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Thread: Wife's swap from DLA to PIP

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2019

    Wife's swap from DLA to PIP

    Hi, my wife had her face to face assessment at an assessment centre on August 22nd 2019. We requested a home visit but, were refused. The results came in on Saturday morning : 12 points mobility 9 points care. She has gone from high rate care and mobility on DLA - which was an indefinite award given to her in 2004. I am actually angry at the 'decision maker's' report - which is full of assumptions.

    My wife's disabilities are all physical and she is a wheelchair user. She's had numerous operations on both her legs over the years and the full length of her spine (kyphoscoliosis - which is so severe - her ribs have twisted, putting pressure on her internal organs - including her heart, and has medication for heart arrhythmia - due to her mitral valve prolapse. She also had failed spinal fusion - full length of spine and the rods and wires had to be removed about a year after surgery. She has muscle and nerve damage to mainly her left hand and arm - and she is left handed - she's also had tendon release to her right wrist but, the condition has flared up again). I had to finish work to be her full time carer, many years ago. She's also had tendon releases in her wrists and both hands - which have affected her grip.

    My wife was in her wheelchair throughout the assessment and was never asked to get out. She has blisters and cellulitis to both her legs - in addition to many knee surgeries over the years.

    The assessor only gave us a first name - she was heavily pregnant and my wife was her last client before her maternity leave.

    For each descriptor , we both said what difficulties we had. For example, my wife is physically unable to cook a meal sat in her wheelchair at hob height - her torso is shortened by 9 inches - so her face would be level with the gas hob. She can't move even light pans about and I also made a point of saying that if she tried to bend to use the oven in her chair, she would probably topple over. The assessor gave her 2 points for this descriptor saying my wife needed an aid/appliance to help her to cook a simple meal !

    Eating and drinking - My wife was scored 0 because, apparently, she needs food cutting up only on the minority of days! I remember the assessor asking what kind of meals we eat - which I thought was odd. So we told her we eat a variety of meals and my wife has difficulty cutting due to the nerve damage in her hands. The assessor said my wife had 'normal grip' - totally contradicting the tests my wife had done at Leeds and Sheffield Hospitals many years ago. She asked my wife to use her four fingers to grip the assessor's index finger - she couldn't grip tightly - you could see that. Her ring and little finger on her left hand are permanently numb - she gets muscle and nerve spasms in her left hand. None of this was mentioned in the report. My wife can no longer wear her wedding and engagement rings on her left hand as the hand/arm swell up with fluid. Also due to poor posture, my wife takes a good half hour to eat as food gets stuck in her oesophagus - she panics when this happens and it looks to be extremely painful.

    Managing treatments - Assessor scored 0. My wife explained that she has difficulty getting tablets out of strips due to poor manual dexterity. Some of her medication like her long term antibiotics cannot be put in a dosette system. The strips come in individual foil bags with a sachet of silicon in them to keep them dry. We also explained that wife has to have her legs treated with fucibet cream - I have to apply it several times a day as obviously wife cannot reach. My wife is also prescribed voltarol emugel which has to be applied to her back /ribs and hips - also which I have to do. I even remember what I said at the time - "If you don't know you have a paper cut, you soon find it when applying Voltarol". The assessor laughed and agreed.

    Washing and bathing - Assessor scored my wife 3 points. We have a ground floor bathroom with a bath hoist (we also have a through floor wessex many other adaptations which are more of an aid to help me - than my wife as she can't use the adaptations unaided). The assessor thinks my wife just needs help getting into the bath and out again - with no hair washing or lower extremities washing ...or her lower back. In fact the assessor didn't even ask about 'washing' - she was just questioning the bath hoist!

    Managing toilet needs - Assessor scored 2. My wife is incontinent of urine as she doesn't' feel the sensation as to when her bladder is full - again due to spinal nerve damage. Both toilets in the house are adapted with a frame and raised seats. My wife needs full assistance. Nothing mentioned about incontinence or the level of help required

    Dressing and undressing 2 - Assessor scored 2 - an aid is required to dress or undress. Again, we went through this. My wife has size 48H breasts and is unable to put a bra on in the conventional way....she is also unable to put one on that fastens at the front as she hasn't the power in her left arm to pull the elastic to fasten the hooks. My wife wears a lot of kaftans as they are comfortable but needs a hand to get them over her head!

    Communicating - 0 points. The assessor said my wife wasn't 'breathless on exertion' - she didn't get out of the wheelchair! My wife is breathless at rest and when she speaks. Only her right lung expands to nearly a full capacity. Her left lung is restricted by her deformed rib cage

    Reading - 0 points. The assessor said my wife has no difficulty recognising signs - she never asked that question. Nor did she check my wife's short term memory - the remembering three words exercise

    Mixing with other people - 0 points. My wife does not like mixing with other people as she has severe body image issues. She also hates the fact that she's in a wheelchair and feels that people are staring at her. Again, nothing mentioned about this

    Making budgeting decisions - 0 points - the questions weren't even asked. No mental arithmetic ...wife has dyscalculia (so does our 18 years old daughter!)

    PLanning and following a journey - 0 points. We explained that my wife cannot go out without someone with her as she cannot self propel . She doesn't drive and cannot use public transport

    Moving around - 12 points

    The decision maker agrees that my wife has severe difficulties but, cannot award for preparing a meal as 'bending' isn't in the descriptor. I noticed how the word 'bending' was cherry picked from what I said. I said it would be dangerous for her to bend in a wheelchair to retrieve something from the oven due to her posture and lack of manual dexterity. I wished we'd had this assessment recorded! He also goes on to say that my wife's musculo skeletal examination (what examination? She refused to even look at my wife's spine ! ) showed 'normal power in both arms and hands' (I'm getting angrier by the minute with this). The assessor said my wife had difficulties mixing with other people but, as she spoke to the assessor there was 'no problem' )it's a bit different to being in a busy supermarket and people pointing at my wife's spinal deformity!). My wife did not appear agitated or anxious....then later says that my wife was 'in a great deal of pain' (her ribs were having a spasm and she was sweaty and gasping for breath!). Again, it's mentioned about the musculo skeletal examination (that never happened) - my wife has slightly abnormal flexion in her spine. She has a massive rib hump deformity and her head protrudes forward so that her chin is virtually on her chest - there's nothing we can do about this - pseudoarthrosis in her neck prevents her from lifting her the 'slight abnormal flexion' is an absolute joke! She has an 100 degree upper curve and 78 degree lower curve

    The assessor said my wife had reduced hip movements bilaterally (again how would she know this having not examined my wife. I assume she had xray vision and could see through both a kaftan and a cape) - she said my wife has muscle wastage in both legs and there were obvious signs of cellulitis and previous operations to both legs (at least she got this part correct!). She also says my wife's disability does cause severe difficulty in getting around. The assessor couldn't award points for not mixing (as my wife spoke to the assessor); not being able to plan a journey as public transport is not in the descriptor; no additional points for washing and dressing as my wife only needs an 'appliance'. Also no points for having to be near a toilet as urinary incontinence doesn't occur on the majority of days (it happens several times a day!)

    Some forums have said that we should be happy with what we've got - but, I'm not being funny - I had to give up a well paid job to be a full time carer - losing £30 a week is a massive amount to lose after all these years especially with the amount of care my wife needs.

    She has only got PIP for three years as there might be some change (??) - that also messes up our motability car as we won't have a year left on the lease to be able to get a new car. All my wife's conditions are inoperable - she will never get better. She was on IB for 9 years and then was swapped to ESA. Maximus did her ESA assessment and they scored high points in everything - it was a physiotherapist who worked with people with kyphoscoliosis at the NGH - so she understood my wife's disability in great detail. She's been in the support group for 6 years now. How can two 'similar' assessments be totally opposite to one another?

    I don't think PIP works for the physically disabled at all - especially when ATOS cherry pick words you have said to enable them to give you less points.

    Do we risk a mandatory reconsideration ...or should we be 'happy' with our lot? It's taken them nearly 8 weeks to make a decision - it took Maximus ONE week - we don't know if our nerves can stand another lengthy wait

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Perhaps give the case manager a ring and query the daily living explaining why you are doing so. This is sometimes all that is needed.

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