Author Topic: The DWP nightmare  (Read 269 times)

Fiz

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The DWP nightmare
« on: May 26, 2018, 08:15:13 AM »
I was texting someone I know about my recent PIP assessment and she told me of her adult son's treatment by the DWP. Her son was very ill suddenly and was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He had chemotherapy and radiotherapy and surgery to move as much of the tumour as they could without knowing they would definitely leave him permanently brain damaged. He was left having grand mal seizures following the surgery and can't be left day or night. They applied for PIP for which he was turned down following the face to face consultation. They requested MR and was turned down at that stage too with the DWP not changing any points. They went to tribunal and won and he was awarded PIP. I'm unsure at what level and for what, all I know is the tribunal service awarded him PIP.

7 months after the tribunal success the DWP sent a new PIP form out saying it was review time. The form was completed and returned. He had the face to face consultation and was turned down for any PIP award. They applied for the MR which the DWP said they wouldn't change their decision. They're now waiting for a tribunal date.

He's recently been in hospital following major grand mal seizures and new scans have shown the tumour has grown since his operation. There are no plans to operate at this stage and he's home again, but all the family have shifts being with him as he cannot be left as he needs to be kept safe when fitting, midazolam administered if the seizure gets to 2 minutes and an ambulance called if he's still fitting at 5 minutes.

When my friend was telling me this I honestly couldn't believe the DWP and ATOS who do the assessments here. This system is abysmal. I think this is the worst case I've heard of.

I suspect it's because although he has obviously lost his driving licence due to the seizures, he can walk into the assessment centre and sit down all without help. He can answer questions without assistance to communicate. So the assessor is not seeing with their own eyes any disability at all. So it is all down to the paper evidence of his brain tumour diagnosis and the treatment for it and the family's information on the frequency of the seizures, an ambulance only being called at 5 minutes which is rare as the midazolam usually stops the seizure. So it's whether or not the DWP believe the family. Beggars belief in my mind. 

Prabhakari

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2018, 12:20:59 PM »
We are just unfortunate to be alive during a period of right-wing politics. I know someone who was awarded P.I.P. but had to be re-asessed one year on. he got no points so applyed to go to tribunal.
Sadly, he got the days mixed up and missed the appointment. Two months have already passed. He is probably in for a long wait.
Bless 'em all, bless 'em all,
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KizzyKazaer

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2018, 05:20:34 PM »
Quote
This system is abysmal. I think this is the worst case I've heard of.

I am temporarily lost for words and can only think... FFS, what is wrong with the DWP?

(actually, there are so many things wrong with it these days I wouldn't know where to start....)

SteveX

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2018, 06:33:37 PM »
Wow, that's totally shocking.
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Sunny Clouds

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2018, 06:48:32 PM »
I hate to say it, but reading cases reported in Disability News Service, Welfare Weekly, Guardian, Canary etc., this isn't the only case of treating someone with epilepsy badly.  There was a case of someone having repeated grand mals during their assessment and being expected to carry on with it.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2018, 07:05:45 PM »
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FFS, what is wrong with the DWP?

"Only obeying orders."

The reality of life is that lots of horrible things happen because people do what is expected of them.  People in the DWP have targets to meet, and if they don't, their jobs are on the line.

Let me give an example (a horrible one) of what happens in a different context of people being revoltingly nasty - 'enhanced interrogation' aka torture.  Some people believe that torture makes people tell you the truth.  Other people don't care whether it does but think it's a good way to frighten people.  Both sorts, if in power, agree that torture is good.  Suppose that you're the person being tortured.  What should you tell the torturer: (a) the truth or (b) what you think the torturer will believe is the truth?  I think you're unusual if you pick (a).  Now for the next thing.  Who'd take a job as a torturer?  Probably someone who enjoys torturing people.  So if you enjoy it, do you want to (a) get the truth quickly or (b) find lots of excuses to keep torturing someone regardless of what they tell you?  My bet is (b).  So how does that get the truth? 

Even better, there's an American special forces bloke that's just let someone waterboard him  on video to show that it's not torture.  Fine.  He's a roughy toughy special forces bloke.  How many of the victims are?  He knows it's going to stop.  How many of the victims do?

But say you're not a torturer and you work in a torture facility.  The torturer and his colleagues are people like doctors and psychologists.  They all tell you it's not as bad as it looks and the people they're torturing are really, really nasty.  Are you the one with the guts to speak up?  Most people say they would and most people don't.

Now tone it down.  DWP and benefits.  You've been told over and over that most benefits claimants are scroungers.  You've got targets to meet.  If you get it wrong, they can appeal.  Etc.  Maybe you buy into it.  Maybe you don't but you don't have the courage to risk your job knowing what happens to people that do get chucked out for refusing to go along with the nastiness.   Maybe you just enjoy being nasty.  And that's the thing, it's not just one type of person.

Incidentally, I whistleblew years ago on a senior nurse beating up psychiatric patients.  Yes, beating up.  In the end, three other patients and a nurse had the guts to speak up.  But not the doctors.  Not the security guards.  Not the other nurses.  Not the social workers.  Not other patients.  Not ward clerks.  Get the picture? 
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Monic1511

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2018, 07:20:39 PM »
It is fairly common for people with E to be refused PIP until they take it to tribunal.
The favourite of the PIP regs is that the DWP will only consider it if it affects you the majority of the time.
I spend half my time saying to client you cannot say |"sometimes"  it has to be MOST OF THE TIME,   or if its seizures - I have seizure 4 days out of 7 not less than that as that is less than 50% of the time.

If you have had to go to tribunal to get an award and you have a PIP renewal to complete put a copy of the tribunal decision in with your reapplication - DWP will give details of the previous decision made by them to the next assessor but not a copy of the points the panel awards, so you have to do that.   Also Fiz tell your pal to find the previous decision to take with them to the next appeal.

 >dove<

Sunny Clouds

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2018, 11:21:46 PM »
I find it awful that someone with epilepsy should have to have fits more than half the days.  My understanding is that it's unpredictable, so even if it was just one day in seven, it would be a daily risk.  To me epilepsy is the perfect example of what's wrong with the current benefit system.  Ridiculous arbitrary criteria that don't reflect reality.  But then I don't think they're meant to.

I get PIP.  I'm satisfied that I'm legally entitled to it.  I believe that I'm also morally entitled to it.  However, my needs map neither onto the statutory criteria nor the absurd way in which the DWP interprets them.  For example, it was dead obvious that the DMs in question (a decision and two MRs) (yes, two, they messed up) that they just got as far as 'bipolar' and ticked the boxes that match the guidelines their system has.  I genuinely have bipolar and am disabled as a result, however, it's not my main impairment, and not the one that gives rise to most of my needs.  So what they did was to spout a load of twaddle. 

The thing is that the likes of me go into meltdown over the technicalities of it, but the reality is that the whole thing is designed, as the government said, to reduce people getting DLA -> PIP by 20%, and for all that it drives a lot of us potty, the easiest way to do that is not to take it off people who need it least, but to set out to remove it from the people least able to prove their genuine needs.  But we don't want to think this is deliberate, do we?  Too scary.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Monic1511

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2018, 08:01:39 AM »
The 50% rule is only one of the rules the decision makers should consider but they seem to get stuck at that one.  They are also meant to consider the risk incurred by the person when completing the task.  Reliability is the next one, so can you make a meal from fresh ingredients repeatedly, reliably and safely more than 50% of the time.  If you have unpredictable seizures then no you cannot but you need to go to tribunal because the decision makers are no trained, instructed properly.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2018, 10:04:04 AM »
I think it's a bit of both with the trained and intentional thing.

I'm sorry I'm so cynical, I  just see the reality of what happens when someone states an aim at the top and it filters down through a system.  I don't disagree that, to use my words not yours, a lot of the assessors haven't a clue.

Monic - I really, really couldn't do your job.  Years ago, before the 2010 election, I used to advise at the CAB and was ok advising on DLA, but now with the intense pressure to cut benefits, I'd do my fruit if I had to advise people knowing the system wasn't just against them but that it was unfairly against them.  This may sound trite, but I genuinely admire the way you've managed to keep helping people without cracking up and hope you never underestimate yourself.  If you'd done nothing except what you've done here, you'd have achieved so much, but doing your work as well... 
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Monic1511

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2018, 08:02:04 PM »
Sunny  >bighugs< thanks

I fine I am very cynical and clients get mad at me when Im not very compassionate but I'm a bit like "when the refusal letter comes in come back & we will do your MR"  and when they want representation I normally start out as bad blunt cop - not the first time someone has complained because I didn't believe them (according to them)  I just told them that in my view they had no chance of winning after all if you can drive a bus to the cairngorms the panel isn't gonna believe you cant dress yourself.

I'm so blunt my workmates just say & Monic hits them with a shovel.  nae patience me.  I agree its maddening and if I could get redundancy just now I'd be gone but that's a different story.

take care

Sunny Clouds

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2018, 11:07:41 PM »
It's difficult, isn't it?  It's the difference between whether they are entitled and whether they can prove they're entitled.  It's not your job to judge whether they're entitled, just something along the lines of trying to see whether you can realistically help them to put a case together.  Not the same.  But not everyone will see that.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2018, 07:08:11 AM »
Thanks Monic I will pass that info onto the claimant's Mum.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2018, 11:56:39 AM »
Fiz...

...the person going through hell over needs, assessments, benefits, help etc. but who's still making the effort to reach out to get help for someone else.

One of the things I'm appreciating more and more about Ouch and Ouchers.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: The DWP nightmare
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2018, 07:02:06 AM »
Monic, apparently the Mum took the Tribunal decision to the face to face consultation stating nothing had changed since the tribunal but the assessor waved it away and said she didn't want to see it. They've past the MR stage and are waiting for a tribunal date. I've encouraged her to take the previous tribunal decision with them when they go this time. I don't think she would have if I hadn't said because the assessor at the consultation refused to look at it.

Thank you sunny, though I'm sure everyone would want to help others through this torture in any way they could.

My daughter has a photo of her looking really angry with her fist practically hitting David Cameron's nose outside Downing Street and that's how I feel about the conservative party though I'd never hit anybody, I burst into tears if someone is annoyed with someone in my presence! To reassure you all my daughter's photo was taken at Madam Tussauds but I was very proud when I saw it.