Assesment letter received this morning

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Hi all,

My forms were received last monday and today i have received a letter for my assessment which i am booked in for next Thursday at 9am in a town nowhere near me. I am thinking my form has be processed quick, does anyone else agree? I only sent of a GP letter yesterday with another letter from a family member regarding my disability.

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  • Posted

    How far away is the assessment from you?
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    • Posted

      Hi Natalie is that there and back, if so that's about right but 2 hours would be about a hundred miles away, surely that would be extreme, if your Dr has put 50 metres I think you will struggle to get enhanced at all as I know its 20 metres at very most.

      Have you sent DR's letter in, if so you will struggle now to alter that as DR's want change there descriptors, your lucky to get a Dr to commit to any distance as they are not actually able to judge because they don't see you often enough or in the right environment, I had to have a report from physio and orthopedic surgeon to verify my inability to walk.

      Can you get any reports from any one else.

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    • Posted

      Well, its 2 hours there and 2 hours back. My mother wrote a letter as she sees the struggles everyday and i had the exact same when i was the child but unfortunatly with age it has got worse. My mother went into more detail then the GP did. Yes the letter has already been sent off sad I didnt realise the mistake until i looked at the orginial letter this morning.

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    • Posted

      Everyone needs to be very careful about travelling to an assessment if they have mental health or cognitive problems. Assessors are adopting the position that if you can travel to an appointment, then your problems can't be that bad.

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    • Posted

      Well Pam that might well be part of the answer as to why I get so many knock backs from the DWP.

      ​Whilst my wife does drive me to and from the assessment centres, I have never had anybody actually be with me during the assessment - my claim - my problem, so to speak.

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  • Posted

    Hi Natalie two weeks is about right, I got my appointment for exactly one week after they received my forms, but due to my inability to walk and needing wheelchair friendly taxi and can't sit for that long ie 3 hours there and back and then interview on top of that I asked for home assessment, they booked that for a week later, it was another 4 weeks before I got my decision letter, so six weeks in total, not too long

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    • Posted

      Ok thank you. Im worried about the whole thing. I am a dwarf and stand at 4ft4... I want the freedom to learn to drive, i have been in contact with Mobility as i would need a car to be adapted, for this i would have to received enhanced mobility and because my GP put 50 metres on my letter and not 50 feet like i said for my walking ability and with that i am in pain, i do not think i will get anything.
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    • Posted

      Could i not mention it in the assesment? as she also mention something about my family and she got that wrong as well.... she mention how many siblings i have and she said 6... rolleyes

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    • Posted

      my GP put 50 metres on my letter and not 50 feet like i said for my walking ability and with that i am in pain

      ?Are you saying that the GP listened to what you said and then wrote a letter repeating what you had said (although getting it wrong along the way)?

      ?The DWP will/should pick that up as that is not a report from the GP, but a rehash of what you told him/her - it is a 3rd hand opinion.

      ?The GP should have assessed your mobility and then reported on it having seen the difficulties with his own eyes. GP's cannot go round making up reports on what the patient says. 

       

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    • Posted

      No, she assesed me last week, but she said herself 50 feet and then wrote 50 metres in the letter. It wouldnt be possible for a GP to write whatever someone tells them... i dont think GP will even do that.
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  • Posted

    What the assessors should do isn't what they actually do.

    ?For a start asking someone to go for a face to face assessment should be the last resort. The assessor should have considered the content of the claim form and have reviewed all of the evidence sent in. Then they have to consider if there is the opportunity of getting additional evidence to enable a decision to be made without a face to face.

    ?Only at the end of the day if the assessor is left with no other choice is a face to face assessment arranged.

    ?Additionally if they receive more evidence from the claimant even if the face to face appointment has been made, they must consider that new evidence to see if they can cancel the appointment.

    Given your circumstances it does appear that the assessor has cut short all of that and has made the appointment.

    The government issued instructions that more face to face assessment must be carried out - hence why the assessors are now short circuiting the system to comply. 

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    • Posted

      Les.  You have got this completely wrong.  The DWP themselves are admitting that face to face assessments are running at 98%.  I am involved with my disability support group and I can tell you that some claimants have submitted excellent application forms filled in by professional support workers and supported by consultants letters, and they have still been asked for a face to face assessment.  The actual position is this.  The DWP are really not interested in the supporting medical evidence submitted by claimants unless it speaks directly to the activities being assessed - you are absolutely right when you say that this lady's GP report is third hand (my patient tells me etc)  and the DWP are unlikely to consider it. Some evidence has come to light to suggest that even the PIP2 is not fully considered by either assessors or decision makers.  My support group and several advocacy agencies are now telling claimants to ise a highlighter pen to emphasise important points in their application, as the assessors don't do much more than skim reading and are missing important information which is later picked up at appeal. Decision makers in the main don't consider anything other than the assessors report. I have seen several cases recently where claimants have failed to mention in the assessment a condition or effect that they have detailed in the PIP2, and they have not scored any points - when they have raised it at mandatory reconsideration, all have been told that if it has not been raised at the assessment, then it does not score points, even if it is detailed in the PIP2.  I have been through the regulations and I can't find anything to support this - all of the guides and handbooks direct the decision makers to consider all the evidence, but clearly they don't.  The thinking in our support group is that the assessment is key. Whatever happens in that 45 minutes or so is likely to drive the decision more than anything else.  What decision makers ARE directed to do, is to ignore supporting medical evidence if the claimant demonstrates at the assessment that they have more capabilities than the specialist indicates.  So the assessment is key, and decision makers are relying almost wholly on the assessor for guidance. Almost all applicants are being called for a face to face, despite the guidance suggesting otherwise.

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    • Posted

      So what your saying is that in theory all forms and accompanying medical evidence should be adequate information for them to make a judgement as to whether the award should be given?

      So what will happen to people out there who for whatever reasons find it difficult to fill out there forms, don't amass enough medical evidence to support there claim even though they are maybe far sicker and disabled than they have portrayed, also when for that same reason they find there claim rejected are they allowed to still ask for am MR and then if that fails to take it to tribunal, if they can then if negates the idea that them just looking at paperwork would work.

      So if someone looks ill has horrendous anxiety which is difficult to explain like many mental health conditions they wouldn't be seen and the paperwork wouldn't in my opinion give a clear picture to someone who hasn't ever suffered with it.

      I would write more but my arm is struggling, but I'm glad I had my assessment as I feel it gave me a chance to put my case forward even though I had sent in plenty of info etc

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    • Posted

      Thank you for what you have said, I think my best bet is the face to face assesment and then i can explain in detail and they can see themselves the struggles i have day to day... Its very hard to explain by writing in a form and its hard for a GP to make judgement when they do not see me every day hence why my mother (even though i didnt want her to as i find it embarrasing) wrote a letter as i received DLA as a child and she sees my struggles everyday and she helps me... The GP has made judgement on when she has seen me.
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    • Posted

      I agree, best to be seem, at least then they do get a good idea of how you are managing.

      No stilettos LOL hope you don't mind some humour.

      As we all know its more how your affected then what you suffer with.

      Have your forms gone.

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    • Posted

      Lol, sense of humour is more then welcome.

      Yes the forms were received on the 7th Nov and the GP letter and my mother letter was sent off yesterday separatly as the GP needed 7 days, today I received the assessment letter. So I think I'll take a copy of my.mother's letter, GP letter incase that isn't on the system.

      I'm so worried and scared about this. I hate being age 26 and having to have my family and friends to make me meals or stand with me while I'm on a chair doing it or they do my washing up as I cannot reach the taps or they bring the shower head lower for me as I can't reach and wash my back as I can't reach.

      I didn't think from 16 I wouldn't actually stay the same height but get worse in movement and ability sad

      Thank you for your wise words.

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    • Posted

      You go and don't be intimidated, explain clearly all the things you struggle with, things that make your daily living more difficult than someone who is higher off the ground, public transport must be a hard utility to use as even getting on and off must be pretty scary.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Pam - once again ground breaking comments that on balance are what actually goes on despite what should go on.

      ?Four points I would mention the first being is that it is very logical that if the evidence supplied does not directly refer to the descriptors chosen by the claimant then that evidence should quite rightly dismissed.

      ?The second is the face to face itself. As many know the assessor who is in control will decide what questions to ask and how to ask them. They certainly haven't got all day to listen to extended answers. In fact it is quite common for the assessor to over ride any answers beyond the first sentence in the reply. The third point is that with the assessor in control it would take a brave person to say - "hang on I haven't finished telling you the full facts yet so sit and wait until I have finished and then we can move on - so rude for interupting me". Then the issue of giving explanations when a question has not been asked. Again very brave to attempt that.

      ?Finally the fourth, We all know that the DWP are intending to intiminate claimants at a Tribunal with profession reps for the DWP being allowed to cross examine the claimant. And moving on still further, what will happen when the 'appearance in person' is denied a claimant? Is the claimant, without professional assistance going to be able to submit a proper submission, backed up with relevant evidence and references to case law?

      ?All in all the DWP are certainly moving well away from providing justice and being fair. They are manipulating everything in their favour

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    • Posted

      No. Almost all claimants are asked to attend a face to face assessment, regardless of the quality of the supporting evidence. Even where supporting evidence strongly suggests a claimant cannot do something, if they do it at the assessment even once, the supporting evidence will be discounted in favour of the assessors report. 

      You make an excellent point about those people who cannot adequately make a case on paper - the way things are at the moment, they are likely to be called for a face to face assessment as the evidence they submit is unlikely to be clear as to what, if any, award should be made.  It's a sad fact of life that this application process is very difficult for very sick people who underestimate their disability, and also for vulnerable people with mental health difficulties or cognitive problems.  There are some safeguards in place for the application process. - the DWP flags up those who may need extra help or time to deal with the application forms, but unfortunately this is not followed through at the assessment because people with these disabilities are unlikely to have an assessor with the appropriate skills or experience to adequately assess them.

      Everyone has the same rights of mandatory reconsideration and appeal but not everyone will have access, or indeed even know where to find the appropriate help to complete the forms or get help with appeals.  The best advice I can give is that if you think you need help to complete the forms, visit your GP as soon as you make an initial claim, or as soon as you get first contact from DWP to advise you are being moved from DLA to PIP, and ask for a referral to an appropriate advocacy agency who will provide the help you need. 

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    • Posted

      I agree in principle with everything you say, but our support workers are attending face to face interviews with the more vulnerable claimants, and do actually ask the assessors to listen to the full answers to questions.  They do indeed try to cut off any detailed explanation but it is the claimants' right to be heard and I would advise all claimants to be forceful in exercising that right. In theory, the assessment is not time limited (the DWP state that they take as long as is necessary to the individual) but in practice I have yet to see one lasting more than around 45 minutes to an hour.  

      More more and more, it's becoming evident that the face to face is what the claimant will be judged on and you make a very good point about the questions they don't ask. I know you don't think much of the benefits and work website, but they do have a very good guide as to how to answer unasked questions so that the assessor does not make assumptions because you have not explained the full facts For example - 'do you drive' is a loaded question because if you do drive, the assessor is likely to make assumptions about other things you can do requiring similar skills.  So - if you do drive, but require adaptations to the vehicle to allow you to do so, then it's important that you tell the assessor, as this speaks to assumptions they will make if they think you can drive unaided. Another example of a common assumption on the part of the assessor, is if you use an aid or adaptation to do something. They are fond of recommending unspecified aids in favour of help from another person because this scores lower points so if you use any kind of aid to do something but still need help from another person it's vital you say so, and give reasons.  Similarly if there is an aid or appliance you cannot use, tell the assessor what it is and why you cannot use it.

      At the end of the face to face assessment all claimants are supposed to be given the opportunity to go through what the assessor has noted down, to make sure they agree.  In practice this is not happening, so again exercise your rights and ask to see what has been written - better this than waiting for an assessment report which is inaccurate and will result in the wrong rate of benefit.

      I agree that claimants rights are being eroded and the move to online appeals means that the claimant may not have the opportunity to show a tribunal their true level of disability, and that the DWP are making more effort to send representatives to tribunals, but i would hope that help is available in the same way it is now, with regard to preparing for appeals and tribunal hearings, but I suppose it's too early to tell.

       

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    • Posted

      Thanks Pam,

      ?Everything you have said I agree with. But there is a massive BUT and one that you have mentioned - the lack of quality help in certain areas of the country and the ability of the claimant to be strong of will and of mind in being assertive. It does take a brave and knowledgable claimant to force their rights on the assessor - I used to be able but not anymore.

      What really gets to me is the fact that the assessor knowing someone is nervous and is finding the assessment process difficult, refuses to help the claimant claim their rights. How things have changed from being a civil servant who was there not only to uphold the law but be a 'servant' to the pubilc to someone who now doesn't care about the public as long as their masters in Whitehall are kept satisfied.

      ?Gee, some of things I have done in the past to make sure the taxpayer/bankrupt receives a fair hearing along with support to ensure that their rights are explained to them and are offered. I would be sacked today over the things I have done against the rule book but in consideration of the rights of the public.

       

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