Story Of A PIP Assessment: My Mother Suddenly Became My Aunt
Same Difference received the following by email yesterday from reader Philip Pines.
My assessment in January 2016 was undertaken by a nurse called Kathleen Maguire, and when I looked her up apart from nursing she had no other formal qualifications. I was accompanied to my assessment by a family member who witnessed all that happened during the assessment.
I was made aware that prior to the assessment the assessor will read the application made for claiming PIP and further evidence obtained from a GP or others involved in my claim. Note that the wording used is “obtained” not “provided”.
In my claim form i stated that due to blackouts and dizzy spells i was unable to cook using a conventional cooker due to previous accidents that made me fearful of further incidents. The response to this was 0 points, the reason given that I had normal grip in both hands. I queried what the connection was between having a blackout and having normal grip in both hands, no explanation was given.
In my application I stated that due to balance blackouts and dizzy spells i am unable to get in and out of a bath and have to travel to my mothers home to use her walk in shower that also has a seat installed. I also gave the nurse the same information at the assessment, but in her report my mother suddenly became my aunt, demonstrating that she hadnt read the application and was not listening at the assessment.
In my application and at the assessment I stated that I could walk slowly for about ten minutes then need to stop because of breathlessness. In her report nurse Maguire stated that I walked from the waiting room to the assessment room and no shortness of breath was noted, obviously not as the distance from waiting room to assessment room was not a ten minute walk.
In my application i stated that a family member does my budgeting for me, the same family member who accompanied me to the assessment. In her report nurse Maguire stated that I was able to budget, despite the facts that i said different in the application and budgeting was not discussed at the assessment. If it had been discussed then the family member would have explained that i am unable to budget and this should have been included in the report.
As stated I suffer from blackouts three or four times a week for which i sometimes have a warning of about 2 seconds, which is not enough time to prevent me falling. I clearly stated in the application and at the assessment that the warnings are not for the majority of the time. In the report nurse Maguire changed the words to say that the blackouts are not for the majority of the time. At the assessment, after being examined on the examination couch, as i was sitting up i became dizzy and informed nurse Maguire. She just told me to take my time then continued typing her report. Despite me telling her that i felt dizzy nurse Maguire stated that no dizziness was noted at the assessment.
One of my conditions is that i have COPD which is a progressive illness, meaning that it gets worse over time, a recent test has shown my breathing has deteriorated. But according to nurse Maguire in her report there will be no need for further tests as there will be no significant changes.
After getting 0 points due to this nurse i applied for the Mandatory Reconsideration and accompanied my application with a supporting letter from my GP. When the second refusal was received it stated that the letter from my GP had already been seen at the assessment and had been taken into consideration. At no point had Atos or DWP been in contact with my GP, and I did not obtain the letter from my GP until 35 days after the assessment, given these facts how was it seen at the assessment when it did not exist at that time?
I was lead to believe that the Mandatory Reconsideration was undertaken by a second impartial decision maker. My second refusal was given for the same reason as the first, using exactly the same words. It was like they had just copied the first letter and stuck a different name at the end.
I appealed against the decision and prior to the tribunal i prepared a 24 page report showing the lies, descrepenses, medical inaccuraces and contradictions made in the report by nurse Maguire. I also pointed out court rulings that the DWP had ignored, and many parts of the Equality Act the DWP had breached.
At my tribunal none of the points were raised and the witness I had with me was not asked any questions relating to my medical condition or what had happened at the assessment. No mention was made about the medical and expert evidence that i provided, all i had was totally ignored by the panel.
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