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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.

OP posts:
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Galactico · 05/01/2023 21:34

sneakyrussian · 05/01/2023 17:45

Hey Op

I'm a bit battle warn having been very depressed for the last 5 years (off work supported by partner) but the last 2 years my anxiety has gone through the roof resulting in a suicide attempt followed a month later by a severe crisis and the crisis team attended at home for about 2 weeks until my Dr could sort out my prescription etc. I've put a claim in for PIP for the second time, first time I couldn't face the interview. My problem is I don't have much paperwork apart from the crisis forms to show as at the time of applying it's all I had at home and I had help of course but il concerned it's not enough evidence. I also really struggle to leave my home to even go to the garden at the moment so the Dr (new surgery as we moved 3 years ago) said due to my anxiety he would wait until I was more stable. So he hasn't seen me either to provide any documentation. Sorry it's such a mess and a reflection I guess on my mental state. I'm sore the crisis report won't be enough as although it's a fairly good reflection they have got things wrong like saying I was on 20g rather than 200mg of medication etc. cheers

Hi!

It sounds like you’ve had a rough time. Letters from the crisis team will help. Have you had any kind of appointments with your GP? Over the phone maybe? If so, ask them for a patient care summary. It’s basically a print-out of your medications, current/past diagnoses and what your GP has discussed with you.

When it comes to assessment, let the interviewer know you were unable to do the assessment the last time and tell them why. It’s significant and speaks to how much you were struggling.

OP posts:
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Galactico · 05/01/2023 21:36

mummymayhem18 · 05/01/2023 18:05

@Galactico . Thanks very much for your help. Can I just double check which is it I should try to see if I'm eligible. I don't want to ask for the wrong thing. Is it just PIP or is there another one you think I should try?. Thanks again. 😊

Personally, I only deal with PIP.

If you can spare the time, go through www.entitledto.co.uk . I believe at the end of that questionnaire it tells you all the benefits (and the approximate amount) you’re likely to qualify for.

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Babyroobs · 05/01/2023 21:41

Seymour5 · 05/01/2023 09:26

OP, do the same people do the assessments for Attendance Allowance? My mobility isn’t always good, I have a problem with my knee which sometimes necessitates using a stick. Its painful, been ongoing for months, but no definite diagnosis as yet. Like a lot of older people, I just put it down to ageing. I don’t need ‘care’ and AA seems to focus on that.

Neither DH or I have ever claimed DLA or PIP, although long after DH had major heart surgery years ago, he was told he should have claimed after his heart attack when he was severely ill. We were naive, because I was working and he got statutory sick pay, it never occurred to us he’d be entitled.

Most people who are awarded Attendance allowance do not have an assessment at all. It is awarded based on what is written on the form and medical evidence. Sometimes they speak to your GP, occasionally they will ring the applicant for a bit of a chat or ring a carer/ relative. I have helped people with hundreds of AA forms over the past few weeks and in all honesty I've never known a benefit so easy to get. I visited one man at home to assist with the form. He seemed to have very few problems and I sat there wondering why I was doing it as I thought there was no way he would be awarded. lo and behold he got higher rate. I can only think they must have spoken to his GP and gained further insight or something because otherwise it just doesn't make sense. Compared to PIP it is aso easy to get.

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Babyroobs · 05/01/2023 21:42

Babyroobs · 05/01/2023 21:41

Most people who are awarded Attendance allowance do not have an assessment at all. It is awarded based on what is written on the form and medical evidence. Sometimes they speak to your GP, occasionally they will ring the applicant for a bit of a chat or ring a carer/ relative. I have helped people with hundreds of AA forms over the past few weeks and in all honesty I've never known a benefit so easy to get. I visited one man at home to assist with the form. He seemed to have very few problems and I sat there wondering why I was doing it as I thought there was no way he would be awarded. lo and behold he got higher rate. I can only think they must have spoken to his GP and gained further insight or something because otherwise it just doesn't make sense. Compared to PIP it is aso easy to get.

Sorry that should say over the past few months ! I think I am up to 150 since September !

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Babyroobs · 05/01/2023 21:47

Seymour5 · 05/01/2023 17:00

That’s helpful too, I’ll tell her.

However, it seems a bit discriminatory that two people of the same age have similar health issues, but one is penalised due to the age they were when their condition occurred?

Yes it's very unfair. You can have 2 people with similar levels of poor mobility but because one has been on PIP for some years they get mobility payments or a motorbility car as many opt for if on enhanced rate PIP. The other can only claim Attendance allowance which has no mobility component. I honestly think in the future it's going to be unsustainable to continue paying both components of PIP for potentially 20/30 years past retirement age, but that's just my opinion.

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springerspanielpuppy · 05/01/2023 22:16

@sneakyrussian can you get a letter from your GP to show how much you struggle to engage? Also how unpredictable your condition is? The problem is some assessors and decision makers interpret the lack of evidence and lack of professional intervention as a sign that you don’t really have a problem.

There is a backwards and forward test which is that you must have the needs for 3 months before you claim and they must be expected to last another 9 months. This is another area where someone will decide that a suicide attempt and crisis team intervention doesn’t cover the 12 month period. Yeh, really, because they don’t look at the descent or recovery time, or they say you are stable now so don’t have the same level of need.

However non compliance and non engagement can be part of the problem so it’s a catch 22. Add to that the waiting lists and the pressure the NHS are under and someone can easily fall through the net or have minimal intervention.

Some evidence to show how this applies to you can go a long way to helping your case. Did they make a decision when you were too ill to attend an assessment? Maybe seek out welfare rights to assist with your claim.

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MyMumhasDementia · 10/01/2023 07:54

I’ve recently claimed AA for my mum and I was phoned by an assessor who was absolutely lovely. I ended up in tears on the phone with her - my mum is 90 and awaiting a dementia diagnosis, and she was so understanding and said she understood what I was going through.

It took 10 weeks but mum was awarded the higher amount which has made all the difference.

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Tessisme · 10/01/2023 09:36

@MyMumhasDementia So sorry about your mum. Mine was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 3 years ago, but the signs were there for many years. Just to say that my experience of claiming Attendance Allowance for my mum was straightforward too and the assessor was very helpful and gave me great advice about claiming the higher amount for her when the time comes that she needs overnight care. It's the PIP claims, though, which cause so much stress for claimants. I have family experience of both and, believe me, there's no comparison.

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Name99 · 10/01/2023 18:13

OP can I ask why when i was on DLA I was given a lifetime award, but I was switched to PIP I now need to be assessed every year.
I have RRMS, this is a condition that isn't going to improve its more likely to worsen.
Why do I have to go through the assessment every year?

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Babyroobs · 10/01/2023 19:51

Name99 · 10/01/2023 18:13

OP can I ask why when i was on DLA I was given a lifetime award, but I was switched to PIP I now need to be assessed every year.
I have RRMS, this is a condition that isn't going to improve its more likely to worsen.
Why do I have to go through the assessment every year?

Different benefit so different rules. DLA was so much easier to be awarded that I guess they now want to assess everyone on the same criteria to make it fair.

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Babyroobs · 10/01/2023 19:52

MyMumhasDementia · 10/01/2023 07:54

I’ve recently claimed AA for my mum and I was phoned by an assessor who was absolutely lovely. I ended up in tears on the phone with her - my mum is 90 and awaiting a dementia diagnosis, and she was so understanding and said she understood what I was going through.

It took 10 weeks but mum was awarded the higher amount which has made all the difference.

I assist with hundreds of AA claims and have only ever known one or 2 applicants have a phone call from an assessor. I wonder how common it is to actually be assessed?

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Name99 · 10/01/2023 20:05

Babyroobs · 10/01/2023 19:51

Different benefit so different rules. DLA was so much easier to be awarded that I guess they now want to assess everyone on the same criteria to make it fair.

Yes but upthread OP said people with long term degenerative conditions shouldn't be assessed regularly, I have a friend with MS who is awarded hers for 5 years at a time
I can't understand why I am called up every year, it's not going to get better

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Babyroobs · 10/01/2023 20:09

Name99 · 10/01/2023 20:05

Yes but upthread OP said people with long term degenerative conditions shouldn't be assessed regularly, I have a friend with MS who is awarded hers for 5 years at a time
I can't understand why I am called up every year, it's not going to get better

Every year seems very excessive. I think you can do a mandatory reconsideration asking them to look again at the length of the award. Hopefully op or someone else can clarify.

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Name99 · 10/01/2023 20:16

Babyroobs · 10/01/2023 20:09

Every year seems very excessive. I think you can do a mandatory reconsideration asking them to look again at the length of the award. Hopefully op or someone else can clarify.

Thank you
Every year is too much, I just resubmit the same info every year, I find it extremely stressful to fill in the form have the assessment and wait for the dreaded brown envelope dropping on the doormat.
I find it odd a friend has it every 5years for the same condition ( one that isn't going to improve )

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MyMumhasDementia · 10/01/2023 20:25

Babyroobs · 10/01/2023 19:52

I assist with hundreds of AA claims and have only ever known one or 2 applicants have a phone call from an assessor. I wonder how common it is to actually be assessed?

I believe I was rung because I have LPA and she needed a special code to access it online.

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SouthCountryGirl · 11/01/2023 07:17

Babyroobs · 10/01/2023 20:09

Every year seems very excessive. I think you can do a mandatory reconsideration asking them to look again at the length of the award. Hopefully op or someone else can clarify.

You can only do a mandatory reconsideration on the basis of law. What law would that be that you should have a longer award?

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springerspanielpuppy · 11/01/2023 08:54

SouthCountryGirl · 11/01/2023 07:17

You can only do a mandatory reconsideration on the basis of law. What law would that be that you should have a longer award?

The same law that you can challenge a refusal or amount of award.

www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/381/regulation/5

However the claimant would need some compelling evidence to show that their care and/or mobility needs will not improve.

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sneakyrussian · 11/01/2023 12:43

@Galactico Firstly thank you so much for replying, it's so kind. Sorry it's taken so long to come back to you, I've been hiding lol.

I haven't made it to the Dr's as my symptoms haven't allowed but I will follow all your advice to the letter. Today I have received a message from DWP saying they have received my PIP assessment and will reply within 8 weeks with a decision. However I haven't had an assessment or been offered the opportunity to attend one. I haven't had any phone calls (dwp know not to ring me) and I don't open post but my husband I'm sure would have mentioned it? Just wondering what your thoughts are? Thanks again and I'm so sorry you've had such a kicking in this thread. It's very hard for me to ask for help so your kindness and advice has been great for someone like me.

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sneakyrussian · 11/01/2023 12:54

Sorry just to be clear the text said: We've received the written report from PIP assessment. Sorry

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monsteramunch · 11/01/2023 13:04

@sneakyrussian

Just to manage your expectations re timing, my family member was told eight weeks for a decision on their PIP review and it hasn't come through yet seven months later 😬 they've chased a few times in case something was sent to the wrong address etc but have been told it's all in the system though apparently and nothing to do but wait.

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Name99 · 11/01/2023 15:52

springerspanielpuppy · 11/01/2023 08:54

The same law that you can challenge a refusal or amount of award.

www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/381/regulation/5

However the claimant would need some compelling evidence to show that their care and/or mobility needs will not improve.

I would have thought the diagnosis alone would be compelling enough evidence.

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springerspanielpuppy · 11/01/2023 16:05

Name99 · 11/01/2023 15:52

I would have thought the diagnosis alone would be compelling enough evidence.

You would think so wouldn’t you especially with a diagnosis of MS. However an award is based on needs not diagnosis and DWP seem to be unwilling to accept that some needs are never going to change. They usually write some bull about new treatments becoming available that could reduce needs in the future.

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TheShellBeach · 11/01/2023 17:25

Name99 · 11/01/2023 15:52

I would have thought the diagnosis alone would be compelling enough evidence.

The DWP do not work like that.
The form they send has questions about how your disability affects you, not what your diagnosis is.

Which is daft, but that is how they do it.

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Name99 · 11/01/2023 18:14

TheShellBeach · 11/01/2023 17:25

The DWP do not work like that.
The form they send has questions about how your disability affects you, not what your diagnosis is.

Which is daft, but that is how they do it.

I understand that, it's not about the diagnosis it's how it affects your day to day life.
But I pretty much fill it every 12 months saying I still have MS.
The OP said that long term conditions that aren't going to improve are given longer awards, a friend who has RRMS is given 5 year awards at a time, my question is why do I with RRMS have to be assessed every 12 months

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TheShellBeach · 11/01/2023 18:48

Name99 · 11/01/2023 18:14

I understand that, it's not about the diagnosis it's how it affects your day to day life.
But I pretty much fill it every 12 months saying I still have MS.
The OP said that long term conditions that aren't going to improve are given longer awards, a friend who has RRMS is given 5 year awards at a time, my question is why do I with RRMS have to be assessed every 12 months

I completely agree with you. I don't know why they do that to you. It sounds really frustrating.

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