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DWP Phone Call Before Tribunal - PIP 10 months 1 week ago #251285

Thanks Bud! It's funny you should mention that actually as they have done similar to me, they have told the panel to take into consideration the fact I get Carer's Allowance. Not why or how it impacts in any way, they just offer it as information. It is indeed very very underhand.

I had a quick read over and they have put words in my mouth, outright lied and that phone call. She states that I was "out in the open" whatever that means (I wasn't outside) and then went on to make a total of eight yes EIGHT assumptions about me, my mood and my cognition despite me barely saying anything.

I wonder if it hurt her arm when she reached that hard...

Having read over it, they basically ask the panel to look at the result of the MR, sprinkle in some lies, make assumptions and contradict themselves. Parts of it seem very childish/unprofessional to me but I'm sure the panel will have seen it all before as you say.

I'd love to argue back and point out their lies/contradictions but I also don't want to come across as childish and petty.

I'll have another read over the guide now to see what, if anything, I should be doing at this point.

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DWP Phone Call Before Tribunal - PIP 10 months 21 hours ago #251543

So, I've finally got through looking over everything and going over parts of the guides on here. I do feel that I was very very thorough in my initial appeal online and so not much needs to be added. As for the DWP, this is what they have added and my idea of a possible rebuttal:

- Claiming I was "out in the open" during a phone call (not sure what this has to do with anything anyway and I wasn't outside at all).

Not sure if I should even mention this point. My anxiety causes me to be unable to leave the home on my own. I am ok if with my husband or sister. I did state that "sometimes" I can even suffer anxiety then. If I was going to reply I would simply state the truth:

"The DM states I was 'out in the open' in the phone call on xx/xx/xx. This is not true. I was in a shop at the time with two other customers, my husband and one shop member. The DM may have heard some noise from the centre the shop is attached to on one side."

- Claiming I was "bright, communicated, engaged, interacted well, very alert, very upbeat and orientated".

"The DM made eight separate assumptions about my mood and cognition. I do not feel a two-minute phone call where I answered three questions and said around 10 words is a basis for all of these assumptions. 'Bright, very alert and very upbeat' is simply my polite manner on the phone as an ex phone operator. 'Communicated, engaged, interacted' this basically means I replied to the three simple questions asked. 'orientated' I do not know how the DM could judge this via a phone call." Ok or too wordy?

-With regards to managing therapy, the HCP overlooked any physio I have to do at home as I don't have evidence of being asked to do it.

I'm going to ask my GP if they can summarise this in a letter or provide past physio reports that indicate this.

-They state that the variability of my conditions has been taken into account. I stated that for my main conditions (fibro, joint issues, depression/anxiety) I have no good days. However, I did try to explain that my brain fog and pain gets worse as the day goes on. Later on they say the HCP considered my ability on the "...majority of days rather than the exacerbations.." of my conditions.

Q: Is variation within 24 hours taken into account? Or is it day by day? I would say that the majority of the day I have cognition and pain issues. Surely exacerbation should be considered when it stops me from doing anything but lay up in bed for the rest of the day?

-They claim that because I watch funny video clips and play with my cat that I have "Adequate motivation".

My lack of motivation can cause issues with cooking/eating food, planning/following a journey, engaging face-to-face, dressing appropriately, washing when needed etc. Observations also stated I didn't lack motivation but I commented on that in my original appeal that the 50min assessment isn't a good indicator of my day to day life. So, my reply:

"I disagree that laying on the sofa or bed watching a video on my phone or petting my cat/throwing a toy for my dog is an indicator of having adequate motivation for carrying out the daily activities mentioned in the PIP claim."

-They often mention me being on a "low dose antidepressant".

Q: Is there any guidance on what is considered "low-dose"? The SSRI I am on only has a max of 40mg and that's usually if another disorder is involved. I was on 20mg at the time of my claim (30 now but I know that's not relevant). Surely 20mg would be seen as a medium dose?

-They repeat over and over in the HCP report, the MR decision and again in their appeal report that I have "..no diagnosis of any cognitive impairment.". My original claim mentions the cognitive problems I have, it also includes a letter from a consultant diagnosing me with fibro where he states I mention brain fog, forgetting things etc.

Q: This is a big one, it is used a lot to deny me points or give me fewer points for many activities. They seem so confident that it doesn't exist, I did mention that it's a main symptom of fibro and referred them to the letter but they again state it's not my condition that is taken into account but the impact it has etc. It all seems very contradictory/confusing. I may get a GP letter confirming I've been having issues with cognition for the last 8 years as I sought out a lot of help years before the diagnosis and some since.

-They state that I have "..expressed displeasure and dissatisfaction with their decision." and that I am "...unhappy with the decision maker, the healthcare professional and the assessment process".

I have never used those words. I have never once used any strong negative terms or said anything bad about the DM, HCP and never questions the process at all. I have used phrases such as "the HCP failed to ask about..." "the report failed to include.." or "the DM may not have been made fully aware of...". I haven't picked at spelling errors or been rude/harsh in any way. So, my reply:

"The DM states that I am unhappy with the DM/HCP/process. Please note that I have no personal displeasure or negative feeling towards any individual or process. I merely wish to have the decision looked at again."

-They state that I am in receipt of Carer's Allowance and go on to explain this means I give at least 35 hours a week or care to someone. The someone is someone I live with and provide emotional support to.

I will formulate a reply to this one or I could just use the last sentence although I don't want the panel to think the DWP are pointing out that if I can provide care to someone I live with this makes my PIP claim void?

-They mention that shopping, using public transport and going up/down stairs is not covered in a PIP claim.

I don't know why they have said this??

-They repeatedly state I gave "a full account of a typical day".

Not once was I asked to do this, I was asked very disjointed questions. I have explained this in my original appeal. Do they often do this and mean that the HCP has somehow pieced all the info together and assumed it's an account of a day? Even the report doesn't mention that she asked it, just my replies to her questions.

Other than this they just refer the tribunal to the MR which I have covered in detail in the initial appeal.

My proposed replies are rough and will be tidied up, I'll also refer to bundle pages in them as well if/when I type them out for real.

Sorry it's so long but this is also part of my anxiety, getting things right in my head even if it takes a week or more for it all to sink in. Even then it leaves sometimes too haha!

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DWP Phone Call Before Tribunal - PIP 10 months 10 hours ago #251552

Hi Wockie

'out in the open' - it's up to you whether or not you mention it. You should certainly be ready for a reply if it's brought up at the tribunal. It actually doesn't matter whether you were in a shop or not, but they will probably question how often you leave the house.

'bright, engaged etc... I would avoid saying that you were simply being polite because it actually sounds as if you are confirming the assessor's viewpoint. I would simply say that it's impossible to judge over the phone and the assessor could not see, or pick up any visual clues and she has not idea what your voice normally sounds like.

You can read the variability rules on page 18-20 of the handbook and it's best to try and explain it over a week.

"PIP law relating to variability is written in terms of percentages, but working out how your condition affects you in in this way can be challenging. It may be more straightforward – and accurate – to stick to describing your difficulties in terms of days per week."

Motivation: This is a tricky one. The panel are going to pick up on the fact that you have carers allowance - for which you are legally obliged to give 35 hrs of care per week. You can argue that this is emotional support, but you will have to explain that if you have problems with motivation how you manage to do this for five hours a day. I only say this because we know of several members who have lost their carers allowance because it is deemed their medical conditions means they cannot fulfill the duties of being a carer. I can't tell you how to argue this one - you know your circumstances. In terms of the other criteria - like your motivation affects whether you eat or not - you need to go into detail about how often this has happened. has it affected your weight? How often do you stay in bed, and is that the depression or the fibro or both? Make sure that you have explained this fully. Just saying that you disagree with the assessor - about the motivational issues regarding stroking your cat, will not be enough if the panel can easily pick up you are motivated in other areas.

Dosage of medication - look up your medication on the NHS website - it usually talks about the dosage and what people take on average - you may or may not be able to use that information.

Cognitive impairment - You have a letter from the consultant who says "you have talked about your fibro fog' - but it doesn't sound as if the consultant has confirmed this as a diagnosis - so in essence what the HP has said is true. You could argue that it is a well-known symptom of fibro and then reiterate how it manifests itself in terms of the PIP criteria. (pick up what it says on the NHS website)

Displeasure and dissatisfaction - You can tell the panel you don't have a problem with the assessor or anyone else but leave this to the end because it makes no difference to any potential points you will score.

Carer's Allowance - already covered in motivation.

A whole day - yes assessors will say that you have given a whole picture of your day from the information given.

The following user(s) said Thank You: ravenmiss

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DWP Phone Call Before Tribunal - PIP 10 months 8 hours ago #251559

Hi Wockle,

I hope this helps I am on 225mg of one antidepressant daily, 100mg of another twice daily in my last pip report they referred to them as high level medication. I am on 40ml of a third one twice a day and they didn’t even mention it!!!

Please follow Bis advice re the carers allowance my friend lost her tribunal on this matter alone so it really does matter.
The following user(s) said Thank You: ravenmiss

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DWP Phone Call Before Tribunal - PIP 10 months 7 hours ago #251562

Thanks ever so much for the reply BIS.

"out in the open" I'll leave it. I don't go out often and never alone so the point is somewhat moot. I went over the amount I go out on the PIP2, assessment, MR and appeal. Is it worth summarising again?

"bright, engaged etc" I'll take your advice there.

Variability - I'll check this and if it's not clear then I'll use the days in a week format.

Motivation - should I not mention the appeal response stating that because I can watch a video clip I am fully motivated in PIP activities? It seems ridiculous to offer this as "evidence" to the tribunal but I suppose it's up to the panel to decide this! I feel my reasoning and explanations regarding motivation were covered in the PIP2, assessment, MR and appeal but if not I could go over it again.

Carer's Allowance - I care for someone with autism, anxiety and depression. A lot of what I do is being there if they have panic attacks, noticing when they're doing something inappropriate like going out in short in winter, trying to leave the house in pj's, watching their mood in case they self-harm and watch for talk of suicide and encourage them to seek medical advice if urgent. A lot of it is being there just in case. I do remind them of things but, of course, I don't manage it every single time due to issues with my own cognition. However, if I use an aid or someone other than this person reminds me to do something I repeat it to them (meds, eating, appts etc). It's complex but if they deem that I am not entitled to CA then so be it. Is "being there" as a possible preventative for harm a reason to claim CA? (More thinking out loud here, I'll do some more digging into it). I am around this person virtually 24/7 aside from sleeping and even then they have been known to wake me needing emotional support even if just to listen.

Dosage, I based my info from the NHS site which states "The usual dose of citalopram is 20mg a day in adults. But it may be started at a lower dose and increased to a maximum dose of 40mg a day." So I assume I can say I was on a "usual dose" (20mg) and not a "low dose" (10mg) and quote the NHS?

Cognition - Agree that the consultant repeated what I said. I'll certainly go over it again but feel it's been covered in the PIP2, assessment, MR and appeal. Is it worth summarising again with info from the NHS?

Whole day - Understood.

Displeasure etc - Will take your advice here.

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DWP Phone Call Before Tribunal - PIP 10 months 6 hours ago #251575


The first thing to say is for you not to do this piecemeal, the more responses you make to the Tribunal Service in regard to your appeal the more confused the panel will be at the hearing.

Also, remember the panel's Decision will be based on your showing that you meet the criteria for an award, I'm not saying that you do not need to deal with the DWP and assessor's comments but you must first ensure that you provided enough testimony and evidence to secure the extra points that you need.

Lastly, don't assume the panel will apply the same weight to these comments as you are, they should be used to DM and assessor's comments that do not relate to the claimant's conditions and limitations.

So if you want to reply do so, afterall this is your appeal just don't lose sight of how to win your appeal.

The following user(s) said Thank You: ravenmiss

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