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PIP query - Making budgeting decisions

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Hi, I am a new user.  I am helping a friend with a PIP application. who has mental health problems, principally depression. Anyhow, I'm a bit confused what to write for her re the activity - Making budgeting decisions.  

 

She has sufficient funds and has no problem counting money etc, but her problem is getting around to carrying out simple purchases such as  buying new clothes, which due to her depression and lack of motivation she has not done for ages. She also has several cheques that have never cashed and are thus out of date. That I recognise is both an unreasonable amount of time to carry out a simple budgeting task and moreover is financially imprudent, but due to her depression she just does not get around to it and this then leads to her having less money to spend, debt worries and suffering from psychological distress etc.

 

The DWP PIP assessment guide for the above activity states - "This activity does not include the sort of decisions which require financial knowledge, such as calculating interest rates or comparing mortgages. This is well beyond what is considered as complex. Complex budgeting involves calculating household and personal budgets (e.g. knowing how much money is left to spend once bills and rent is paid), managing and paying bills (e.g. setting aside money from income for gas and electricity bills) and planning future purchases (e.g. knowing that saving is required when necessary)."

 

I am confused as to how I can put across an argument for her in this regard as she clearly has problems without prompting getting around to making budgeting decisions, such as spending money on clothes, but this does not appear to match what the DWP guidance refers to. Surely they cannot argue that buying clothes is a highly complex budgeting decision and surely not cashing cheques is in effect avoiding making budgeting decisions. 

 

Hope this query makes sense. Any feedback welcomed. 

 

 

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Does she buy clothes to the detriment of other essentials like rent/mortgage/ electric gas etc?

 

You could argue that her mental health condition stops her from budgeting for essentials.  Others might be able to find something mor suitable to fit the situation.  have you a Welfare Rights specialist you could contact to help?

 


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Thx for prompt reply brassnecked.  In response to your good points. No, she doesn't buy clothes to the detriment of other essentials like rent/ mortgage/ electric gas etc? She simply does not buy clothes because of her lack of self worth and bcos of her severe depression.  It seems as though a lot of the budgeting activity seems to infer that claimants have to be debt ridden, which is a bit odd for a non means tested benefit. 

 

Agree re arguing that her mental health condition stops her from budgeting for essentials. Hope other experienced members can also contribute. 

 

Yes, we are in contact with welfare rights, but even they seem a bit stuck on this query. They feel she will get 10 points in respect of other daily living activities, but need some more points from budgeting activity to get her up to 12. I think she is entitled in respect of this activity, but it's how to put this across. 

 

She is hoping for a paper based assessment and we already have the name of her Case Manager. 

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There are welfare rights websites with all of the PIP assessment descriptors

 

The clothing issue is not appropriate, as it could be argued that your friend makes use of older clothing. The argument about depression meaning your friend does not value life etc, therefore does not buy clothing would be a bad example. 

 

Not paying utility bills which might mean no heating or electricity, , not buying hygiene products, not buying food, not eating regularly without someone making sure they do so. Things which your friend should do without thinking to live a normal life. The budgeting issue is about expected behaviors which are not happening due to mental health. So don't use examples which are arguable as could be normal. 


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Hi. It's good of you to help your friend.

 

As UB said, finding the PIP descriptors is your best bet, you could also look at mental health charities like Mind who give guidance on this sort of thing on their websites or possibly on the phone.

 

There may be a descriptor along the lines of not being able to carry out simple financial transactions without being prompted. Fill in the form with regard to the descriptors and include key phrases from the relevant ones.

 

HB

Here's one link for you, there are plenty of others to explore.

 

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/Migrated_Documents/adviceguide/pip-9-table-of-activities-descriptors-and-points.pdf

 

HB


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And link the condition to best fit the descriptors, they also use detractors, questions that are similar but not the same, so need a different angle of how the condition affects ability to do a task.


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Agree re all of the above and thx for feedback. I misinterpreted what this activity (Making decisions about money) was about and how narrow the meaning of complex decisions is in the PIP assessment guidelines. 

 
The relevant descriptor appears to be the following, which scores 2 points - "Needs prompting or assistance to be able to make complex budgeting decisions". 
 
Have re-drafted her line of argument or reasoning as follows (currently in third party). ANY COMMENTS?:
 
Re PIP Q12 (Making decisions about money)
 
The claimant answers 'Yes' to Q12b -  'Do you need someone else to help you manage your household budgets, pay bills or plan future purchases' for the reasons given below:
 
The difficulties the claimant experiences with this activity for the majority of the time relates solely to her severe depression condition and the adverse affect it has on her decision making ability. Her mental illness means that for the majority of the time she cannot reliably make complex budgeting decisions within a reasonable timeframe or to an acceptable standard without prompting or assistance. With regard to the term 'reliably' she does not attend to the majority of budgeting activity within a reasonable timeframe when compared to a customary non-disabled person. With regard to complex budgeting decisions it can take the claimant an inordinate amount of time to first contemplate and secondly build up to completing such a task. Her ability to make decisions about complex budgeting matters is significantly and adversely affected by her mental condition. She becomes unduly anxious and psychologically distressed about making the majority of complex budgeting decisions. Five examples are given below of the difficulties faced:
 
1) Have difficulties organising managing and paying  utility bills. Gets anxious and unduly distressed about making the wrong decision or choice of supplier and will then ruminate and deliberate about it for an unreasonable period of time.  This process can go on for days. Assisted and encouraged by a friend in this regard who in order to avoid claimant becoming unduly anxious and indebted to the likes of utility companies helps her select a supplier and then goes online and sets up regular direct debit payments for her.  
2) In respect of routine grocery shopping friends and family assist to plan future purchases in that she has a list of things to buy; a list which for the main part does not vary that much thus simplifying the process. Friend also helped me to manage and pay grocery bills by assisting to get a contactless debit card which is easy to use.       
3) Claimant has several cheques that have never been cashed and are thus out of date. This is both an unreasonable amount of time to carry out a simple budgeting task and moreover is financially imprudent or reckless behaviour. Claimant just does not get around to it and this then leads to having less money to spend, debt worries and suffering from psychological distress etc.
4) With regard to calculating household budgets for her property she again needs prompting and assistance.  Avoids managing household budgets and has not spent any meaningful money whatsoever on my property in terms of upkeep, new furniture etc for over a year. Her house is dirty and in a state of disrepair, and may even be unsafe. As a result embarrassed to let anybody inside the house. In that regard  claimant needs help as she does not do this activity well enough and any budgeting decision takes me a very long time. 
5) For the average person it is not difficult to manage the purchase of essentials such as clothes, but claimant's  mental health stops her doing so reliably for the majority of the time. Again she generally avoids the activity and needs prompting and assistance to plan such future purchases.
 
 

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That sounds like a good start.  If there are other descriptors that apply, I would include them as well. 

 

HB 


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Yes seems to capture what is needed make sure you include everything relevant.


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Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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