Proof the DWP intentionally misleads Personal Independence Payment applicants

Following my journey through the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) application process and first stage of appeal, I can show how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are intentionally misleading applicants. The way they are operating is leading to disabled people losing out purely on how things are worded.

Cartoon picture of 6 people, consist of a amputee with a child, wheelchair user, blind person with a service dog, man with crutches and a elderly lady with walking stick. Above them is captions as follows Personal independence Payment - PIP, DWP Department for Work and Pension
personal-independence-payment

It’s no secret that applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a stressful and difficult exercise. However, I will now show you how they are misleading claimants so they can avoid paying those with disabilities what they are due.

Application Process

The easiest way for me to show you, is by starting from the beginning. So when you are filling in the form to apply for the first time, near the beginning you will come to a section that asks for the details of your GP (General Practitioner) and other relevant health professionals.

Nothing unusual here. Nor is the next page as shown that asks for you to give consent so that that may contact them for information to help them in their decision.

I want to bring attention to the consent form wording ; “We may want to get information about your health condition of disability.” The word “may” will be important later on. In my opinion, it gives the impression that they will contact your doctors or others involved in your care as they will obviously know how you are affected day to day.

So you send that form away and usually they send back another form with more detailed questions. These will include questions such as; do you have difficulty with x,y,z and then you detail how you are affected. All relatively simple.

Evidence

Throughout the process they will state that you can enclose evidence yourself. This can include, reports from doctors, social workers and others. I advise you all now that if you can please ensure that you do otherwise it will make things more difficult later on.

The lies begin

Letter to myself from Atos advising they have contacted my health professionals - A. Tiffin
Letter to myself from Atos advising they have contacted my health professionals – A. Tiffin

So you have sent off your forms and all you can do now is wait. About a week after sending everything away you may get a letter like shown above. As you can see I was advised on the 4th of June 2018 that;

“We’re writing to let you know that we’ve asked for more information from people involved in your treatment of care”

By this you can only assume one thing; they are writing to the people you listed on your application form. While it may appear that way it is simply not true.

I then received a letter dated just two days later; 6th June 2018 stating that they had looked at all the evidence from my health professionals and decided I need a face to face assessment. They automatically arranged a Home Visit with the date and time shown on that letter.

I have already written about my home assessment and you can read about that by clicking here as it isn’t relevant to this article as such.

Decision Letter

So you’ve had you assessment and after that you probably aren’t feeling too optimistic. You then have to wait up eight weeks for the dreaded brown envelope.

When my decision eventually came I was surprised but also angered at was enclosed. While I had been awarded the enhanced rate of mobility they denied me the enhanced rate of daily living allowance by 1 point.

I wouldn’t normally be bothered however their reasoning angered me.

They stated that my mental health did not affect me at all. I’ve previously written how my Borderline Personality Disorder and anxiety affects me so this annoyed me.

Mandatory Reconsideration

I therefore decided to ask for a mandatory reconsideration. This is the first stage of appealing any decision they make on a benefit claim.

What happens is they send back your case to a DWP (Department for Work and Pension) decision maker to see if they should alter their decision.

I gave details on how my life is affected and also stated that my psychiatrist of 8 years could confirm this. I stupidly assumed they’d written to him.

It all becomes clear

The end of my Mandatory Reconsideration Letter from DWP - A. Tiffin
The end of my Mandatory Reconsideration Letter from DWP – A. Tiffin

Yesterday 2nd September 2018 I received the Department for Work and Pensions decision on my mandatory reconsideration.

They had rejected it. The wording of the decision makers process was almost identical bar one thing. The last paragraph.

They state; “we would only contact your GP or relevant doctor if the health professionals needed further evidence to make a decision however if they feel they have enough evidence we would not go out for it and it would be for yourself to provide the information.”

I was initially confused because as I stated above, they had told me they were writing to my doctors on the 4th of June.

Now I find out not only they hadn’t but it was my responsibility to send anything they need. This is not clear at all. This is obviously why the use the term; ; “may contact” when you initially apply.

Many doctors will charge for a medical report, with some saying if the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) wanted one they’d write. In my opinion the Department is breaching the Equality Act 2010 because it is placing barriers in a claimants way.

Compensation for claimants?

This is a clear case of maladministration as set out in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) own guidance. It states if a claimant is told something but the Department do not follow up on this then the Department has committed maladministration and the claimant may be entitled to compensation.

Conclusion

Picture of a person thinking, holding a pen to their lips looking at a question mark icon

When you look at the process in detail and take a step back you come to one conclusion. This is intentionally misleading.

Yes, it may be common sense to include your own evidence but that’s not always possible for many different reasons.

They are trying to say that a 25 minute assessment can determine in depth how a claimant copes. That’s just not possible.

I will be taking my case to the tribunal to challenge this decision however I am in contact with legal experts on whether of not the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have committed a breach of any laws. If so I intend to challenge them on this as thousands of claimants are unfairly be misled.

Alex Tiffin

@RespectIsVital on Twitter

Universal Credit Sufferer on Facebook

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