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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:
kagerou · 03/01/2023 21:34

Galactico · 03/01/2023 21:08

Tell them about your worst day. Think about the absolute worst one you’ve had in the last 3 months and base your answers on that.

The DWP look at a “majority of days” approach. So if someone is symptom free 5 days a week, they don’t qualify. If, however, you have some symptoms most days and terrible symptoms other days, you do qualify.

Most conditions are variable. Whether it be MS, mental health issues, arthritis, vision issues…there are few conditions that are constant.

Do you know on what basis your application was declined?

As far as I could tell one of the main reasons that it was rejected was that I said that I try not to let it affect my parenting as I don't want my condition to impact my young child. They also mentioned the fact that i work two days a week in an office based job must mean that everything is fine. Again there was no understanding of the enormous amount of effort it takes to do these things and that just because I have no other choice it doesn't mean they're easy or everything is fine.

As for the x amount of days of the week etc it is so hard to answer , one day my vision just went so badly I couldn't see but it only lasted a few hours, another time I was unable to walk for 3 months as I lost feeling down my left side . I have only been diagnosed for just under 2 years so I don't know what is normal or what to expect

In terms of answering as if it was my worst day, would that not I effect be lying if that is not how things were at thar exact time? I would be scared of being accused of fraud

It also doesn't help that with MS relapses , unlike other conditions that are variable, you don't necessarily get the same or even similar symptoms at each relapse so how does that work with the majority of days?

Sorry for so many questions, I've found the whole process really exhausting and stressful

Puffin87 · 03/01/2023 21:35

Do you work for DWP directly or are you outsourced to Capita etc?

itsgettingweird · 03/01/2023 21:35

Confuzzlediddled · 03/01/2023 21:29

Would an autistic teenager who can get one bus journey to and from college which he received travel training for from the local authority be classed as able to travel independently in your view? Bearing in mind he can only make the journey from a specific bus stop on one route number etc and is trained to call mum for assistance if anything changes, as well as having a sunflower lanyard and "please can you show me the way to xx" cards.

Son was awarded PIP but lower rate mobility and although I didn't appeal at the time I'm now feeling when it's time for renewal we should maybe push a bit harder.

My ds only travels to college and back alone - it's a 10 minute walk down one road. He would go home if the road was closed rather than take a detour - even though he knows the other routes. He gets enhanced mobility based on this assessment as they judged him unable to take a familiar journey.

Galactico · 03/01/2023 21:35

Morph22010 · 03/01/2023 21:17

When a child first moves from dla to pip how much emphasis is placed on the interview with the child. My child is autistic, he attends a specialist school and has has an ehcp and currently receives middle rate care but if you were to ask him he’d say he could cook himself a meal, manage money, travel independently etc. the trust is he can’t do any without significant supervision and prompts but his perception is he can and I don’t want to have to put him down in front of him

A lot of emphasis will be placed on his answers. If he’s able to understand the reason for the interview etc, it’ll be assumed his answers are realistic and accurate. Make sure you’re with him during the assessment and make them aware of the supervision/prompts he requires.

The EHCP should echo what you’re saying, they’ll have references to what he needs help with. The EHCP holds a lot of weight, so make sure that’s been sent to them too.

OP posts:
StinkyWizzleteets · 03/01/2023 21:36

My friend was somewhat forced into doing your job after a period of disability by UC job coaches, in the end after hearing of the suicides and starvation deaths from claimants refused and told they were not disabled enough, she said she couldn’t live with herself doing that job and she left nursing completely and retrained in a different field.

how do you live with yourself?

hellywelly3 · 03/01/2023 21:36

I have a health condition that has brought on really bad crippling anxiety and I’ve been seeing a NHS psychologist fortnightly for months. In my assessment report ( which was by phone) it says I didn’t show any signs of anxiety. How can they assess that by phone? Also it stated that I have no memory issues as I recalled the assessors name at the end. I’d wrote it down at the start and was confirming I had her name correct.

Galactico · 03/01/2023 21:37

itsgettingweird · 03/01/2023 21:35

My ds only travels to college and back alone - it's a 10 minute walk down one road. He would go home if the road was closed rather than take a detour - even though he knows the other routes. He gets enhanced mobility based on this assessment as they judged him unable to take a familiar journey.

Yeah, this is correct. Someone must be able to cope with changes (road works, bus terminating early, traffic diversions etc) and overcome them. If not, they can’t do it independently.

OP posts:
AutumnCrow · 03/01/2023 21:39

I'm always very sceptical about threads where people claim to work for the DWP and/or 'assess disability claims'. We do not have a clue who they are.

PIP Assessors are not Decision Makers. They write a report on which the Decision Maker, a DWP manager, makes the final determinations about points and length of award. I have never read a report where the Assessor accurately reflected the answers in the PIP 2 backed up by the medical papers provided. That's why over 70% of appeals to tribunal succeed, the majority of those 'victories' being down to mistakes made by the DWP (and the assessment process / human error).

It's an absolute shit-show of incompetence, delay and process-as-punishment.

Puffin87 · 03/01/2023 21:39

Galactico · 03/01/2023 21:00

We look at the whole picture for conditions where there’s a spectrum of how they may affect you.

Is the person working? Do they have children whom they look after? Are they a carer? Do they play football three times a week?

We try to build a picture of the person and their life. Ultimately, if someone is holding down a full-time job, looking after a toddler, has hobbies etc, it’s likely they’re functioning adequately.

If they’re unable to work (or have an adapted role), can’t drive anymore, have their Mum taking the kids to school, zero hobbies, prescribed painkillers etc, they’re clearly restricted.

This is why we ask SO many questions.

PIP is supposed to be unaffected by work.

Hellohellomrt · 03/01/2023 21:40

Is it true that people with Epilepsy struggle to get awarded any benefit?

My OH has epilepsy and can hold down a job but is unable to drive and now we have a child can not really be left alone with our child.

He is medicated and has had 2 seizures in the last 6 months. Hence can not be alone with our child unsupervised.

How would his circumstances be viewed?

It makes me sad when I see there are people with less life limiting illnesses getting awarded benefit but my OH has been told by a few people not to bother applying as he likely won't get it because he works, even though his day to day life is impacted- eg has to rely on public transport, can't be with child alone etc, meds for life.

Thank you :)

Unforgettablefire · 03/01/2023 21:40

What happens when someone can't get medical letters? Doctors appointments are non existent, what are people meant to do for new conditions or worsening conditions when they have no medical evidence? Can't get an appointment anywhere?
You're absolutely screwed when it's only your word.

thepatronsaintofbubblewrap · 03/01/2023 21:41

Both my assesors lied and if I hadn't have had advocacy and friends to help, I could be a disabled person on the street. I can see how easily thay can happen and I'm appalled by the UK as a developed country.
I had to say that, sorry.

Galactico · 03/01/2023 21:41

StinkyWizzleteets · 03/01/2023 21:36

My friend was somewhat forced into doing your job after a period of disability by UC job coaches, in the end after hearing of the suicides and starvation deaths from claimants refused and told they were not disabled enough, she said she couldn’t live with herself doing that job and she left nursing completely and retrained in a different field.

how do you live with yourself?

I understand that completely.

I can genuinely say I have never been dishonest in any report I’ve written. I know some people will do it (as evidenced by the statistics you mention and a couple of posts in this thread), but I never do. I try to think of how powerless people must feel having their financial affairs in another persons hands.

I live with myself knowing I am doing my best to provide a service which has faults on every level. It’s a very flawed system but I do my best to make sure every decision I make is the right one.

OP posts:
RicherThanYews · 03/01/2023 21:42

@Galactico I did not claim for an eating disorder, anorexia, bulimia or any difficulties with digesting food. The question came out of nowhere. I have fibro and arthritis. I don't see how my weight is any of her business.

Spendonsend · 03/01/2023 21:43

Galactico · 03/01/2023 21:35

A lot of emphasis will be placed on his answers. If he’s able to understand the reason for the interview etc, it’ll be assumed his answers are realistic and accurate. Make sure you’re with him during the assessment and make them aware of the supervision/prompts he requires.

The EHCP should echo what you’re saying, they’ll have references to what he needs help with. The EHCP holds a lot of weight, so make sure that’s been sent to them too.

Its quite a scary assumption to make for a social communication disorder.

My son would also merrily say he could do all sorts he cant do too.

Confuzzlediddled · 03/01/2023 21:44

Thanks @itsgettingweird and @Galactico that was my interpretation as well, I felt he should have been entitled to the higher award but after it taking 10 months to get an award I felt I didn't want to rock the boat!

itsgettingweird · 03/01/2023 21:50

Yeah, this is correct. Someone must be able to cope with changes (road works, bus terminating early, traffic diversions etc) and overcome them. If not, they can’t do it independently.

Thanks.

He also has hereditary spastic paraplegia which means at any time a leg can spasm and he actually cannot walk! Because he's ambulant despite his gait he doesn't vary his crutches with him (and now can't use them any way due to postural tremor and we are waiting for OT assessment. I never quite know where this puts him with the "how far can they walk" question.

Especially because one day he could walk 2-3k but he'd need 3 days to recover!

thepatronsaintofbubblewrap · 03/01/2023 21:51

If I may say so, OP, I think alot of the dishonest, cruel assessors probably see us disabled as an inconvenience and probably convince themselves that we're actually making it all up and/or exaggerating our conditions so that they don't feel as guilty for refusing us.
I have a family that are benefits bashers and they think that state funds are handed out very liberally and far too generously. They are also Tories that have a warped view of the country so I am guessing mthey could have that perspective.
Also, control. They have immense control and some groups of people ride on it. I've seen it first hand unfortunately.

Mangolist · 03/01/2023 21:52

I've been doing PIP assessments with genuinely unwell people for several years. All I can say is that I have never met a single person doing these assessments with an ounce of empathy or understanding. They have actually sickened me. Have you been asked to be the 'face' of the caring dwp or something coming on here?
I'm not convinced.

itsgettingweird · 03/01/2023 21:55

And yes to the person who said working and sports shouldn't affect the award.

My ds works 2 days a week and is a para swimmer.

He can only do these things because I take him, arrange his lunches, guide him on what to wear, make sure he has a coat when it's raining outside and if he did t swim he'd not leave the house at all.

Even at 18 he has to have a carer take him to meets etc and has lists written for each thing he needs to do alongside the timetables.

I as always to.d it wasn't about what someone was doing but also what needed to be provided for them in order to achieve it.

For my ds it's constant care and prompts and actual physical support.

thepatronsaintofbubblewrap · 03/01/2023 21:55

Its quite a scary assumption to make for a social communication disorder.
My son would also merrily say he could do all sorts he cant do too.

Yes I've been both that person and i know a person that would say the same things about themselves.
My autistic relative doesn't shower because he can't stand the feeling of the water. But of asked he would nod merrily.

DarkKarmaIlama · 03/01/2023 21:58

It’s a hideous job. My sister is a PIP assessor and has been for many, many years. She finds the job easy but has admitted it’s because she has no empathy. She makes a lot of money really, works from home and certainly does not work that hard.

parsniiips · 03/01/2023 22:00

Why are claims taking so long?

I've been waiting 22 weeks for a decision on a change of circumstances.

mumoffloofs · 03/01/2023 22:02

I'm pretty sure I know the answer, but out of curiosity if someone has ADHD but is in a mid level management job what's the likelihood of PIP being awarded?

They are able to function reasonably well at work as the role is creative, strategic and plays to their strengths (softer skills like leadership, communication etc). Dreadful with organisation and time management though but has developed some maladaptive coping strategies. Frequent burnouts when they're incapable of anything except sitting at their desk. Has a child and looks after them well but forgets to eat their own meals and take medication. Cannot budget at all and finds life admin really hard.

DarkKarmaIlama · 03/01/2023 22:03

@mumoffloofs

In the words of my sister chances are
”next to fucking nothing”. OP will be along soon to lie about it though I should imagine…….

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