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PIP extension - odd or not?

louangel311
louangel311 Member Posts: 47 Courageous
edited December 2021 in PIP, DLA, and AA
Hi all
My current PIP award (enhanced mobility) is due to run out on 4 January 2022. Granted by a Tribunal in 2020 after a LONG battle.

I received a letter in August 2021 asking me to complete a new "How your disability affects you" form, which I duly completed and sent back to them in early September.

My condition hasn't really changed (anxiety and panic disorder) the only marked change is that Covid has increased my fear of leaving my home tenfold. I included this information.

I received a telephone assessment appointment for the 22 November and wrote back to them the same day advising I would like this recorded and a copy of the recording sent to me after the assessment. Due to gross inaccuracies in previous assessments and a 2 1/2 year battle to be awarded PIP.

As they didn't acknowledge my letter, I phoned Capita and the recording had not been sanctioned. They advised it may be best to rearrange the appointment which I agreed to, for the 3 January 2022.

I received a text from Capita on 9 December advising the appointment had been cancelled and not offering an alternative.

I have today received a letter from the DWP (dated 7 December) stating they have extended my PIP until 26.4.2022 so they can "fully look at my new claim"! They've had since September to look at this!

It also states that when they look at my new claim, my existing PIP  award could go up, go down, stay the same or stop! It then states "if we make a decision on your new claim before 26.4.2022, your existing PIP award may change or stop before 26.4.2022. "

So.....my questions are: -
- how can they change my EXISTING claim in any way as it was sanctioned by a Judge to run until 4 January 2022?
- in light of the current letter - do they not intend to send me for an assessment and if that is the case, how can they make an accurate assessment? Will it be a DWP Case Manager that makes the decision rather than Capita making recommendations?
- do you think I've majorly peed them off by insisting on a recorded assessment and am being penalised for this (that may be me being paranoid!)

Sorry for the long post but this has really confused me!

Louise xx 

Comments

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 25,627 Disability Gamechanger
    edited December 2021
    The reason they’ve decided to extend your award is because of Covid backlogs are huge. Estimated timescales are about 10 months for new claims and reviews. 
    Any new decision made on this claim will overrule your current award so yes, if a decision is made before the new end date then it will either stay the same, increase or stop completely. I can only see this as a good thing because at least of a decision isn’t made by January your award will not stop.
    The report will be written by the assessment provider and a decision made by DWP. 
  • louangel311
    louangel311 Member Posts: 47 Courageous
    Thanks Poppy, really appreciate your reply!

    I knew of the backlog but thought my new claim was pretty straightforward hence it may have been quicker!

    L xxxx
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 25,627 Disability Gamechanger
    Most people have assessments. As you’ve asked for yours to be recorded then this would have delayed your claim.
     Personally, I’d prefer to concentrate on my claim rather than a recording because this isn’t going to get you a PIP award.
  • louangel311
    louangel311 Member Posts: 47 Courageous
    Most people have assessments. As you’ve asked for yours to be recorded then this would have delayed your claim.
     Personally, I’d prefer to concentrate on my claim rather than a recording because this isn’t going to get you a PIP award.
    I totally understand, but due to the gross, and I mean GROSS inaccuracies in previous assessors reports, I'm trying to negate the need for a long legal battle...........again! :( 
    I understand that the DWP could still not grant me PIP but if the assessment is recorded (these are only my thoughts) & I end up having to appeal....AGAIN.......then there will be something substantive as evidence...am I making sense? :) x
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 25,627 Disability Gamechanger
    I understand you but you won't be able to use the recording unless you have it professionally transcribed. Even then to concentrate on that will not get you a PIP award. Please remember that the assessment isn't there for them to write what you said word for word. It's for them to form an opinion on everything you sent and what you said during the assessment. So many people just assume they are supposed to write word for word what you said.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 8,281 Disability Gamechanger
    To further answer the questions in turn.

    - a judge did not sanction any decision. Your award was made by a panel of three and their decision does no more than replace that of a decision maker. Like any decision it can be reviewed at any time.

    - it’s important to remember that two people are being recorded when you request a recording and both must consent for it to happen. Many HCPs find it oppressive and judgemental to get a request to be recorded and, if you are insistent, you will soon run out of HCPs to do the assessment. However, by asking you pretty much guaranteed some kind of delay so I’m not surprised they went for an extension. 

    - you will not have peed them off and you are not being penalised.

    As @poppy123456 has observed there is little point in a recording because a DM most likely won’t have the kit to hear it. At best all it will do is illustrate some areas of disagreement between you and the HCP. Some will be matters of fact and some will be matters of opinion. At best all you achieve is that the credibility of the HCP report is damaged and given less weight. However, that’s the real point here. All evidence is weighed. It really doesn’t matter if the HCP report is damaged if overall your evidence isn’t very good. Had you simply ignored the report first time around and focused on your own evidence then most likely it would not have needed to go to appeal.
  • louangel311
    louangel311 Member Posts: 47 Courageous
    I understand you but you won't be able to use the recording unless you have it professionally transcribed. Even then to concentrate on that will not get you a PIP award. Please remember that the assessment isn't there for them to write what you said word for word. It's for them to form an opinion on everything you sent and what you said during the assessment. So many people just assume they are supposed to write word for word what you said.
    Thanks Poppy. Again, I understand that that the assessment is never verbatim, but when the assessor in previous assessments has given the total opposite of what I've said in assessments, my request to have it recorded has been in desperation, I can't face another long battle when they've actually told blatant lies in what they've said :( 
  • louangel311
    louangel311 Member Posts: 47 Courageous
    To further answer the questions in turn.

    - a judge did not sanction any decision. Your award was made by a panel of three and their decision does no more than replace that of a decision maker. Like any decision it can be reviewed at any time.

    - it’s important to remember that two people are being recorded when you request a recording and both must consent for it to happen. Many HCPs find it oppressive and judgemental to get a request to be recorded and, if you are insistent, you will soon run out of HCPs to do the assessment. However, by asking you pretty much guaranteed some kind of delay so I’m not surprised they went for an extension. 

    - you will not have peed them off and you are not being penalised.

    As @poppy123456 has observed there is little point in a recording because a DM most likely won’t have the kit to hear it. At best all it will do is illustrate some areas of disagreement between you and the HCP. Some will be matters of fact and some will be matters of opinion. At best all you achieve is that the credibility of the HCP report is damaged and given less weight. However, that’s the real point here. All evidence is weighed. It really doesn’t matter if the HCP report is damaged if overall your evidence isn’t very good. Had you simply ignored the report first time around and focused on your own evidence then most likely it would not have needed to go to appeal.
    Mike, when I went through my last Tribunal hearing in 2020, you were so helpful and I was so grateful.
    But, I find your reply above to be really brusque :(
    You're splitting hairs on the language I've used - ok, so a PANEL not a judge made a decision.
    And yes, I do appreciate that all evidence is taken into account, not just the HCP's assessment but - you have no idea what evidence I submitted in my initial claim and whether it was good or not - I just find that comment to be an assumption on your part.
    People come on here asking for help and advice, usually fairly vulnerable and needing some support not to be shot down in flames :( 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 25,627 Disability Gamechanger
    I understand you but you won't be able to use the recording unless you have it professionally transcribed. Even then to concentrate on that will not get you a PIP award. Please remember that the assessment isn't there for them to write what you said word for word. It's for them to form an opinion on everything you sent and what you said during the assessment. So many people just assume they are supposed to write word for word what you said.
    Thanks Poppy. Again, I understand that that the assessment is never verbatim, but when the assessor in previous assessments has given the total opposite of what I've said in assessments, my request to have it recorded has been in desperation, I can't face another long battle when they've actually told blatant lies in what they've said :( 

    It seems like you don't understand going by this comment here. When you filled out your most recent form did you give a couple of real world examples of what happened the last time you attempted that activity for each descriptor that applies to you? adding as much detail as possible about what exactly happened, where you were, did anyone see it and what the consequeces were?
    In previous claims if you sent medical evidence this is only useful if it states exactly how your conditions affect you and most medical evidence doesn't. It will usually state the basics like diagnosis, medication, appointments etc etc.
    In my most recent PIP review (this year) i sent a repeat prescription list and a short assessment report from an OT of the aids that were needed in my house and were given to me by my local Authority. The rest of my application form was anecdotal evidence.. 1 page of real world examples for each descriptor that applied. Going into full detail as mentioned above. I had a paper based assessment. I did exactly the same for my daughters PIP review this year and also had another paper based assessment for her.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 8,281 Disability Gamechanger
    We all make assumptions. What matters is what’s behind the assumption. 

    Language matters when it comes to benefits. Your question here was based on the assumption that a judge made an award and that that should carry more weight than a lowly PIP DM. However, a panel made the decision not one person and once you understand that the panel do no more than sit in the shoes of DM then the question falls away.

    Your second question was based on an assumption that a HCP can make a decision, which they can’t. Again, once you know that, which you perhaps ought to at this point having gone through the whole claim to appeal process, then your question answers itself. 

    You are of course correct that I made an assumption too. My assumption though was based on 35 years professional experience and I’ve about 1,000+ appeals behind me to back that up. Nevertheless you will note that I was in no way definitive. What I said was 

    “Had you simply ignored the report first time around and focused on your own evidence then most likely it would not have needed to go to appeal.” I stand by that absolutely. 

    Every bone in my body tells me that is true. Your reference to “gross inaccuracies”; your need to record the HCP despite having been through a tribunal where their focus will have been on anecdote rather than the HCP report; the fact it took 30 months last time round when it should have been 15 at most. That all screams that you focused on the HCP report without an in depth analysis of the quality of your own evidence. I’d also take an educated guess that what won your tribunal was you talking. What I’ll also say is that if your evidence was as good as you are suggesting  - for instance if your PIP 2 was spot on - those cases almost never get as far as appeal. That’s admittedly a hard truth for people to stomach but it duesbt stop it from being the truth.

    So, I can live with brusque. People read what they want to read how they want to read it. No-one is shooting you down in flames. However, there were lessons to be learnt from your appeal experience and I’m highlighting that they did not include recording the assessment; focusing on the assessment or even addressing the assessment.

    Finally, to address the use of the term “vulnerable”. I find it offensive. It’s a term used by government to deny people their rights rather than help people. Vulnerability covers a wide variety of issues and ought not to be used to make sweeping generalisations on web sites about the reactions of others.  
  • louangel311
    louangel311 Member Posts: 47 Courageous
    Poppy, yes, I have included anecdotal evidence.
    The only descriptors that apply to me are the Daily Living activity of Engaging with other people Face to Face which I doubt I will ever score the required points to be awarded the daily living component, as I need social support - that's fine, but I include how this affects me as it's a fundamental part of how engaging with people affects me due to my anxiety.
     I've given examples of having to have my Mum present i.e.  if I have workmen in my home, how she has to attend appointments with me i.e. dentist or vets for my dogs (I have telephone triage appointments with my GP rather than go to the surgery) and how my symptoms manifest when I have to have people around me - shaking, sweating, light headed, breathless, wanting to be anywhere other than where I am.
    And then the Planning and Following journeys which I cannot do on my own and have to have my Mum with me, and again many examples of how I've tried to do this i.e. going to the corner shop and how it affects me when I've attempted these things.
    Mike - yes of course language matters. But........the message I posted on here yesterday was rushed and in a panic as I'd received a letter and didn't understand the reasoning behind it which was why I asked for advice. I would never "rush" a benefit claim, an MR or an appeal.
    With regards to the HCP reports, I was under the impression that the HCP make recommendations to the Decision Maker and that the Decision Maker can either take on board the recommendations or come to their own decision?
    But......when an HCP has written in the assessment report - "she walks her dogs around half a mile a day" when in fact what I'd said was "I take them down to the communal garden a few times a day (as long as no-one is in it) as I'm unable to walk them due to my high levels of anxiety"  (this was exactly what I'd said in my claim form) - is it any wonder that I've latched on to wanting the assessment recorded? :(
    Or - "she presented as normal mood, answered all the questions and made eye contact" (not exact words but along those lines) when in reality I was shaking, couldn't sit still, was breathless and tearful and had my Mum in the next room with my dogs as support - what she actually wrote and the reality of the situation were polar opposites.
    The reason that the process took 30 months: -
    - assessment January 2018 - PIP not granted
    - MR submitted - decision unchanged
    - 1st FtT - May 2019 - decision unchanged
    - I asked for the SOR and asked for leave to appeal to the UT on an error of law which was granted.
    - UT gave their decision on 21.4.2020 and asked for a new FtT to be convened
    - last FtT on 23.6.2020 (oral hearing) where enhanced mobility was granted.
    - we were in the middle of a pandemic hence delayed times.
    Whilst the UT's recommendations I know couldn't be binding on the new FtT - 3 times during his decision the Judge referred to my written evidence which had been submitted as part of my initial claim which hadn't been taken into account by the DWP or the first FtT.
    When I received the phone call from the new panel on 22.6.20 - the Judge told me from the outset that based on the evidence and in agreement with the UT Judge, they'd granted me enhanced mobility. The remainder of the Tribunal hearing was in relation to the daily living component.
    Do I know how to put together a "perfect" claim form? No. But I'm thorough, honest, give daily examples of how my illness affects me and submit evidence (like having to be prescribed Diazepam in an emergency but under the understanding I can't have anymore) that is relevant.
    I just feel that you've been really unfair in what you've replied.
    As for vulnerability - I feel vulnerable. I feel really scared. I fought this last time for 2 1/2 years as I didn't feel that the DWP's decision was the right one and I hate injustice and unfairness.
    And, it brought me to breaking point which is where I certainly don't want to go again.
    L xxxxxx

  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 8,281 Disability Gamechanger

    With regards to the HCP reports, I was under the impression that the HCP make recommendations to the Decision Maker and that the Decision Maker can either take on board the recommendations or come to their own decision?
    But......when an HCP has written in the assessment report - "she walks her dogs around half a mile a day" when in fact what I'd said was "I take them down to the communal garden a few times a day (as long as no-one is in it) as I'm unable to walk them due to my high levels of anxiety"  (this was exactly what I'd said in my claim form) - is it any wonder that I've latched on to wanting the assessment recorded? :(
    Or - "she presented as normal mood, answered all the questions and made eye contact" (not exact words but along those lines) when in reality I was shaking, couldn't sit still, was breathless and tearful and had my Mum in the next room with my dogs as support - what she actually wrote and the reality of the situation were polar opposites.
    The reason that the process took 30 months: -
    - assessment January 2018 - PIP not granted
    - MR submitted - decision unchanged
    - 1st FtT - May 2019 - decision unchanged
    - I asked for the SOR and asked for leave to appeal to the UT on an error of law which was granted.
    - UT gave their decision on 21.4.2020 and asked for a new FtT to be convened
    - last FtT on 23.6.2020 (oral hearing) where enhanced mobility was granted.
    - we were in the middle of a pandemic hence delayed times.
    Whilst the UT's recommendations I know couldn't be binding on the new FtT - 3 times during his decision the Judge referred to my written evidence which had been submitted as part of my initial claim which hadn't been taken into account by the DWP or the first FtT.
    When I received the phone call from the new panel on 22.6.20 - the Judge told me from the outset that based on the evidence and in agreement with the UT Judge, they'd granted me enhanced mobility. The remainder of the Tribunal hearing was in relation to the daily living component.
    Do I know how to put together a "perfect" claim form? No. But I'm thorough, honest, give daily examples of how my illness affects me and submit evidence (like having to be prescribed Diazepam in an emergency but under the understanding I can't have anymore) that is relevant.
    I just feel that you've been really unfair in what you've replied.
    As for vulnerability - I feel vulnerable. I feel really scared. I fought this last time for 2 1/2 years as I didn't feel that the DWP's decision was the right one and I hate injustice and unfairness.
    And, it brought me to breaking point which is where I certainly don't want to go again.
    L xxxxxx

    One of the annoying myths on this and other sites is this simplistic thing which says a DM goes with a HCP report or against. It’s consequence of the equally simplistic template based language in decision letters rather than an accurate reflection of a fairly sophisticated process. The odd DM genuinely will just lazily go with the report but often that’s about end of financial year pressures and interestingly is more likely to produce an award than a refusal. However, almost all absolutely make “their own decision” and, whilst that gets inevitably expressed as “prefer the evidence of the HCP” that’s rarely what’s actually going on. In most cases it can be translated as “your PIP 2 didn’t address the issues at hand”; “your PIP 2 was very detailed but didn’t address the issues at hand”; “your PIP 2 was inconsistent, incomplete or poorly completed”. As you can imagine it’s better to just have a standard sentence which says “I prefer the report of the HCP because…” rather than “your evidence is poor”. A lot of claimants would be far better focused if it actually did say the latter.

    I hear what you’re saying about the HCP report but the reality is that focusing on that is what took you down the 30 month route. Your examples to @poppy123456 are a mix of some anecdotal evidence and some assertion. Combine that with a determination to challenge obvious inaccuracies in the HCP report and it’s not so hard to see why you had to go to and beyond FTT. 

    To give you a contrary perspective I have had a recent ish case in which the claimant wrote me 40+ pages on what was wrong with the HCP report. It was focused and unemotional and on point and excellent. I have absolutely no doubt you could do exactly the same.

    The next thing I did was to tell the claimant that I would be using exactly 2 sentences from it. I then interviewed the claimant as I usually do for 2 hours. That produced 8 sides of nothing but anecdotal evidence. Enhanced rate of both components won at MR on an ongoing basis. I have seen some shocking HCP reports. I’m sure many of us have. It doesn’t matter. Ignore it. You can make it irrelevant by simply focusing on nothing but anecdotal evidence. 

    It is likely in your case that the FTT lost themselves with weighing the HCP evidence as that’s where you wanted them to focus. All the UT judge did, as is often the case, was to say “this was in there all along” without explicitly saying “but likely hard to find in the weight of other things”. 

    So, I’m sorry if you found my responses brusque but as I said earlier there are lessons to learn here and they’re not about challenging rubbish HCP reports.
  • louangel311
    louangel311 Member Posts: 47 Courageous
    Hi Mike, I meant to reply to this last night and got sidetracked :)

    Everything you have said makes total sense, it likely did a couple of days ago but I was too "bouncing off the walls" to comprehend that at the time :disappointed:

    I've taken the time to look back at my MR and first Tribunal appeal and.....you were right  :s FAR too much emphasis on the HCP report :( 

    As you so rightly said, lessons to learn and.......taken on board.

    Thank you :smile: xxxx

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