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PIP letter decision dilema

in Benefits & tax credits
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  • edited 21 March at 1:09AM
    peteukpeteuk Forumite
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    edited 21 March at 1:09AM
    I understand that some people don’t understand how telephone assessments can be carried out.  But you have to understand the questions and assessment are the same, excluding the physical exam.

    How do you assess fatigue face to face?  OPD (Rare)

    When it comes down to occasionally going out, the fact that a person can go out reduces the descriptor.  This counts for activity 11 (mobility) and then follows familiar or unfamiliar routes.

    Aids 
    Cooking - weighted pans, electric tin opener, large handled knifes, spiked chopping board
    Washing - long handle brush, 
    Dressing - Sock applicator, zipper puller

    the list is endless.  But although not currently being use, does not mean you can’t be assessed as needing an aid.

    But, read the activity and descriptors. For instance cooking is a simple meal for one, on a hob.  There is no oven involved and it doesn’t look at getting the food from cooker to table.  Can they stand with one crutch for support or even sit down at the cooker?

    However without comparing the two reports and highlighting the differences, in theory we can discuss every single activity and descriptor.

    It sounds very much like the assessment hasn’t agreed with the previous assessment, who says which is right or wrong?  For the assessment then the previous report would have been read, along with any supporting documents provided since then, the questionnaire and the answers given to the questions provided on the assessment.  During Covid it was accepted that there would be no physical examination.  So yes to some degree the answers should give more weight to the report, eg if someone says they can’t walk 10 meter on the phone, this can be checked in person as they managed to get out the chair in the waiting room and walk 20 meters from the chair to the assessment room you can physically see that, which you can’t over the phone,
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  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    peteuk said:
    … eg if someone says they can’t walk 10 meter on the phone, this can be checked in person as they managed to get out the chair in the waiting room and walk 20 meters from the chair to the assessment room you can physically see that, which you can’t over the phone,
    Though inferring just from one instance of doing it is flawed (or even two, at the end of the assessment), because there's no guarantee they can go further or repeat it, and fatigue / pain / vertigo / etc. aren't immediately visible - people with chronic pain especially tend to mask it and function with levels of pain that would have other people in bed unable to do anything.

    [I know that's what the guidance says to do, but it's wrong.]
  • rjsimmondsrjsimmonds Forumite
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    Face-to-face assessments can be as flawed as phone assessments.

    My son has autism and a very rare genetic overgrowth syndrom - think Andre The Giant. He was assessed by a paramedic who had no idea about how the combined conditions could affect him in day to day life. He stated that he watched my son walk 5 metres. Given the size of our tiny flat, it would have meant him climbing over the television and crashing through the window. The assessment lasted 20 minutes.

    He was awarded 0 points for care and 0 for mobility. At tribunal he was awarded 12 points for care and 14 points for mobility for 5 years.

    You know what your wife can or cannot do, so go with your isntincts.
  • born_againborn_again Forumite
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    Giraffe76 said:
    Aplogies to everyone. i didnt want to seem like im going on a rant here but i was wonderinbg whether any of my points above were sensible otr whether im clutching at straws. she has been awarded the standard level for 5 years which is something i suppose and probably done to cushion the blow of having the award level reduced

    Any further comments would be most welcome and appreciated

    kind regards
    It's good to get it off you chest. So no one will take offence.

    My Wife had a face to face assessment. They were not interested in looking at anything used to help, Bathroom, aids etc. Just sat there, asked questions, typed answers on laptop. That was it. 
    Result about the same as yours. It was like 2 totally different versions of the same conversation.
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  • edited 21 March at 9:04PM
    HillStreetBluesHillStreetBlues Forumite
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    edited 21 March at 9:04PM
    I've had 6 PIP assessments, one was an honest account of what I did and said, the other five are filed in the fiction department.
    My highest and longest award was when I didn't have an assessment (but did have stronger evidence).

    Let's Be Careful Out There
  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    My PIP assessment report was a reasonably accurate account of the phone conversation (not all, but most) but the assessor didn't believe me and drew erroneous conclusions based on ignoring what I'd said both during the assessment and on the form.  I'm grateful that I already knew wrong outcomes are common, otherwise it would have felt pretty personal to essentially be accused of lying!
  • peteukpeteuk Forumite
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    but the assessor didn't believe me and drew erroneous conclusions based on ignoring what I'd said both during the assessment and on the form.  
    Its not about believe or disbelieve, its about the evidence and what can be used to  support or discredit what is being said.  If we agree or disagree with what’s written is not down to the assessor lying or disbelieving.  Sometimes their hands are tied, which Ultimately was what I disagreed with and so left PIP assessments.

    Audit is a pain in PIP assessment, I remember calling a claimant three times to ask further questions, each time it went to audit the auditor was different had had a different take on the condition, the report was basically changed to suit the auditor, however what I had written in the first report and subsequently changed, was what ended up in the final report.

    However it does reflect poorly on the assessors, some will write misleading reports but in my experience the system leads them to poor decisions.  Something like a drivers licence or lack of a certain diagnosis will discredit a number of activities (Eg No Mental Health/Cognative diagnosis takes activity 9 to a zero.)

    When writing the report its easy to go for the no scores firsts.  Then build it around those. 

    But equally the PIP questionnaire doesn't help, and I’ve seen first hand how stressful completing it can be,  You often don't see what others do.   If you put no problem in for an activity, it will not be fully explored.  A good understanding of the assessment does help,  so having someone with knowledge/experience of the form is a massive help. 
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  • edited 22 March at 12:20PM
    HillStreetBluesHillStreetBlues Forumite
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    edited 22 March at 12:20PM
    peteuk said:
    Its not about believe or disbelieve, its about the evidence and what can be used to  support or discredit what is being said.  If we agree or disagree with what’s written is not down to the assessor lying or disbelieving.  Sometimes their hands are tied, which Ultimately was what I disagreed with and so left PIP assessments.
    I never have a problem with an assessor not believing me, as long as belief is grounded in fact.
    I'm had PIP  reports saying they saw me walk 50 m  when I didn't move from the chair apart from standing up for about 10 seconds.
    I stated I socialised about once in the last 3 months, report can back I  socialised most days.
    I have a large garden and always state that I get someone in to do it every few week,   report comes back I have very large garden and I cut the grass weekly.
    I could go on, but I have made my point.

    So from a personal experience assessors DO lie



    Let's Be Careful Out There
  • edited 22 March at 2:38PM
    MuttleythefrogMuttleythefrog Forumite
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    edited 22 March at 2:38PM
    Have to agree with HSB as I've had very similar experience regarding PIP and ESA assessments... unfortunately they can and do lie... invent facts... make observations that simply did not or could not have happened etc. I've had same experience with a GP in past too hence I always covertly record meetings with any HCP given my sanity is something I prize as well as truth. I've given my own examples on MSE over the years while many claimants have described such. As per HSB I would have no particular issue with something I said being disbelieved if there was direct observation or other evidence to discredit such.... I fully appreciate that in any search to approximate reality you can and do get conflicting evidence and some could come directly from me. Picking flaw of various nature in these reports is usually pretty easy... I mean they couldn't get my wife's surname right and I sure as heck didn't give it incorrectly... they just assumed she inherited mine.... not particularly an issue but it is when they invent a fact like that I have many friends when evidence says otherwise and I state otherwise.

    Also I would not be so sure that previous assessment report and added supporting evidence will always be read as required given the corner cutting often involved for reasons of time etc.... in fact for my PIP assessment I queried whether the HCP had done so and they reluctantly admitted they had not (their tone and wording that which you expect when someone has to admit they've not done the right thing - they shifted blame to me for having provided too much). 

    That said... the last face to face assessment I had for ESA was conducted by a nurse and I regard it as an exceptionally accurate and evidenced piece of work that showed a level of insight that actually I've failed to achieve with any medical professional before or since in any context. The report was so good, despite the assessment being curtailed due to my distress, that I forced my wife to read it when I got a copy.

    In the case of the thread.... without seeing the assessment report current and previous we obviously cannot comment much... but let me take a punt that inconsistency and flaw will be evident and likely feature (not necessarily with direct addressing as one should primarily focus on the applicable descriptors) in any reconsideration request if made.
    "Do not attribute to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by incompetence" - rogerblack
  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    peteuk said:
    but the assessor didn't believe me and drew erroneous conclusions based on ignoring what I'd said both during the assessment and on the form.  
    Its not about believe or disbelieve, its about the evidence and what can be used to  support or discredit what is being said.  If we agree or disagree with what’s written is not down to the assessor lying or disbelieving.  
    Like I said, she repeatedly ignored evidence in favour of choosing to assume I was lying, or twisted evidence (such as having attended mainstream school meaning I can't possibly be disabled as an adult?!), or in a couple of instances outright made up "evidence" to discredit what I said.  I'm not going to list further examples because it's a waste of energy, and actually nothing was as egregious as some of the examples having been given already - as I said before, it would have felt very personal if I hadn't already known it routinely happens.
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