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PIP Award - To query or not to query, that is the question!


reallymadwoman
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Brief history is that I have been awarded enhanced rate of both components of PIP for a fixed period. The award letter tells me I got 18 points for Daily Living and 14 for Moving Around. According to the experienced Benefits advisor who helped me with my claim, I should have got considerably more points for both components and, given my age and the nature of my conditions, at the very least the award should have been for a much longer fixed period if not the PIP equivalent of indefinate.

 

Obviously, I cannot be awarded a higher rate but I absolutely do not want to go through the hell of making another claim so soon (particularly as my ESA claim is due for review very soon, and last time it took 2 years to get an assessment done) and I'm concerned that if I don't challenge the points awarded, it will be assumed that I agree with them. Particularly in view of the proposals regarding aids and appliances, I could well end up losing some or all of the daily living component next time around if they think the points awarded this time accurately reflect my limitations.

 

On the other hand, the risk is that if I stick my head above the parapet I could lose some of the award I've already got, or they could make the award for an even shorter period.

 

Is it worth the risk or should I just be grateful I've got an award and start preparing for the review? I know it's part of my condition that things that aren't absolutely 'right' bother me enormously, and that award is just not right!

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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I don't think there's such a thing as indefinite PIP. So those of us with permanent disabilities which will either never change or just get worse will get a fixed award.

 

It's also possible that 3 years is a recommendation and someone could look at your file and decide "actually, that could wait for a few more years". I am also expecting there to be a bit of a backlog with the transition from DLA to PIP too.

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3 years is the shortest possible 'longer term' award, for cases where change is likely in the medium term, they actually recommend that most people in this category get awards of between 5 and 10 years.

 

For PIP, an indefinite award is actually called an ongoing award, and is for cases where either there is unlikely to be any change or where someone is already receiving the highest possible award and is likely to get worse, which is the category I should be in. There is no fixed review date, but they anticipate doing a review about every 10 years.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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I also asked this question on a couple of disability forums to which I belong and have been advised to ask for the Decision Maker's statement of reasons and all the ATOS paperwork whilst including the phrase 'this should not be treated as a request for the decision to be reconsidered'. On receipt of the paperwork, i then have to challenge each and every inaccurate assumption in writing, to be put on my file.

 

The reasoning for this is that PIP assessments are being used in connection with ESA claims and as I'm due for reassessment soon, I can't afford to let an inaccurate report stand.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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The advice that you have been given sounds reasonable enough. Not sure, though, that it is necessary to stipulate the reasons for the information request, or the uses to which you may choose to put it.

 

I thought that the letter informing one of a Decision Maker's decision invites one to make a request for a more detailed explanation or report, and has to be complied with anyway.

 

Asking for the information ATOS holds on one may require making a Subject Access Request (SAR).

 

Such requests usually involves approximately a month's wait before you receive what you asked for. So, if you are going to do it you might do so without undue delay.

 

Once your request has been complied with you can scrutinise it to your heart's content, prepare a formal assessment of your own of the salient points of contention, and have it lodged with anyone you choose.

 

You could also then use the information and your assessment of it to support you in your upcoming ESA claim reassessment, or any reconsideration stemming from it, which you may not be able to do if you are bound by promised restrictions on the uses to which you put the information that you have you been given.

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RMW

I feel for you on your dilemma. Just for the record , if you send a SAR to ATOS it will be forwarded to the DWP who then will muck around and it takes you way over the month for reconsideration.

 

I wish I could offer advice , but did the award letter go into reasons for points award ?

I would be asking for

1) the Statement of reasons

2) The PA4V3 ( is it that with ATOS)

 

If you are absolutely certain that they can not drop your points I would be asking for a MR, if there is a chance they could screw you I would leave well alone

Any opinion I give is from personal experience .

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Other than perhaps getting the length of the award increased, there's no positive reason to ask for mandatory reconsideration and plenty of risks - the obvious one being they could reduce my award. I'm sure it would be overturned at a tribunal, but it's just not worth the hassle.

Letter has gone asking for their reasons and the report(s) from ATOS. Hopefully they will turn up eventually, not least because I don't want to pursue the complaints until I have them.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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  • 1 year later...

After receiving the assessment report, I ended up complaining to ATOS because the nurse who did the assessment appeared to have selected descriptors at random and hadn't justfied anything or even mentioned any of the evidence I sent in. Atos first responded by saying claimants recollections of assessments are often inaccurate, but then when I pointed out the assessment was done on paper so there couldn't be any dispute as to what information was provided, they changed tack and said that the senior medical officer had reviewed the report and it was an accurate reflection of the evidence provided. He apparently hadn't noticed that she'd missed my vision problems and an issue with my hands that makes it impossible for me to use crutches, and despite providing the OT's report about my wheelchair, she decided I could walk more than 20 metres using crutches! The justification for a 3 year award was, and I quote, '3 years is reasonable', which to me is the same as saying 'because I said so'. Pretty much every single page has a mistake on it, including pretty obvious ones such as the descriptor ticked not matching what she'd written at the bottom.

 

From later information provided by ATOS the review was carried out after all the paperwork had been returned to DWP and they didn't think it necessary to see the evidence in order to say the report was accurate.

 

ATOS obvioulsy didn't uphold my complaint so it went to ICE just over a year ago. Apparently it should be allocated to an investigator next month. I hope he's quick, as I'm expecting the renewal paperwork by the end of November when we will no doubt be going through the whole thing all over again.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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