,644 Disability Gamechanger
    Typing won’t go against you at all provided you explain in full how you manage to do it. Detail is your friend. 
  • 1eyebandit1eyebandit Member Posts: 6 Listener
    You’ve been very helpful, thank you @mikehughescq. I was feeling very down after receiving the report and without this forum I honestly don’t know what I would have done. 
    It really struck me how little understanding there was of visual impairment. She used the fact I said I could pour myself a glass of water from a tap as justification for not needing help in some areas and to call into question some of the things I said. There was no understanding of the fact half the water goes down the sink and I do so with a finger in the glass and drink it at the sink rather than try and carry it around. I know those things aren’t completely relevant anyway but I was so angry as I felt she’d just lied but now I understand she made assumptions based on her own ignorance and the onus is on me to provide the detail so she understands that even the things I can do, involve extra effort and aren’t always reliable. 

    Knowing how badly we messed up the original form would I be better just starting a new claim and filling it in properly rather than appealing this one? 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,644 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 8
    Bottom line is that they will always infer stuff. You have to effectively wise up; play devils advocate with your own evidence and imagine different readings of what you’ve said. The water one is a good example. Check how much of what you’ve just posted here on that was included in your claim pack. They can only infer stuff if you didn’t directly address it.

    To be scrupulously fair, they’re not there to understand the condition. They don’t need to do that to be able to assess the functional loss. The problems really start with people wrongly assuming that that is what they’re there for and that they have a medical background so surely must know the basics. 

    Absolutely do not do a second claim form. We don’t know for sure that anything has been messed up and it’s more than possible to fix any omissions by tackling them on full now. 
  • 1eyebandit1eyebandit Member Posts: 6 Listener
    I’ve only posted my mandatory reconsideration appeal on Tuesday and today received a letter saying my claim has been looked at again and I have been awarded standard mobility but daily living remains unchanged with zero points. 
    I can’t imagine this is as a result of my written reconsideration request given it only arrived with them yesterday, can they take it upon themselves to look at my claim again? I am quite confused as I’ve already received a payment to my bank.

    What are my next steps now? Will they do another reconsideration with the additional evidence I sent?

    I am grateful to have received anything but I feel I should have been awarded at least standard daily living and perhaps enhanced mobility. It is frustrating they have not even looked at my new evidence or request. 
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,250 Pioneering
    I’ve only posted my mandatory reconsideration appeal on Tuesday and today received a letter saying my claim has been looked at again and I have been awarded standard mobility but daily living remains unchanged with zero points. 
    I can’t imagine this is as a result of my written reconsideration request given it only arrived with them yesterday, can they take it upon themselves to look at my claim again? 
    Had you previously rung them and indicated that you wanted them to look at it again?
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,644 Disability Gamechanger
    Either way you pursue it as zero for DL is laughable.
  • 1eyebandit1eyebandit Member Posts: 6 Listener
    I did call them when I first received the original decision @calcotti. To ask my options and to clarify the address if I wanted to appeal. Will they have just done it based upon that?

    Either way you pursue it as zero for DL is laughable.
    How does that work now, is it straight to appeal if I decide to pursue? Do the things I sent them for a mandatory reconsideration become irrelevant or can they do a second one with the information I sent? 

    I’m not sure if it’s worth fighting any more, it’s adding a fair amount of stress which isn’t helping anyone.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,250 Pioneering
    I did call them when I first received the original decision @calcotti. To ask my options and to clarify the address if I wanted to appeal. Will they have just done it based upon that?
    They may have taken that as a request for an MR and started the process. Guessing on my part.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,644 Disability Gamechanger
    I think @calcotti is making a good guess and so yes. Off to appeal. Time to look for representation.
  • QueenofdisabilitiesQueenofdisabilities Member Posts: 91 Connected
    Mikehughescq
    I got CAB to represent me they were amazing & I won my appeal.
    Stick with it you will get there
    Good luck.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,644 Disability Gamechanger
    Most Citizens Advice no longer do representation. Representation involves actually turning up on the day of the hearing in person and acting as a rep. as opposed to putting in a paper submission and letting the person do the rest themselves. 

    During lockdown I am aware of some report that CitA have been taking part in telephone hearings but I have no direct evidence that this is in fact the case. 

    It is exceptionally hard to find staff within advice services with sufficient knowledge of sensory loss and that should guide @1eyebandit more than anything else at this point.

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