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PIP Assessor: “Do You Have Friends?”

June 13, 2017

‘So Rob, do you have friends?” I’m wondering what on earth Sharon (not her real name) thinks she might be looking at as she gazes at me. She’s had around seven days of training before this and now, in my living room, I wonder what conclusions she feels she can draw from asking this question.

How do I answer? Do I respond with a puppyish, “Oh yes, us disabled people always have plenty of friends”? Or do I go with a more provocative, “No, us disabled people mostly eat soup in a mug and cry in front of Mrs Brown’s Boys”?

This is the reality of an assessment for personal independence payment, or Pip as it’s known. Despite last week’s election surprise, we still have a Conservative government so millions of British people with permanent, unchanging disabilities will be put through this astronomically expensive and humiliating test to see if they can be thrown off benefits.

If you’re wondering why I’m part of all this, I have ocular albinism and nystagmus, meaning I have exceptionally limited vision.

At the age of 38, I’ve been claiming disability living allowance since I was a teenager. It works out at £5.73 a day, which goes towards paying for taxis, screen magnification software, magnifying glasses and a variety of other utterly prosaic things that enable me to lead as “normal” a life as possible. And because of my visual impairment, paired with anxiety that requires daily medication, it’s been decided by the Department for Work and Pensions that I must have a home visit to assess my disability in all its permanent, unchanging glory to see if I qualify for the payments that are slowly replacing DLA.

Sharon works for Atos, one of the two profit-making companies (Capita being the other) that have been given half a billion pounds by the government to “assess” people like me with disabilities where there is zero chance of any improvement in our lifetime.

Well, you may be thinking, at least the assessor will be an expert in the relevant field of disability, who can perhaps shed some insight on the process with direct relation to my specific condition?“Do you wear glasses, Rob?” is the next question of around 35 that are fired at me over the course of a gruelling hour. Asking an albino if he or she wears glasses is like asking an amputee when their leg is going to grow back. Albinism is a genetic condition that affects the nerves and the brain. Sharon’s line of questioning has the kind of expertise you might expect if you asked Joey Essex to lead the Brexit negotiations.

Let’s clarify this: people’s benefits, mobility vehicles, home help and other essential lifelines are being decided upon by a team consisting mostly of nurses and occupational therapists like Sharon who have had seven days of training and are still doing their proper job for half the week.

And so the asininity continues: “Do you take showers?” “Do you have any leisure activities?” “What do you eat?” The humiliation and intrusion are absolute and total. The additional sheer irrelevance of these questions relating to my own disability renders me silently apoplectic.

Sharon isn’t a bad person. She looks barely 30 and she’s just doing her job. Yet the decisions she and her ilk are making just aren’t working out. In the final three months of 2016 alone 65% of people appealing against the denial of Pip won their cases against the government.

It’s a shoot of hope. Yet shouting out stats is like ordering people to eat their greens. You know it’s right but you hate it all the same. So what you’re reading is just one story about the effects of a system that is supposed to give people like me the means to be more confident and able in society. The result is that I have never felt more vulnerable and, frankly, disabled in my life.

After Sharon leaves I make a mug of tea. It’s what British men do when they really don’t want to cry. It’s too late though. As the first tears of rage and shame and frustration seep out my vision blurs and I pour boiling water from the kettle on my hand. How “disabled” of me. That might have got me a few extra points if Sharon had seen it.

Can I have my fiver now?

19 Comments leave one →
  1. jeffrey davies permalink
    June 13, 2017 4:03 pm

    hmm rob sais
    Sharon isn’t a bad person. She looks barely 30 and she’s just doing her job. Yet the decisions she and her ilk are making just aren’t working out. whot are you off your head they are paid assassins doing government work whot they write down will affect your points they are the firing squad for the disabled don’t make out they aint bad peoples has they do the governments work they bloody despicable people who do the dwp culling for them jeff3

  2. June 13, 2017 8:40 pm

    a nice piece but as usual a bit sparce .. think of it this way .. the government have been taking us back to the 1930’s and specifically the nazi regime in germany. There they see the nazi changes in their society. all disabled members of the state, regardless of their nationality were persecuted and killed off as scroungers or of no use to the country. ring any bells? then we have immigrants, demonized and either removed to concentration camps or forced to emmigrate. they had a thing about jews especially at that time and while they did help some jewish organised movements to palistine as it was called then, they later decided on the final solution and sent millions to the concentration camps like auschwitz. I mention auschwitz for a specific reason .. The wording over the gates reads “work sets you free”. with all this going on the government started up the secret police Gestapo, who asked lots of annoying questions of those not in work and had the power to make you disappear. Then there was the Waffen SS.. they were not germans but mercenaries, paid to help rid the state of all those it did not want.

    now then back to the present day. The UK government has taken on board a lot of policies that could have come direct from the policy documents of the nazis. we have a female fuhrer desperate to cling on to power. The DWP spends all its time trying to take all it can from the unemployed instead of helping as it was set up to do originally, more like the gestapo. Ehen we have work assessment run by foreign companies, using low or no skilled numpties to declare disabled and sick members of our society as fit for work, so they can grab the cash from them and leave them to starve. These are more like the Waffen SS. Then we have the mantra of the last 7 years or so .. “Work Sets You Free” They have even suggested that disabled and ill should be institutionalized, bit like the so called work camps that the germans set up but were really killing machines.

    anyone thinking this is a bit more like history repeating itself?

    • Jeffrey Davies permalink
      June 14, 2017 6:14 am

      It’s called aktion t4. By the summer of 41. They passed these figures

  3. Sarah permalink
    June 13, 2017 10:24 pm

    I suspect you may get a shock when you read the assessment report, hopefully in an accessible format. May be Sharron will be completely trueful and honest and not cut and paste stock answers that bare little resemblance to how you cope, what you stated, and what she found if she carried out any examinations. My ATOS assessor appeared pleasant but the report bare little resemblance to the actual assessment. There seems to be a tendency to make inaccurate assumptions and not even consider any supporting evidence including prescribed medications that claimants submitted Good Luck hopefully you will not have the money to help with taxis, and other costs related to your disability cut and have to go through stressful weeks for Mandatory Reconsidration and months waiting for a tribunal hearing simply to get the award you should be entitled to. Your life may have to go on hold unless others can support you.

  4. Lou permalink
    June 14, 2017 12:44 am

    No support or help for us. No sympathy for Sharon, They read what weve told them honestly and select mindless answers to defeat our claim How ndo they sleep?

  5. Lou permalink
    June 14, 2017 12:45 am

    Where are OUR friends?

  6. Lou permalink
    June 14, 2017 12:51 am

    I have had MS for 25 years…she reported I could blow my nose and open my wallet..DWP have based d their assessment on this rubbish rather than 25 years experience of disability..of course I can get dressed and fed…with help…however.or id have died.

  7. June 14, 2017 3:56 am

    >Sharon isn’t a bad person.
    It works for ATOS, of course it it a “bad” (criminal) person.

    That lightweight bit of whiny fluff was published in the Guardian.
    Did you know that a lot of Atos/Maximus murdering quack fraudsters are members of Jeremy Corbyns Unison Union?
    Did you know that a lot of DWP/Atos/Maximus/Capita murdering, vulnerable adult abusing, Hate Criminal, fraudsters are members of Jeremy Corbyns bestest mates PCS Union?
    How do you think those DWP criminal sickos have been getting away with it for years, all of those political lowlife are involved.

    Here’s some info the Guardian won’t tell you…

    Medical Act 1983 –
    Penalty for pretending to be registered –
    Penalty for pretending to hold a licence to practise –

    Fraud Act 2006 –

    Misconduct in Public Office –

    Criminal Attempts Act 1981 –


    Homicide: Murder and Manslaughter –

    Disability Hate Crime – Criminal Justice Act 2003 (section 146) –
    Increase in sentences for aggravation related to disability –

    Care Act 2014 –
    Safeguarding adults at risk of abuse or neglect –

    Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 –
    Ill-treatment or wilful neglect: care worker offence –

    Ill-treatment or wilful neglect: care provider offence –

  8. sue taylor permalink
    June 14, 2017 11:30 am

    What takes place at an assessment and the report that follows are two completely different things.They contradict what claimant says he or she can do and a lot of assesses actual lie.

    • Sarah permalink
      June 14, 2017 11:58 am

      Very true, ATOS and CAPITA assessors need to realise their professional registration could be at risk all for the sake of trying to meet expectations of their employer and the DWP.

      • June 14, 2017 1:49 pm

        >professional registration could be at risk (and Maximus)

        Read the Fraud Act (and the rest) they should be in PRISON.

        Why aren’t they?
        Most police forces have a Labour or Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner. Most Police forces EMPLOY Capita and/or Atos.
        DWP/Atos/Capita/Maximus Unions PCS and Unison infest Police forces, CPS, IPCC, MoJ, ICO ect.

  9. jeffrey davies permalink
    June 14, 2017 3:26 pm

    oh dear we chase these beggers through their employers then at their union only to be told that they had a black mark against their name oh dear a black mark be a good person for a year but chasing atos well the sneaky gits has another ace up its corporate sleeve kmpg another arm of atos its legal arm now resides at the nurses union yep when asked about this the unions response was they aint envolved in nurses disputes makes you cry jeff3

  10. June 14, 2017 5:46 pm

    Great find Jeff 🙂

    Atos-Kpmg –

    It’s not just ‘nursing’ unions…
    The NMC is ‘supposed’ to be striking off the criminal murdering abusing quack fraudsters working for Atos-Capita-Maximus

    Instead Atos-Kpmg do Fake ‘Independent’ reports for the NMC –

  11. Jeffrey Davies permalink
    June 14, 2017 7:09 pm

    Sorry about that my dementia brings much to my words and sentences but thanks to above he sees whot I was getting at Kpmg or whot ever they are just part of atos thanks for putting those four letters the right way round

  12. Jeffrey Davies permalink
    June 14, 2017 7:10 pm

    Lou if one needs help jump over to. There’s help there to fight back against this injustice

  13. jeffrey davies permalink
    June 14, 2017 7:48 pm

    yes I now I got into trouble sayin crapita works at my local council offices and the video cameras around town while crapita buys up parking eye a company that polices super markets hospital carparks now then I ask are we paying them to work the videos cameras and they work on the side hobbling taking car regs so that they can fine em for over staying in that carpack but hold on dvla they also there do they pay themselves for that car owner reg oh dear its a full circle and I tweeted a lovely labour man while he was on a committee a few months ago while he was asking questions on crapita oh he had it all and his words back to me not quite a window licker but words on that line so I emailed corbyn with all that whot was said between us guess a few days later a mp was asking for my forgivenesss oh dear sorry sd for pinching this thread but all helps in the end jeff3

    • June 14, 2017 10:08 pm

      Nice to hear that you’ve actually got a reply from a politician!!!

      Eight years of this criminal abuse and the only reply from political filth was one from a local government independent to tell me that it was DEAD :/

      … unless you count all of the criminal intimidation and hate from those political nonce pondscum as ‘replies’.

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