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PIP assessor walked out! 11 months 2 weeks ago #241800

I had a PIP assessment yesterday, and the assessor walked out after about 15 mins. I'm registered VI & have lots of (medical) issues. I've been told that I should be put through on paper, but this would be too straightforward, it seems. Anyway, the assessor IAS (ATOS) had to text me to say they would be turning up late, and the assessor seemed quite flustered on arrival. The assessor said that it would be an "informal" interview and stated that they would need to put their hands on me, which I said I was uncomfortable with. Also unecessary. I asked the assessor to put on some sim specs so they would have some idea of my VI, and they refused, stating that (the plastic simispecs!) would damage the glasses they were wearing, and that they "couldn't do their job", the point seemingly lost on them.

They started to ask a number of personal (irrelevant) questions, seemingly as a power game (?) focusing on my qualifications, class, background and the like; which started to make me uneasy. But I played along, trying to remain neutral and helpful, despite not seemingly coming to a point.

When the assessor stated that they'd like to ask some medical questions, I asked to refer to my claim form; I have issues with my memory. Seeing me need to use special specs and an on-screen magnifier, there seemed to be a shift in attitude (as far as I could hear) towards annoyance. I asked whether I was "being too formal in looking at a formal form" or something, trying to lighten the mood, and was suddenly accused (randomly) by the assessor of my "accusing her of using too strong language" or something. I certainly made no mention of this, and it came as a total surprise to me. I was then accused of being "sarcastic", which was not the case, and she referred to my describing my earlier apprehension of IAS / ATOS (when another assessor claimed my detached retina was a mental / musculoskeletal (!) problem.) At the time, she said that she disagreed with this assessment, and agreed with me. So it was a strange volte-face.

The shift seemed to come about the same time as they opened their laptop, so I don't know if they'd got feedback from a manager to simply walk away, but it seemed a quite abrupt turn. I'm not sure if it was a concern (likely) that it would take too long if I had to keep refering to my claim form, but perhaps this was part of it.

The whole experience left me quite nonplussed, I expressed surprise and said that I was perfectly prepared to answer any questions she had (the whole point of the exercise) and hoped to do so as quickly as possible.

They left without saying goodbye, just walked away. I keep wondering (as my back was turned looking at my monitor) whether the assessor felt disrespected, but I hope not.

Anyway, I have left my comments with both IAS and the DWP. The DWP say that it will take 4-6 weeks before any decision is made, but IAS said that it would take 2 days before it appears on the DWP system, and they will close my claim, which has been going for about 9 months; this being my first f-2-f assessment (in my home). The DWP rec'd a paper review, and lots of employees of IAS (even the nasty bunch at Stockton :)say that I should be PTP or w/e their jargon is.

I'm not sure what to do now, I expect I'll call the DWP in a couple of days. I feel like I should've recorded the whole encounter (in hindsight) but is it possible to request the IAS / ATOS recording to help if my claim is closed? Do I have any options if this happens? I rely on my DLA (which I'm still getting) while this transfer to PIP continues. Is it worth using the complaints form on the IAS / ATOS site, or should I assume that this goes straight in the bin?

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PIP assessor walked out! 11 months 2 weeks ago #241820

D

It sounds as if the assessor has recorded you as failing to participate in the assessment, this may mean that your file is returned to the DWP for them to make a Decision on whether to submit you for a further assessment or to close your claim.

Yes, I would make a complaint about the assessor to IAS.

Complaining to the PIP Assessment Providers

If this is the case then the DWP should write to you for an explanation of what happened and will then make their Decision.

Gordon
The following user(s) said Thank You: Dan Statham

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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

PIP assessor walked out! 11 months 2 weeks ago #241867

Thanks Gordon, I wrote a complaint last night. For future reference, are assessors permitted to touch claimants, by the way? There's no reason for it, none of my disabilities can be "felt", even. It didn't come to that anyway, they left without asking a single relevant question. I'm not even sure if it was some tactic, but the assessor did seem quite keen on playing what seemed like power games throughout, highlighting their own qualifications, background and such rather than taking any interest in the questions (about those subjects) they'd asked me. It was a quite surreal experience, certainly stressful. Is this usually what happens at these assessments?

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PIP assessor walked out! 11 months 2 weeks ago #241879

D

No, this is not a usual examination.

My understanding is that all Medical Professionals should ask permission of the patient/claimant before they examine them in any way, however, there may be implied permission as a result of the person attending the surgery/assessment that would allow some basic level of examination.

There is definitely a requirement to seek permission where the MP is intending to do an examination of an area that has been highlighted as being an issue, as an example; someone with a shoulder injury should be asked before any manipulation/movement of the arm is attempted.

Gordon
The following user(s) said Thank You: Dan Statham

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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

PIP assessor walked out! 11 months 2 weeks ago #241903

No permission was asked, just a statement that "I'll need to touch you at some point", before moving on. All of my issues are medical, I'm not sure how or why (for instance) irreparably damaged nerves, detached retinas, sundry internal organs and so on would need to / could be touched. Or why. I imagined the MP jabbing pins into my feet to prove they're totally numb or w/e! It's good to know that I can refuse if it happens again. I'm not very hopeful of much beyond my claim being closed, though.

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PIP assessor walked out! 11 months 2 weeks ago #241982

I guessed that any complaints end up in the bin, IAS / ATOS are very opaque and unaccountable. They sent me an autoresponse:

Thank you for getting in touch with us. We’re sorry but we are no longer able to respond by email.

I guess I have to write to them by post? I suppose some human will have to put my complaint in a bin, rather than a machine! :)Should I complain to the DWP too, I get the feeling that they are at least accountable sometimes?

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