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I assess disability claims - AMA

407 replies

Galactico · 03/01/2023 20:10

Just as the title says!

I know the public feeling towards assessors isn’t always good. I’ve been doing the job for about 7 years, let me give you some insight into the “other” side.

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Afolnerd · 04/01/2023 19:12

How do they deal with really rare conditions?
We started a claim yesterday for my dd. She has a chromosomal abnormality which causes her a lot of health problems and pain. But she is currently the only person in the world known to have this gene mutation.

So I have concerns about how they will assess it.

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TheShellBeach · 04/01/2023 19:17

Afolnerd · 04/01/2023 19:12

How do they deal with really rare conditions?
We started a claim yesterday for my dd. She has a chromosomal abnormality which causes her a lot of health problems and pain. But she is currently the only person in the world known to have this gene mutation.

So I have concerns about how they will assess it.

If you keep in mind all the time that you need to explain how the condition affects your DD on a daily basis, describing things she cannot do as exactly as possible, and if you get advice from a welfare rights advisor when you fill in the forms, you should have a reasonable chance of success.

DWP do not give points for particular health conditions; they ask questions about various daily living activities and how whatever the condition is causes someone to have difficulty with it (dressing, for example, or bathing).

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Doobydoo · 04/01/2023 19:30

Just wondered how you maintain your Pin?

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TheShellBeach · 04/01/2023 19:43

Doobydoo · 04/01/2023 19:30

Just wondered how you maintain your Pin?

Interesting point.

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Galactico · 04/01/2023 20:05

Doobydoo · 04/01/2023 19:30

Just wondered how you maintain your Pin?

In what respect? Revalidation?

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TheShellBeach · 04/01/2023 20:21

Galactico · 04/01/2023 20:05

In what respect? Revalidation?

Yes.

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Doobydoo · 04/01/2023 20:21

Yes. Revalidation

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Galactico · 04/01/2023 20:31

Doobydoo · 04/01/2023 20:21

Yes. Revalidation

It’s just the same as it would be for anyone else. Practice hours are done through working and the CPD hours are done via the training we do. Seminars, webinars, workshops, protected training days etc.

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Babyroobs · 04/01/2023 20:46

PrayingandHoping · 04/01/2023 18:32

@Galactico you should have to have tutoring to fill out a form! Can you not see that is totally ridiculous?

I did a 2 hour seminar with a charity for my second, successful claim. Time and money I should not need to spend.

I used to work for CAB and the more senior people/ trainers there always seemed to tell us that it's the actual assessment ( face to face or phone ) that is the part where most information about functional ability is gained rather than the form. Not sure how true that is. Can you clarify op - I guess you must base the decisions on both to some extent.

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TheShellBeach · 04/01/2023 20:58

Galactico · 04/01/2023 20:31

It’s just the same as it would be for anyone else. Practice hours are done through working and the CPD hours are done via the training we do. Seminars, webinars, workshops, protected training days etc.

If you went back to the NHS do you worry that you'd have been out of clinical practice for so long that they might not accept your application?
Do you feel up to date?

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Mangolist · 04/01/2023 20:59

Afolnerd · 04/01/2023 19:12

How do they deal with really rare conditions?
We started a claim yesterday for my dd. She has a chromosomal abnormality which causes her a lot of health problems and pain. But she is currently the only person in the world known to have this gene mutation.

So I have concerns about how they will assess it.

I've helped people with very rare conditions and on the whole the assessor has no understanding or interest in what they are. Again, I'm only speaking from my own experiences.

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PrayingandHoping · 04/01/2023 21:04

@Babyroobs for dla they only go off a form. They don't do assessments. So getting the form right, and basically idiot proof is essential

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lifeturnsonadime · 04/01/2023 21:09

TheShellBeach · 04/01/2023 18:57

@Galactico If your intentions are good, why don't you start a thread on AIBU, saying you work for the DWP and disapprove strongly of them and all their works?

Everyone will agree with you and you'll get a completely different response.

only I'm not sure that they would.

I think there are many many people who resent benefits paid to disabled people especially in times where everyone is struggling with the cost of living.

I've seen a couple of threads today on AIBU saying that our financial problems (as a nation) are at least in part, down to overspend on welfare.

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Galactico · 04/01/2023 21:22

Babyroobs · 04/01/2023 20:46

I used to work for CAB and the more senior people/ trainers there always seemed to tell us that it's the actual assessment ( face to face or phone ) that is the part where most information about functional ability is gained rather than the form. Not sure how true that is. Can you clarify op - I guess you must base the decisions on both to some extent.

Definitely the most information is gathered at assessment. This is for various reasons - the complexity of the form leading to mistakes and misunderstandings and the length of time from submission of the application to interview meaning conditions have often changed. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “I’ve now got a new diagnosis of XYZ” because someone’s been waiting a year to speak to us.

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Galactico · 04/01/2023 21:25

TheShellBeach · 04/01/2023 20:58

If you went back to the NHS do you worry that you'd have been out of clinical practice for so long that they might not accept your application?
Do you feel up to date?

If I went back to clinical practice I’d have some brushing up to do, that’s for sure. Some people say it’s like riding a bike but I’m not sure.

I’m not even sure how far I’d get with an interview selection.

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TheShellBeach · 04/01/2023 21:36

lifeturnsonadime · 04/01/2023 21:09

only I'm not sure that they would.

I think there are many many people who resent benefits paid to disabled people especially in times where everyone is struggling with the cost of living.

I've seen a couple of threads today on AIBU saying that our financial problems (as a nation) are at least in part, down to overspend on welfare.

You're probably right.

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roseretrox · 04/01/2023 21:56

lifeturnsonadime · 04/01/2023 21:09

only I'm not sure that they would.

I think there are many many people who resent benefits paid to disabled people especially in times where everyone is struggling with the cost of living.

I've seen a couple of threads today on AIBU saying that our financial problems (as a nation) are at least in part, down to overspend on welfare.

I disagree. The problem is everyone is struggling at the moment but the government has offered little to no support to those who are working.

People who work on minimum wage are not necessarily better off than those who claim benefits, eg UC can give £xxxx per month.

Therefore there is resentment towards those who can work but don’t, as they get loads of financial support from the government eg cost of living payments, council tax discounts, cold weather payments, NHS low income scheme etc. It can feel pointless to work as you’re not necessarily better off.

However that resentment does not really extend to disabled people - no one would wish a disability on themselves and it’s understandable that someone with a disability is vulnerable and may not be able to work.

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TheShellBeach · 04/01/2023 22:12

roseretrox · 04/01/2023 21:56

I disagree. The problem is everyone is struggling at the moment but the government has offered little to no support to those who are working.

People who work on minimum wage are not necessarily better off than those who claim benefits, eg UC can give £xxxx per month.

Therefore there is resentment towards those who can work but don’t, as they get loads of financial support from the government eg cost of living payments, council tax discounts, cold weather payments, NHS low income scheme etc. It can feel pointless to work as you’re not necessarily better off.

However that resentment does not really extend to disabled people - no one would wish a disability on themselves and it’s understandable that someone with a disability is vulnerable and may not be able to work.

There are always those who say they know someone who is getting PIP who they think doesn't deserve it.
Then there are the people who do not think that Motability cars should be available.

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2023goals · 04/01/2023 22:44

I haven’t come across anyone saying they think someone is lying about their disability or doesn’t deserve to get disability benefits. From my perspective, it’s more well known that it’s hard to get disability benefits to begin with and people have even been suicidal over the difficult process.

I am early 20s though so there isn’t as much stigma against health conditions (particularly mental health) with my peers. Eg I doubt anyone would say something about a wheelchair user getting disability benefits as they’re visibly impacted but may question someone who has an “invisible” disability

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thepatronsaintofbubblewrap · 04/01/2023 23:18

I'm hoping this might help someone:
I approached a university with law students and they helped me with a disability benefits claim. They were very compassionate and helped me organise my paperwork. I was obviously helping them with their studies and career but they were so happy to help and gave me advice about the likelihood of it being successful. They couldn't do more for me.

I've also heard the charity Scope can help in some capacity but I don't know whether they offer advocacy or not.

I hope everyone gets the help they need.

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medianewbie · 04/01/2023 23:19

@GaGalactico
At my last F2F assessment I attended alone as U was not able to arrange a companion rhat day, as the CAB recommended. I have a longstanding mobility disability. I was asked to walk to a far office. Rhe assessor followed me. During the interview I was not asked to do any physical 'exercises'. I queried this & was told it wad not necessary. I later obtained a copy of my Report. My previous award was down graded as it said that I had 'refused to take part in any physical assessment'. I was angry at this outright lie. I mentioned it to the CAB who said the assessor I'd had was well known locally - an ex paramedic who'd 'had to leave' - & was known for this deception on his reportson particular. They said I should appeal but of course you risk losing all your award if you do so. It's an immoral system & employs those who are willing to lie & unwilling to take responsibility as you surely know.

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disabilityama · 04/01/2023 23:48

2023goals · 04/01/2023 22:44

I haven’t come across anyone saying they think someone is lying about their disability or doesn’t deserve to get disability benefits. From my perspective, it’s more well known that it’s hard to get disability benefits to begin with and people have even been suicidal over the difficult process.

I am early 20s though so there isn’t as much stigma against health conditions (particularly mental health) with my peers. Eg I doubt anyone would say something about a wheelchair user getting disability benefits as they’re visibly impacted but may question someone who has an “invisible” disability

I dunno, I know people our age in wheelchairs (I'm also early twenties) who've been told they're "faking it for the money", especially if they're not paralysed/ are ambulatory. Maybe by older people more, I don't know.
As someone with both more and less obvious disabilities, I do take issue with the constant comparison to wheelchair users, as if wheelchair users are always accommodated and not judged etc. That's not true. Sometimes it's easier when the disability is obvious to the uniformed observer, and sometimes it's not.

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Seymour5 · 05/01/2023 07:35

I’m sorry, but I believe the cynicism around disability benefits does stem from knowing people whose claims of being ‘disabled’ are exaggerated. I worked in the public sector, and had many colleagues with varying disabilities. We had clients with less severe impairments who made no effort to find work. Different mindsets?

Obviously there are hidden disabilities, my niece works (only part time now) because her progressive condition is exhausting. Her PIP doesn’t make up for her loss of salary from reducing her hours. But she has a strong work ethic, and wants to continue for as long as possible.

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Goosefatroasts · 05/01/2023 08:05

@Seymour5

Theres definitely people who want to avoid work 💯 percent and will try their damned hardest to play the system. That’s always been the case. It is frustrating but they must have sad lives really and quite low self esteem not to want to contribute etc.

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springerspanielpuppy · 05/01/2023 09:06

The problem is assessors have lost all credibility because they are not accountable and are not trained adequately, training focuses on the systems not the law and regulations. They can change a report without any consequences to themselves but huge consequences to the claimant. Where is the transparency in that?

The job is a comfortable and easier option compared to working frontline in the NHS, it pays around 40k and so often doesn’t attract the most dynamic or conscientious candidates.

During an assessment an assessor told me that the job was easy, he worked 9 to 5 and the only downside was that he could no longer play his xbox all day when his wife was at work, which he could when he worked shifts. He said this in front of the claimant.

He gave the client 0 points, his report was full of errors a clear cut and paste job, including the wrong sex and basic facts. The decision maker made the right decision based on other evidence but this assessor still got paid even though his report was a disgrace.

This is also one of the reasons why there are people who do receive disability benefits where they shouldn’t. Just as there are assessors who are harsh or don’t understand the condition there are those that are soft or can’t be bothered and award oodles of points.

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