Dec 082017
Work & Pensions Committee hears from specialist disability groups on the PIP and ESA assessments on Monday
One of the big concerns the Committee has heard about DWP’s contracted PIP and ESA assessors is how their staff are qualified to assess the impact of multiple, serious and complex physical and mental health conditions on people’s lives, and how those conditions can affect the assessment process itself. Mencap’s evidence to this inquiry includes instances like a claimant being asked what medication he was on for Down’s Syndrome and learning disability – displaying deep ignorance of the condition, its effects and how it is dealt with.
In the video below from our in evidence this week, Committee Member Alex Burghart asks what specialist measures these companies have in place when they are working with someone with a serious mental health condition like schizophrenia: the answer was, effectively, none. All three companies insisted that no specialist medical knowledge is required to perform the “functional” assessments they carry out.
On Monday at 15:45 in Wilson Room we’re asking the specialist disability advocacy groups asking Scope, Sense, the Disability Benefits Consortium,  Citizen’s Advice and Mencap if they agree. You can also watch online. /ENDS


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 Posted by at 18:48

  8 Responses to “Monday: Committee hears from specialist disability groups on the PIP and ESA assessments”

  1. At my assessment for PIP, the assessor asked me to get out of my wheelchair and on to the couch, which I did with great difficulty. All she then asked me to do was to wiggle my ankles and try to put my arms over my head. This was the full extent of my “examination “. After this my mum helped me back into my wheelchair. I subsequently failed my assessment and my benefits were massively reduced. I then had to proceed to tribunal. When we were going through the assessor’s report to prepare for my tribunal, we noticed that the assessor had included a full page of 44 separate medical measurements that measured every degree of movement for every separate joint in my body. These all stated that I had had completely normal range of movement in every joint, which consequently the DWP used to say I didn’t need benefits. This assessment was a complete lie!!! These joint measurements never took place at all. My sister is a physiotherapist and said for her to complete an assessment of joints on a patient, to this degree, would take her over an hour and a half, working with specialised equipment. I was on the couch for less than 3 minutes! And the assessor took absolutely no measurements of my joints. I was only able to prove this was a lie at the tribunal because the assessor had stated that I had completely full and normal range of movement in my left wrist. My left wrist is actually fully fused after an operation and has absolutely no range of movement. I had all the medical records to prove this and the tribunal could see with their own eyes that this was the case. The judge at this point asked the DWP man in the tribunal what he had to say about this and the DWP man just stayed silent on the question and would only say that obviously the DWP had got it wrong with the level of disability I had. I won my tribunal thankfully and they actually ended up increasing the amount of money I received as I won the highest level of care and mobility.
    I am so angry that the assessor was able to lie so blatantly and that if my sister wasn’t a physiotherapist, I don’t think I would have spotted this lie in the report myself. How many other claimants are the assessor’s getting away with lying about in their reports?? The stress of going to tribunal has been horrendous and I felt like a criminal on trial having to go to the magistrates court for my tribunal. It is a truely horrible experience. It is disgusting that an assessor hired by the government was able to lie so blatantly on a report. These are people’s lives that are being ruined and messed with!

  2. I once asked the DWP and MAXIMUS about there qualifications and they got rather cagey and wouldn’t answer I take it not much then.

  3. Don’t forget they are driving people to suerside with there lies

  4. It is unfortunately blatantly obvious in some of the medical reports that they have not got a clue, what is even worse when you raise the issue with Capita they still stick to there guns that there wca assessors are right, that is something that they are going to have to deal with, both cases I am currently working are serious enough to take to NMC Level under the code, high time some of there own staff had to endure the costly and painstaking tribunal process they put people through, not enough of this happens, there should be a mandatory process just like hospital trusts use.

  5. They are not interested in your health conditions . They are only interested in how they can deny you these benefits. These are benefit fraud assessments not meant to help but to give ammunition to the DWP so they can fire the gun & stop any thing you are entitled because thats what the DWP want. Resorting to lying when they cannot achieve this is often the only way they can meet their targets.
    With a high percentage of decisions being overturned at tribunal i fail to see what these assessments achieve besides harassing the sick & disabled. An outrageous attempt to take money from the most vulnerable should be stopped at source.
    I feel now that the perpetrators of this misery should be named & shamed. I have kept all my transcripts from all my assessments. I would be delighted to make them public so the non disabled can see how we are treated.

    • I too have kept all paperwork to do with my ESA 11month struggle to get the decision of the DWP based upon “untruths” from a flawed assessment.
      I would gladly bear/bare witness to any inquiry or indeed to a television programme such as Panorama etc.
      I cannot understand how this hasn’t become a major issue and had reporters clamoring for stories.

      My ESA assessment was totally flawed. ( kicked off ESA and spent 11 months at job centre where staff hadn’t a clue what to do with me )
      My PIP assessment was done correctly. ( awarded full high rates of both care and mobility )

      Both of these assessments were carried out in 2017.
      Why the difference?
      Same person same conditions.

      I won’t bore you with all my disabilities and ops and mental issues. But suffice to say I’m suffering from multiple incapacity in body and mind.
      In short I’ve nothing from waist down ( feeling )
      I’ve brain issues.
      I’ve had numerous operations on lungs, spine and heart and am due more. But still I had to go through the appeals process to get to a tribunal where the DWP didn’t even show up!!!! Of course I won the case. It was never really in doubt that I wouldn’t win.

      But I spent 11 months going to the job seekers to claim JSA when in reality there’s not an employer on the planet that I could make money for, not one that’d get insurance to employ me, besides I need a carer with me.
      All of the advisors at the job centre without exception had to just allow my carer to help me go through the motions to fulfil their screen criteria.
      One young optimistic chap there said… “I’m a glass half full type of person” — good for you I thought and blurted out, ” I havent even got a glass ”

      The system is rigged.
      My big beef is simply…. why are we answering to privateers at assessments.
      The NHS says I’m unfit… the DWP pays….. who the hell decided to muscle in the middle and grab public money from the most vulnerable.
      Worst attitude is the benefit advisors who refuse to stand up and say this is wrong, most try through Nuremburg defence…. I’m just following orders.

  6. My assessor told me at the assessment that she had never met anyone with my condition. I explained in detail but my description of my illness was either not understood or wilfully ignored.

    • Sorry you wasted your breathe. They dont even have the form you filled in for either ESA or PIP. They have descriptors ear marked that they will skew to deny you benefit.
      I use a toilet frame. By deliberately ignoring this at both assessment & reconsideration i ended up at tribunal where “legally” it had to be considered. I won. Somehow i felt nothing. It was my third tribunal. 2 for ESA & 1 for PIP.

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