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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:
Rainbowunicornsprinkles · 03/01/2023 22:30

We claimed for my son a few years back & were rejected. We appealed & were rejected again. The returned notification was awful.

Each paragraph outlined the requirements for the rate requested & then baldly stated “I do not believe that this is the case”.

Are the rejection letters standard templates or was that drafted by the assessor (who had not an ounce of compassion in her).

Galactico · 03/01/2023 22:30

disabilityama · 03/01/2023 22:29

Who do you work for, then, if it's not the DWP or Capita? Another agency?

The NHS.

OP posts:
thepatronsaintofbubblewrap · 03/01/2023 22:30

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.

This account, here is probably the most honest and closer to the truth we will ever get
You know when something just sounds true?
Also, don't hound this user about her cruel sister. She's already said that she doesn't agree with her practice, there's not much she can do.
However, if I were you I might well report her for defamation/false statements but as a person who has a brother similar, I'd understand if you didn't.

DarkKarmaIlama · 03/01/2023 22:33

@Galactico

You are lying to yourself because actually you know deep down you do a very immoral job and that’s hard on your own sense of self. I would hate for that job to be a part of my identity. Particularly if you are a registered healthcare practitioner. It’s only the minority than can ever succeed in that role and I think you’re kidding yourself. The successful ones aren’t on Mumsnet posting about the role like it’s a feasible one, they’re too busy with their lives and basically not giving a shit….

kittenkipping · 03/01/2023 22:34

I'm another non believer. I'm currently going through appeals process. Dd went from middle to lower rate (meaning my carers allowance is taken) . Her diagnosis will never change. There are no extra appointments or evidence because autism is just that. You get diagnoses and then your parents learn how to manage it. She is 15 and can't manage her own toilet care for goodness sake!. I have to change her bloody pads 5 days a month ffs. Supervise her washing and hygiene. Lock doors and check on her in the night. I have to stop her self harming and she's broken bones with her over-enthused stimming. She doesn't have friends and cant manage social situations. I cannot and will not believe that is not significantly more than peers her age! But she gets on the school bus twice a week and is academically able so she's the same as her peers and doesn't need significant care apparently. In their words her care is "easily managed and not significant time periods" . Bollocks. They've never had to "restart" a day because the wrong thing happened in the wrong order, resulting in violence self harm and the whole family- including the 6 year having to all go back to bed, fully! Pjs and everything, to start again in the RIGHT order. And the same at bedtime.

kittenkipping · 03/01/2023 22:36

Sorry. That was all about me, but I'm very stressed and absolutely exhausted/ crippled with anxiety over it all. I appealed in may. No date for tribunal as yet. Perfectly reasonable time scale, no?

TheShellBeach · 03/01/2023 22:37

@Galactico How do you sleep at night?
You must know that what we're telling you is our true, personal experience of claiming.

TheShellBeach · 03/01/2023 22:38

kittenkipping · 03/01/2023 22:36

Sorry. That was all about me, but I'm very stressed and absolutely exhausted/ crippled with anxiety over it all. I appealed in may. No date for tribunal as yet. Perfectly reasonable time scale, no?

Very reasonable.
Mine took 18 months so you've got some more waiting ahead of you.......

ittakes2 · 03/01/2023 22:41

Tessisme · 03/01/2023 20:20

Do you deal with mental health assessments and, if so, are you qualified in this area?

I am wondering about mental health - I have ocd and adhd and I have not worked since I gave birth due to these. My ocd was triggered by my pregnancy. My husband supports me. I am curious, am I eligible for benefits or are these assessed on my husbands income? My teen daughter also has ocd, adhd and PoTS - would she be eligible too?

PennyPearl · 03/01/2023 22:41

@ittakes2 PIP is non means tested so income doesn't get counted

Galactico · 03/01/2023 22:45

TheShellBeach · 03/01/2023 22:37

@Galactico How do you sleep at night?
You must know that what we're telling you is our true, personal experience of claiming.

Yeah of course I know people are being honest. I hear this sort of thing every day from people talking about their previous claims, how long it took, false information in the report etc.

I’m not sure why it’s being taken like I’m on here defending the service, telling everyone there’s nothing wrong with it. Far from it.

What I do know, though, is that I absolutely do my job with candour. Sometimes it’s not enough. We (the HCP) don’t actually make any final decisions, it’s a recommendation only. You’ll be delighted to hear that the person who does have the final say (the case manager) is not a medical person. It makes no sense to me either.

OP posts:
jackstini · 03/01/2023 22:45

@Rainbowunicornsprinkles - it's just horrible isn't it; whole system made me feel shit

OP - I was awarded lifetime DLA at 19 after a car accident. Produced all the reports from then plus 3 years after, including physio. All said there would likely be no change except poss get worse with age
There was nothing I could do except manage it with painkillers and supplements

30 years later I had to apply to move to
PIP

The assessor that came was nice as pie - then wrote nothing but lies and missed out most of what I told him

The appeal panel was then over the phone (lockdown) and all just basically said they didn't believe me as I had not been to the doctors frequently enough

Why would I waste NHS time when I have been told for years how to manage it?!

Left me angry, frustrated and helpless and I could not face appealing again

They break people

TheShellBeach · 03/01/2023 22:46

PennyPearl · 03/01/2023 22:41

@ittakes2 PIP is non means tested so income doesn't get counted

Although if you tell them you're working they immediately assume you're capable of carrying out all the descriptors impeccably.

Babyroobs · 03/01/2023 22:47

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.

I've supported clients during many PIP assessments and on the whole the assessors have been fine, although some have told me to shush when I have tried to clarify something when the client has not been able to or has been too anxious. I think I've only had one really horrible one who demanded a lady with spinal fractures try to touch her toes even when she was crying in pain.

TheShellBeach · 03/01/2023 22:48

One of the many reasons I was refused PIP to start with was because I got Carer's Allowance for my DH.

The tribunal agreed with my submission that keeping him safe did not mean that I was able to walk far or put my clothes on easily. In other words, the assessor just made things up!

Babyroobs · 03/01/2023 22:49

TheShellBeach · 03/01/2023 22:46

Although if you tell them you're working they immediately assume you're capable of carrying out all the descriptors impeccably.

I know plenty of people who work and claim PIP. I have a colleague currently who claims PIP for bipolar yet manages to adequately support clients with complex mental health problems and addictions. I don't understand how people claim it when they can clearly function adequately the majority of the time. She does not have any extra support or anything at work.

TheShellBeach · 03/01/2023 22:50

In all these years of these assessments I've yet to hear of one report that's been factual

Same here, and I have read so many.
You'd think the assessors had had a course in factitious writing or something.

springerspanielpuppy · 03/01/2023 22:51

Oh dear @Galactico you are either trolling or speaking from a rose tinted view. Your posts contradict your role, they do not reflect the reality.

Be truthful do you believe a telephone assessment is an adequate service?
How do you train an assessor in mental health?

It’s much easier working the 9 to 5 from home for 40k than working shifts in the NHS.

You are not correct that an assessment will be rescheduled if the claimant can’t cope.

In the two weeks before Christmas an assessor changed an appointment to a Saturday even though the claimant had a support worker available for the pre arranged Friday assessment and would be alone on the Saturday.

A different assessor told a claimant with a PDO that she knew nothing about PDO’s.

The DWP regs accept ASD as incomplete development of the brain, for the SMI criteria. And yet a third assessor wrote that a man with ASD had no mental health impairment because he passed the security questions, despite the assessor needing to complete the assessment through the appointee.

Capita, Atos, Maximus et al are unaccountable and inadequate, not fit for purpose.

Babyroobs · 03/01/2023 22:52

DarkKarmaIlama · 03/01/2023 22:33

@Galactico

You are lying to yourself because actually you know deep down you do a very immoral job and that’s hard on your own sense of self. I would hate for that job to be a part of my identity. Particularly if you are a registered healthcare practitioner. It’s only the minority than can ever succeed in that role and I think you’re kidding yourself. The successful ones aren’t on Mumsnet posting about the role like it’s a feasible one, they’re too busy with their lives and basically not giving a shit….

I had a lovely friend who did this job for a while. She went into it thinking she could help people but the job broke her. The workload and the pressure were enormous and she went back to being a paramedic.

TheShellBeach · 03/01/2023 22:53

They break people


Absolutely this. 100% this. People literally kill themselves over PIP assessments.

OP - do you know any colleagues who set out each day to do this? Did you go into nursing (or whatever you qualified in) so that you could belittle patients and denigrate them, make sure they have no money to live on and feel so depressed that they do, in fact, take their lives?

mummymayhem18 · 03/01/2023 22:56

@Galactico would you mind answering my
reply please. It would be very much appreciated. 😊

Tessisme · 03/01/2023 22:56

Thank you @Galactico for your answer about mental health assessments. Unfortunately I am not filled with confidence at the idea of a physiotherapist or a gastroenterologist or an occupational therapist carrying out assessments on people with mental illnesses. The same goes for assessments of those with learning difficulties or who are neurodivergent - of course these conditions often cross over with one another and with mental illnesses. Health issues that can't be seen or at least measured in some physical way (via scans, tests etc) are notoriously difficult to pin down, with the added complication that the claimant may not be aware of the complexities of their own condition. I believe that only those with a background in mental health should be permitted to carry out these assessments. A bit of training and learning 'on the job' are not sufficient.

Deathclaw · 03/01/2023 22:57

My last assessor (2018) wrote a work of fiction down when they came into my home to assess me. I’m glad my mother was there, as I genuinely may have wondered if I’d got crazy, I can’t overstate how disorientating it is to be gaslit by someone who is supposed to be a professional. She awarded me no points. Gave no indication she’d even bothered to read the included medical professional reports.

My award was stopped. It was a very dark year waiting for the tribunal.

They, on the other hand, couldn’t have been more wonderful. One of the judges was clearly disgusted in my behalf, and the DWP didn’t even bother to send a representative.

I now have indefinite awards of enhanced care and standard mobility, no more worrying about assessments for me.

But I can’t help worrying about all of those who may not have been lucky enough to have the support that I did. Who may have ended up in debt trying to survive, or not be able to comprehend the reams of paper work and forms needed.

I have no resentment towards you as a person, but I think your job is cruel and pointless. It costs more than it will ever save, with an 80% turnover rate, how could it ever be described as efficient or successful. It’s may not be intentional, but it’s almost perfectly designed to make the weakest, sickest and most isolated in our society give up.

saraclara · 03/01/2023 22:59

Too many people on here are displacing their anger at other assessors on to you, OP.

I'd just like to say that my only experience of accompanying someone (with a mental health issue) to his assessment, was very good. The assessor (not you, unless you're a man) treated him with calm, sensitive consideration, and without patronising him either. I was enormously grateful to him. At the end, as I led the applicant (who exhibited clear but silent distress at times) out of the door, I turned and mouthed a silent but heartfelt 'thank you' to the assessor, who I genuinely felt had done all he could to make the necessary, bearable.

So yes, I believe that you're genuine, because I know that there's at least one other person doing their best out there.

The application was successful by the way.

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