Please advise - PIP refusal

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After 12 years on higher rate disability, I had my PIP assessment and was declined, The problem is the decision is littered with inaccuracies/mistruths, some vital (in my opinion) to the decision.

Since surviving a near fatal RTA after someone opened up a car door onto me (I actually died twice on the operating table), I started to suffer from recurring nightmares, rage episodes, and just didn't want to leave my house. I was eventually diagnosed with PTSD and depression.

Six months later I was diagnosed with terminal sarcoma cancer and given a lfe expectancy of 5 years.The cancer was in my leg, growing around my sciatic nerve, and was cut out, removing the hamstrings in my leg to prevent it reoccurring at the same site.

I then proceded to have radiotherapy on the leg which has left my with high density fibrosis in the upper leg.

The combination of these 2 events happening so close together, coupled with the 5 year diagnosis, caused my depression to worsen impacting massively on my family life and my general demeanour.

After I had out-lived my 5 years, I kind of expected this big golden door to open up and I'd have the key to the rest of my life; however this didn't happen. Since this time I have been unable to hold down a job for much longer than a year - often my rages being the reason for employers letting me go.

I don't want to mix with people; I have missed so many family events and holidays because of this. Sometimes I would make the effort to attend some of these gatherings but I found them so stressfull that I would just drink as much as possible as quickly as possible and just fall asleep - it was easier than talking to people.

I haven't worked since I lost my last job in February but I haven't even signed on because I find to whole process intrusive and like a realisation that i am just a failure. The truth being that I had a top class education and just can't believe how I have changed as a person - it's like I have given up - my partner recently said that I am just rotting away. I feel like I have failed in life and see no hope.

My doctor kept prescribing my tablets, but they just made me feel worse, like I was constanly 'wired'. I lost about 70% of my spleen in my accident so I am very aware that taking constant tablets is something that my body is not able to deal with due to my compromised immune system, The radiotherapy also reduced my immunity.

I have a pronounced foot drop and an unusual gait which causes me to 'kick' my leg out when I walk, and suffer from plantir fascilitis. I can't really feel much of my lower leg except for persistent pins and needles and sudden nerve pain due to my sciatic suffering from damage in the course of removing my cancer.

These are a few of my daily symptoms, there are others, but i don't want to take up too much of your time.

The problem with my assessment was initially it only lasted just over 40 minutes. Midway through decribing my mental problems, I was even told that I'd have to stop talking as 'we've only got 5 minutes left and we haven't done any of the physical questions yet'. I was rushed, and not allowed to continue.

Where is this me being treated as an individual? Whilst waiting for the appointment thare was a TV screen telling everyone what to expect in their appointment.....despite a statement that appointments could last up to 90 mins to 2 hours, I was rushed in and out in less than 45 minutes.

I saw a 'mental health professional', who by her own admission had no experience of PTSD and it's effects, and had no medical knowledge at all of nerve problems.

This aside, the main problem i have is that there are serious factual inaccuracies contained within my decision. i.e. I am an office based courier controller; I plan routes for drivers for a living, I stated that doing this job was the only time that i actually felt like the 'old me' - yet my decision says that 'you said that you have difficulty planning a route'. Why would I say this when it is quite clearly my job of work? Then literally in the next sentence it states that 'you advised that you can plan the route of a journey'. Seriously, did they even read through this before they sent it?

I rely on my mobility vehicle, I cant drive it becuse, without steering column adaptations, it is a physical impossibility; I can't move my foot up and down to operate the accelorator because i have no hamstrings.

And yes, there is another very important reason why I can't drive it, I don't have a driving licence!!! I had a provisional 30 odd years ago but never even had a lesson.. I'm a cyclist, always cycled everywhere, and again, because of having no hamstrings, even if I wanted to cycle again, I'm physically incapable.

Yet in their decision, the DWP stated that 'your employment is as a courier and you can drive'. Completely wrong on both points - it's like saying that an air stewardess is a pilot.

It is an absolute falacy, the ATOS report is not fit for purpose. I've applied for the mandatory reconsideration but fully want to take this further.

I've told them I want a reassessment, which despite me pointing out the mistruths contained within the ATOS report, they say I have no right to get - apparently my problem is with ATOS according to the DWP. As ATOS are working on behalf of the DWP, surely the buck stops with them?

My partner drives me to work (when I am working), she collects me from work, she drives me to the shops because I can't carry more than on bag at a time and can't walk more than about 100 yards without the pain taking over. Sometimes she will take me for a drive just to get me out of the house. I rely on my vehicle to have any semblance of a normal life.

Please someone help.

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Years ago I wrote to ATOS complaining about a home assessment

    It took a few week before I heard back from ATOS - they acknowedge that the assessment wasn't carried out correctly and another appointment with a different doctor.

    I'm sure you will get all the information on here from people in the know, all I can say is "If you think you have been treated unjustly then complain"

    Very best of look

     

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  • Posted

    Hi Symon,

    I'm sorry you've had such a bad experience. Sadly to say this does happen a lot. You've asked for the MR which is good. May i ask if you sent in evidence to support your claim? This is vital to prove that those descriptors apply to you, even with all those issues that you have. I'm unsure what you can do about having another assessment becasue this would be down to the decision maker to decide. It does happen sometimes when a claimant asks for the MR that a decision can't be made so they send their file back to the assessment providers and another assessment is carried out, however this very rarely happens. This maybe a stupid question to you but it's also very import to take a look at those PIP descriptors and study them closely to see which ones apply to you. DLA was completely different to PIP and there's a lot of people who don't understand this. The descriptors for moving around part of PIP (mobility) for Enhanced it's 20 metres or less and you said about you can walk 100 yeards before the pain sets in. with PIP there's also another criteria that they should follow, however they very often don't. It's regularly, reliably, without pain and discomfort, so if you can't do some within this criteria then you're classed as NOT being able to do it at all.

    When you asked for the MR did you put it in writing pointing out all the errors in that report? Did you also point out where you think you should have scored those points? With the 80% of MR's remaining the same i think the likelyhood of you having to take this to Tribunal is very high. This isn't really a bad thing because at the Tribunal they're usually very fair. There's normally just 3 people in the room, a small room and no one else. Figures say that 65% of those that appear at their Tribunal have a decision go in their favour, that's quite high. They will let you talk and tell your story of how much your life is impacted by your condition/s and most importantly they will listen to you. You will be able to point out all the things that were wrong in the report you had (before the hearing)

    You say you were in the assessment 45 mins. Mostly assessments last up to 1 hour, some last longer than this but it's mostly 1 hour. Did you take someone with you, or go alone? Sorry for all the questions just trying to help you.

     

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  • Posted

    You could contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau and ask them to put you in touch with a local welfare rights officer. Then you can appeal against the decision.

    Years ago when I lived in Co Durham they took my DLA away from me. I went to tribunal had a welfare rights officer to represent me and wss given it back indefinitely. 25 years later, I still have DLA but know it will stop at some point and I will be assessed for PIP. Dreaeding that moment to be honest with you.

    Good lulck with all this and keep in touch.

    Sarah

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  • Posted

    Hi Symon,

    The PIP Application on it's own, is totally useless - you can easily contradict yourself and fall in to "traps", which the DWP added to "Zero-Awards". Looks like you are caught in one of them, many PIP Applications are "zero'ed", it seems standard procedure these days. And again the DWP has got another huge backlog of applications to process from PIP to DLA, which was supposed to be finished in April 2017, their new date is Autumn 2019.

    I would appeal in your case like your mandatory reconsideration then tribunals, its so obvious it's wrong anyway. Like many others have done in the past few years.

    By the way, ATOS changed their name now, I cannot remember what it is now. It is supposed to make them look better - but to me and many others, it is still the same rhetoric company.

    I have many ailments like yourself, and have nearly died 3 times, and survived cancer - it's hell living like this but the government doesn't do much to make our lives any easier.

    I can't walk or even stand for more than a few seconds, or I'm in pain for hours - and it's agony I cannot even get comfy in just one sitting position, even in our motability car we have a lot of leg room, but I go through many calf cramps, mainly in my legs.

    When I eventually get my PIP Application it will take about a week or more to complete. My wife normally fills in any forms. The last form she filled in on my behalf, for the DWP asked for more time due to the complexity of my health and all medication taken per day. I am on over 50+ tablets a day, some are counteractors, 6 injections every 10 weeks, blood tests every 2 weeks, etc.

    At the end of the day, it is the DWP that has the last say in PIP claims - so we are told.

    I have a load of information, I keep together covering ESA, DLA to PIP and more. If you would like access to it all, then send me a PM.

    Regards,

    SteV3

     

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  • Posted

    Many thanks for time in answering this thread, the DWP actually phoned me just as I was posting this and on the back of that conversation they admitted that there were some statements in the ATOS/IAS that did indeed, contadict my original evidence on my PIP form. Some of these statements surrounded pure facts about me, facts that the DWP agreed were indisputable, yet the assessor had reported them incorrectly. They advised me to immediately make a complaint to ATOS/IAS, which I have spent the last 24 hours doing.

    Today I had another phone call from the DWP saying that they would put my case (and MR) on hold pending the result of my complaint. I have directly requested another assessment in light of this. The DWP have asked to see the answer to my complaint and would continue to keep my case on hold until another assessment was carried out, if it were granted.

    After attending my hospital last week, I had my consultant's letter to my GP pop through my letterbox this morning; it stated that I had 'far increased neurologial weaknesses' since he had last seen me. So hopefully my evidence there that medial professions recognise that my condition is degenerative.

    My daughter contacted Welfare Advice for me and I've got an appointment next week. I think that it was probably the language that I used to describe my condition and not the exact wording that they are looking to hear.

    This whole episode has been a bit of an eye opener, and made me realise that I've neglected myself for too long, especially my mental health, and today changed my GP as well.

    Once again, thank you everybody for taking the time to help me.

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    • Posted

      That's good to hear that DWP have adviced you to complain, although with all the complaints that ATOS have i'm unsure how good this will do. I would hope that the DM would look at ALL of your evidence again and decide for him/herself on a decision. As for filling out those forms in the correct way, using the words that they use is extremely important and this is why i will always advice people to get help when filling out these forms. There's people out there that know what they're doing and there's many of "us" people like you and myself that have no idea what to write. This can have a massive affect on the award you get. I really do hope that you have a decision in your favour. Please do come back and let us know the outcome!

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  • Posted

    I too had a similar situation this morning!

    ?The DWP telephoned to ask why I had not appealed against the DLA to PIP failure. They are a bit late, the decision letter was dated the 25th May 2017. Anyhow they told me that looking at the ATOS report they are returning it as it is well below the quality they expect. They just told me to go to my GP and get a letter confirming various things like walking ability etc and not to worry about any time limits.

    Seems that all of the sections of the report from ATOS were not justified or something like that.

    ?I don't know whether this is a ploy or something to get me to another assessment.

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