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    • tensandunits
    • By tensandunits 10th Mar 17, 10:01 AM
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    tensandunits
    P.I.P. consultation (mental health condition)
    • #1
    • 10th Mar 17, 10:01 AM
    P.I.P. consultation (mental health condition) 10th Mar 17 at 10:01 AM
    Yesterday we received a letter saying that OH has to go for a "consultation with a Health Professional", re. his claim for P.I.P.

    He's been on DLA for years due to serious mental health condition.

    Now, I'm having a feeling of deja-vu here, because he had to go for some sort of medical a few years ago, when the company concerned were operating under the name Atos Origin (I see it's now Atos Healthcare), and what happened last time was the doctor hardly asked him anything, said 'all fine', giving us the impression that.. well.. all would be fine, but the next thing we knew his welfare payments had been cut off because he hadn't scored enough points on their system.

    Went to tribunal, welfare claim fully restored, DWP didn't even bother showing up to put their story across. So, 10 weeks of stress and worry for my OH, and he's not capable of coping well with pressure at the best of times.

    Are we going to have another repetition of this all over again..


    My question to you all - has anybody been for one of these "consultations" recently, in particular for mental health conditions. Is there anything I or we can do to help our case or prepare for the consultation. (I will be going with him).


    I'm just afraid that they'll see him and think 'oh he looks ok', and they'll send information to the DWP that they can't see any of the symptoms and he looks ok. This is the trouble when you've got an illness that's invisible.
Page 1
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 10th Mar 17, 10:51 AM
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    Alice Holt
    • #2
    • 10th Mar 17, 10:51 AM
    • #2
    • 10th Mar 17, 10:51 AM
    Some info on PIP medical asessments:
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/help-with-your-pip-claim/your-assessment/
    http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/personal-independence-payment-pip/pip-medical-assessments

    Some suggestions:
    Take a notepad & pen with you and make notes during the assessment of what was said, etc
    Look at the PIP points and be clear where your partner should score the necessary 8/12 points
    http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/personal-independence-payment-pip/pip-points-system
    Have some notes / care diary around these descriptors to take to the assessment for examples to tell the assessor about.
    Give full answers, your OH needs to explain fully why he can't do the relevant activities/descriptors reliably for the majority of the time.
    Take your copy of the PIP2 form with you.

    Reliably - nicked from Benefits & Work
    "It’s vital that, before you complete your form, you understand that just because you can carry out an
    activity, that doesn’t mean you are prevented from scoring points for being unable to do it.
    Guidance issued by the DWP states that you need to be able to complete an activity ‘reliably’ in
    order for it to apply. According to the guidance, ‘reliably’ means whether you can do so:
    • Safely – in a fashion that is unlikely to cause harm to themselves or to another person.
    • To a necessary and acceptable standard – given the nature of the activity.
    • Repeatedly – as often as is reasonably required.
    • In a timely manner – in a reasonable time period.
    Initially, the government refused to put this guidance into the regulations themselves. But after
    considerable pressure it has been incorporated, although the word ‘reliably’ itself has not been
    included. (See: ‘General definitions you need to know’ for the regulations on this).
    The DWP guidance also states that ‘pain, fatigue, breathlessness, nausea and motivation’ will all be
    ‘key factors’ in deciding whether an activity can be done reliably.
    So, for example, if you can ‘wash and bathe unaided’ you will not score any points for that activity.
    But if it takes you hours to do so or it would be dangerous to leave you alone to bathe – for
    example, because you might have a seizure - then you may score points.
    Or if you could walk 20 metres once, but afterwards you would be so exhausted that you could not
    do so again for hours or you would be unable to carry out other everyday activities after walking 20
    metres, then you may count as not being able to do so.
    Decisions about issues such as what is safe, what is a reasonable time and a good enough
    standard are subjective ones. All you can do is give as much detailed evidence as you can and, if
    you are not happy with the decision, consider an appeal."

    Good luck
    Last edited by Alice Holt; 10-03-2017 at 1:51 PM.
    • Muttleythefrog
    • By Muttleythefrog 10th Mar 17, 11:44 AM
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    Muttleythefrog
    • #3
    • 10th Mar 17, 11:44 AM
    • #3
    • 10th Mar 17, 11:44 AM
    Yes I have been to one recently. There's plenty advice out there on the web and here no doubt. Key though is PIP is differently assessed to DLA and the criteria is different. Get familiar with the evidence in play - I assume a lengthy 'How your disability affects you' form has been completed and sent in. Focus on the descriptors that lead to qualifying for PIP and prepare them to answer questions regarding those activities. Expect the assessment to be computer driven and conducted speedily and perhaps with a dismissive attitude to get through it. That's why preparation is key.. to ensure ready with relevant information... not easy if suffering from conditions that make this difficult. But plenty of information out there... they'll ask basic question and questions about day to day experiences relevant to the 12 activities as applicable and make observations of behaviour etc. The working day after the assessment call DWP on number on PIP letter and ask for a copy of the resulting report.. the PA4 consultation report... then you'll have in your hands what is potentially the evidence that determines the literal outcome of claim. Collect together any relevant supporting evidence for the claim not already supplied... take and present copies at assessment.
    "Do not attribute to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by incompetence" - rogerblack
    • hello007007
    • By hello007007 10th Mar 17, 11:53 AM
    • 88 Posts
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    hello007007
    • #4
    • 10th Mar 17, 11:53 AM
    • #4
    • 10th Mar 17, 11:53 AM
    I went for an assessment. I got myself mentally 'ready' for days before the appointment and after I thought I did really went. I really was proud of myself. I didnt break down, I answered most of the questions, got there on time with my husband/carer, showered and wore decent clothes etc... becuase I wanted to make a good impression, if that makes sense? (nothing too much for average Joe but more than what I normally can do)

    I felt I didnt need to pull any 'stunts' (and as it was a pre arranged appointment I should make an effort as it was important) I have a long history of mental health and offical diagnoses, I have been seen by many doctors and take a lot of treatments etc... All this worked against me. Seriously, I got 0 points.

    If I could turn back time - I would not have perpare myself so much. In fact, I would have just got up and gonna - anixety, depression and all - should have let them to try to deal with me on a normal day. Now I have to go to tribunal - I feel somewhat numb, I am just not going to think about it at all until the day, no point making myself ill over it.

    I know everyone tries to hide their mental health problems (I hid mine, even from my family for years) but for this - Just be yourself.
    Best of luck
    Last edited by hello007007; 10-03-2017 at 12:02 PM.
    • hello007007
    • By hello007007 10th Mar 17, 12:01 PM
    • 88 Posts
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    hello007007
    • #5
    • 10th Mar 17, 12:01 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Mar 17, 12:01 PM
    It would be wise to know about the PIP point system.

    Also dont trust the assessors, mine seemed so caring and kind, almost like a father figure and wished us luck gettting the benefit, however I later learnt he recomended 0 points!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by hello007007; 10-03-2017 at 12:13 PM.
    • Muttleythefrog
    • By Muttleythefrog 10th Mar 17, 2:00 PM
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    Muttleythefrog
    • #6
    • 10th Mar 17, 2:00 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Mar 17, 2:00 PM
    I went for an assessment. I got myself mentally 'ready' for days before the appointment and after I thought I did really went. I really was proud of myself. I didnt break down, I answered most of the questions, got there on time with my husband/carer, showered and wore decent clothes etc... becuase I wanted to make a good impression, if that makes sense? (nothing too much for average Joe but more than what I normally can do)

    I felt I didnt need to pull any 'stunts' (and as it was a pre arranged appointment I should make an effort as it was important) I have a long history of mental health and offical diagnoses, I have been seen by many doctors and take a lot of treatments etc... All this worked against me. Seriously, I got 0 points.

    If I could turn back time - I would not have perpare myself so much. In fact, I would have just got up and gonna - anixety, depression and all - should have let them to try to deal with me on a normal day. Now I have to go to tribunal - I feel somewhat numb, I am just not going to think about it at all until the day, no point making myself ill over it.

    I know everyone tries to hide their mental health problems (I hid mine, even from my family for years) but for this - Just be yourself.
    Best of luck
    Originally posted by hello007007
    Your story is an important one. Unfortunately people with mental illness (and often physical problems) will try to hide or navigate around their problems. I would never present as depressed in public... and anxiety is something I'd go to great lengths to prepare to avoid. You've seemingly acted similarly and thus showed probably few signs of difficulties coping with this event and the interview... and probably you faced someone very limited in understanding of mental illness and with little desire to understand better. It is a lesson... unfortunately many claimants will try to present as they would normally present for such an event but in doing so fail to convey the underlying problems. I wish you best of luck with pursuing the matter.

    You other point is also valid. They're not there to be your friend... they're there to efficiently process you... they may well cut corners and rush you to do that. If being polite helps them then they may be polite.. if being aggressive helps them then they may be that.
    Last edited by Muttleythefrog; 10-03-2017 at 2:02 PM.
    "Do not attribute to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by incompetence" - rogerblack
    • tensandunits
    • By tensandunits 10th Mar 17, 2:05 PM
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    tensandunits
    • #7
    • 10th Mar 17, 2:05 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Mar 17, 2:05 PM
    Also dont trust the assessors, mine seemed so caring and kind, almost like a father figure and wished us luck gettting the benefit, however I later learnt he recomended 0 points!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Originally posted by hello007007
    That is almost exactly what happened to us last time. He didn't get zero points, I think he got 9 (just under the requisite 10 points, IIRC)

    The retired GP who carried out the assessment didn't even ask him many questions, so presumably he just ticked a few boxes once we'd left the assessment.

    Nice little earner for retired doctors, I would imagine.
    • wee.willie
    • By wee.willie 10th Mar 17, 4:46 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    wee.willie
    • #8
    • 10th Mar 17, 4:46 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Mar 17, 4:46 PM
    There have been some interesting threads on these boards from people who have experienced problems with PIP claims and mental health, this board and the disability board. Have a look, there was a thread last week where someone went to tribunal and lost and they claimed on mental health grounds. I was awarded nothing for pip by atos but went to tribunal and went from 0 points to 12 for daily living the tribunal was horrible but I got through it with support from a care worked I have.
    • Mrs_Ryan
    • By Mrs_Ryan 11th Mar 17, 12:13 AM
    • 10,171 Posts
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    Mrs_Ryan
    • #9
    • 11th Mar 17, 12:13 AM
    • #9
    • 11th Mar 17, 12:13 AM
    I had a home visit. I lay on the sofa in my pyjamas, wrapped in a blanket, sobbing my heart out for most of the assessment and shaking like a- well you got the idea.
    Mine was not a solely mental health related claim but I was assessed by a mental health nurse who mostly asked about my physical disabilities because she said she could see what a state I was in.
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    • Penitent
    • By Penitent 11th Mar 17, 12:36 PM
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    Penitent
    I also had a very nice assessor who completely failed to understand what she was assessing. She decided that because I managed to get through the assessment, that I was likely to be able to do this all the time (I can't, I'm compelled to try to act "normal" out of fear, but was a total mess after she finally left). She decided that despite only being able to go to essential medical appointments every few months, I could go anywhere any time I wanted as long as I was encouraged to do so. She said I don't self-harm despite the fact that I was scratching myself throughout the interview in an attempt to keep my !!!! together (she actually acknowledged this during the interview and I apologised to her for not wearing a long-sleeved shirt to help control it). She misrepresented some things I'd said and made up others (I'm assuming she made them up rather than misheard them since she also said she had no issues understanding me).

    I've reached the point now where I don't trust the assessors at all. I just assume that no matter what I say and what evidence I send, I'm going to get a report saying I looked alright so no points.

    The only advice I can give is to have whatever evidence you need for the appeal (letters, reports, etc.) ready before he's even assessed. They give you such a short period to appeal (one month from the date of the letter, which doesn't arrive for a week).
    • Muttleythefrog
    • By Muttleythefrog 11th Mar 17, 12:46 PM
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    Muttleythefrog
    I also had a very nice assessor who completely failed to understand what she was assessing. She decided that because I managed to get through the assessment, that I was likely to be able to do this all the time (I can't, I'm compelled to try to act "normal" out of fear, but was a total mess after she finally left). She decided that despite only being able to go to essential medical appointments every few months, I could go anywhere any time I wanted as long as I was encouraged to do so. She said I don't self-harm despite the fact that I was scratching myself throughout the interview in an attempt to keep my !!!! together (she actually acknowledged this during the interview and I apologised to her for not wearing a long-sleeved shirt to help control it). She misrepresented some things I'd said and made up others (I'm assuming she made them up rather than misheard them since she also said she had no issues understanding me).

    I've reached the point now where I don't trust the assessors at all. I just assume that no matter what I say and what evidence I send, I'm going to get a report saying I looked alright so no points.

    The only advice I can give is to have whatever evidence you need for the appeal (letters, reports, etc.) ready before he's even assessed. They give you such a short period to appeal (one month from the date of the letter, which doesn't arrive for a week).
    Originally posted by Penitent
    Sorry to hear of this experience.. albeit not an uncommon one reported. I wouldn't hold out too much hope for reconsideration but definitely get in a solid contention of the claims in the PA4 report along with obvious focus on stating which descriptors do apply to you and why. Any positive outcome from the reconsideration would be a big bonus... but an appeal tribunal down the line may be much more accurate in assessment and of greater inclination to actually understand your difficulties rather than efficiently process you. It's important people appreciate I think that if the assessor is being nice to you... then there is a very good chance that's because they feel it is the best tactic for them to efficiently deal with the assessment duties they have... and often that will be to the neglect of accuracy or professional judgement. Unfortunately the nature of mental illness in actual reality for many sufferers is that they attempt to conceal symptoms and after many years may become incredibly good at it... and to the mix someone who doesn't really care about that or understand that and it is a recipe for further disablement and suffering. Claimants must never lose sight of the fact that while for the HCP they may feel it is their assessment... it most certainly is not.
    "Do not attribute to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by incompetence" - rogerblack
    • Penitent
    • By Penitent 11th Mar 17, 1:13 PM
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    Penitent
    Sorry to hear of this experience.. albeit not an uncommon one reported. I wouldn't hold out too much hope for reconsideration but definitely get in a solid contention of the claims in the PA4 report along with obvious focus on stating which descriptors do apply to you and why. Any positive outcome from the reconsideration would be a big bonus... but an appeal tribunal down the line may be much more accurate in assessment and of greater inclination to actually understand your difficulties rather than efficiently process you.
    Originally posted by Muttleythefrog
    I've already appealed. I had to have a paper-based appeal because I was unable to attend a hearing. The appeal judge also decided that I can do whatever I want as along as someone encourages me.

    I'm now at the stage of having to decide if I want to lodge a late request for another appeal or if I want to apply again under my revised diagnoses. At this point, I'm not sure if I can cope with either. I'm honestly starting to feel like that's the point of this process: they make you request this thing then the next thing then the next, with only a few weeks to do each one, until you're finally so exhausted you either give up or top yourself.

    Sorry, I'm not in a great mood at the moment.
    • Muttleythefrog
    • By Muttleythefrog 11th Mar 17, 1:36 PM
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    Muttleythefrog
    I've already appealed. I had to have a paper-based appeal because I was unable to attend a hearing. The appeal judge also decided that I can do whatever I want as along as someone encourages me.

    I'm now at the stage of having to decide if I want to lodge a late request for another appeal or if I want to apply again under my revised diagnoses. At this point, I'm not sure if I can cope with either. I'm honestly starting to feel like that's the point of this process: they make you request this thing then the next thing then the next, with only a few weeks to do each one, until you're finally so exhausted you either give up or top yourself.

    Sorry, I'm not in a great mood at the moment.
    Originally posted by Penitent
    Ouch... yeah I understand this'd make you feel pretty demoralised at least. These things can be very hit and miss. Obviously an appeal (to the upper tribunal) would only have merit if on an error in law...i.e. if you felt the lower tier appeal tribunal made an error in applying the law. As you probably appreciate this wouldn't be a case of 'I think you've made the wrong decision' but rather 'the law wasn't correctly applied'.

    From the outside the other option seems more realistic... new claim... new circumstances... hope for another f2f medical and very different experience. The claimant in one respect has the upper hand... they largely determine how many battles this war has... and with that in mind it's always worth bearing in mind that one won battle could end the war in your favour.
    Last edited by Muttleythefrog; 11-03-2017 at 1:41 PM.
    "Do not attribute to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by incompetence" - rogerblack
    • Penitent
    • By Penitent 11th Mar 17, 1:51 PM
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    Penitent
    Ouch... yeah I understand this'd make you feel pretty demoralised at least. These things can be very hit and miss. Obviously an appeal (to the upper tribunal) would only have merit if on an error in law...i.e. if you felt the lower tier appeal tribunal made an error in applying the law. As you probably appreciate this wouldn't be a case of 'I think you've made the wrong decision' but rather 'the law wasn't correctly applied'.

    From the outside the other option seems more realistic... new claim... new circumstances... hope for another f2f medical and very different experience.
    Originally posted by Muttleythefrog
    I think I may be able to argue that they only looked at whether I can do something, not whether I can do it reliably, but, yeah, it's a long shot. The explanation for why I was awarded the points I was was also very vague.

    I know I should just reapply, but I just can't deal with letting another one of those people into my home right now.
    • tensandunits
    • By tensandunits 22nd Mar 17, 11:43 AM
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    tensandunits
    Thankyou all for sharing your experiences. Tomorrow's the day of OH's consultation, we'll see how it goes. I thought P.I.P. was supposed to be more geared towards mental health conditions than DLA was. However it does look like we're going to be at the behest of these assessors, so it's anyone's guess what they'll actually say in their report. I shall make it clear that his disability might be invisible but that doesn't mean it's not there.
    • tensandunits
    • By tensandunits 7th Apr 17, 2:46 PM
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    tensandunits
    I'm now at the stage of having to decide if I want to lodge a late request for another appeal or if I want to apply again under my revised diagnoses. At this point, I'm not sure if I can cope with either.
    Originally posted by Penitent
    As I was saying to my OH it's Catch-22. If you're well enough to be able to fill out these forms, attend the assessment, perform well at said assessment and ensure they write down the relevant information, you're well enough not to need their help. If you're not well enough to do these things you won't get the help you need due to not being well enough to go through the process.

    OH did his best to explain his symptoms etc at the assessment, which was quite detailed. We now await the decision letter. The person taking the assessment was not a mental health nurse and I'm not convinced she was writing down the salient points. She told me that the PA4 consultation report is only available after they've sent the decision letter out, which contradicts what Muttleythefrog was saying.

    His ESA claim is also being re-assessed, despite him being having been declared to be in the support group permanently so we'll probably have to go through all this again. Apparently it's another company who do the assessments for ESA, not Atos.

    What a lot of stress and hassle, for people who are already ill and vulnerable.
    • nannytone
    • By nannytone 7th Apr 17, 4:40 PM
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    nannytone
    he can't be 'declared to be in the support group permanently'.

    the maximum award is 3 years
    • tensandunits
    • By tensandunits 7th Apr 17, 4:44 PM
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    tensandunits
    he can't be 'declared to be in the support group permanently'.

    the maximum award is 3 years
    Originally posted by nannytone
    Well, that's what they told him on the phone a few years ago, after a lengthy discussion about which group he should be put into. His illness is permanent and very unlikely to change, sadly.
    • nannytone
    • By nannytone 7th Apr 17, 6:21 PM
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    nannytone
    a permenant condition means nothing with regards to ESA.
    i am blind and will always be blind ( barring a miracle ) and my ESA award is the longest that it can be. 3 years
    • poppy12345
    • By poppy12345 7th Apr 17, 7:35 PM
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    • 1,044 Thanks
    poppy12345
    Well, that's what they told him on the phone a few years ago, after a lengthy discussion about which group he should be put into. His illness is permanent and very unlikely to change, sadly.
    Originally posted by tensandunits
    There's many people out there, myself included whose condition is permanent but the max anyone can get is 3 years as Nannytone has stated.
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