My Son and I have both had experience with the PIP assessment and the Universal Credit work capability assessment. I suffer from CFS and was made redundant as a consequence. I loved my job and had worked my way up from administration to accounts and payroll. When I first became ill I couldn’t get out of bed some days. The difficulty with this condition is it changes from day to day hour by hour. The universal credit work capability assessment didn’t take into account this. I was declared fit for work. I found it so terribly hard to express to the assessor that although I may look somewhat ok on appearance and am able to lift my arm does not mean I am not suffering. I took co codamol before arriving for the pain. Amitriptyline for the restless leg syndrome and pins and needles. I was driven there by my sister. I had to pace myself days before just to be able to make the journey. I spent days laid up after the assessment due to post malaise!
Knowing what I know now I would have fought this decision.
My son is 20. He has suffered severe anxiety and deep depression since a young age. At first he was awarded PIP. Then about a year later he started experiencing physical symptoms as well as his emotional difficulties. His skin was starting to itch intensely with episodes of small little raised blisters. After numerous dermatology appointments and doctors appointments it’s decided that his anxiety is showing itself physically now.
As Lewis was now exhibiting new symptoms I contacted PIP to let them know. They advised me to fill in a form that they would send out and return it. I noticed it was exactly the same form for his previous claim but didn’t think much about that. The form was filled and he was called for a face to face. At the assessment Lewis described his itching and how it affects him.
Not ONCE were we told that he needed to explain everything in Themis second assessment! We honestly thought it was an assessment to document extra conditions to add to his existing claim.
To our utter disbelief they cancelled his claim completely stating that his itching doesn’t restrict his daily living ablilties?? How can this be when those questions were not asked? Nothing was mentioned in the assessment regarding his mental health at all???
The itching, described as severe hives, was the only condition left on his claim. They totally disregarded it.
I wrote to them and explained all this. I even asked for a copy of the recorded phone conversation I had had that day explaining I only letting them know of a change! This was still declined.
So the only other left for my son to do is reapply which we did straight away. We went through the whole process again.
Yet again he was denied. Apparently because he is a “larger man” he must be able to cook and look after himself fine??? I found some the answers given by the assessor false. The worst thing I thought was that the assessor in my sons assessment for the itching was the same one again for his reapplication for his severe mental health disorders?? She remembered him as she made that apparent to us.
Yet again he was denied. I have sent off a very lengthy mandatory reconsideration consisting of letters from doctors, evidence of his mental health team, letters from family and large quantities of evidence I have kept over the years. We are still waiting!!!
This experience has had a considerable impact on my son and his mental health. 5 months ago he was on a good path. He was working on his mental health and was calm. Now I have a completely different son. He withdrew immediately. His mental health has declined rapidly.
I will keep fighting for him and am willing to go all the way to a tribunal.
I don’t agree with the fact that one person for one hour can even begin to make a decision on a claimant and how their disability affects them. Not to mention the person sat in an office somewhere making huge decisions like this when they have never even met the person they are deciding about.
I really feel the assessments needs to be tailored more for the individual and they need to be able to take into account a persons health problems that may not necessarily fit their range of questions.
Extra questions needs adding to make assessments fairer and to stop this discrimination against people who “don’t look ill”