PIP Home assessment


#1

I was diagnosed in 2010 and, until recently, I’ve not been too bad. My worsening condition has led me to claim PIP. I have just had a home assessment.

Can I say first of all that I consider myself a reasonable and objective person and I approached the interview with an open mind.I also acknowledge that the interview needs to test/verify the information given by an applicant as some claims will be fraudulent.

I recorded the assessment so everything I say can be proved beyond any doubt, except that I have changed/omitted some unimportant detail in order to protect my identity. For this reason I have not disclosed which company carried out the assessment. I could give page after page of comment but here are my most significant concerns.

The interview was not carried out in accordance with DWP guidelines in these areas:-

Sufferers from PD should not be subject of an assessment if the disability they claim is ‘medically reasonable’ (I assume I had an assessment because they don’t believe me but, if so, why not ask my GP for a report)

Consent to the physical examination was dubious - ‘I’m going to examine you now - OK?”

The fact that it would not be a diagnosis, not to do anything that would cause pain etc was not explained. (When I couldn’t do an exercise I was asked if it was the pain that was stopping me!)

The interviewer did not take my additional evidence - I was told to post it to DWP.

The ‘typical day’ was not discussed.

Conduct of the interview

I didn’t realise this at the time but, having listened back to the recording, I have concluded that it was not designed to help decide my claim but simply to reject it. Here’s why:-

DWP Guidlines suggest that ‘summarising back to the claimant what has been said is useful to show active listening.’ It didn’t - when I said I couldn’t do something ‘most of the time’ this was summarised as 2-3 days per week. This happened on more than one occasion.

Assumptions were made - what do you use the computer for? Do you drive a car most of the time?
I’m assuming that the fact that I drive will infer that I can carry out other relevant tasks using the same function such as getting up and down, sitting etc This is fair enough but, taking into account that driving is not part of the criteria under assessment when I had explained the difficulty that I had driving, and that ‘most of the time I don’t drive’ this line of questioning went on too long.

Having established that we get our groceries delivered I was asked about walking around the supermarket!

I was asked about my hobbies. I said that it was so long since I had been to my xx club that i couldn’t remember when it was to be then ask ‘are there any other activities that I carry out ‘regularly.’

I said that I know longer cook for safety reasons - but was asked when I last dropped anything whilst cooking.

I found ‘is it just stress incontinence’, ‘when did you last burn yourself’, and ‘why don’t you help your wife with [one of her hobbies]’ insulting but perhaps I’m over-sensitive?

There’s lots more.

In the employment that I had to give up I was a trained interviewer and also carried out quality control of interviews. This interview is such that if it had been carried out by one of my team I would have started a disciplinary case. More worryingly there are other subtleties [not disclosed] which I believe suggest that the interviewer wasn’t a ‘poor interviewer’ but has been trained to carry out interviews like this.


#2

So, what was the outcome, cristobal?


#3

I’ve only had the assessment last week Benji so I haven’t had a result yet.

In many ways the result is immaterial - if my claim was fairly considered and refused I’d be disappointed but I’d accept it.

The assessor has tried to con me - and that will remain the case whatever the outcome. It may be mitigated to some degree if, having tried and failed to deceive me, the assessor acknowledges this and submits a fair report but that still won’t protect anyone in the future.

I’ll add an update when i get a copy of the report - apparently that takes about a month?

Thanks for reading my post…


#4

Hi cristobal - I was also asked if I did much driving at my assessment to which I replied “no because my husband automatically gets in the drivers seat, I can drive but If we go somewhere unfamiliar I’m not good at finding my way”. Then later was asked if I used a computer to which I said " yes, I mainly use it for my emails, playing games as a pass time, because I have no hobbies to speak of so use it for my own pleasure". Then later she asked if I could plan and follow an unfamiliar journey, my reply was " no I would not be able to do that, I’m not at all confident about finding my way, I would stress out about getting lost, I would not attempt to even get in the car and take on the task"

When the assessment results came through I was reduced to a lower rate of mobility because the assessor came to the conclusion “I would be able to plan and follow a journey because I could use a computer therefore I had no cognitive, sensory, intellectual or developmental impairment also because I used a mobile phone” ( even though it was a basic one and not a smart phone which I might add isn’t even connected to the internet!) No mention of having no sense of direction, and the fact that I have had two TIA’s which effect the brain to a certain extent which effect your perception and intake of anything.

I could go on, but I ended up loosing my disability car through this, I didn’t appeal, because they pointed out if I did I could possibly loose the rest of the benefit I was granted! Very harsh. I wish you the best of luck - Sheffy


#5

I was assessed in January and got 6 points for Daily Living. After a Reconsideration, this was increased to 7, effectively no difference. The reason? I drive a car about 5 miles a week so I can obviously get in/out of the bath unaided, fasten buttons and laces, always put my food directly into my mouth, wash and dry all parts of my body unaided, have no problems with grip, no cognitive impairments etc etc.


#6

I’m not likely to qualify then!

I’m still not certain I understand the significance placed on driving. I can’t get in the bath because I can’t lift my leg up high enough. I can, with difficulty, get in and out of my car. Also since driving in itself isn’t assessed, I wonder if an assessor might concentrate on this because there are no reliability criteria. If one of the categories was driving then it would have to be done …reasonably frequently, repeatably etc.

We’ll see …thanks for your post


#7

I think you might have hit on something with your comments that the DWP use driving as an excuse not to pay Pip. There is absolutely no correlation between lifting 63kg out of a bath full of soapy water, a distance of 32 cm and putting a foot out of a car fitting the car cane aid and then getting someone to hold the door open while you move the other leg and hang onto the car cane and get out… I try not to fill my car with warm soapy water even in a car wash !.At no time has my husband hurt himself holding open the car door but he was seen by an OT and shown how to avoid a second injury getting me out of the bath.
I’ve sent off my request for an appeal yesterday…It’s arrived at the correct office today so we will wait n see.


#8

Update:-

I scored 8 points so qualified for lower rate PIP which is what I thought that I might be awarded (I think I should have been given 10pts). However the whole thing seems to be getting crazier by the day.

In the health professional (HP)’s report many of the stitch-ups mentioned above have been edited but there are still lots of ‘inaccuracies.’ For example I do not have a downstairs bathroom as stated, I do not use a mobile phone to access social media, I do not read poetry on line, I do not pay for fuel at the kiosk. I don’t understand the comment that I am ‘unable to calculate change from a £20 if (I) spend £32.90’ nor the significance of ‘can drive a car’ when considering budgeting decisions.

In relation to mobility (I was awarded 4 points) rather helpfully the HP has calculated that I can walk 60m/sec (Hussain Bolt cannot run this fast, so I imagine that is a typo) and claims that I said that I can walk 200 metres to the church and back. This is interesting - even if I had said that - because I was told to use as a guide that ‘two lamposts is about 50 metres’ and the church it is a lot less than ‘one lampost.’ It’s more or less opposite my house.

I would like the report to be accurate because if I just let it go I’m concerned about what will happen in two years time when my case is reviewed.

Unfortunately the company who carried out the assessment refuse to consider changing these innaccuracies, nor deal with the matter as a complaint. DWP seem to be sympathetic but say that ‘they are a private company so there’s nothing that you can do.’


#9

You can appeal the descision and go to a tribuneral.


#10

Hi @cristobal,

I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t get the results that you were hoping for. However, this doesn’t have to be the final answer, you can also ask for a mandatory reconsideration if you are unhappy with the level of the benefit that has been awarded to you. The main this is to not be discouraged.

If you need more assistance with this, please contact the Parkinson’s UK helpline 0808 800 0303 or contact your Parkinson’s local adviser.

Best wishes,
Reah