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PIP Success 5 months 4 days ago #259364

We are just recovering from the ordeal of a battle with the DWP lasting almost four years. My 33-year-old daughter, for whom I am Appointee, has a Learning Disability and went to a Special School. Her understanding, literacy and numeracy skills are well below normal limits. She was awarded DLA lower rates of Living and Mobility in 1995 as an 8-year-old child. Her DLA was then awarded indefinitely. We were invited to apply for PIP in July 2017. The DWP asked if I would like her DLA papers linking to her new PIP claim and I said yes. I duly submitted a claim to PIP, stating among other things that my daughter cuts herself when preparing food. I attached written evidence including an Educational Psychology Assessment, reports from her Learning Mentor, family members and friends about how my daughter’s disability impacted on her day-to-day living, stating everything we had to do to support her in life.
The DWP sent a CAPITA Assessor to my daughter's house. I was there as well. She said she was a qualified health professional trained by CAPITA. She could barely speak a word of English and we found her quite aggressive in the way she demanded to see my daughter’s proof of identity before she even introduced herself and explained why she was there. My daughter was very disturbed by her line of questioning and the Assessor got rather angry when my daughter did not understand the questions and had to turn to me to re-phrase them. Then, in turn, I had to explain what my daughter was trying to say in order to answer the Assessor.
The DWP awarded my daughter 0 points and consequently her DLA was stopped in October 2017. I went through all the normal steps, following the ‘Benefits and Work’ Guidelines, of asking them to look at their Decision again and requested a Mandatory Reconsideration. I requested a copy of the Assessor’s report and was horrified by what I read. There were 19 lies, that's all I can call them; made up stories, fabrications. She had contradicted herself and drew some very strange conclusions, such as my daughter could cook because she worked. (She had a part time job in a swimming pool and gym.) It was so far-fetched that I wondered if the Assessor had mixed up my daughter with someone else. In each response to me the DWP routinely copied, word for word, everything the Assessor wrote in her report, including the 19 lies, bad grammar and spelling mistakes, affirming all of her weird conclusions, which defied human logic. The DWP said they preferred the Assessor's evidence to our own. They said the Assessor’s evidence was the best evidence and they preferred it. It appeared the DWP never considered the Educational Psychology Assessment written by a qualified person with a PhD.
The MR was lacking explanations for several important Daily Living components: managing therapy, dressing and undressing, communicating verbally, reading and understanding, engaging with others and making budgeting decisions. They wrote several lines, I won’t call them paragraphs or sentences as they did not use them, about my daughter’s physical and mental health, which were not part of the claim! They did not explain their reasoning. I asked them again to explain all of the missing components, but as a caveat, I said if they were just going to copy the Assessor word for word then not to bother – so they didn’t. I had to involve my MP to obtain me a complete MR from the DWP, so that I knew what I was fighting. The DWP, through their Complaints procedure, managed, grudgingly to fill in the blanks. They admitted the MR was done in haste but it was still correct. They said my daughter could cook because she could drive (The longest she could drive was to work and back, a familiar route of no more than 20 minutes). They said they had no reasons to doubt the Assessor’s findings. They told me I had no business going through the complaints procedure to get them to look at the claim again! What else could I do when they had not done their job properly?
I submitted an appeal using ‘Benefits and Work’ guidelines and sent further supporting evidence, including a letter from my daughter’s employer about all the ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ which they had to make to enable her to do her job. I submitted letters from her GP and dentist saying that my daughter has to be accompanied by one of us to appointments, as she gets herself mixed up and does not always make herself understood.
We had a one-hour personal hearing at a First Tier Tribunal in Leicester, in September 2018. Their questions were based solely on the Assessor’s report. I came to the conclusion, from the line of questioning, that they had never looked at the claim form, only the Assessor's flawed report. My heart sank. When I pointed this out, they looked at me like I was the one in the wrong. They ignored a letter from my daughter’s employer which gave details of the help they gave her at work. The FTT awarded 6 points for reading and budgeting, 2 points short of qualifying for any PIP. I requested a copy of their Statement of Reasons. It appeared that they did not make any ‘finding of fact’ but assumptions e.g., she works in a swimming pool so she must be able to cook! My sister-in-law who was a barrister, said a proper judge should not have said that, it was an ‘Error in Law’.
After jumping over several hurdles, we went to the Upper Tribunal in Birmingham in January 2020 and appeared before one Judge, to try to have the First Tier Tribunal’s decision overturned. It was very formal, but the Judge and his Clerk could not have done more to put us at ease. I submitted a copy of the Assessor's report, amended in red like a bad piece of homework to make an impact on the judge. I spoke about several ‘Errors in Law’. The Judge said lots of people just come to him for a moan about the DWP but there has to be one ‘Error in Law’. He asked me to hand him all my speaking notes so he could study them. The Judge sent a Decision that suggested there were two ‘Errors in Law’ because the First Tier Tribunal did not consider my daughter’s evidence when it came to preparing food and they did not consider that she had previously been awarded DLA. He also directed the next First Tier Tribunal to make a thorough review of all the papers. I would have thought that should have been obvious! The DWP admitted, in their response, that they destroyed my daughter’s old records in January 2020. Co-incidence or not?
We had another First Tier Tribunal, this time remotely on line in April 2021. It was an horrendous interrogation of almost two hours. My daughter was mixing herself up and getting upset, which was good, because that is what I wrote on the claim form. I sent a photograph of the scars on my daughter’s fingers where she had cut herself, when attempting to chop food. My daughter contorted her thumb to touch her forearm to demonstrate that she had muscle and joint laxity and that was why she was cutting herself.
After feeling desperately low for several days, we received the result after a few days and we had won! They awarded PIP from 2017 to 2027. All my daughter has done is recouped what she lost in 2017, standard rates of Daily Living and Mobility.
I could not let the matter rest because my daughter had been cheated out of PIP by someone’s lies that the DWP and initial FTT decided to believe, irrespective of all the honest evidence we submitted, which we could not have forged. In effect, they had nullified and overruled it all because the DWP and FTT thought they knew better, which cannot be right.
My advice is to keep on persevering and fight for justice. You can win.
Mrs Gillian Jurenko (Appointee)
The following user(s) said Thank You: Becca, An ex nurse, denby, Hera123

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PIP Success 5 months 4 days ago #259383

Hi GJ

Welcome to the forum, you might want to have a look at the following FAQ which explains where everything is

Welcome to Benefits and Work

In case you are not aware, your real name appears to be showing in the forum, if you want to change this then follow the instructions in the following FAQ

My full name is showing, how can I stop it?

Your daughter must be very proud to have a champion such as yourself fighting for her. Reading your post many claimants would have given up, so thank you for posting and giving encouragement to other members on the forum.

I hope that you made a formal complaint in regards to the Capita Assessor. We always advise claimants to keep copies of any claims forms just in case DWP loose/destroy them.

Give yourself a big pat on the back and a glass of wine you deserve it. Many congratulations on the award and well done.

Gary

Tags: @RESULT @PIP @APPEAL @ UT APPEAL

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

PIP Success 5 months 3 days ago #259391

Well done, how they get away with writing things down sometimes which is nothing like the truth I'll never understand, I've just had my PIP review by telephone but asked for it to be recorded as I had the same problem at my last assessment, at least this time I have the proof of what was said .
If I can work out how to start a new thread I will, but once again a BIG well done.

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PIP Success 5 months 1 day ago #259443

Wow!! I had a 2.5 year ordeal, and I thought THAT was bad..
I now know that DMs do not actually read anything except the Assessor’s report.
Like you I had to go to UT and have a second FTT.
At the first FTT I was told I was actually fine because I worked 3 hours a week!
I am currently renewing… just to warn you, they use the ‘last’ assessor’s report when renewing the claim, so it will haunt you further….
I stated in each section what points I had been awarded at tribunal, so fingers crossed I will ‘retain’ the same award (though mine has actually ended despite DWP saying it wouldn’t because of Covid).
Renewals after tribunal wins are counted as a ‘new claim’.
Again, like you, all my DLA records have been destroyed… despite the UT judge asking why they hadn’t been looked at..
Drink lots of gin xx And breathe xxx KEEP EVERYTHING xx
The following user(s) said Thank You: denby

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PIP Success 5 months 23 hours ago #259464

Hi Angel

You are correct, the moral of the story is to keep a copy of all your paperwork and forms as DWP is very good at loosing them.

Gary

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

PIP Success 5 months 10 hours ago #259486

Hi Gillian,
Well done on your perseverance. I too have had long battles with DWP and tribunals in respect of clients. I suspect it is a great deal more difficult when you are fighting these battles on behalf of a family member. I am a firm believer that justice will always be achieved, but it does not necessarily come easy.
Well done for what you have achieved!
LL26

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