Lots of people assessed for PIP and ESA complain of the fact that, especially in the report, their assessors jump to conclusion, often ignoring all the medical evidence provided and the DWP’s own guidelines. Therefore we have people seen to walk a few steps who are assessed as able to walk 200 metres, people who can look after themselves because they are clean (even when they have a carer who helps them), others can look after themselves without help because they can use a mobile phone or have a cat. The assumptions made are often staggering and with no medical evidence (and any degree of common sense) that can back them up.
You can read some of the responses we have received so far. Please read, comment and share this article on social media, we want as many people as possible to become aware of how assessments for disability benefits really are.
“On both occasions the fact that I have a smart phone and laptop and a television in the house was something the both assessors took a lot of time on. I explained that I can’t focus on tv or the laptop for long. Sensorial overload combined with pain means it’s not really a pleasure anymore. I explained that yes, a phone is necessary to contact anyone in case I’m in danger, I have fallen. I get very anxious and I’m in great pain. I also can require assistance. I also have two sons who like to speak to their mother. I felt embarrassed to have to explain why I would need to use a phone. She focused on hobbies too. I used to love reading but it hurts my eyes and I can’t physically hold a book for long. I used to paint and craft but again, this went against me. I felt encouraged to say that I lay there all day. Which is not healthy for mind or body.”
“Yes and they lied. They stated outright lies, such as “lives in a house with 1 flight of stairs and can get to bedroom” etc… All of which is totally incorrect as I live in a ground floor flat with no steps anywhere. The absurd lies are beyond belief.”
“When I was asked how I spent my time. I told her in bed sleeping or my friend would call to check I was ok. In my report it said I go out socially with my friend. Again another Lie as I suffer agoraphobia
“I arrived in a cab on my own so was well enough to take care of myself. He said I read out my prescription to him which never happened as I didn’t have my reading glasses with me and the room was too dark for my bad low-vision anyway. I told him the drugs I took from my own memory of taking them every day for over 10 years!”so I hate being around too many people as I struggle with anxiety.”
“Jump to conclusions? She filled the report with whatever she wanted”
“A lot. She decided my mental health is caused by my negative attitude. Going out and doing things would help me. She ignored the fact that I can’t go out very much and I am always in pain and fatigued,”
“Yes she did jump to conclusions and even told me that my blood pressure was normal even though she didn’t even test it as there wasn’t even a blood pressure monitor in the room, it has been high for years now even with my medication.”
“they commented about him being clean, they assumed because he could grip the handle of his crutch that he could grip normal cutlery They assumed because my ex husband said his adapted workspace was next to the forklift trucks that he was a fork lift truck driver”
“Questions were strangely constructed and I didnt understand what she was asking or looking for I have a bag with a huge handle, easy to grab, huge leather tab to unzip it this was used to say I had good grip”
“I have a dog who stands approx 15 inches high and is very well behaved but the assessor stated in her report that I could managed a very large dog. I was using a walking stick at the time but she stated in the report I used a mobility scooter; I have not had to use one as yet. I walked into and out of the centre with the aid of my walking stick however she stated I could walk 25m in 35 seconds with good gait and balance at a slow pace. I had to stand still on a couple of occasions before I could carry on walking (I stood chatting to the reception staff for a couple of minutes) but she did not state this in her report. ”
“Offered bus pass as ID refused specifically asked for driving licence, the fact he had this lost him points. Because he uses computer it’s assumed he is able to understand complicated text, how much change from £1 if spending 75p resulted in no points as he can make complicated decisions about budgeting”
“she said that was nothing wrong with her legs and hands and therefore she can prepare a meal. My daughter has a mental age of six, her meal would be a bowl of cornflakes. Because of her Crohn’s she can’t eat processed food, everything has to be cooked from scratch, no way she could do that. My daughter also said that she likes audiobooks, she added that her favourite one is The Gruffalo. In the report it was written that my daughter likes reading and literature and has no problem reading and understanding complex text.”
“They jumped to conclusions based on the fact my daughter lives with me. They didn’t take into account the fact that my daughter is also disabled.”
“Yes, she asked about my dog, I said I take him outside on the grass opposite my house, she took that as taking him for long walks, which I cannot do. My daughters take him on his long walks.”
“she said that I could try acupuncture for arthritis, it helped her mother. But I don’t have arthritis, I have CKD and RA and the two are connected. I wish I could save my kidneys with acupuncture, less invasive than a kidney transplant.”
“She asked if I have a degree, done 30yrs ago she reported this to show I am well motivated! she said “you watch a bit of tv” and was disbelieving when I said no during the day, only to distract me from pain when eating my one meal of the day.”
“I very much believe that she was trying to keep me talking in hopes I would ‘slip up’. She questioned if I had a pet (I have a cat) and then assumed that I must look after him by myself which is incorrect and I told her so.”
“my assessor made assumptions, based on her opinion, not facts, such as I didn’t need help dressing etc on the morning of assessment, the exact opposite was true. She stated I refused to get on the couch, what I actually said was I can’t manage that it has no handles/guard on it, she said I refused, therefore I can do it and manage a bath/shower unaided even though I have aids, bath board, grab rails etc to help me, and have my wife and son help me to wash etc.”
You can still add your experience with ESA and PIP assessments here.