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HIV Partners
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Wasted time with PE

Having been refused pip because of an assessment that contained nothing but lies I had hoped and been assured that the staff at positive east would help me out. One of the workers called the DWP on my behalf to request that they hold the reconsideration of my claim until my doctors letter arrived. They agreed over the phone but went ahead anyway and decided I could do everything with no problem. I had an appointment with the PE benefit advisor but got nowhere as he was running late and didnt understand why I was complaining or needed benefits. It proved that even people who should understand can sometimes make judgements based on appearence. So i'll have to go to a tribunal without any representation. I've done this before and it was a disaster but I have no choice. If I lose I starve. I have no way to get to a food bank so I was referred to the food chain but they will only provide 6 food parcels, and after that ? The state no longer provides a bus pass or blue badge or council tax discounts and if I'm sanctioned for not complying with JSA I should starve to death in maybe a week? Perhaps the kindest thing any charity could provide is a helium tent to ease the passing. It's funny in a way that the dystopian stories like brave new world and Logan's run were written as a warning but are being used as a model.

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Welfare support services are very highly stressed at present that means that claimants need to be more 'active' in the process than before. Every cliamants situation will be different and unique and no one is really in a position to give a judgement until the process has been completed. One also has to be aware that the criteria for qualifying for PIP is much stricter than DLA, against a backdrop of government wanting to save £5bn from the DLA bill.

If you want to take an 'active' role. Then there are somethings you can do. Firstly submit a Data Protection Act Subject Access Request for your file from the DWP. This will return all the forms you have submitted, internal forms and a log of communication - interesting to see if the call you mention is logged. Armed with this information you can submit a complaint that your call wasn't handled correctly and Mandatory reconsideration failed as it ignore evidence it was happy to await. Indeed this would of itself form a valid reason for the progression to Tribunal.

Prior to Tribunal gather all and any evidence you need to support your claim. Take a copy incase the panel want one. It may also be worthwhile jotting down some points you want to make sure you cover with the panel.

Also if you have bee treated unreasonably by any organisation then complain. I am sure they would want to improve the engagement for clients not least in an enviroment where funding can be allied to outcomes.

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You have got no idea how active I have been 😀 I have kilos of FOI material and proof of fraud, lies and maladministration. I've had 3 special payments, an upheld complaint to the independent case assessor and a first tier tribunal who did not uphold my complaint but the outcome was made in my favour (it's complicated) on another case. It is soooo frustrating. All of these people right up to the ombudsman speak the same language and their job is to hit targets not see justice done. The DWP doesn't quite word your appeal rights in the correct way so the ICE won't accept the complaint and they all ignore the main point of your complaint and focus on trivia so that when it is upheld because you were sent the wrong form you forget that you were discriminated against by some other deed that was brushed under the carpet. The way they patronise you is outrageous. I uncovered a decision made illegally on my file. The reply was "that was not a decision, it could not have been made because we were not in a position to make it." Any serious accusations worded so there is no escape from answering are simply ignored. The difference when another person with a badge from an advisory service writes on your behalf is completely different. They all jump to correct their mistakes and things move fast but they know if they are dealing with an expert or not. The shortage of trained advisors is making these games they play with people's lives very dangerous. They are in no danger of being held accountable and teach each oThey get bonuses for reaching targets but in doing so ruin lives of people who have nobody to speak up for them. I'm lucky that I can self advocate although it just provokes battles of pedantics and belligerence so that I have to fight all day every day. For people without these skills it must be awfull. I wasn't due for my conversion from DLA to PEP. I applied because i could see what was coming and hoped to set a precedent to make things smoother for everyone else. In the early 80s I had no choice other than be one of the few to initiate changes that needed to be made but without educational storylines in soaps, and Princess Di touching us to show the world it had nothing to fear from us, the job is so much harder. The PIP team are actually quite nasty to deal with and told me directly that "it's harsh but it's too bad, we gave you two weeks,(to submit evidence) that was long enough.


Not having intimate knowledge of your case history, you would understand that its rather difficult to proffer specific assistance. What I would say is that if everyone upto the Ombudsman "speaks" the same language it is because they have to be impartial and deal with the legal framework. You can argue about the legal framework and underpinning legislation, and I do for many of the reasons you touch on.

Yes, I share you real concern that those less able to self advocate will suffer simply because navigation of the system is difficult and frought with 'hurdles' with the aim of detering progression and claimants "giving up".

I have been advocating for many years in this area since ESA was first a "Green paper" & DLA was being reviewed. Alas warning people to take more of an interest in there entitlements and how they were going change fell on 'deaf ears'. Leading to support services becoming inundated when the changes hit. One has to be mindful that many support agencies have also seen income cut and often are unable to provide welfare advice because they are simply not funded for it.

Access to law has become ever more restricted and costly. Many legal firms offering pro-bono only do so where the case is likely to concern a major precident.

It is also a good idea to get your local MP involved to assist with your case. Even if you have not voted for them or support them politically, they are your MP.

With regard to evidence its important for people to keep copies of medical correspondence as and when it arises. The PIP team, if they have given you two weeks for a submission, will only be following the rules. Though how this would amelorate your right to "Equality of arms" for a tribunal remains unclear. Certainly a tribunal's decision would be subject to appeal whereby a within a reasonable period of time, for good reason, your additional evidence would be submitted.

You do need to fight, many do so, as you have done. It the only way to get the issues pushed to the fore.

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