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PIP Review 1 month 3 weeks ago #261890

Hi Everyone
I really need some help. I asked for my PIP award to be looked at again in February of this year as my condition has deteriorated. I have been getting standard rate daily living allowance and no mobility. I'm waiting for an Anterior or Lateral Interbody Fusion as I was diagnosed in October 2020 with Scoliosis and Lumbar Stenosis, this has been delayed until next year due to Covid, this was the last time I saw my neurologist and attended the hospital, also due to Covid, so any medical evidence is outdated. I also suffer from Cervical Myelopathy for which I had surgery for in January 2020 because I lost the use of my hands and arms but unfortunately I didn't get any feeling back in my fingers after the operation.
I had my PIP phone review on 11th June this year which lasted for an hour and a half and was exhausting. I confirmed all the changes that I'd put on my change of circumstances form, which was:-
1. I can no longer prepare a simple meal for myself as I have frequently burned myself due to having no feeling in my fingers and can't use an oven or a microwave.
2. I have to have someone cut my food into manageable pieces so I can use an adapted spoon or fork. I can no longer use a knife
3. I can no longer get in and out of the bath or shower as I have fallen several times so now can only bathe if someone helps me in and out of the bath or shower and can't wash my upper body.
4. I can't dress my upper body as I can't lift my arms above my head.
5. I can no longer plan or undertake an unfamiliar journey without someone taking me as I have been having counselling for depression and anxiety but this has now ended, plus I get a lot of pain in my back, left leg and left hip for which I had a Total Hip Replacement in 2018
My phone interview was with IAS. The nurse who did the phone assessment spent a long time asking questions about the fact that I drive a manual car, how I get in and out how I hold the steering wheel, how I change gear, how far I drive in my job. I answered all her questions saying I use gloves with palm grips to help me grip the wheel, that I have to lift my leg onto the clutch and keep it in position because I can't lift it on and off without the use of my arms, that I sit into the seat sideway and then lift my legs into the car using my arms.
I was honest about my job, dog boarding and daycare saying I pick the dogs up but can only drive within a 2 mile radius because of stress on my back and leg and anxiety with longer journeys. That I can walk with a stick for more than 200 metres but have to rest frequently.
The letter I have received with the award notice has dismissed everything I said. One paragraph states that although I said I have difficulties preparing food, washing and bathing, managing toilet needs, dressing and undressing and require assistance. The heath care professionals findings indicated restrictions however adequate functional ability to be able to manage these activities independently with the use of suitable aids. (That paragraph didn't make much sense but that's how it was written) It goes on to say that based on the available evidence they decided I need an aid to prepare and cook a simple meal for one person (I categorically stated, I can't peel, cut or chop and can't use an oven or a microwave). They say I need an aid to wash and bathe (I said I can't get in and out of the bath or wash my upper body) and they said that there is no evidence to suggest that I would suffer any psychological distress planning and following a journey (even though I said that the last time I tried to see my neurologist on a long unfamiliar journey, I got lost, had a panic attack and had to pull over putting myself and other road users in danger, so now my son drives me on unfamiliar journeys and also that I've been having counselling for depression and anxiety)
They've even said that because I can feed, care for and walk a dog indicates I have adequate upper body function and grip.
I really thought the letter must be a mistake, I am baffled how they came to this conclusion. When I first applied for PIP in January 2020, I didn't get the award I expected so did a Mandatory Reconsideration but got the same outcome and gave up because it said that if I continued, I could lose the whole award. So please help, what do I do now? Sorry its so long winded but I'm gobsmacked. Thanks in advance

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PIP Review 1 month 3 weeks ago #261893

Hi sue2711

Unfortunately you are not alone in feeling exasperated but we are here to help along with fellow members of the forum.

The first stage to challenging a Decision is for you to request a Mandatory Reconsideration, this needs to be done in writing to the DWP, within one month of the Decision, to the office that dealt with your claim, have a look at our PIP MR & Appeal guide for details of the process, the PIP area also has template letters that you can use to make the request with.

www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/help-for-claimants/pip

You should contact the DWP for a copy of the assessment report (PA4) if you have not already done so, I would phone them but again follow up the request in writing. Once you have the assessment report you will have a better understanding of how the DWP Decision Maker has come to their conclusions and will then be able to argue against them.

Understand that the assessor is offering an opinion when they say that you can do the PIP activities, tackling these head-on is unlikely to be successful, you need to show that the basis of that opinion is founded on incorrect information, so try and refer to your evidence to undermine what they have said.

Also, try and stick to issues that lead to your scoring points, I often hear members referring to the assessors spelling, as an example, whilst it may show a lack of professionalism, raising it as an issue isn't going to help you get an award.

Your primary task is to show that you meet the criteria, there are many reasons you may have failed, you need to address each of these but don't get bogged down in criticising the assessment report unless you can clearly show that it is incorrect, it is a lot easier to argue the facts of the situation;

Lastly, make sure that you understand the criteria that you are being assessed against you can put the best case forward that is possible but you won't score points if you do not meet the PIP Descriptors.

When you have a better idea of the issues with your claim, come back to the forum and we will do our best to help.

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

PIP Review 1 month 3 weeks ago #261894

Thankyou for replying so fast, I've had a sleepless night worrying about this. The only evidence I have is a report written by my neurosurgeon after my consultation with him in October 2020 but that only refers to the severity of my condition and information about the proposed operation, it doesn't say what I should or should not be able to do. I haven't been able to contact him since then due to his backlog and since October 2020, my condition has worsened. I was thinking of writing to my GP, who has been kept updated up to October 2020, with a breakdown of of the information I put on the PIP form and asking if he could back this up by ticking the corresponding boxes on the GP notes but as there is no new evidence of how much my condition has deteriorated, I'm unsure if he would be willing to do this. I have no copies of the original MRIs which by the increased pain and the feeling of bone on bone, will also be outdated. I'm assuming PIP requested copies of these as they referred to medical evidence. I'm conscious of the time limit to get the MR completed and worried that any new evidence I can get won't be within one month of the date if the letter. I live alone so there is only me that knows what I struggle with so how do I prove this? Once again thankyou so much for your prompt reply, I will request the assessors report from the DWP today but I can understand why people just give up. It's exhausting

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PIP Review 1 month 3 weeks ago #261923

Hi sue2711

When you have the assessment report you will have a better understanding of how the DWP Decision Maker has come to their conclusions and you will now be able to argue against them.

I usually use a highlighter to highlight any inaccuracies, once you have gone through the report you then set out why you are applying for a MR and go through each descriptor one at a time why you disagree with the assessor and try and match it with any supporting documents you may have sent in.

As I stated in my last post, understand that the assessor is offering an opinion when they say that you can do the PIP activities, tackling these head-on is unlikely to be successful, you need to show that the basis of that opinion is founded on incorrect information, so try and refer to your evidence to undermine what they have said.

Your primary task is to show that you meet the criteria.

Use our guides to help you with your mandatory reconsideration

www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/help-for-claimants/pip

Come back to the forum if you need further guidance and we will do our best to help.

Gary
The following user(s) said Thank You: sue2711

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

PIP Review 1 month 3 weeks ago #261938

Dear sue2711, "I live alone so there is only me that knows what I struggle with so how do I prove this?"
Very straightforward if tedious, grab one of the diary templates on here [or do your own, I used a table in Libre office Writer]. And write a diary. You can show clearly how any effort results in pain /exhaustion that stop you repeating the activity [or doing others] as often as required. And how you are affected on the majority of days. And how long things take you and whether you achieve them to an acceptable standard. And whether it is safe for you to attempt them. [An example, some people use special body wipes because they cannot get in and out of the bath safely or shower, and live alone].
Hope this helps, assessors seem most willing to accept diaries in my experience.
Denby
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PIP Review 1 month 3 weeks ago #262071

I have today received the the PA4 form. All through the report it repeats on every page that SH noted will drive a manual un-adapted car and will feed and look after dogs and FH noted hold a walking stick would suggest adequate hand grip/functions and power, it fails to mention that from my 1st knuckle to the end of my fingers is completely numb resulting in my not being able to prepare or cook a meal safely. It also says I get into my car by swivelling my legs which would suggest adequate hip movements. What I actually said was I sit into the car as advised after my total hip replacement and lift each leg in manually so as not to twist my hip. It goes on in the same vein throughout the report referring to medical evidence which is over 12 months old due to not seeing a neurosurgeon because of covid but because I was more mobile and able at that time they've taken that as fact. This report was supposed to have been done by 2 qualified nurses, do they not understand that degenerative disease means it gets worse as time passes. I'm at a loss for words, I'm keeping a diary this week going into detail and I'm in the process of writing to my GP to see if he can support me. I'm speechless to say the least. Sorry rant over
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