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Benefits and Work have heard from a number of people who are very distressed at a claim which began circulating on the internet yesterday that the PIP assessment criteria have been made much more severe and that some people who have had an award may have to repay it. The information allegedly came from a source within Atos.

The story as published contains a number of verifiable inaccuracies, such as the statement that:

“The DWP, by law, is required to assess people within 18 weeks of initial application and many people were breaching these 18 weeks, causing some concern to those at the DWP, as this gives claimants a right of complaint and appeal, potentially.”

There is no legal requirement for a PIP assessment to be carried out within 18 weeks and no right of appeal if it is not.

The story also alleges that:

Any claimants who have been awarded benefits based on a PBR may have their benefits stopped for the duration of the assessment period, and if their disabilities no longer match new clarification "guidelines" the DWP has issued in a new directive as of today, it is expected that they will be asked to repay all monies they have received.

The DWP issued an updated PIP Assessment Guide on 27 May.

However, this actively encourages Atos and Capita to make more, not fewer paper based assessments by making it clear when it would be appropriate to do so. In recent evidence given to the Work and Pension Committee the DWP made it clear that many fewer paper based assessments were taking place than they had expected or wished.

It is exceedingly improbable that the DWP would attempt to recover payments of PIP already lawfully made because they had made changes to guidelines issued to assessors.

Many of the changes alleged in the story would, in reality, require changes to statute before they could legally be imposed and it is extraordinarily unlikely that the DWP would choose to ignore the law in such a wholesale and unsustainable fashion.

Given that the story is based on information allegedly given by an anonymous Atos employee to an equally anonymous source and that there is, as yet, absolutely no evidence to support it, we would strongly advise that it be treated as mere unsubstantiated rumour.

 We will update our information if we find out more.

Comments  

+1 #18 Nigel Ruff 2014-06-04 19:43
Do not believe anything you read on claiming benefits, always claim, so you have a written decision from the benefits department stating the reason for allowing or refusing your claim, then seek help from an expert. Not an armchair adviser.
There is so much rubbish written about disabled claimants.
Do not be put off appealing decisions, they refuse benefits for a lot of people as they know many will take no further action.
Disability benefits are the life blood for many people.
#17 Jim Allison 2014-06-02 17:00
Quoting Puccalove:
I would like to thank the Benefits and Work office for this clarification. I asked for their article to be underwritten and am glad it has now been removed. There were many errors and I have forgotten most of them now. But, for example, it mentioned the kitchen being a 'special place of safety' which as far as I know it never has been, at least not in the way described. It seemed outraged that DMs will no longer be medically trained but as far as I know they never have been. I hope this dies a death and no conspiracy theories emerge. I also disagree with the following statement made by LDAS with regards to the article;
'In this it strikes us that it is reasonable to suppose ATOS management to be looking at ways they can speed up assessments of the backlog. It is in this context that we think there was merit in this article. '


Decision Makers have never been medically trained, they are lay people who by asking Atos or Capita for medical assessments, use the relevant legislation and case law to reach a their decision on entitlement to benefit, usually IB/ESA or DLA/PIP.

DM's have been strongly criticised recently for poor decision making by the Commons Select Committee for work & Pensions & HH Judge Robert Martin, President of the Social Chamber which hears appeals against disallowance of IB/ESA and DLA/PIP in addition to Child Support Appeals.
#16 Puccalove 2014-06-02 15:59
I would like to thank the Benefits and Work office for this clarification. I asked for their article to be underwritten and am glad it has now been removed. There were many errors and I have forgotten most of them now. But, for example, it mentioned the kitchen being a 'special place of safety' which as far as I know it never has been, at least not in the way described. It seemed outraged that DMs will no longer be medically trained but as far as I know they never have been. I hope this dies a death and no conspiracy theories emerge. I also disagree with the following statement made by LDAS with regards to the article;
'In this it strikes us that it is reasonable to suppose ATOS management to be looking at ways they can speed up assessments of the backlog. It is in this context that we think there was merit in this article. '
+1 #15 bro58 2014-05-30 18:09
Hi All,

Please see my update in The Forum :

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/forum?view=topic&catid=10&id=101366&start=18#121734

bro58
#14 denise 2014-05-30 16:56
iv read this again and again and it is some one inside the DWP because of the wording .Nobody out side the DWP would know how to word it in the way this was presented
#13 denise 2014-05-30 16:40
Jim i have tried ti read it.
#12 Jim Allison 2014-05-30 16:14
Quote:
i still say who ever done this went to a lot of trouble because there is a lot to read Just like the real document perhaps their bored at the treasury or IDS IS NOT GETTING ANY AIR TIME
It is of course not true, The latest guide to PIP assessment was released by the DWP on 27 May 20124 and can be found at PIP Assessment Guide
#11 denise 2014-05-30 13:19
i still say who ever done this went to a lot of trouble because there is a lot to read Just like the real document perhaps their bored at the treasury or IDS IS NOT GETTING ANY AIR TIME
+1 #10 carruthers 2014-05-30 12:37
Lazzer, the guide you can get from the link is the official government position. If you want to know more, try downloading this site's guide to PIP (available to members only).

PIP's terms are iniquitous - and you will find many of us saying so in discussions in this section and in the forums.

THIS PARTICULAR ITEM is about a rumour doing the rounds which is not true. If you want to discuss the many very real problems - like the restrictions on mobility qualifiers or the handling of side effects of medication - then look at one of the other threads.

If you wish to discuss your own problems, post on the forums.
+2 #9 Daska 2014-05-30 11:35
Totally agree with you Carruthers, but...

it's telling that so many people find it easy to believe. I'm usually one to double check things before repeating them so I hesitated and didn't re-post but it didn't appear outside the realms of possibility.

Such is the contempt with which sick and disabled people have been treated by this and (though not to such an extent) previous governments that it was all too easy to believe that they would stoop to this level.
+1 #8 Lazzer 2014-05-30 10:59
Is the PIP ASSESMENT GUIDE REAL OR FAKE ????
The criteria takes little into acouunt on mobility concerning the location of the client ,gradients steps or effects of medication that give short term relief with no mention of the subsequent following side efects or complications due to other medications for related or unrelated ilnesses . This smacks more of a device to exclude many from what relief and assistance or care they can afford thus saving money rather than allowing a person enough to suit their requirements to live some kind of life with a basic amount of independance .A lot of us are single with no available help and are totaly reliant on what we recieve just to live and function .Lets have some proper feedback on this or the article does nothing else but premote fear and anxiety amoungst those of us already worried sick on what the future holds for us .
#7 kathy 2014-05-30 10:27
Totally agree carruthers especially having followed all the select committee meetings about PIP.
When you read through the article in detail, none of it has any substance whatsover relating to what has gone before regarding assessments and regulations that have been hard fought for and discussed in the public domain. :-)
+4 #6 carruthers 2014-05-30 09:44
Someone is stirring.

This is that famous internet practice TROLLING - trying to make people cross or alarmed, just to show that you can.

Try to stop it getting to you - that's the only purpose of this story.
#5 denise 2014-05-29 20:49
i think there is somebody or a group who are angry that ukip won the elections and they think everyone on welfare voted for them and they are stirring up the people or there is a conspiracy by the ConDems to frighten people.
+2 #4 kathy 2014-05-29 19:14
The DWP got into hot water when they changed the mobility criteria from 50 metres to 20 without consultation. They did agree to put put safely, reliably in a timely manner in the regs, and consequently legislation. Highly unlikely that they would take this out, or instruct Atos or any other contractor to ignore the descriptors. I have treated it as unsubstantiated rumour since the first time I read it - but initially it has thrown many people into orbit who might not be aware of the legislative process about such an emotive subject. I did read that the DWP, having refuted the information in this document, are investigating the matter and trying to trace the source.
+4 #3 stormclouds 2014-05-29 18:53
I've poked my MP, Sheila Gilmore, at this. I wasn't the first person to do so. She's already been in contact with Anne Begg and they're asking questions to try to find out what on earth is going on.
+3 #2 David 2014-05-29 17:25
Maybe this is a spoiler story reflecting something IDS wants to do in the future, put out to see what reaction there is. Another despicable Tory government may well try to do this after they are re-elected; that is if we let them back in.

It does have a nice simplistic ring to it doesn't it. Housebound you get PIP, able to go out, ever, you don't. Remind me what PIP stands for?
+3 #1 angela 2014-05-29 16:08
Has any body got any idea as to what is really going on in this country with benefits it seems to be one story after an other or is it just to make us all worry that bit more

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