Personal Independence Payment. Myths and Fact.

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There are a lot of worried people posting on here, who are dreading being moved from disability living allowance (DLA) to personal independence payment (PIP).  Can I offer some advice from experience I've gained with my disability support group and from campaigning when PIP was first consulted on and introduced.  Firstly, lets dispel a couple of myths. The DWP do NOT have a 'list' of disabilities which qualify claimants for PIP.  The only people likely to be awarded benefit without a face to face medical on account of their condition are those people who are terminally ill, who can apply under special rules.  According to DWP this means having 12 months or less to live - even these people must prove they are terminally ill by providing specialist medical evidence, and currently only 45% of claims made under the special rules are allowed because the claimant is judged to have longer to live than the prescribed time.  Harsh I know, but it's a fact.

With the exception of those people who have two amputated legs (either above or below knee) - who will automatically qualify for the enhanced rate mobility allowance (but NOT the daily living allowance as they will have to be assessed the same as everyone else ) - all other claimants wIll be assessed on the effect their disability or condition has on their day to day lives.  It is the effect of the disability, NOT the disability itself that counts.  PIP is nothing like DLA. It does not assume a certain level of disability according to the claimant's condition - it is not interested in the disability itself, but instead assesses the impact of the disability or condition on the claimants' ability to carry out a range of activities which would be encountered in everyday life.  This is designed to give an overall idea of how much of a barrier the claimants'  condition presents to life as experienced by people without disability.  

PIP only applies to those people of working age.  People who were aged 65+ in April 2013, will remain on DLA for as long as they continue to qualify.  Similarly those aged under 16 will continue to claim DLA under children's rules, and will be invited to claim PIP from their 16th birthday. 

Most people who claim PIP will have a face to face assessment by a qualified health professional - regardless of their condition or disability.  Anyone can make a fresh claim for PIP and those who are already claiming DLA will be contacted by the DWP between now and September 2017 in order to change to PIP. The first letter will invite the claimant to ring the DWP to discuss the claim - this has to be done by the date specified in the letter or DLA may be stopped. Once the telephone conversation has taken place the claimant will be sent an application form to complete, and again, this must be returned to DWP by the date specified. Once the DWP

receive the form they will pass it to the assessment provider who will decide whether a face to face assessment is necessary - if so, they will invite the claimant to attend an assessment centre. If you do not Attend the assessment your benefit will be suspended so if the date is inconvenient make sure you contact the DWP to rearrange it.

When completing the application form it is vital that you read the questions carefully, make sure you have understood each question and that your answers are specific to each question, answering as fully as you can. Before answering think about your disability and how it affects the activity they are asking about, give details of any pain or discomfort you experience either during or after the activity, tell them about any aids or appliances you use for any activity (for example a shower stool because you cannot stand in the shower), and also about any help you need from another person. If you have an aid or appliance but still need help from someone else, it's important to say so, as is telling them about any aids or appliances you cannot use (for example, a long handled shoe horn is unlikely to be of any use to someone with paralysed or immobile feet, as they would need assistance from someone else to place their feet in shoes properly).  Remember that it is not enough to say that you cannot do something, you must tell them why and what help you need with each activity.  Remember also that the more information you can give and the clearer idea the DWP have about how your disability affects you,the less likely they are to ask for a face to face assessment.  Any gaps you leave in the information you give, means that the assessor can ( and usually does) make assumptions which may not be correct.

Anything you say on the application form can be used to assess your needs, so remember that once you have said something you cannot take it back, and in the event of you challenging the decision, a review or tribunal hearing would want to know why you may now be saying something which contradicts what you put on the form.  Make sure you include how long it takes you to complete each activity and don't guess.  When it comes to the distances for the mobility component, it's really important that you don't  guess - measure how far you can comfortably walk and at what point you have to stop because of pain or other discomfort.  

Above all, remember that for all activities, to be judged able to do something, you have to be able to do it safely, repeatedly (as often as necessary throughout the day) and in a reasonable time period (no more than twice the maximum time it would take someone without a disability).  Account also has to be taken of the type and duration of pain or other discomfort you experience, and whether you can do an activity to an acceptable standard - for example if you can walk up to 50 metres you would qualify for mobility allowance at the standard rate, but if you experience pain and have to sit and rest frequently, you may be judged as unable to walk the distance in a reasonable time, or if you are unable to walk the distance more than once in a day because of pain you experience afterwards, you may be judged as unable to complete it repeatedly.  Similarly, if you fall frequently because of weakness in your legs or feet, you may be judged as not able to complete it to an acceptable standard.  All of these scenarios would likely qualify someone for the enhanced rate under the reliability criteria, despite their ability to physically walk further than the maximum allowable distance for the enhanced rate - it is the manner in which they do it that counts.

Finally. Keep a copy of absolutely everything you send to the DWP -the application form and any supporting evidence you send with it.  It will be invaluable in the event of an appeal.

After the assessment, if you do not agree with the decision you must ask the DWP for a mandatory reconsideration - do this by writing to them to ask them to look again at the decision - say why you disagree and point out any errors they may have made. If this is not successful you can then appeal to a tribunal. 

I hope this helps and please feel free to ask any questions - I am following the discussion and will be happy to help if I can.

 

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  • Posted

    Hello I have just sent my renewal PIP for back I have been on it for 2 years now for Bi polar illness, I received a text saying they have everything they need but haven't been asked in to see anyone although I am unable to go out cause of this they would  have to do a home visit, can I ask what you think about this I have not received my decision yet but got a letter saying they would send one but busy at the minute 

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    • Posted

      Hi.  I know that people are waiting quite a long time for their decisions at present as the DWP have backlogs in certain areas.   If it is a renewal and they have everything they need in the form of paperwork - and nothing has changed since your first award, then it may be they will make an award without having to see you.    I would give them a couple of weeks and then ring again to make sure they are progressing the claim.  Your current PIP award will remain in payment until the new decision is made and will continue unchanged if the decision remains the same. 
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    • Posted

      My other half had her pip review for in December they got it on the 13 off December 2017 she been on it a long time with loads off things wrong with her she not herd any think back yet can it bee done without a face to face  is the a good thing we not herd back  thanks 
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  • Posted

    Thank you so much. I have my face to face in 9 days an am so worried I cannot articulate exactly how my pain and depression affect me.
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    • Posted

      Hi. Have a look at my original post, because the same thing applies to the face to face, as with the application form.  You need to give a clear and truthful idea of the pain you are in during the activity and the effect after you have finished the activity - and most importantly the point at which the pain stops you from continuing. For example, if you can walk 50 metres but only with pain, you need to say so.  If you have to stop and rest because of the pain after a few steps, then say so, and if the pain increases the further you walk, say so.  If you could maybe walk 50 metres once in a day but you could not do so again because of the pain it caused the first time, then you cannot walk 50 metres.  If something takes you a long time, say so, because if it takes you more than twice as long as someone without a disability, then you cannot do it to an acceptable standard.  You have to say why you cannot do something, and don't be tempted to exaggerate the pain or discomfort because the assessors are experts at disability analysis  and they can spot a faker.

      Depression is a lot trickier because it affects different people in different ways.  It can affect your day to day living quite a lot, so if you have a lack of motivation and need prompting to do things, say so. For example, if 

      your mood affects your appetite and you need someone to make sure you eat, say so.  Some people find it difficult to get started in the mornings and need help getting out of bed, washed and ready to face the day.  If this is the case, say so. Remember it is NOT the symptoms that matter, it's how they affect what you do and how you live your everyday life.  Good luck and let me know how you get on.

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  • Posted

    Thank you so much. I have my face to face in 9 days an am so worried I cannot articulate exactly how my pain and depression affect me.
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  • Posted

    Hi Pam.

    Thank you, it is so refreshing to find comments that provide a clear overall picture and not doom and gloom. I was recently assessed for PIP and it was a speedy process- about 4 weeks(could be due to where I live), Unfortunatley I have requested MR because I don't believe the assessor who visited my home took into account my CFS. However, what you said made perfect sense to me and in my letter requesting MR I did as you said, I told them exactly what I couldn't do and why......just playing the waiting game now.

    Many thanks,

    Su

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your comments Su.  Fingers crossed for you - let me know how you get on. Mandatory Reconsiderations are tricky things because the DWP like to stick to their decisions, and you may find you have to appeal.  I hope not, but if this is the case, contact me again via the site and I'll give you as much support as I can.  Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Hi Pam,

      I hope you are well. I just thought I let you know how my MR request is going.

      I sent my letter requesting MR on 5/7/16 and followed up with a phone call on the 13/7/16 to make sure they had received it. I was told yes it was received on 10/7/16 and had been put on the 'pile' for an assessor to consider..

      On 19/8/16 I received a text from DWP and I quote 'We're looking at your PIP claim again. We'll make a decision by 18/8/16. We'll call you if we need more information.'

      I have received no call for definite because other than hospital/GP appointments I am housebound. Furthermore I was amused because I received the text informing me they were looking at my claim the day after they say they were making a decision....lol

      I have heard nothing further.

      No idea what that means, however, I'm keeping a positive, open mind....lol

       

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    • Posted

      Hang in there because it will take a little while for them to get the decision letter in the post to you.  I would keep tabs on it and ring them again early next week if you still haven't heard anything, because if the decision has not changed, you only have 28 days from the date of the reconsideration letter in which to advise them you wish to take it to tribunal.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the advice Pam....I just want to know one way or the other.

      WIll let you know how it goes.

       

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    • Posted

      I have to agree about assessors, I have 2 experiences to quote from, 1 my husband, 2 a close friend. with both the assessors told lies, blatant lies about what was asked and what was completed, my friend was the worst done by, had to appeal, re appeal and court, where the assessor said she saw my friend climb stairs, she lives in a purpose built ground floor flat, secondly she saw her climb in and out of the bath unaided, how strange when my friend has a wet room!  I agree with some of the posts who suggest that the companies used are given clear instructions to deny as many as possible, most claimants are shuddering at the sight of a brown envelope with DWP on the back! filling in the form firstly fills people with dread, have I said everything, have I explained it correctly etc. I would suggest everyone goes to Citizens Advice to get the forms filled firstly, what about appeals, these are meant to weed out the weaklings, those without stamina who cannot progress to court, this is the last resort, how many of us would want to go to court even if we are well, let alone if we are disabled either mentally or physically, I know of several people who have dropped out at the first denial because of depression and worry they may have to go somewhere to explain themselves.  If you have contents of house insurance and you break or damage an item you are expected to claim and be fully compensated for the loss, remember your N.I.contribution stands for National INSURANCE!!! the very word covers loss, damage or broken, and most claimees are exactly that, and therefore cannot function.  I know many going to food banks because they cannot face the process, and yes we all know how many have claimed falsely, but don't penalise those who are really sick.  If you have not left the house for months or years because of mental illness, don't expect to be able to go to appeals, tribunals, courts or whatever they make you do.  Lets face reality, these assessment companies are PAID to do a job, but like traffic wardens, are expected to save or recoup revenue for the government!

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  • Posted

    Thank you Pam - your post is very useful!

    Basically it is all about being honest and making sure you give as much info about your disabilities as possible both on the application form and during any assessment.

    I am currently on DLA and waiting to hear whether I am to be awarded PIP or not.  My assessment was almost 7 weeks ago so hopefully I shouldn't have too much longer to wait.

    Could I ask you a question...I called the DWP 3 weeks ago to request a copy of my assessment and it was agreed and I was told to expect it in the post within 10-14 days.  After it didn't arrive at 14 days, I rang the DWP again and was told it had not yet been posted off but was assured that it would.  I rang again last week and was told the same.  Since then, I have read that some applicants are now being told that the DWP are no longer posting out copies of assessments unless the applicant has been informed of their award and intends to challenge it.  So in your opinion, do you think the DWP are trying to fob me off by saying they are understaffed and they will send out my report when really they have no intention of doing so?

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    • Posted

      Hi.  It's a legal requirement for the DWP to supply a copy of your assessment report, however, they may well make you wait until you have your decision.  You are entitled to a copy of the report whether or not you intend to challenge it and I would advise everyone to get a copy for their own records as, at some point, your PIP award will have to be renewed and you may find the original report useful to compare to a reassessment report in the event you need to challenge it.  Keep on at them and if you don't get a copy soon, make a complaint.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Pam - an update:  I called the dwp on Thur last week to see if my report copy had been posted and they said yes - and I was also told that a decision had been made on my award the day before and it was ehanced for both care and mobility so really pleased!  My has report arrived since then too and it is a good one smile

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    • Posted

      Hello TCake! So glad to hear about your decision! Are you based in the south? I had my assessment 7 weeks on Friday! I rang the dwp on the 18th to be told a decision should happen that week or the following I still heard nothing so called again on the 29th just to be told it still hasn't been looked at it's causing me such high anxiety as don't want to phone again! Did you receive a text to say the decision had been made as I know some people have and I have had text updates all the way through! Love this post wish I had seen it before!

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