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TOPIC: Well, Brown envelope arrived today...

Well, Brown envelope arrived today... 2 months 6 days ago #217740

Well, the ‘brown envelope decision’ arrived this afternoon & my initial thoughts (and that of my husband) after the assessment by “what an idiot that young man was” has been substantiated...

Had to get my husband to read the letter as I just did not understand it – he had to read it twice & wondered if the decision maker was talking about me, or another person!

I have just gone from DLA High Care/High Mobility, to standard rate PIP 11 points & mobility 10 points.

Unfortunately, for me, the assessment took place on one of the best days I have ever had. The assessor was in such a hurry it was unbelievable. When my husband mentioned my stroke, Assessor was very irritated and said he would have to start all over again! Husband said everything was in the notes that had been typed up, to which the Assessor said “Don’t know, haven’t read it, nobody does.”

This young Assessor was here just about 1 hour, seemed very flustered, in an obvious hurry and said he had 5 more calls to make. On previous DLA/ESA assessments a doctor has come, stated that he was a doctor and understood how all my (numerous) medical problems interacted with one another. Each of those 4 doctors was here between 2¾ and 3½ hours and did thorough medical tests and asked sensible questions... not “if you bought a bottle of water from a shop for 70p and gave the assistant £1, how much change would you get?” Maybe I answered question wrongly, said it would be a very cheap bottle of water then, as my daughter is always asking if she can take a bottle of water from the fridge out with her as a cold bottle usually costs her £1.25. Assessor said I had a very good grasp of everyday prices – was only going by what daughter says, husband does all the shopping!

Report says ‘...Assessor found your reported cognitive restrictions inconsistent with the evidence as you displayed adequate cognition, concentration, memory, recall and orientation and you required no prompting.’ Husband said he had to wake me up at least 5 times and I kept wandering, talking rubbish irrelevant to conversation and asking Assessor to repeat himself. Only time he looked at me/my husband was when he raised his nose above his laptop – he spent longer typing than talking.

Report says ‘... restrictions were noted in the musculoskeletal examination’. What examination??? I never got out of my comfy chair! He asked me to raise my right leg as high as I could (from my sitting position) which was to a parallel 180°, then my left leg, which would not move at all! He then asked how do I get to the doctor’s; I replied “By car. My husband drops me outside the entrance, I sit down about the half-way point of the lower floor waiting area to rest, husband parks car then appears to help me get up, walk to the lift and sit down upstairs outside the surgery door, while my husband books me in.” Husband went to great pains to explain to Assessor that we have a brand new ‘state of the art’ medical practice and there is hardly any walking involved for me to get to a doctor. Husband actually went there this afternoon to measure distance from pavement outside to half-way point of lower floor (15 metres); lift to upstairs waiting area 10 metres. I just cannot get my head round how you can assess someone’s walking ability without seeing them walk!

So, I need aids to prepare & cook myself a meal... Since my stroke in 2005 I have had ‘the shakes/twitches’ and can’t pick saucepans/kettles/plated food/a drink up as I will drop it. Is my husband, who would have to pick up & move saucepans etc ‘an aid’? I cannot be relied on to even remember there is a meal cooking (all explained in my notes, which Assessor admitted he had not read). I can (apparently) dress myself adequately with ‘adapted clothing’. How do you adapt a t-shirt or jumper or trousers? Or am I only supposed to wear something which I can get on unaided? I need help getting a cardigan/fleece/jacket on too & this has been dismissed.

Apparently (so Assessor says) I can have a strip-bath using a bath board. Really? We have a very large corner bath (put in before my stroke). Have searched internet all afternoon and not located a bath board that will fit our style corner bath – are we supposed to rip out our bath and replace it with a ‘normal’ one just for the convenience of the DWP? Equally, I use a plastic chair in the shower cubicle. I still need help getting out of the chair after the shower. Grab rails (as suggested) will not work as the chair fits snugly in the space. Grab rails would not be of any help placed each side of the chair and it would be folly to put them on the sliding glass doors!

The DWP have decided that, based on the evidence of the Assessor (including that I have a good insight into my conditions) - well, having lived with my conditions since 1991 which have progressively increased over the years, I would know my problems and limitations, wouldn’t I? – DWP has decided I can plan and follow the route of a journey safely – err... when I am absolutely stoned on morphine most of the day??? – or am I supposed to not take any pain relief if planning/following the route of a journey, which I would not then be able to do as I would seize up with the pain and be unable to move!

I rang DWP this afternoon and asked for a copy of the Assessor’s report. Award letter is dated 6 September, so I have a bit of time. My husband does not want me to have to go through all the stress of an appeal but my thoughts are – why should DWP be allowed to get away with this decision, based on (haven’t seen report yet, but anticipate...) a ‘pack of lies’?

Well, it’s meds time now (only time I am usually mentally coherent is around ½ hour either side of taking my meds).
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gordon

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Well, Brown envelope arrived today... 2 months 6 days ago #217753

Wow, they really do just cut and paste.

Mine also said exactly

Report says ‘...Assessor found your reported cognitive restrictions inconsistent with the evidence as you displayed adequate cognition, concentration, memory, recall and orientation and you required no prompting.’

I did needs lots of prompting, hmm.
The following user(s) said Thank You: sickandtired

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Well, Brown envelope arrived today... 2 months 4 days ago #217822

Yes, they do seem to cut & paste - report I have repeats itself over & over again!

Got Assessment Report – very quickly. Hard to believe, with all my problems, they sent a Paramedic to do a very rushed assessment! All the way through my husband and I felt the focus of the assessment was his laptop and watch, not me. He would ask a question and was busy typing away before I had finished replying.

I had a transparent folder tucked down the side of the seat cushion of my chair which stayed there throughout. It was a very good day for me but I was still in a lot of pain and not very talkative – he has written: “Whilst sitting she was able to leaf through pages of A4 paper with her left hand demonstrating adequate manual dexterity... She was able to pick up her sheets of paper with her application notes and was able to read directly from this at the end of the interview to make sure nothing had been missed. She was a polite and jovial claimant...” I was in too much pain to talk much and was twitching/shaking throughout (have done this since my stroke), but he has failed to state this anywhere in his report.

Functional History is full of inaccuracies and many things I need help with have been omitted or misrepresented – “...when in the kitchen she is able to stand with her stick in right hand, although she has been told not to use it, she continues to do this...” It is my elbow crutches I have been told not to use, not my walking stick! He has omitted that I need someone to move saucepans, remind me that food is cooking etc, and cut food up. I twitch/shake so much I drop everything, so safety has to come into the equation, doesn’t it?

He states (correctly) in FH: “...She suffers with urinary urge incontinence and takes medications to control an overactive bladder...” yet in another place he says: “...Functional history shows incontinence is related to mobility rather than true incontinence” – so why am I taking medication for it then?

He states I need help with putting tops on because of restricted movement in right arm; he has marked (b) Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to dress – shouldn’t this be (e) Needs assistance to be able to dress or undress their upper body? He has also stated in his report “... would not have the strength to get out of a bath unaided...” but has marked (b) Needs to use an aid or appliance to be able to wash or bathe – shouldn’t this be (e) Needs assistance to be able to get in or out of a bath or shower?

Now, this is what I really do not understand: I sat in my chair throughout the assessment. The only ‘tests’ that were carried out was to grip his hand with my left, then right; raise my right leg as high as I could, then my left (which did not move at all). Under Musculoskeletal system there is three-quarters of a page of utter ‘garbage’ about how much I can move my arms/legs by, ending in “...Right hip flexion 130 degrees or more (right hip bends within normal range). External hip rotation 45 degrees or more (right outward hip rotation within normal range). Power in right leg normal. Spine can bend forward to reach knee level only.” How can you measure the hip rotation of someone sitting still in a chair, or bending of a spine if you do not lean forward?

With Planning & following journeys he says: “Medication history shows no antidepressant and no anxiolytics” – have checked drug directory and 2 of the medications I am taking are also classified as antidepressants/anxiolytics, although I am taking them for another reason. GP has previously said he cannot prescribe any additional antidepressant for me to take in conjunction with my other drugs.

With walking mobility, he just asked how I got to the doctor’s – ‘in the car; my husband drops me right outside the door, I can just walk to half-way point of downstairs waiting room and have to sit down to rest. My husband, having parked car, catches up with me then, we walk to the lift and waiting area is right outside. The electronic booking-in machine is right outside the consulting room; if I am not too tired, I book myself in, otherwise my husband does it. My husband normally comes in with me as I forget what has been said.’

He says: “When she goes to her GP surgery, her husband will drop her outside the door, she will visit the newly built GP surgery and will walk to the waiting room after checking herself in at reception. She will see her GP by herself. Reported restrictions of pain and immobility are consistent with a collection of physical conditions... Medication history shows strong painkillers used regularly. It is clinically reasonable she requires an aid to stand and walk, but that she can walk more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres reliably.” (As stated in my application form) I can do 20 metres on a very good day, but usually around 18 before I have to stop due to pain. If there was any doubt, shouldn’t a walking test have been done?

Had this hurried Paramedic read back to my husband and I what he had (inaccurately) written, I would not be in this position, as all the inaccuracies would have been corrected. On his way out he said he had overrun his time and was now running late as he had 3 more assessments to do.

Where do I start with all this for a Mandatory Reconsideration? I know there is never any certainty, but might there be good enough grounds for challenging this medical assessment? If so, is it submitted to DWP before the Mandatory Reconsideration, or submitted as part of the Tribunal Appeal process?

Do apologise for this post being so long, but just saying ‘there are a few discrepancies’ really does not do this bogus report justice.

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