Did they also take into account all that was mentioned by the evidence provided? Like side effects of medications, fatigue, pain, anxiety and other symptoms that might make difficult to do everyday tasks?
This is another problematic area according to people who have sent us their assessment of their PIP or ESA assessors. In many cases people provide comprehensive evidence written by their GPs, social workers, specialists and consultants but find that the assessor is not taking most or all of it into consideration.
When asked about it, especially for PIP, the DWP normally replies that while doctors diagnose patients, their assessors are specifically trained to understand the impact of chronic illnesses and disability on daily life. In reality what we see is a lot of assessors who don’t understand how a disability or chronic condition can affect daily life and its quality.
Also many doctors and health professionals, especially when they specialise in a condition, know very well how their patients’ lives are affected by it. And it does not make any sense to dismiss the opinion of a health professional who has known this person for years and sometimes even decades, while taking seriously just the opinion of an assessor that often has no knowledge of the condition and has only seen this person for an hour or so.
These are some of the replies we have received when we asked this question. You can still assess your PIP or ESA assessor by filling this form.
“She didn’t ask me about side effects of my drugs. She didn’t take in to account the fatigue my conditions cause sometimes suddenly but daily.”
“No the assessor was interested in was could you move your arms and legs”
“Fatigue was not taken into account and it’s a well-known fact that it’s a symptom of brain injury”
“My daughter has learning disabilities and severe Crohn’s disease, she needs lots of care to keep the Crohn’s stable but because of her learning disabilities she is unable to do it on her own. The physiotherapist did not understand the problem at all.”
“She either didn’t read my care plan and GP report or she ignored them. She also totally ignored side effects and fatigue.”
“I suspect she didn’t read my doctors’ reports. The effects of anxiety, depression and fatigue were ignored entirely for both the care and mobility sections. No points, despite ongoing suicidal thoughts and utter exhaustion. I’m not even convinced that topping myself in front of her would have got me any points. I did “appear” to be in pain, though, so I scraped a few points for that”
“They completely ignored it and in lying about my answers contradicted everything professionals who have been treating me for years said.”
“No no no no no. She did not demonstrate any understanding of severe and enduring mental illness.”
“No, my GP had written a through and supportive letter – she has known me for at least 15 years – my GP talked a lot about my mental health problems in her letter and also advised for a Paper Based Assessment which was not only ignored. They at first wouldn’t give me a home visit (twice) until my MP intervened – this when I am worse than I was even in 2016. No, she ignored the side effects of drugs or at least she said ‘it is possible that they may work for her’. In other words, I didn’t need PIP for mobility. Even though I stressed the importance of needing to be woken every evening after my afternoon sleep in order to eat, my HP ignored this on the ‘taking nutrition’ question. She also ignored the fact that I had hyperhidrosis and was sweating right in front of her. She ignored that I was cold and had a hat on and a blanket over my knees. She said I looked kempt and not withdrawn and had insight – a completely archaic view of mental health, of course people with anxiety have too much insight, we overthink and catastrophise, and anyway it is due to physical problems that I am cold all the time but they also interact with MH eg my hyperhidrosis is worse when I’m anxious as well as when I’m cold. She ignored the repeatedly, reliably, in a timely fashion etc. She ignored the migraines I get and the frequency of Sumitryptan I am prescribed for them should have told her how often I get them as well”
“They said they had. But asked no questions on her learning issues or mental health or deafness or speech issues at the time of assessment.”
“I don’t think so, she kept saying I had just some arthritis. She ignored that my kidneys are failing. I am in the list for a transplant, the medical information I gave them said that very clearly”
“the assessor tried to refuse to accept the most recent medical treatment letter. although she demanded i list all the side effects of medication she did not write them down but said my recall was good because i could. they said in their decision that if i took all my prescribed (& out of date ) medication i could function normally & walk 200m… i struggle to walk 20m.”
“No completely ignored my pain fatigue etc mental health just asking what medication I take and what it for just cause I know what they are for and explain this is what I need to know why say I have no problem explaining this have been on meds for years”
“They took nothing about My conditions into account. Just wrote lies.”
“no interest in how I felt,or side effects from medication,or how I felt”
“No, apparently the computer systems had all crashed, all she knew about me was my name, I took evidence with me and she refused to look at it. She also pulled me backwards on the chair I was sat on causing me excruciating pain, in my back and down into my legs, this was after I explained my conditions to her.
” asked if she had my #NHS records and Letters from my DR’s she said yes, and that they would be taken into account. No reference was made to them in her report, she in fact stated that she had not received any supporting documents, she clearly lied. When she asked me about going out, I replied that I go out accompanied by my wife as I am the driver, we had no access to local buses or transport and there are no shops within 2 miles of our home. I told her I get anxious about going to new places she ignored what I said and said that I often went out alone. I also use the SAT NAV in the car which she scored me down for as it is a ‘complex task’
“She did use the notes but didn’t ask about the side effects impacts. She did ask a bout daily impacts to both conditions”
“No. I took a mountain of paperwork every time and every assessor refused to read any of it. I felt violated at each assessment.”
“No, my assessor didn’t read anything or mention reading anything. She just listed my drugs and that was that. She found me fit for work despite having had a stroke 3 1/2 months prior to her visit. Because my limbs weren’t affected by the stroke, it wasn’t much of a stroke in her estimation. She ignored prior cancer treatment and problems still occurring as a direct result such as lymphoedema and either stated they’d been resolved or were due to be resolved soon.”