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Some Information From A Former PIP Assessor

October 28, 2016

Spotted on Facebook.

Copying and pasting from Mumsnet where a kind ex DWP assessor has just posted some very very useful info… hope it helps someone!

Bit of background; I was a PIP Disability Assessor for a while this year, until I decided that I couldn’t work within the system with a good conscience, and left. I witnessed DA’s who were trying their best, mostly, to help people with their claims. They (and I) were hamstrung both by our immediate employers, and a system (whether by accident or design) that discriminated against claimants with certain conditions. In the spirit of the release of ‘I, Daniel Blake’, which isn’t about PIP but other failures of the benefit system, I’ve decided to give some general advice to those looking to claim PIP.

Firstly, let’s look at initially making the claim. I would say the most vital point is this; PROVIDE EVIDENCE. The way that the claim form/questionnaire is worded implies that the DWP/ATOS/CAPITA or whoever will chase letters from GPS, specialists etc to back up your claim for you. In my experience, this doesn’t happen. The onus is on you to provide this information, although it would be very easy to assume the opposite. Some photocopies of a recent prescription, letters detailing diagnoses and appointment dates, and evidence of secondary care involvement (especially people with mental health conditions) provide good evidence; if you haven’t provided anything, then the DA has to go mostly on that short assessment with you. You may be horribly unwell or disabled for 5 days a week, if you’re having a ‘good day’ on the assessment however, then your claim is in trouble. Evidence, Evidence, Evidence; I can’t stress that enough. Don’t let the DWP have the easy option; the decision they make is heavily dependent on the report written by the health professional that assesses you. The decision maker at the DWP has no medical qualifications of any sort.

If you have disabilities that cause you to have problems getting out (especially severe MH conditions), ask for a home assessment. The way the system is, if you have a MH condition involving severe anxiety or depression, or agoraphobia; then you attend a clinic appointment, it can be used as evidence that you aren’t as bad as you claim that you are. The reasoning is that you can’t be that ill if you can get to a clinic appointment. It’s profoundly unfair, and a large part of why I left. Once again; evidence is so important.

Don’t assume that the health professional that sees you knows much about your condition. In a working and well-designed system, those with certain conditions would be given appointments with HP’s with a specialism in that area. It ain’t so. You could get a general or MH nurse, an Occupational Therapist, a Physio or a Paramedic. It’s completely random. If you can bring along a health professional of your own, then do. I’d advise anyone against attending by themselves. That’s not because I don’t trust the DA’s; the vast majority are good people. It’s just easy to forget things, and people with severe MH problems or learning disabilities/Autism really need an advocate of some sort.

If you’re asked to do a set of 12 exercises (it’s called the Musculoskeletal exam, or MSK), be sensible! I had people trying to please me by trying to do these despite evident pain; tell the DA why it would be difficult for you to do it. If you cannot do it, just do what you can and explain why. Completing those ridiculous exercises at personal cost, especially pain, will count against you. Don’t make stuff up to help your claim (they’ll see straight through it, and assume that you’re dishonest), but don’t put yourself at risk of harm by doing something that you can’t. The DA has to take your safety into consideration when assessing what you can and can’t do. Once again, evidence is key. If you need aids or adaptations to walk, or need to wear wrist supports etc, then bring/wear them. Help the DA to help you. They normally will.

Talking of assessments, if you report any MH conditions at all, then the DA will be observing you throughout the assessment for a Mental State Examination (MSE). In my opinion, this is even more badly designed that the MSK. A HP, who may or may not have any MH experience at all, will continually assess your mood, behaviour, anxiety etc throughout the assessment. It’s completely subjective. If you have a serious MH condition, if you are in pain, if you are distressed or anxious then let it show to the DA. The stiff upper lip is the worst possible approach.

We were told that those 45 minutes were key. If a consultant wrote that you couldn’t do something, then you did it in that 45 minute assessment (good day or not) then the weight of evidence would be on the assessment.

My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that PIP discriminates against those with learning disabilities or MH conditions. Seriously. It’s appalling. If you are turned down, then PLEASE appeal. You’d be surprised how many obtain PIP through appeal; it’s often through providing further evidence. Don’t give the DWP the chance to deny your rightful claim in the first place; provide that evidence when you first fill in the forms.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2016 11:11 am

    Reblogged this on Serendipity.

  2. October 28, 2016 1:33 pm

    More Facebook bollocks.

    Hasn’t anyone else bothered to read the Fraud Act 2006 yet?

    It’s not difficult. And shorter than the above ctrlC ctrlV

    Fraud, Misconduct in Public Office, Vulnerable Adult Abuse…. and all the rest.

    Where is the link to the ‘person’ who wrote this?
    (Check your sources Miss Huff Po)

    If this isn’t just made up BS then is the criminal who confessed this in prison yet?
    Where are the Police?

    • joy1952 permalink
      October 30, 2016 5:47 pm

      Why do you think it is fraudulent and bullshit?

  3. October 28, 2016 5:51 pm

    Reblogged this on campertess.

  4. October 28, 2016 9:02 pm

    Fraud Act 2006 –
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/contents

    Fraud by false representation –
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/section/2

    (1)A person is in breach of this section if he—
    ..(a)dishonestly makes a false representation, and
    ..(b)intends, by making the representation—
    ….(i)to make a gain for himself or another, or
    ….(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a ***risk*** of loss.

    (2)A representation is false if—
    ..(a)it is untrue or misleading, and
    ..(b)the person making it knows that it is, or ***might*** be, untrue or misleading.

    (3)“Representation” means any representation as to fact or law,
    ***including a representation as to the state of mind*** of—

    ..(a)the person making the representation, or
    ..(b)any other person.

    (4)A representation may be express or implied.

    (5)For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention).

    Fraud by abuse of position –
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/section/4

    (1)A person is in breach of this section if he—
    ..(a)occupies a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of another person,
    ..(b)dishonestly abuses that position, and
    ..(c)intends, by means of the abuse of that position—
    …(i)to make a gain for himself or another, or
    …(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a ***risk*** of loss.

    (2)A person may be regarded as having abused his position even though his conduct consisted of an ***omission*** rather than an act.

    Fraud by failing to disclose information –
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/section/3

    A person is in breach of this section if he—
    ..(a)dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is under a legal duty to disclose, and
    …(b)intends, by failing to disclose the information—
    ….(i)to make a gain for himself or another, or
    ….(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a ***risk*** of loss.

    e.g. Criminal quacks who just call themselves “health professional” “HP “DA”.
    (Or criminal gangs who ignore/hinder Subject Access Requests)

    Medical Act 1983 –
    Penalty for pretending to be registered –
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/54/section/49
    Medical Act 1983 –
    Penalty for pretending to hold a licence to practise –
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/54/section/49A

    Fraud –
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/section/1

    A person who is guilty of fraud is liable—
    (b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to a fine (or to both).

    Misconduct in Public Office –
    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/misconduct_in_public_office/

    Examples of behaviour that have in the past fallen within the offence include:
    wilful excesses of official authority;
    ‘malicious’ exercises of official authority;
    wilful neglect of a public duty;
    intentional infliction of bodily harm, imprisonment, or other injury upon a person;
    frauds and deceits.

    It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

    Not exactly difficult is it.
    So what have you done?
    .

  5. October 28, 2016 9:24 pm

    Oh –
    And obtaining “Evidence, Evidence, Evidence”
    is THEIR job, not yours.
    That’s why you give them GP/etc. addresses on their forms.

    See “omission” in “Fraud by abuse of position”
    .

    Where did samedifference1 get this confession from?
    Reported it to the Police yet?

    • joy1952 permalink
      October 30, 2016 5:49 pm

      Atos/Maximus have to pay GP’s and Consultants for information hence why they don’t bother. Also there ideology is to get as many people off ESA/Pip so why would they help the claimant?

  6. John Lockett permalink
    November 8, 2016 7:55 pm

    I did this. However, as we do not have room to store endless pieces of paper, I digitise everything and provided my evidence (117 pages) on a disk in .pdf format. A few days later the disk was returned with a curt comment that they only consider evidence in paper form. Three days later they sent me a letter claiming not to have recieved my application – despite returning the disk that had been stapled to it!

    My MP contacted DWP and, lo and Behold! today I recieved a demand to attend a ‘consultation’ in Manchester, despite Atos having a centre in my town.

    These people, from the Ministers down to the lowliest assessors are malignant, malicious bigots and incompetents.

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