Should I appeal?

I had a very unsettling experience with my PIP claim. I was awarded the lowest level. I requested a copy of the face to face assessment and was sickened at what I read. I was assessed when I was on a course of steroids which I was put on due to the level of pain I was in just a week prior to my assessment. I was feeling much better when assessor came. I requested they reassessed me as I was on steroids which was unfair. They reassessed and refused to change the award. Should I appeal? I feel it was unfair as a close friend was assessed and got higher award when she herself admits it was unfair she got higher level as she is active and pain free. It has left me depressed as I know its an unfair decision but appealing just fills me with dread as I have no fight left in me. Should I appeal? This whole PIP process is totally random and unfair.

34 Replies

  • Yes you can do I believe and you will probably wish you had if you haven't.

    I'd check with nras helpline if you can appeal after a second assessment though to save you time and energy . Xxx

  • Yes I can appeal as this was just an informal second look at my assessment. I really have to do this for my pride if nothing else. Thank you! I appreciate your sound advice so much. Xx

  • 😘😘

  • It so unfair and I understand your reluctance to appeal you could send a update of your conditions exsplane you are worse with more medical evidence this could give you a updated paper assessment! Get some more advice i really feel for you as you try so hard to stay positive

  • Thank you so much. I was embarrassed to put this on here as I didn't want to sound like I was a complainer but felt so down today I just did it. I have got so much support from you all. Thank you thank you. Xx

  • YES YES YES, I bet your friend isn't complaining, of you feel that you deserve the higher award then tell the buggers. You need to appeal YES YES YES

  • Thank you! No my friend is ecstatic! She didn't even have a face to face assessment. She can't believe her luck and admits it. Thank you so much I need a push.

  • This makes me so angry they should be taking into account how you are on your worst day and that is what they should be going by, not cost cutting and penalising people who are clearly ill and wouldn't be claiming if they weren't, so appeal and keep appealing until you get the correct decision xxx

  • Thank you. I am building up my mental strength to cope with more paper work. Its exhausting. I know I should do it. Xxx

  • Most definitely yes ! I put in a mandatory reconsideration in November and am still waiting for a reply but if I don't agree I will take to a tribunal.

    I understand how you feel but it's worth fighting for.

    Good luck


  • Thanks you give me strength. I know I am right in feeling some injustice here. Xxx

  • I had the same problem. I felt so humiliated. I was actually crying with pain, and couldn't get up from chair. The report written by assessor was a complete crock.

    If you have the energy dispute it. I just don't have the energy to be honest.

  • Thanks. I don't think I do either. But it is as you say so humiliating. I hate injustice in any walk of life and this makes me think of all those worse off than me who get unfair treatment under PIP.

  • Please remember this is a right not a charitable donation from the powers that be. I worked Benefits for years its a sad fact that we all make mistakes and the appeal procedure is the mechanism by which mistakes are rectified. So you owe it to yourself to appeal and best of luck. I'm never going to get PIP because my RA is in remission, but if it wasn't I'd apply as I paid in enough in taxes to expect some help if I needed it.

  • Thanks. I am on highest dose of MTX and now on biological drug and still need steroids to help with pain. Thats apart from my cancer drug. I tried to explain that but to no avail. Steroids work really well and sadly the assessor saw me when I was virtually pain free. They won't see that. Its crazy. Not one doctor is involved in these assessments. Its a really flawed system. How many out there give up without strength to fight. It worries me. X

  • Hiya Cathy. It is a major concern that PIP assessments do vary, seems to be dependant who you get & we've had plenty of proof that they vary haven't we? They're all from the medical field nowadays yet many don't know about how can RD affect us. I take it though yours were by two different assessors, which makes things a bit different.

    I don't want to be a Debbie Downer but really you can't compare your award to your friend's, or anybody else's here. The PIP assessment looks at an individual’s ability to carry out a series of everyday activities & the assessor considers the impact of that person's health condition or impairment on their functional ability rather than focusing on a particular diagnosis. It's not awarded for a particular health condition or impairment, rather on the impact of the health condition or impairment on your everyday life. Their take on that can be a positive or negative one obviously & I think that's where the whole system for PIP fails.

    Right, that said if you feel your (two) assessments were unfairly marked (also taking into account the information of support in any medical correspondence you submitted with your claim) then certainly in your place I would go forward & ask for mandatory reconsideration (this will be your first step even though you've had two assessments I believe). Did you request a copy of the report from your second assessment as well & how did it differ from the first, if it did?

    I understand how the thought wouldn't be a pleasurable one but do bear in mind that you only have 30 days to request reconsideration, unless you ask for an extension to collate further written medical evidence, in your case I would think that request time would be from your second assessment, it must be thinking about it.

    I'd read through your copy of your application form (you took a copy I hope), read it with the assessor's & decision makers eyes. Is there anything that could give the impression you cope better than you actually do, in both the daily care or the mobility section? Any tick boxes that you were unsure about & chose the lesser option or any info that you added which could lead them to believe things aren't as bad as they are. For example responding to a question you should say "I can't do this" not "I can do this but only if........", clarity is better than "well, sometimes".

    I do hope you muster the energy & go for reconsideration Cathy, we just can't let them get the upper hand marking us down! x

  • Hi. Thanks for your long response its so appreciated. No I haven't had two assessors face to face. I telephoned when I read through the written assessment and they said do I want them to reassess me. They did but it changed nothing. I assumed this was an appeal but now know it wasn't. I realise I cannot compare with my friend but it was strange as she was turned down initially on the application form but then on a phone call from her advisor she got a reversal within 48 hours and didn't even need a face to face. This friend is in fact my sister in law so I know her abilities very well. She is embarrassed that our awards were so different as she knows my problems are vastly worse than hers. But hey ho I guess its all in the lap of the gods. I will look at appealing but may just be grateful I am still alive! Thank you. Xx

  • I did go on a bit, sorry. I just want you to know you're not alone in this & I hope we can help, with support if nothing else I suppose. The whole process is strange though isn't it. I mean, who would have thought that your sister-in-law can be turned down initially then her adviser phoned & got a reversal, not only that was awarded enhanced! It just makes a mockery of the whole process doesn't it?

    Anyway, so your second assessment was a phone assessment is that right? If that is the case as it wasn't a face to face (in that they could see how you struggle physically) I wonder if maybe you didn't answer the questions as they want them to be answered, as in you not saying "can't" & answering "can sometimes", because the latter is what they like, they'll not mark as high as a "can't" answer. Just a thought & why I mentioned looking at your application form & answers again through their eyes.

    I'm at risk of a long reply again so maybe a look at what your next step would be should you choose to ask for mandatory reconsideration or even appeal would be helpful

    I hope you can summon up everything you have & go forward on this Cathy, nil desperandum & all that. x

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to help me. If my sis in law had not been there as a comparison I would not have done anything. But we are so different. I suffer from depression as well but they don't take that into account either. My sis in law is out socialising every day and says she loves her life! I am pleased for her of course but it does just rub salt in the wound! I will start the process today. There is more bad news about PIP in news today. I just cannot get my head round what happened with my sis in law! Xxx

  • Sorry if I'm repeating stuff that other people have said but cuts to disability benefits rely on people not appealing these decisions. A fairly high proportion of people are successful upon appeal. You've got nothing to lose.

  • Thank you so much. I really need that encouragement. Part of me wants to just forget it but then I get angry and think I must fight it. I am so grateful for your support. Xx

  • Yes. I've just got my forms to fill in which is going to be fun over christmas.

  • Well at least we are not alone.

  • It just seems to go on and on....

  • You must remember that these assessments are nothing to do with health, but ability to undertake tasks. I ave said this elsewhere but this is not a job interview where you have to prove you can do it, quite the reverse. If you are seen on a "good" day then do NOT do want you can't do on a bad day, if they ask you to do something that you can't normally do, then you are permitted to refuse to do it. These assessors are just asking computer program questions, I had a midwife attempt one of mine and pregnancy would have been a miracle in my case. The company doing it ATOS etc have no knowledge of health conditions and ignore the past they are only interested in what you are doing on the day. They have various tricks they use, like the centre being on an upper level for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility, in one case the centre was reached by stairs and had no lift!, I was caring for the person at the time and ripped them apart over their stupidity, but it is a trick. They also did that to me and backed down when I, quite rightly, demanded a named person responsible to get me out in case of fire, all lifts stop, irrespective of the danger to their life, they relented relunctantly. You should also request that the assessment is recorded and also take a witness with you if you can. Recording is an issue with them and they will try to get you to buy recording equipment at your own cost, but they do have a limited supply themselves, the final one I had was done slowly with me writing down the verbatim session, slowed it down a lot but it meant that had to have someone else there as their witness. That session was a joke, I had to be dropped off at the door, lift to the first floor and all the chairs were far too low for me to get in and out of, they got an office wheelie chair for me and i was in agony and it took a long time to walk the 30 feet to the office. You will find that recording the assessment makes the assessor review it more carefully when writing their report, they listen to it and that makes a major difference on the result.

    I am very disappointed that these assessments fail to observe the principle of the DDA when they have to assess disabled people and in my case that means a chair high enough to be able to get out of, let alone accessing the centre itself which I always look up online and google earth the venue for access, then check the transport to it, you can refuse a ridiculous centre. They wanted me to travel into, then out of London involving some 5 transport changes to go from Twickenham Green to Dartford, for a 10am appointment, with far too much walking in between which I cannot do.

    I know this appears to be a lot to take in but put simply if you cannot do it normally then don't. Good luck and remember their are multiple appeal levels all of which have time limits on them, so don't wait too long and speak with your local DRA if you need.

    If you want a laugh, after all this, I looked up really ancient recording equipement using wax drums that last for 4 minutes each and seriously considered buying it off ebay to enjoy the fun with them trying to play back an asessment, when they don't have the playback ability. :)

    It is called getting my own back and following their hidden rules which only require 2 similtaneous copies not the equipment type, which they should provide anyway, what do they have to hide?, quite a lot actually.

    Mike Penning, then DWP minister said to the DWP committee in Parliament, in 2014 that recording is allowed but didn't say they make it nigh on impossible, do you think that is lying to Parliament?, because I do.

  • Thanks for that. Very interesting. I feel strongly that my assessment, done when I was on a course of steroids and which makes my pain and mobility much better, should have been taken into account and it was not. I am appealing on this basis. On steroids its like comparing a sober person with a drunk person! I told them that.

  • You should also point out, but a properly qualified medical person should know it, that steroids are for time limited term use only, as the long term side effects can be even worse than the condition, I know my mother was on them for long term and I am also limited into how many caudal injections I am permitted to have in a year becuse of the potential side effects. This itself skewed the assessment results which an appeal should recognise and re-assess if necessary.

  • Yes my point exactly but the person who reassessed my assessment did not accept that which is why I am appealing. I only go on steroids when my pain is so overwhelming but I know the damage it causes. I have weak bones which is just made worse. Tell me how you are now and did you get the PIP level you wanted?

  • I have part of the care component and full mobility, but it took 2 years in the end and the decision was based upon a letter from my GP that they had for the first tribunal appeal and I knew nothing about it and they failed to disclose it, but too late to complain about the tribunal rejection as you have to do that in 1 month and it was 10 months later when I knew about it. As far as my health is going I am having further issues undergoing investigation and recently had another form from the dwp when they said it would be next year. I told them it takes longer to get up and get dressed but I was not going to have another assessment as they are far too stressful and it is my heart I am having checked now.

    Good luck with yours there are more appeal levels you can use.

  • I agree about the stress of assessments. They are appalling as is the whole system. I get quite angry as there is such unfairness involved. I kind of expect my appeal will fail and wonder what I will do then.

    Its best to try not to stress too much as it just makes things worse painwise I find.

    Look after yourself and try and be strong. I know that is not easy sometimes even tho I think I am strong I get times when it overwhelms me.


  • Oh I am normally very strong but the process is very wearing and in the end I take a perverse delight in giving them the ulcers they gave me. The only part that still works, just well almost, is my brain and I use that to hold all these public servants to account, from council to government, I really should post all my orginal complaint material to the net as it would embarress a certain government minister. :)

  • ps enjoy the new year I am just off to the pub and should get there in time for midnight. hehe.

  • I admire anyone who stands up to authorities. You enjoy your drink mate and happy complaining in 2017!

  • Hehe, thanks I will keep up the good work, it is about all I can do these days, I should be entered for the Victor Meldrew award :)

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