Face to face assessment for Attendance Allowance!!!

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You are all probably aware of the many difficulties I have had with the DWP over the past 20 odd years.

As a final throw of the dice I applied for Attendance Allowance about 2 weeks ago and received a letter over the weekend that an assessor (doctor!!) is coming to our home to investigate and determine if I have enough needs of the right type and duration to qualify.

From reading up about these home assessments, more people don't have them than do - so that makes me feel extremely special!!. So they must think that I am in with a chance otherwise they would give a flat - no award decision.

Two days to go and I'm champing at the bit so to speak - just waiting for them to arrive all psyched up and ready to do battle for the last time.

Will keep you all informed

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  • Posted

    Good for you Les for persevering I know personally how completely wearing down this is. Best of luck I beat them in the end, twice and got three letters of apology for what they put me through all due to their unbelievable succession of mistakes which had a domino affect.
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    • Posted

      Thanks. Given what has happened to me in the past, it took a great deal of effort to complete the form against a background of historical 'mental abuse' handed out by the assessors and the DWP.

      This is a once only attempt to set the record straight that the system does not always work for those that are clearly entitled.

      The DWP have a once only opportunity to agree that based on what I am, who I am and how my life is so messed  up healthwise as well as the legislation, I am entitled to financial help from the State despite the nit picking rules that are there to deny an award at any point in the process.

      I have completed the application form honestly identifying the areas where help is needed and other areas where I have found ways of coping in attempting to live my life in as normal a way as possible.

      We will see tomorrow if the assessor is good enough through questioning to see the real me that is hidden behind the facade that I put up every day for my public life. 

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  • Posted

    Hang on in there Les, hopefully things will work out for you at last.

    Sending Positive Vibes. x

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  • Posted

    Thanks everyone for the support.

    I will hopefully be able to report back after the assessment to tell how it went.

     

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    • Posted

      Just found these figures for AA aplications in 2011/12:

      AA New claim decisions    310,900

      AA New claim awards successful    249,300

      AA Reconsideration decisions    17,900

      AA Reconsideration awards successful    9,000

      AA Appeal decisions to tribunal    3,500

      AA Appeal successful    900

      Effectively of the decisions made (310,900), up to 259,200 were successful. This is up to 84% success rate.

       I never realised that it was that high.

       

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  • Posted

    UPDATE

    Well it has been nearly 48 hours since I had the face to face assessment on Thursday, time that I needed to calm down and think rationally about how it went.

    1.30am knock at the front door. (30 minutes late!)

    Struggled to the door, opened it and had an ID card thrust in my face. (OK where are the rest of the boys in blue?!!)

    Two guys, one short and I mean short, with a ruddy face with sweat running off his brow - he introduced himself as a ‘doctor’ The second was said by the first to be a ‘trainee’. Told them to go through and in passing me in the hallway the ‘doctor’ definitely needed some help with his body hygiene!

    Seated them opposite me at the dining table (not having them making themself too comfortable in the lounge). 

    ?The short guy asked for my ID (ridiculous but hey) 

    (Thought to myself good cop bad cop?)

    Anyhow went through the prelims – social and work? history, medication and living arrangements, aids used, where my wife was etc.  So far so good.

    Moved onto what I could do – getting around the house, cooking, washing myself, going outdoors, sleeping arrangements etc. Both of them asking me questions, The ‘trainee’ wanting clarification and further explanations to the answers given to the ‘doctor’.

    Now we were about an hour into the ‘discussion’.

    The ‘doctor’ asked if I would show him the bathroom?? (first time that I had been propositioned by a guy!!!) I told him no, if he was that desperate he would find a toilet in the cloakroom by the front door – off he went.

    Awkward silence for the next few minutes that I had no intention in filling.

    He came back, sat down and asked about hobbies. Asked me how I coped being a Town Councillor and a Director of a Community & Entertainment Centre. (now I know that I had not included that info on the claim form as it had nothing to do with the difficulties that I face on a day to day basis) . I said that you appear to have Googled my name then?  Smile.

    I explained fully that it is all local voluntary work and as such it fits in with the disabilities and difficulties that I endure daily.

     Did I drive? Yes, sometimes.

    The young trainee got up to look at the car on the drive through the French doors. ‘Nice car’ he said. ‘I would love one like that’.

    Now I could feel anger and annoyance rising – who the h*** do these two think they are?  

    After about another ten minutes (3.10pm) the younger one stood up and said that they have now concluded the assessment and the DWP will be in touch. The ‘doctor’ stood and both walked to the front door which I opened and swiftly shut afterwards.

    The whole assessment felt as though they were trying to catch me out?? I stayed cool, calm, and collected. The nearest thing that I could compare the whole experience to was a low key ‘investigation’ with the sole intention to collect evidence?? Just the way that the ‘trainee’ came over as not being a trainee but more a person of equal standing to the ‘doctor’.

    Maybe I have read too many crime and thriller books!!

    Still we will see what happens next, but to be honest I think I know what the answer will be. There was no caring attitude and with some of the questions asked they had clearly carried out some prelim work beforehand. It was very business like. They younger of the two (trainee) was certainly well versed in his ability in using open questioning.

    I could say what I really though of the pair but it wouldn't get past the mods!! 

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    • Posted

      It only takes a few seconds to find out. Google your name and it will display full details of all public appointments as well as all directorships past and present..

      All of my history, current and past, covers the first page in full - 10 entries.

       

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  • Posted

    UPDATE::

    Just received the post this morning and a government envelope was included.

    Made a coffee then opened it - as I thought - refusal.  

    It basically says that I don't have problems day or night.

    That's it. No more - tried my best but it wasn't good enough it seems. 

    I'm not going to appeal - just couldn't face the prospect of that.

    So given what they have decided I suppose the time has come to tell my GP and consultants that I no longer need their help and input as I am cured and that everything is in my head.

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    • Posted

      I am gobsmacked Les.  Someone with half of your problems should have been awarded, this really does seem as if it's  personal.

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    • Posted

      Should is the operative word!

      I don't know if it is personal or not - but apart from the aggravation I have already mentioned re DLA.ESA & IIDB over the past 21 years, the problems I have had with the DWP/DHSS go back even further to the mid 80's. At that time they all bar accused me of benefit fraud and after over 3 years of investigation could find nothing untoward despite them (DHSS) getting the police involved to carry out an early morning search of our home, office and cars.

      Getting no apology from them for their 'fishing expedition' I started up a complaint that went to the very top of the department as well as questioning the police over the legality of the search warrant.

      So yes their is bad blood with the DWP/DHSS going back just over 30 years. 

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    • Posted

      Omg this sounds like an interrogation not a medical assessment..and if your entitled to it why not fight ?
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    • Posted

      Funnily enough it wasn't an interrogation as such, more a question of 'having to go through the motions'.

      Fight it? You have to be joking. Given how the DWP have treated me over the past 20 years with re-assessment and re-assessment every 18/24 months  (for DLA mainly when all of the awards were for life/indefinite) I doubt that they would be willing to look seriously at any MR application. 

      Going to a Tribunal would be the next option (after an MR). My one and only time that I have had to suffer that was a couple of years ago over a Council Tax benefit claim. The case was listed for a full half day, the council had their own legal team there and there was me!

      I spent hundreds of hours researching the law to try to level the playing field. I had no professional back up, no one to advise me or even speak on my behalf. The hearing went on for 4 solid hours - arguments over various regulations and how they should be applied. Looking at earlier case law etc etc. Even the judge/chair had to call on legal reference books to understand what was happening!

      At the end I walked out after telling the judge that I felt way out of my league and comfort zone. I decided there and then that if that was an example of what it takes for a claimant to seek justice then it was the last time I would step into a Tribunal hearing.

      True to my word I have refused to appeal against anything and everything since.

      Ironically I received a notice from the court a few days later that told me that I had won!!! - common sense showed it to be the case. 

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    • Posted

      Les I know what you mean I had to fight years ago for my wife but won and she wasn't in the court she was in hospital having brain surgery ..but if you have the knowledge and you know your rights then surely you should fight not only for yourself but to help others in the same situation..I know your Ill but if you have the energy I'm sure many would appreciate you fightijng with them in these situations. ??

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    • Posted

      I definitely could. But I would have to not include the happenings of the mid 80's only because the alledged case against me was conspiracy and that some now senior professionals were also involved. The naming of names would probably get me into trouble as it was suggested by the DHSS at the time that I was advising and helping these people along with helping them to run a business for someone who was in jail (Ford open prison)  and attempting to smuggle documents in and out of Sutton open prison) involving his wife.

      None of this was true and therefore could not be proven.

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    • Posted

      Thanks, but I had my doubts from the start given what has gone on between myself and the DHSS/DWP over the past three decades.

      At the end of the day I suspect that the DWP because of the past and reinforced with the statement made by the assessor on the ESA 'Harmful Information' page that my name and/or National Insurance number is flagged up as a person of little or no credibility.

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    • Posted

      What would be useful?

      Most government departments flag up people that don't fall into the 'normal' category.

      Those that are likely to be troublesome, those that are extremely vulnerable, those that have in the past been found to have guilty of benefit fraud, tax fraud etc (depending on which department it is), 'MWLA' - married women living apart etc.

      That flag stays with you for a lifetime (subject to any changes) and is a warning to others who may come into contact with them.

      This is no different to the 'PNC' - the Police National Computer system. Many people assume that that is a list of those that have been convicted of a criminal act. However it goes a lot further, it records intelligence gathered. This can be a link to a particular car that has been known to be close to where a robbery took place but no one was ever convicted of. Suspicions that someone may well be violent but that nothing has ever been proved. Plus a record is kept of every time someone has been arrested even if they never been charged or convicted.

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    • Posted

      So Big Brother is watching us all the timeexclaim

      What about  innocent until proven guiilty?  I am obviously very naive as I had never consider this chain of thought.  eek

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    • Posted

      It's not really about being innocent or guilty. All government departments including the police build up picture as to who you are.

      If suspected of say benefit fraud which never proven you would think that the files and records should just be left on a shelf to get dusty. It is a fact that most benefit fraudsters have carried out earlier thefts but have never been caught and are more likely than not to carry out another one in the future.

      Of course Big Brother is watching. You can't drive a car anywhere in the country on a main road without a record being logged by the police of where you were and when. You can't expect your browsing history, emails and mobile phone traffic to be private. All of it is recorded for the future. We are the most watched country in the world with the highest number of CCTV cameras per head of population.

      Even the use of store loyalty cards is a goldmine to the government. Both Clubcard & Nectar provide a day to day history of your lifestyle.

      HMRC have access to your credit files on a day to day basis. 

      The government believe that everyone is suspected of something - it's just a question of time before they can prove it.

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    • Posted

      Think in light of the "bad blood" information , you've answerd your own question !

      You're probably on file somewhere asa "trouble maker" thier logic is twisted and long lasting!

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    • Posted

      Thanks, I too believe it is the case. It will be interesting to find out if they will admit it to the MP.

      No doubt they will cover their backsides by alledging that I am at fault in every case. 

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