I thought those of you who claim or have attempted to claim PIP might want to know that the government has lost a court appeal about PIP. It doesn't mean you will get it if you didn't or that you will get more if you already get some PIP but it does mean a full review with more weighting to mental health issues.
This is good news for some, but unfortunately not for me . I got shafted by a dishonest assessor . My brother , who was with me at the assessment ,said I needed him with me on trips to London to my sister's house . The assessor dishonestly put in his report that I just needed prompting.
If he had put as my brother had stated and not lied I would have qualified for standard mobility . Being of a nervous disposition I didn't challenge his dishonesty as that might have meant having to travel to see people about it(the irony!) . I've just had to accept that I was dishonestly denied benefit I should have been entitled to with no hope of a wrong being righted.
I notice from this week's Private Eye that the Information Commissioners Office (ICO, in charge of freedom of information requests) has also ruled against the DWP recently. The DWP was trying to prevent information about the quality of assessments, level of complaints etc. from being released publicly. The DWP initially tried to claim that it didn't even hold the information, and after admitting that this was false, subsequently tried to censor the information on grounds of potential "reputational damage" to Atos, Capita and the DWP itself. The ICO have now ruled that the information should be released, though the DWP is considering whether to appeal the decision. The case was brought by John Slater, a disability rights campaigner.
I can't remember the details, but there also is some kind of cross-bench review happening in Parliament into the PIP assessment debacle going on at the moment. Already, both companies have been forced to admit their failings at even meeting the DWP's own targets. At their worst, up to 60% of Capita assessments, and 30% of Atos assessments were judged to be of an "unacceptable" standard, and now around 6% for each (the target is 3%.) The companies also admitted that assessments are not carried out by staff with sufficient knowledge of the disabilities that they are assessing, even in the most complex cases.
This is good news. I know that when I had my assessment for ESA (employment support allowance), I lacked the capacity to answer questions at that time and certainly without support. I accept, as my support worker pointed out, that they are probably unaware (most of them) of the mental capacity act. However, that still doesn't make it right, so thank god for these people who give their time to disability rights. This is certainly what I hope to get involved with as soon as I feel able.
My second pip assessment was at my house and I was certainly more prepared for it this time, but the assessor admitted that she knew little about autism. It's very good news to hear that changes are afoot.
The assessors base pip mainly on purely on pyhsical disability and the extreme scales of those types of problems with no regard to mental health at all. This is a good thing they are being held accountable. Pip is for support needs and plenty of people with mental health conditions use things like pip and ESA to pay for support workers or assisted living housing as no help is free in this country anymore.
I ended up having four assessments in little over a month, and the differences between them show just how inconsistent the process is.
I applied for ESA and PIP at the same time, as advised when I received my diagnosis. I got an assessment for each that were only a few days apart. I hadn't at this point got any assistance, though I'd been on a waiting list with an advocacy centre for months. I got sent home from the ESA one because they hadn't received my documents yet. The PIP assessor also sent me home, but this time, it was because I was showing signs of "cognitive impairment" (his words) and was thus "unfit to be interviewed". So both were re-booked, and I was advised not to attend alone next time.
By the time of the second round, an advocate had been found for me, though we only had two hours together to prepare for the next two assessments - on the Friday and Monday either side of the same weekend. The ESA one seemed to go well, and sure enough, I scored 14 points and was immediately assigned to the "support" group.
The PIP one was nothing but an hour of irrelevant questions and physical exams and the assessor said he was a former paramedic. My advocate tried his best to redirect the assessment towards the actual things I had claimed for on my application forms, but the assessor brushed most of this aside. This time, I scored zero points, and am deemed to have no "cognitive impairments", despite having been sent home for that precise reason only a few weeks previously!
I'm currently waiting for a second appeal hearing. The first was adjourned due to DWP having made such a mess of my casework that the judge couldn't reach a decision. In a strange twist of fate, the judge ruled that my PIP assessment was inadmissible on a technicality, so for the next hearing, they will be using the medical assessment from my ESA application as evidence for the PIP ruling. That will represent my case better, but only by sheer luck, and by the time this is all done, I'll be due my next ESA assessment!
If someone told me that Franz Kafka is still alive and well, working as a top mandarin at the DWP, I would not be remotely surprised!
Yes, exactly. I'm lucky enough to have a specialist autism service provider very accessible to me. From my contact with them, they seem very well set up and have good people, but anything beyond simple signposting advice requires payment for the services. Some of this could possibly come from the local authority, but they have no dedicated autism staff, so I'm at the mercy of whether the learning difficulties section will help me; my diagnosis specifically says "without intellectual impairment". Even if I got that funding, I would still have to pay a service user contribution, which I cannot possibly afford from my ESA. From what I see, my situation isn't unusual for autistic adults, so PIP is going to be essential for a significant number of people who might benefit from those services, and to the future of the organisation itself.
My local council has an autism support team and would offer an assessment to work out your income and what they can do. But they make it clear that whatever the outcome and whatever the scale of your needs are you will have to fund it your self and like you were saying putting people with conditions like ours and other neurological/mental health difficulties on the lower rate of things like esa/pip is detrimental and unnaceptable as that money is specifically for people than want to remain independent but need help from outside sources such as support workers and mental health services. I got turned down for pip and not currently in reciept of any benefits but if the tribunal when i go to the court and make my appeal decides to allow me even the lower rate i will take that as a blessing as i will be using that to fund a support worker that will be able to help me be more independent and get me out more. The system looks down upon anyome that is deemed with having a disability be it mental or physical as we are seen as a waste of government resources and that is the truth. But we didn't ask to be born with difficulties and they should be there to help. It kind of reminds of how doctors and nurses view older people and how they treat them in hospitals and care homes like they are the burden. The reality and the stark truth is they have a vision and the sick/ needy are not in that vision. You only have to see the rise in homelessness and rise in child suicide statistics to figure that out. We are moving back in time rather than forward and it will be such hard years to come.
Sadly, I think that your opinion of the problem is spot on. From these recent rulings, and the high success rate of PIP appeals, it seems that the judiciary are slightly more on our side than the government - but even when an appeal is won, the DWP is not censured in any way, so they are always free to put more people through the same wringer. There have been several reports by disability organisations pointing out the rise in suicides due to the desperation that people feel when their difficulties are not taken seriously by the benefits system, exactly as was predicted when the change to PIP was first proposed. It's hard to see any other way to read this than that we are considered second-class citizens.
My only hope is that with PIP, the government have cast their net too wide - to the point where nearly everybody, no matter their political allegiance, knows someone personally who is badly affected by the recent changes. Having it become an issue which people consider when casting their votes is probably our best hope of anything much changing for the better. However, given what masters of distraction the political elite and the media can be, and how polarised politics has become, I think it's a pretty slim hope at the moment.
Their will always be distraction and agenda greater than that of the real problems going on in the world no matter what they be and what country you are in. The most vulnerable in society are never going to be looked after by the governments and will not get what they are fully entitled to which is the basic right to fulfill a healthy long life. People are so easily distracted by the media like the youth for example what is going on in a reality show or what celebrities are having kids. They manipulate and brainwash the youth to keep them in line with their plans I could go on for 10 paragraphs but bottom line is we mean nothing to those in control. And I am not being negative or pessimistic in any way it is the truth and a lot of people are happy to live in a bubble but I'm a realist.
That’s crazy! I’ve yet to have my next ESA assessment. This time I know I need to be in the support group so need to make sure I get those points.