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Thread: My Hubbys PIP Award, Some information that may help others not yet assessed

  1. #1

    My Hubbys PIP Award, Some information that may help others not yet assessed

    Thought this may be of use to anyone yet to assessed for PIP. My Hubby has been awarded enhanced care due to his severe mental health problems. He was awarded 4 points for Mobility for the planning and following a journey part ( needs prompting for all journeys )even though He can not follow an unfamiliar journey without someone being there with him and due to his cognitive problems he can not plan a journey, which I believed would score him a minimum of 8 points and so qualify him for standard mobility. I rang and asked to speak to the DM and they rang back 2 days later to speak to Me. I queried why He was only awarded 4 points and after a detailed conversation the DM said she would send Me his report that the HCP had completed and that it would explain how she came to her decision. Report arrived this morning and I must admit it is very detailed and accurate However and this is what may help others! At the actual assessment I spoke on behalf of My Hubby as he was so distressed. The report of a typical day is recorded exactly as I remember it ( You are allowed after the assessment to look at what has been written and can add or correct anything You feel is wrong or does not describe Your needs or problems accurately ) However and this is the important bit! I did not explain that Hubby can not and has never been able to use public transport I had put it on the PIP 2 form and in a statement I wrote BUT I did not reiterate or mention it at the actual assessment and The descriptors have been awarded on what was observed and spoken on the actual assessment appointment. The HCP had obviously read the PIP 2 form as there were lots in the report that mentioned things from the form BUT on the summing up report because the difficulty Hubby has re public transport was not explained by Me at the assessment it was not
    recorded! If it had of been He would have probably been awarded 12 points for not being able to follow an unfamiliar journey without some one else ...................According to DWP guidance: ‘A person should only be considered able to follow an
    unfamiliar journey if they are capable of using public transport (bus or train)’. So it’s vital that
    you give details of any problems you have with buses or trains. I have decided not to ask for a mandatory reconsideration as the assessment was so difficult and stressful for My Husband that I would not risk Him being called in for another face to face assessment. It is true that They look at the whole award again and that another DM makes the final decision and as the decision is based on how the evidence is interpreted by the DM there is always a risk that an award can be removed or lowered as well as awarded So after all the stress I can not go through all that again. But My Main Point is......... Make sure at the assessment You accurately and comprehensively tell the HCP how everything affects You in relation to the descriptors As this is what the DM looks at!!! Good Luck Everyone

  2. #2
    Most of what you write is encouraging. I'm glad to see you feel that:

    • the assessor made good use of the PIP2 answers (other than on the specific issue of public transport)
    • your description of your husband's functional history during the assessment was accurately recorded in the final report
    • that your husband's assessment report is detailed and accurate, which mirrors my feelings about my own report, and
    • that you were able to have a helpful discussion with the decision maker about your husband's award.

    Your discussion about the "planning and following journeys" activity reflects the interpretation I offered you a few days ago. I maintain my belief that there is a strong case for at least 8 points (giving standard rate Mobility) and a fair case for 12 points (giving enhanced rate Mobility).

    I've always likened challenging DLA awards to playing blackjack, where you have to decide whether to stick or twist. You can't shield any part of the award from reconsideration if you decide to twist, though I believe you stand on somewhat firmer ground with PIP in that the decision maker will normally adopt the findings of the assessment report unless there is good reason to depart from them.

    I think it is unlikely there would be a further face to face assessment with the resulting distress to your husband if you requested reconsideration purely on the basis that the assessment report and decision do not reflect your husband's inability to use public transport. I suspect there would be a paper only reconsideration of the points awarded on the "planning and following journeys" activity, which would hopefully result in the award of a Mobility component.

    However, you are quite right to focus on the inconsistencies in the Daily Living part of your husband's award, where he only has one spare point for the enhanced rate awarded. Gaining standard rate Mobility alongside a reduction in the Daily Living component to the standard rate would be a pyrrhic victory - you'd lose £5.15 per week at current rates though this would be partially offset by gaining entitlement to a 50% reduction on the tax for one car. This strongly supports your "leave it alone" approach.

    As your husband's award is three years long, you'll start the renewal process two years from the date of claim (the review date is one year before the end of award for all fixed term PIP awards of three years or more). This adds further weight to your "leave it alone, I'll know more next time" approach.

    In your position I'm certain that I, too, would opt to do nothing in the knowledge that I would be going through the assessment process again in not much more than 18 months. What I would do is immaterial anyway - what matters is that you have reached a decision that you feel is the right one for you and your husband.

    You could consider feeding back to Capita that you are mostly pleased with your husband's report, but disappointed over the failure to place adequate weight on his inability to use public transport. It might be that assessors are missing the importance of public transport when scoring "planning and following journeys".

    Thanks for feeding back here - it's really useful to know how your thinking has clarified following discussion with the decision maker and sight of your husband's assessment report.

    Your suggestion to keep emphasising the key points relevant to each activity and scoring descriptor is well made. I took a similar approach myself, though was fortunate to land up with nothing important being overlooked. It was drummed into me in law tutorials that what you leave out of a legal argument is almost as important as what you leave in, so that you keep the key points uppermost in the decision maker's mind.

  3. #3
    Good Morning Flymo! It was actually Atos who did Hubbys assessment and Yes I did think of writing and giving some feedback as anything that may help future claims and assessments can only be a good thing. When I was speaking to the DWP Decision Maker I asked her a lot of questions regarding what actually happens if I asked for a mandatory consideration and She actually said at the time That they would only look at the mobility part But she rang back 10 mins later and admitted she had given wrong advice and that another DM confirmed that they look at the whole award again, She also admitted she was new to the job and was learning herself, which although honest on her part does leave You feeling about how accurate some of the decisions made are. I accept that people can only learn by practical application but I did get the impression that My argument and knowledge of how the descriptors should be applied was a lot more than Hers! As DWP state the DM can change a descriptor that a HCP has awarded if they feel looking at all evidence inc the PIP2 form that another descriptor would apply But she has relied completely on the HCP report and this can and will only improve with more training and experience and probably only after a number of reconsideration requests are put forward and feed back given from a more experienced DM. Unfortunatley Everyone who has applied for this new benefit in the past year are the guinea pigs and some mistakes are inevitable, Hopefully between them all. Atos Capita and DWP they will eventually get things right!

  4. #4
    Senior Member flowerangelx's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    I wish I could have advised you before your husbands assessment.

    I put on my form that I have not used public transport since 2002. I kept repeating that. I explained what happens just at the thought of going out, nevermind using public transport. I also made it clear that I do not leave the house alone - not even to take rubbish out to the bin, or answer the door. I did the same for both ESA and PIP. I scored 15 points for ESA on that descriptor alone. I am unsure of my score for PIP as of yet. But I made *sure* that my PIP assessor did put that down.

    Like all things, I can not state how important evidence to back up your claim is. A lot of people say this does not matter but it actually does. I even took in letters from when I was forced to go to Ingeus stating that I may bring somebody with me and they will pay for taxis there and back!

  5. #5
    Well I am not going to ask for a reconsideration as I am happy with what Hes been awarded for care and to be honest its not like we go out much anyway! Would be interested though when you get your result if they do award you the descriptor based on not using public transport which should be descriptor D) awarding 10 points, Please keep us up to date, I think it is very helpful for everyone going through the PIP journey to hear of others experiences and It helps everyone understand how the DM comes to their decision. I agree completely everything must be evidenced and must apply to your disability, A point being that My Hubby has never been able to read well Only the most basic stuff and his writing and spelling is also very poor, He doesn't even use computers or mobile phones as he struggles to remember how to use them and due to his poor literacy he can not perform searches or text. However he has never been diagnosed with a learning difficulty or anything like that So the assessor could not take that into account. So due to no evidence of a learning difficulty she scored him as being able to read basic and complex information! and even though he can not there is no official evidence so she can only score as she has done!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by flowerangelx View Post
    Like all things, I can not state how important evidence to back up your claim is. A lot of people say this does not matter but it actually does.
    Whilst evidence is not essential, it is always a good idea to provide evidence whenever possible. Evidence makes it very hard for the decision maker to find against you.

    I'll try to frame something about public transport for the sticky PIP thread, as it is clear that the inability to use public transport might have much more of a bearing on Mobility component decisions on the grounds of learning difficulties or mental health than many people realise.

    I was speaking to a friend earlier this week about her son with Asperger's. At that time, his DLA renewal decision was expected imminently for what is likely to be the last time before he reaches 16, which would mean the next time round he will be under PIP rules (I've subsequently got a Facebook message from my friend to say that he did get highest rate Care and low rate Mobility, but I don't know for how long).

    My friend's son is likely to be a good candidate for the 12 point descriptor and an award of enhanced rate Mobility DLA, as there is no way he can cope with public transport and he can't make even familiar journeys without being accompanied.

    There are things that are wrong with PIP, but I think the more inclusive approach to the Mobility component is a welcome change. I feel the DLA approach to the Mobility component is outdated - why should it be that physical health problems get you higher rate Mobility or nothing, whilst learning difficulties or mental health problems (including the mental health complications of physical health problems) get you lower rate Mobility or nothing?

    The other project that's sitting in the back of my mind with respect to the sticky PIP thread is an index. In retrospect, I wish I'd left a blank post at the beginning to fill in an index later, but I hadn't realised quite what an epic it would become. There's a lot of good stuff in there, but an index would help navigation tremendously.

  7. #7
    I have already replied to flowerangels comment but has not been approved yet so forgive if any repeats! As said I agree with flowerangel about evidence to back up the problems you face is very important. Quote from hubbys report I accept you have difficulty reading basic and complex information and that your wife reads and explains written information to you But as this is not health related it can not be considered. So on that it has been decided He can read and understand basic and complex written information unaided or with spectacles!
    But as I have said in previous posts even if I had all this extremely helpful information before the assessment My husbands reaction to having the assessment and the distress he was in had a marked effect in how I was able to get across the information needed, So even if I was the best prepared as I could have been I would still have had to comfort and constantly reassure Hubby and in those situations things are always going to be missed or forgotten. I agree also Flymo some thread or file made with everyones PIP experiences would be helpful for all that are going through the process! x

  8. #8
    UPDATE! Hello everyone, I thought I would update on this thread re My Hubbys PIP award. I said I would not ask for a reconsideration Re The Mobility part and descriptor choice as at the time I was just so relieved the whole process was over and I was more concerned with supporting My Hubby. However the longer it went on The more I was convinced that the wrong descriptor had been applied taking into account all the evidence provided. I was way out of the 4 week limit for a Reconsideration But I decided to write a letter anyway Detailing what I was not happy with and why, and asking for clarification as to How they were applying the words Prompting and Assistance with regards to choosing the descriptors. I enclosed with the letter a print out from the PIP handbook with the explanations of what Prompting and Assistance meant and pointed out to them that I felt a mistake had been made by both The HCP and The DM both of whom were new to the job and that I did not want a misinterpretation by them to deny My Hubby the correct level of award. I was polite and non confrontational and accepted that mistakes can be made But also I did not want My Hubby to be penalised by an error. I also enclosed a print out of the descriptors for planning and following a journey and ticked What descriptors I believed applied along with what percentage of time they applied/affected My Hubby, referring back each time to The HCP report and The DM's reasoning statement. I posted the letter on April 6th 2014 and It was logged on to the computer with Hubbys claim on 11th April 2014. On Friday 16th May I received a phone call from a senior Decision Maker who wanted to talk about My letter and Hubby's award. He said after reading everything and going over both reports and the evidence I had already sent with the original claim form, That He agreed that A Reconsideration would be made on the Mobility part of the award and was I happy for that to be done. He also said that He also agreed with a couple of points I made re the Care award and a couple of the descriptors chosen that I believed were also applied incorrectly ( which would have given Hubby 19pts instead of 13 ) but as it did not affect the level of the award Was I happy for Him to only look at the Mobility part. I agreed. He then said He did not think the Descriptor awarded accurately assessed My Hubbys difficulties and He would send out a new decision in 7-10days! So I now wait for a revised decision and hopefully the fact He kept using the word Reconsideration, The new decision will be back dated to the original claim date. He did not say what level of award would be made but I will update again when I receive the award letter!
    Last edited by dukedog; 05-17-2014 at 04:03 PM. Reason: wrong date inserted

  9. #9
    good luck hope they get it wright this time hes lucky haveing you frighting in his coner

  10. #10
    If the Daily Living award will not be disturbed (the decision maker has said it won't be and has agreed that, if anything, your husband was given fewer points than he deserved), you literally have nothing to lose. In fact, I hope your husband loses nothing for Mobility and gain something instead.

    The "stick or twist" decision when there is something you feel is not right with a DLA or PIP award is never easy. You have to try to form the most objective view possible on the various elements.

    Here, the Daily Living points looked to be on the low side, so would probably increase if looked at again properly, though it's also fair to say that the loss of 2 of the 13 points originally awarded world have resulted in a drop to standard rate Daily Living.

    For Mobility, there was a strong case for an award of something, possibly even the enhanced rate via one of the 12 point descriptors for "planning and following journeys".

    On the length of award, the original award was on the short side. A different length of award is always possible, though I doubt much thought will be given to changing the length of award without that aspect being challenged specifically.

    Taken together, these factors indicate that a reconsideration request was likely to worth trying though, as I explained earlier in the thread, I could understand your initial decision to stick with what you had. I'm glad you changed your mind and that the decision maker is exercising discretion to admit your late reconsideration request. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a good result.

    As we've discussed recently, PIP is a process based on the guided exercise of discretion by human beings. This means there is always some latitude for two decision makers to reach a different conclusion on the same evidence.

    The key "take away" point from your most recent post for me is the way it underlines the value of being polite and gently persuasive. Those people who make their case on its merits without getting emotional, and who understand that things go wrong sometimes, keep the focus firmly on the reasons to get what they want.

    I look forward to hearing about the revised decision.

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