What are ATOS/CAPITA set up to do - PIP???

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I'm not too sure exactly what ATOS or CAPITA's remit is when carrying out a face to face assessment.

Is it to try to find alternative reasons why someone should not get points taking on board what is on the PIP2. Is it to try to get the claimant to contradict what they have put on the PIP2?

Or, is it to carry out an 'independent' assessment by way of questioning and looking at evidence for the DWP on what they believe is the position?

If it is the former then it seems sensible to give as little information as possible on the PIP2. If the assessor has nothing to compare to they can't very well contradict any statement.Any evidence you do have and a full comprehensive report can be sent to the DWP for the MR which the assessor then can't contradict.

If the latter then the assessors report is evidence as is the comprehensively completed PIP2 + other evidence.

Not knowing what their brief is would dictate how you can play by their rules against them. 

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    That's a tough one to answer. Not giving enough information may result in your claim being refused and tricky when it comes to MR or indeed a tribunal. You can only go off what your condition was like at the time of writing it - adding any more extra reasons at MR could be disregarded 

    In my case the assessment was based on one of my conditions which has no bearing on my mobility. My main condition and the reason for my problems (which make me disabled) which I presented with many pieces of evidence from consultants was not mentioned in the report so it looked like I was exagerating 

    If you have numerous conditions as I do, my advice woud be to emphasise the condition that effects you the most and is the most disabling to you. This makes it very difficult for them to base points on things that do not to give you the most points

    I know people will say that they do not look at the condition, they look at how you manage your day to day living and mobility and this much is true but without a condition to blame, you will have little chance

    I could have mentioned that I suffer terrible cramp but cramp would not qualify me for any points

    I don't think there is a hard and fast rule. the assessors are paid a salary to tick boxes, very often unable to get a understanding of how you manage your life with a condition that affects you so badly it makes you disabled - it's up to you to explain the best you can

    Based on my own experience it's better to provide all you can

     

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    • Posted

      Not giving enough information may result in your claim being refused and tricky when it comes to MR or indeed a tribunal. You can only go off what your condition was like at the time of writing it - adding any more extra reasons at MR could be disregarded 

      Is that actually true? At the MR and certainly at the Tribunal stage they have to review your claim as it was (incomplete PIP2) and take on board any more evidence and explanations that would help them come to the right decision. From what I understand it to be the DWP are required to consider ALL evidence however and whenever it is submitted.

      the assessors are paid a salary to tick boxes, very often unable to get a understanding of how you manage your life with a condition that affects you so badly it makes you disabled

      If that is the case, you could well be handing them a gift on a plate by completing the PIP2 fully. They would have something to work against. Much easier to contradict something in front of them than it is for them to come up 'cold' with a fully justified reason as to what descriptors you fit just through questioning only. 

      I did just that years ago for an IIDB review. The assessor (doctor) had nothing in front of him and after an hour or so of asking questions he came up with the opinion that yes I was suffering from **** but that it was an identical problem that was not related to the original one ( simply put his view was that I had had the misfortune to get shot twice - some 10 years later, for the same number of times, in the same places for identical reasons). In addition he stated that he had never heard of the drugs that I was on being used for my condition.

      I blew the whole thing apart when I appealed with evidence that I was holding and presented to the DWP.

      Yes he had a hard job as he had no information in front of him.

      An old solicitor friend of mine once told me that when he was teaching law at university he told the law students that 'what you leave out can be just as important as what you include in a submission'.

      Still it is up to everyone to decide how they want to approach a claim be it ESA, PIP or any other sickness/disablility based benefit.

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  • Posted

    Hi Les,

    From my experience with the DWP, I can only comment on a DLA Middle Care Rate to a DLA High Rate Claim.

    The DWP sent me, a 4 x A4 page and stated to fill in only pages 3 and 4. These pages only referred to what care was required during the night, but we made a slight mistake, and that was we filled the whole 4 page document in.

    But this of course led to far much detail than the DWP requested on the form. We submitted the form in July 2015. Then towards the end of August, I received a letter stating they required more time to go through the whole lot of information. I did not hear anything again until early December, which was the award form stating that it had been adjusted to the maximum DLA High Care Rate. A letter accompanied the award letter stating about the back payment could only be paid back until July, which I knew anyway. But the DWP guy that was dealing with my case stated he wished he could have backdated it, the full 13 months.

    As for what we entered on the form, well that was everything including all of the following:

    All medications and how much was being taken and when during the day.

    All medications which were under reconsideration at the Pain Management Clinic, and the Consultant I was visiting on a regular basis.

    All medications done at the local hospital as in the respect of which Neurologists,

    and which was my main Neurologist was - this included the 6 BoTox Injections done every 10 weeks by Neurologists. All dates of recent appointments and future booked appointments.

    All Epileptic Seizures and Functional Episodes, all recent dates and hospital admissions.

    All Doctor appointments and reasons for the appointments.

    A brief history and dates of cancer and intestine operations at hospital. How much time I was in remission for, and which Consultant Oncologist I was under.

    We included all equipment that was on loan from the District Nurses, and other smaller aids. Also, noted that the property was 'flagged' as a disabled person was living there, this included TeleCare that was also installed.

    Main note was that my main Neurologist and his name because he is not just any Neurologist, he is the top one in the UK, it was under his instructions that many changes were made to the property on top of other alterations that had already been done over the years.

    Regards,

    Les.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Les

      Once again a very informative reply.

      Being that yours was a request for uplift of the care award under DLA I can fully agree with how you approached it. DLA was a totally different animal. It was an 'open ended self assessment' system where each person described their individual situation. Based on that the awards were then made.

      With PIP you have to perfectly fit one or more of the descriptors and in those descriptors fit perfectly one of the statements.

      It doesn't matter under PIP how disabled you are or what difficulties you face, if your particular need/issue doesn't fit a descriptor and then a statement within the descriptor you would score nothing.

      The assessor makes a judgement call (if that actually is what happens) and put's you in the tick box of his/her choosing. The claimant has no control over that whereas under DLA it is based entirely on what you put on the DLA claim form and nothing else apart from backing evidence.

      Best wishes

      Much similar to ESA where peversely if you couldn't get something out of the top pocket of a jacket with either hand you would go straight into the Support Group. You could well then have someone that doesn't fit the ESA descriptors at all well, get nothing but be more disabled/sick.

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  • Posted

    Hi Les

    Completely agree with your opinion about descriptors they are basically the be all and end all of the PIP process. If you fit a descriptor then points are scored, fit enough descriptors/score points benefit will be awarded.

    As we know many claimants believe that diagnosis is enough to claim PIP. We know that is incorrect. DWP under DLA categorized conditions as mild, moderate or severe. Often only severe would be enough to secure benefit. I would imagine that is the same for PIP.

    My understanding of the role of the ATOS/Capitia Health Care Professional is to assess the degree of disability your medical condition causes you and they are supposed to have enough knowledge of conditions to assess accurately if someone for example can probably only walk 20 meters at most. Obviously they would refer to the PIP2. Inconsistencies would be highlighted and it is reasonable for them to ask the claimant about it.

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    • Posted

      One of the reasons I have asked the original question is that the computer system that ATOS/CAPITA use is flawed.

      Apparently it does not allow the user (assessor) to enter any details relating to the 'reliability' of carrying out the descriptor - in other words if the claimant suggests in the PIP2 that they could well walk 200 metres but to do so causes severe pain and discomfort after the first 20 metres and that even attempting a return journey is actually impossible without having to take a while to recover, the assessor can only input - 'can walk 200 metres'!!

      The same goes for the 50% rule. The system will also not allow that to be included. If you say that you can walk 200 metres but only on 3 out of 7 days, the other days you have to spend in bed recovering, the assessor can only input that you can walk 200 metres!!

      This is a well known quirk that is known to the DWP and most professionally qualified Welfare Rights Officers/solicitors.

      The general public just assume that it will be recorded properly by the assessor.

      It is vital therefore to have this knowledge and one of the reasons why you must always say no on the PIP2 if you suffer from a variable condition. Saying yes, but......will not get you any points - don't expect the assessor to give you credit for a variable condition.

        

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    • Posted

      Totally agree Les. I have been told the rule of thumb used by the assessor is can the claimant physically move from one room in their house to another. If they can do this then they are deemed as being able to walk more than 20 meters.

      The problems with the computer system probably explains this very unscientific way of assessing someone’s walking ability.

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    • Posted

      It's not just the computer system that is unscientific and hard to understand, the assessors can be like that too.

      I once had the unfortunate experience to have an assessor who was of Eastern parentage. At best he mumbled with a very heavy accent all the way through the DLA assessment. After about 10mins of this and saying 'pardon' continually (I have to wear two hearing aids as well which didn't help), I gave up. I told him in clear slowly spoken English that I couldn't understand a damn word he was saying. So I suggested that the easiest way to get through this assessment was probably for me to tell him what he wanted to hear and not what he needed to hear.

      His reply was to suggest that my attitude was racially provocative!

      My reply was to suggest that he should write down his questions and I would reply in the same format if that is what he believed.

      To say the least the assessment went from bad to worse with him warning me every few minutes that he could stop the assessment at any time as he believed that I was being awkward and unco-operative.

      At the end I gave him one line answers to questions that I thought he was asking me.Much like 'how did you get here? and my reply was 'Beer? no I don't drink alcohol'!!

      Unsurprisingly his report to the DWP was such that they removed my High Mobility & Care from me completely. It was re-instated when I appealed to the MOJ - at least someone understood what my problems were.

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    • Posted

      Hi Les,

      The DWP is in so much of a shambles, because there is numerous factors, that are not considered by IDS, when he wants something changed. Therefore, the chance of data loss is high, and entering too much data in to a single field on the databases as grown substantially. Instead of fixing the systems they have, they carry on using the useless systems which at some point will come to a halt, or worse.

      Here is just a few examples:

      1. The DWP's hardware is very slow, their main servers are very old - so instantly you have a 'bottle-neck'.

      2. The DWP's software is not updated quick enough to coincide with any additional addon's. Hence, why the PIP Application Form online is the only one that can cope, but the DWP were told to reduce the size of data entry boxes online, so claimants can only put very little in about their conditions. Hence, online applications have a very high deny rate.

      3. The Staff: Often overlooked, and working conditions that would frighten most people away. Think of working in environment that you are told to lie to people, if that causes you stress, then you could take a sick day off, but note you only have 7 sick days in a year and then you are sacked!

      Does the DWP hold their staff? No... If you apply for a job with them, beware they may overlook your application, then they sanction you for not starting work! Many staff end up on the opposite side of the DWP, and end up claiming PIP and ESA. Another true fact!

      Their computer systems are that old, with operating systems that are the same - so, running new software on them, would basically slow the system down even more.

      In practice it would be better if the whole system was updated, software updated and then new servers set up to mirror the data and update everything at the same time. Then again, IDS would throw many more  changes in to the equation.

      I am not sure how many ESA cases, that they are behind - but, the DLA "indefinite" cases to PIP are way behind by 280,000 claims to deal with, which has put the completion dates back by a whole year, it was 2017 but now it is 2018.

      If you believe everything on TV, as in the News and Media you are being fed lies - it is all censored, or you are only told certain parts, this makes the public look at the new from a different perspective at how the news and media, comes across - which is totally different.

      The government stated that Universal Credit a few years ago now, was nearing the end of completion, at which time they will be starting to transfer claimants across to Universal Credit.

      But, there are people out there that are "whistle-blowers" they do not just tell people the real truth, they have the official paperwork to back up everything they have to say, many of them will not want money, just that they want to remain anonymous. This happened when Universal Credit was announced near the end of programming of the system - the real truth was far from it, programming had not even began, let alone finished! And, that was mentioned in Parliament, well that Universal Credit but they said it should be available and rolling-out very soon. The real truth it had not even looked in to...

      The facts on most things on the government is online, I was looking earlier at IDS and that he had put down £100 for baby-wipes!! What would a guy of his age be doing with baby wipes? Nevermind, I dread to think, but relating to his work - I can see no reasonable explanation.

      Anyone, can access this information - it is not locked down in anyway, and you can even download the entire database, so you can read up on MP's offline with a Database Program. There are ways to automate the query's, so you find information quicker. But I am not going in to that on here, probably get my post in to Moderation.

      Regards,

      Les.

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    • Posted

       I was looking earlier at IDS and that he had put down £100 for baby-wipes!! What would a guy of his age be doing with baby wipes? Nevermind, I dread to think, but relating to his work - I can see no reasonable explanation.

      The mind boggles!!! I can think of a few reasons - but no......not in his office when he should be working??

      Hehehehe.... I must stop my imagination running wild - it's time to be relaxed and go to bed.

      Thanks Les - you humm um an' I'll play um! 

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