PIP Personal Independence Payment Delays And The Repercussions On Mental & Physical Health.
Disclaimer Scotland: People in Scotland will no longer be able to make a new claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from August 29 when the benefit will be replaced by Adult Disability Payment (ADP) in all 32 council areas across the country. At present, 13 local authorities are now offering ADP to adults over 16 and under State Pension age living with a disability, long-term illness or a physical or mental health condition.
Most people don’t like complaining and will not make a formal complaint about anything let alone the DWP, because they believe it would be a waste of time and could cause a knock-on effect on their other benefits. For those that do complain and, after many months of pursuing, end up giving up. The ones that are determined come away with a pathetic apology and feel they have hit a brick wall. They accept the mediocre admission by the DWP or Atos, Capita, that these organizations made a mistake and nothing else happens, their mental health is simply disregarded without a second thought.
ANN ABRAHAMS – REPORT
However, the most recently released report reveals that a tiny number of people pursue their complaints further and end up being awarded large sums in compensation. The report is called ‘Small mistakes, big consequences’ and is written by Ann Abrahams, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Ann Abraham should be a name that should stand out as well as your local MP.
“Remember nothing happens quickly after all these people are not in a hurry to find money to put food on their tables, only you are”…
(The report can be downloaded using the following link: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Small mistakes, big consequences HC 6 (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Your illnesses and disabilities should be corroborated with medical evidence and letters from GPs and consultants. This payment is to help with your daily living and is not an alternative to being a benefit bum and living off benefits. This payment is for people who truly deserve the extra money because of their disabilities. The reason why the Government is clamping down is because of too many fake, lazy individuals that see this as free money.
Delays are causing people to become ill through worry and stress. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/stress/what-is-stress/ Hundreds of thousands of disabled people are having to wait for £300 million of vital support, according to a new analysis from Citizens Advice.
Citizens Advice said: “PIP, which can see people with an illness, disability or mental health condition receive up to £157 a week, is a lifeline for millions of people, yet the government is playing with people’s lives and their health.
There are currently around 327,000 Disabled people on the waiting list, with an average waiting time of five months. Citizens Advice projects this means £300 million of payments that would be awarded are being held up, after all the government needs to look after themselves first before thinking about the other half of the population. You are not their priority, although you should be.
“Waiting for this payment is having a huge impact on people’s lives. Delays in assessment mean that support is held up, forcing people into impossible choices as they try to make ends meet.”
- People are facing humiliation as 1 in 5 people have needed to go to a food bank in the last 3 months who have also had an issue with PIP. Many of those waiting for a decision will also be eligible for the £150 disability benefits cost-of-living support payment but are unlikely to get it before October’s mammoth energy price hike.
- There are more people coming to Citizens Advice for help with PIP than with any other issue in fact an astonishing 41% more than any other issue.
- Around 150 people are contacting advisors at Citizens Advice every hour for one-to-one help, and its webpage on “How the DWP makes a decision on PIP claims” had 27,700 page views last month, up 56% year on year.
Citizens Advice is calling on the Government to take urgent action to relieve pressure in the system and help get money to people who desperately need it. It is calling for an emergency plan from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to urgently tackle this backlog, including reducing the number of claimants required to have a medical assessment, which is the main reason for these delays – and extending the award period so people have to reclaim less often.
The severe PIP assessment backlog is not just affecting new claimants but also those seeking reassessments or needing extensions to their claims. These lengthy delays are having a substantial impact on their applications for other benefits such as blue parking badges, bus passes, and Motability vehicles.” https://disabledentrepreneur.uk/bus-passes-for-the-disabled/
Backlogs in the disability benefit assessment system are having significant knock-on effects on disabled people’s ability to live independently, new evidence has shown.
These delays are also causing further turmoil for disabled people whose support needs have increased and believe they should now be entitled to higher PIP payments.
The evidence has come from the Benefits and Work website, which has heard from a string of existing PIP recipients who say the delays are causing tremendous emotional distress and significant problems.
In March, Disability News Service (DNS) reported how the backlog of disabled people waiting for a PIP assessment had more than trebled in the last five years, from 88,500 in October 2016 to nearly 312,000 by December 2021.
DNS has also reported on similar problems with the Access to Work system, with DWP figures showing the number of disabled people waiting for decisions on their applications has more than quadrupled in a year from just 4,890 in March 2021 to 20,909 in March this year.
One of the ways the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is dealing with the lengthening PIP assessment backlog is by providing temporary (3 months), short-term extensions to PIP claimants who are waiting for their benefits to be reviewed.
Editors’ Opinion – “Do they not have enough unemployed people to do a bit of paperwork? How about outsourcing the work would be another idea and finally only appraise the people that have medical evidence to corroborate their illnesses”?
The Government is purposely dragging its heels in order to save money.
“This is Evil, a Disgrace, and a Shambles”.
Vicky Foxcroft, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people said:
“With the cost-of-living crisis hitting disabled people particularly hard, it is shocking this government has not got a grip of the PIP backlog, which has been going on for months now”.
“Short-term fixes aren’t enough anymore. Disabled people deserve so much better than this; Tory ministers need to get a grip on this backlog, especially given the impact it is now having on other benefits for disabled people.
“A future Labour government would invest properly in disabled people, ensuring they had the support needed.”
A DWP spokesperson said:
“We closely monitor the progress of PIP cases awaiting assessment and take all steps possible to ensure claimants receive the vital support they require”.
“We can and do make in-house decisions on award reviews without referral to assessment providers where necessary and use a blend of phone, video, and face-to-face assessments to ensure support is given as quickly as possible.”
People Who Suffer From OCD
Daily Living Descriptor 6 – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
The Upper Tribunal has recently made a decision (CPIP/3760/2016) about how people with OCD can claim points under PIP.
The PIP Regulations say that people who can’t do an activity listed in one of the PIP descriptors safely, repeatedly, to an acceptable standard, and no more than twice as slowly as a non-disabled person, shouldn’t be counted as being able to do that activity for the purposes of PIP. (I keep a note of my health online and so does my daughter. I think as a sufferer of OCD the form does not actually cover all the different types of OCD). https://disabledentrepreneur.uk/category/renatas-online-journal/ & https://disabledentrepreneur.uk/category/zena-online-journal/
Therefore there has been some confusion about people with OCD, who usually can do an activity perfectly well, but have to do it over and over again or in particular ways or at particular times.
(Assessors who are not specialized in diagnosing OCD or any other illness should not have any input about the claim – just because they have passed e-learning does not make them any more qualified than you or me).
The PIP descriptors and the regulations didn’t deal with this sort of situation very well and so lots of people with OCD lost out on awards. Now the Upper Tribunal has looked at the issue and made a judgment that will help people with OCD to earn points for PIP.
WHAT THE UPPER TRIBUNAL DECIDED
The Upper Tribunal case was about a person who took a very long time to get dressed because their OCD meant they had to repetitively try on lots of different outfits until she found one she was happy to wear. The DWP argued that this long time didn’t count for the purposes of PIP because it was just the person’s choice to try lots of clothes on. The Upper Tribunal, however, held that because the person’s hesitations and repetitive behavior were ‘the consequence of her health condition’, she was entitled to points because it took her more than twice as long as a non-disabled person to dress. But the UT did say that if the longer time had not been a consequence of her health condition, she would not have been entitled to points.
This decision is important because the principle that delays in being able to complete a task because of the consequences of a mental health condition like OCD can be applied to all descriptors, not just dressing. So a person with OCD who can eat perfectly well but who takes an hour to eat because of obsessive rituals about arranging the table, or a person who can wash perfectly well but who does so eleven times three times a day, could claim points under those PIP descriptors.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU
If you have OCD for example and have obsessive rituals or other behavior which means that you take much longer to do activities of daily living like cooking, eating, dressing, and so on, then you now can use this Upper Tribunal decision to strengthen your argument for claiming PIP.
Note that you will still have to be able to show that you have been diagnosed with OCD or a similar mental health condition and you do in fact have behavior that means you take much longer than a non-disabled person to complete daily living activities. Good strong evidence from people who know you will be needed.
You will also have to show that your behavior is a consequence of your mental health condition and not just your own preferred way of doing things. Showing that you can’t change the way you do things even if it is against your interests will be useful – eg that you miss appointments because you can’t get there in time owing to a dressing ritual.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF OCD
OCD is a very complicated illness it is not just about washing or checking or taking too long to shower, dress or cook food. It may be the fear of germ contamination (as I have). I know logically we are surrounded by germs but the thought of contracting something or being harmed through direct contact with an unsanitized area does not bear thinking about. I am cocooned in my own surrounding where I can keep my intrusive thoughts under control as best I can. My disabilities are not just OCD, they are Depression, Social Disconnection, and Cognitive Impairment (Cerebellar Atrophy) to name a few.
As with everything, it all takes time and you are not a priority.
Upper Tribunal decisions take time for your claims, mandatory reconsideration, and appeals, and it may take some months before DWP and assessors finally make the decision.
Unfortunately for you, this causes considerable stress on your mental health and pressure on your finances. You can either suffer and do nothing other than wait or you could complain.
If your appeal is taking longer than expected you have grounds to contact the ombudsman.
If you have been treated unfairly and given the DWP and Tribunal time to respond and they have not within the timeframe then you need to start getting all your evidence together to build a case. You can take it even further and take it to an Ombudsman (Last Resort).
You can read the full judgement here: https://www.gov.uk/…/ml-v-secretary-of-state-for-work-and-p…
FINAL THOUGHTS FROM THE EDITOR!
If an organization or entity causes you to become unwell because of their actions, they should be held responsible and should pay for damages.
If people are becoming mentally and physically unwell because of the Government’s actions then the claimants should be awarded compensation.
If you have been affected by:
- Emotional Distress (causing, stress, anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, and making your mental illness worse).
- Indirect Discrimination (entity assuming because you have an invisible illness you are classed as normal).
- Humiliation (having to go to food banks or being pitied because you are disabled).
If your illness gets worse because of an entity’s direct action and in the cases of auto-immune diseases you can relapse because of stress: https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/living-better-with-ms-guide/triggers-that-can-cause-ms-flares. then, you have under the human rights act the right to take further action. https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/what-direct-and-indirect-discrimination
The PIP system is flawed, it employs people who are not qualified in the field of the illness (one needs to be a specialist in the field and should undergo years of training as well as qualifications to determine what the claimant is suffering from). The system is designed to degrade people and to make them unwell. The more people that become unwell the more money Big Pharma makes and that is how the world goes round.
Making a Complaint
Do exhaust all avenues of complaint procedures before contacting the ombudsman and do collate as much evidence as you can. If you have a blog or social media page share it with the people I have mentioned in this article. People usually take notice if you have a professional site and you know what you are talking about.
If you want our help and need a letter we can send you a template with all users, names, and addresses and you fill in the blanks. Our template letters are £5.00 and you will get a download link once the payment has been processed, if you want us to write the letter for you it will cost £25 per 1000 words. Your privacy and data will be safeguarded with a non-disclosure agreement.
PIP Mailing Address is:
Personal Independence (2), 2 Mail Handling Site (A), Wolverhampton., WV98 18B
0800 121 4433 ( be prepared to wait 45 minutes to be put through)
** Just to explain when I spoke to PIP today over my daughter’s award the woman said that my daughter or I would have to submit evidence by post. Knowing they had an email I said could it not be done electronically (I bit my tongue about saving the environment) and the woman I spoke to blatantly lied and said there is no email address.
The amount of time I had to wait to be put through could easily cause someone who has multiple sclerosis or any other auto-immune disease and suffers from bad stress and anxiety to easily relapse. Furthermore, I do not know who they employ because I had to spell ‘Alemtuzumab‘ out even though I clearly told the woman the word can be found on www.lemtrada.com.
I am not looking forward to the assessment my daughter is due to have because if they make my daughter perform like a circus monkey that will mean I will have to intervene. My daughter documents her health in her online journal on this platform. I am not looking forward to having to deal with these people.
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#dwp #pip #personalindependencepayments #invisibledisabilities #indirectdiscrimination #humanrights #equalityact #ocdandpip #emotionaldistress #humiliation