Link to Response Form

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After putting out calls for people to take part in this review on Face Book and Twitter, I felt it would be easier and for some of you clearer; if I wrote a full post on this assessment, which I hope will be worth all the trouble we will be going to filling the form in that they require. I feel as if it is essential that we have our voice heard over this blinking terrible debacle. I feel PIP has taken a step back in providing to Disabled People who rely on this money and that DLA was an ideal assessment method. There is no need for these one to one assessments they are an absolute waste of time. In every benefit you will have a small minority of people who will try to obtain any benefit by lying and using these one to one assessments is not going to stop this.  I have taken the following text from the ‘call for evidence site’ and hope it will help you understand the importance of letting them know about the problems we have faced. Good luck and let me know how you get on.

Personal Independence Payment Assessment – The Second Independent Review
A Call for Evidence
July 2016


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has commissioned Paul Gray to undertake the second Independent Review of how the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment is working, as required by Section 89 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012. This call for evidence will be one of several methods used to gather information. Evidence submitted will be used to inform a final independent report which will be laid before Parliament.

This call for evidence is aimed at organisations and individuals who have information that is relevant to how the PIP assessment is operating both for new claims and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reassessment claims. This includes claims made under the Special Rules for terminally ill people.
We are interested in everyone’s views, so please provide as much evidence as you can on the questions asked in this document. We know that people and organisations will have different levels of experience in the PIP process so do not feel you have to answer questions that are not relevant to you, for example where you do not have personal experience.

This call for evidence will be used to inform the Independent Reviewer’s conclusions. The Independent Reviewer will then make recommendations to the Secretary of State, which will be laid before Parliament in the form of a report to which the Government will produce a response.

The call for evidence period begins on Monday 11th July 2016 and runs until Friday 16th September 2016 at 5pm.
You can respond via the online form. If you are unable to use the online form, please use one of the following methods:
Post: PIP Independent Review Team, Department for Work and Pensions, Floor 4 Caxton House, Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NA
Please ensure your response reaches us by 5pm on Friday 16th September 2016.
We will acknowledge your response. Please note the PIP Independent Review Team cannot respond to individual customer queries about their PIP claim.

Where we use the word “condition” in this document we mean disabilities, health conditions and impairments. We use “condition” for short.

A major objective of this review will be to assess the impact of ‘further evidence’ on coming to entitlement decisions which properly reflect claimant needs and the day-to-day functional impacts of their condition. I plan to consider, for instance, how evidence that a PIP claimant has already obtained, such as a care plan, or specialist report from a health professional, is currently being used to assist the claim decision, and in what cases these may act as an alternative to face-to-face consultations. This Review will also consider how data may be better shared across the Department and with external organisations, such as the health and social care sector, to support the claim process. Finally, I intend on using the Terms of Reference as a framework to allow me to take a broader look at PIP and understand the quality and consistency of assessments and the claimant experience at all stages of the process.




I actually didn’t expect to be writing about politics in my blog but there has been so much on the TV and in the news about recent political trends (if that’s what you call it) that it’s difficult for someone like me who has strong opinions on almost everything not to have my say. And, maybe it’s a change from writing about my health and diet attempts. Which are going very well may I add. Well back to politics. And the main word on everyones’ mouths and in everyones’ ear at the moment is Brexit (not a word I like to use). You might think what a nightmare, these stupid northerners have taken us out of the Eurozone what are we going to do now? Here is how the voting looked on a map of the British Isles –


You can see that it wasn’t just the north of England that voted leave it was pretty much all of England.Slight patches survived mostly around London and the suburbs voted IN. Below there is a more detailed example of individual voting areas showing how the vote fell in all areas of the UK. England voted strongly for Leave, by 53.4% to 46.6%, as did Wales, with Leave getting 52.5% of the vote and Remain 47.5%. But Scotland voted 62% Remain and 38% Leave.The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. It was the highest turnout in a UK-wide vote since the 1992 general election.

Let’s face facts more than 17 million people voted to Leave the EU, more people voted in the UK than have ever voted for anything in the entire history of this country. So, it was a pretty strong vote.

Overall in England alone LEAVE won by 7 percentage points.

how England voted

Two weeks has past now since the vote was taken and has been stated by many newspapers and politicians as a monumental change in British Politics that will have lasting effects either good or bad. Some, don’t even think that it will go ahead as Sean O’Grady states in the Independent –

… I suspect Brexit won’t, in the end, come to pass – because most voters can’t afford it in the short run, whatever the longer term advantages. Call it blackmail by the financiers or the Establishment if you wish, but it is a fairly nasty ransom note all the same.



How did this happen! In 1918 the working man got the vote and it was the working man that was the majority voter in the vote leave campaign. David Cameron made a very bad 5126decision because he did not know the world outside of London he was totally out of touch with the electorate. As stated by Professor Matthew Goodwin, the remain camp underestimated the power of euroscepticism and underestimated the strength of feeling amongst a particular section of British society. This section of society have been through a fundamentally different experience of globalisation and integration and felt left behind and culturally under threat by migration. The reaction of some of the Remain voters both general public and 6a00d8341d417153ef01bb09153da1970d-800widisappointingly MP’s is to say that the Leave camp were a racist and uneducated mob because they did not want uncontrolled movement of labour, which has been driving wages down in many parts of the country. There is nothing racist about people wanting to have a controlled and managed migration system so that they can have a controlled labour force and earn a decent wage.

Many people who voted used their vote as a protest vote. I do not expect that they even thought Leave would win, I was positive it would not win. It was a total shock. In many parts of the country where a high Leave vote was won you will find that they had been hardest hit by the austerity tactics of David Cameron and his government. This was a real fight back by the working man, people voted who never usually voted and I was one of them. I thought in the past, why bother to vote nothing ever really gets any better for us? However, this time I knew I had to vote the strength of feeling amongst the Leave team really inspired me and I knew I had to vote  and support the working man and I did, so did my son, my daughter and my son in law all of us voted Leave.

The past 5 years or so of austerity has really hit the working man hard combine this with economic migration it has been a toxic combination. There were a lot of angry people outsimpsons there willing to put their mark on the voting slip. Migration is good as long as it is controlled and spread around the country equally and not just concentrated in specific areas, which in turn causes stress on our infrastructure and the economy in that area. You will find in the high migration areas the stress on services is high, there is not enough Doctors, Nurses, Schools, housing etc. We should be concentrating on bringing migrants into the country who can help our society like Doctors, Nurses, Dentists, people we need. We don’t need people of the unskilled labor class because we need those jobs for our own people. And what was the Government’s response to over 300,000+ economic migrants coming into our country last year. Oh lets keep going with all the cuts and the austerity programs. Cuts and more cuts, should a government cut back when we have had an influx of people into the country, it was sheer madness, something had to give and it now has.

Our country’s politics are now in disarray, I have never known it as bad as this, we have no prime minister, the labour leader won’t go even when he has no ministers left for hisquote35_large shadow cabinet, it’s like a blinking circus. And all because a Prime Minister was not in touch with his people. But who am I to say I am just one of our working class voters. What I am sure about is that we now need a government to lift the country up out of this doom and gloom mentality that is surfacing since the vote did not go the way of the remain group. We need to be positive now and not negative. Being negative never got anyone anywhere and spreads malaise amongst businesses and the people. The more positive the new Prime Minister is and her cabinet the quicker the country will recover from this blip and carry on to the new independence we have and a much brighter future, because honestly the EU is getting ready to implode it’s not working. AND nothing good comes out of negativity.

So What Next –

Britain’s vote has been a big deal. But it could be the start of something bigger, too. This might be the first of many political expressions of discontent among EU countries, potentially causing the disintegration of Europe.

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MY PIP EXPERIENCE – A complete fiasco!

13516453_10204886428121095_43629211516051569_nBeing an ex Civil Service employee and decision maker in the benefits system myself, I can empathise to some extent with the majority of staff that are now running the PIP (ATOS and DWP) benefit because many are woefully ill equipped to make decisions on such a serious and complicated benefit. You cannot be thrown into making serious decisions about people’s lives without comprehensive training and knowledge.


A private company have taken over the job of the medical assessments (ATOS) because it is saving the government money, or so they think, or they have a misguided opinion that it is going to be a more efficient way of doing things.  These people are not trained and knowledgeable enough about the benefits and people they are assessing. These assessments are carried out by a health professional employed by ATOS. They will write a report and the report is then sent onto the DWP for a decision maker to look at. AND THIS IS WHERE EVERYTHING STARTS TO GO WRONG, THESE ASSESSMENTS ARE USELESS IN A LOT OF CASES.

A report provided by The National Audit Office in January this year revealed the costly chaos that has engulfed outsourced assessments –

  • Over the three years from April 2015 to March 2018, the DWP expects to spend a staggering £1.6 billion on medical assessments.

No wonder Iain Duncan Smith resigned he knew what was coming!

The health professional who came to my house to assess my son’s abilities was an ex-paramedic. I am sorry, but how can an ex-paramedic be knowledgeable enough to assess someone with an acquired brain injury. He awarded my son zero points! This is where the government are losing the most money, previously assessments were done by your own doctor/specialists. You would get reports from the doctor and any other professionals that were working with you and send them in with the application form. Thousands of pounds could be saved by doing it this way and a more accurate information base obtained from people who actually know the claimant. A disability like brain injury in 13510899_10204886441681434_4795149399637844784_nthe moderate to severe category can be hidden and is not always obvious, it needs qualified professionals to do an accurate assessment. My son had received DLA since he was 12, (he is now 26) he had middle rate care and lower rate mobility and through a 15 minute assessment by a paramedic he was classed as not needing help any longer. Unbelieveable! This assessment is then sent onto the DWP for their decision makers to look at.

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They are called Decision Makers and because of this they should have minimum educational qualifications and extensive training. I can remember my first months working for the Benefits Agency as a trainee Benefits Officer (Decision Maker). There were six trainees in total and we sat at a big table at the top of the office and were not trusted as yet to deal with the public. In fact we did not deal with the public for six months! Every day for six months was used for training and learning the benefits system. Also, we had customer service days, these days we learnt how to deal with the general public efficiently and politely. I am not saying it was a perfect system but at least we were professionals and the job we did, we were trained rigorously for. We knew all the rules and regulations for the job we were assigned to do and we did that job very well, we looked like and were professionals. The CAB has realised a problem with the PIP assessments they said in a recent report –

The scale of the problem with personal independence payments (PIP) means that needing help with the benefit is now the most common reason for approaching the national charity Citizens Advice charity, new figures show…..

Staff who work for the DWP now are not trained rigorously enough, it seems that because computers do most of the work these days, the people who put the information into them do not need to be educated and trained. This is wrong, computers cannot be relied on when it comes to human and medical issues.

During the past few weeks I have had to deal with quite a few people associated with my son’s PIP claim, mostly on the phone. The first line staff that you have to deal with when you first contact the customer service department are employed by the DWP however, it is just like a call centre and some  are not trained well enough. Obviously it seems from my experience that anyone can do this job they know exactly zilch about your claim and it’s worse than useless ringing them up, it’s a complete waste of time and money. I phoned them twice this week to ask if my son’s claim had been dealt with and both times all they said was it takes 8 to 9 weeks for the assessment to be completed and that is it. The actual decision makers are uncontactable, see part two for more on this.

After being in hospital for almost 2 weeks with my own illness, I had to come home faced with this NIL decision of my sons knowing that I had to write a rebuttal to his assessment. You can however, have a phone call for the reassessment but I was advised not to by someone who had also gone through this process. I would have had a higher rate of it going to appeal and more delays if I did it that way. So I took the written response rout, it took me all day and 7 pages later and with a letter received from his GP and a booklet about brain injury and its effects on people, it was immediately sent off by recorded delivery, that was on the 23rd June. I will let you all know the outcome and I hope for his sake we do not have to go to Appeal because it’s all delay, delay. And this means less money for longer and for someone with brain damage to the frontal lobe this is no easy task to process as all of his emotions are exaggerated.


It is now 16th July, they received the written response on Monday 27th June and we are still1546 no closer to a decision. The indecision has made my son very ill and having to deal with him is not helping me either. I have rang them up almost every day and last week they informed me for the first time, that I could actually request a phone call from his caseworker! I was so excited about this so asked immediately for this referral but was informed, ‘the computers are down at the moment but ring back tomorrow’.Of course I did that and was told that someone would ring me soon usually within the next 24hrs. I kept checking my phone all day and telling all my callers I could not talk because I was expecting an important call, but no one rang. I rang the following day again and was informed that it could take a week before they contacted me if they were busy, I felt like screaming at that point, I felt like I was getting no where at the same time my son was unravelling more each day so I decided to contact my local MP. He replied quite quickly and he contacted the DWP’s MP Liaison Team at the Yorkshire Benefit Centre. I really hope that they will be able to help sort this out as quickly as possible for my sons sake. Will let you know my progress. 

It is now 22nd July and I have been through every web site and help site that I can in order to do the best for my son. I still haven’t heard from the Decision Maker whom I requested a call back from on the 14th July. I phoned PIP this morning and said that we have not heard from the Decision Maker and the call centre woman said that, ‘it is down on your sons file to ring and they have 5 days but if they are very busy it can take longer’. I said it’s been 6 days now, unbelievable!

I feel that the worse part of this whole process is the lack of communication between you and the actually people who are doing the job. You have got this receptionist, call centre person fobbing you off every time you call, like a secretary saying her boss is out of the office when he doesn’t want to take calls. However my son received a message today to tell him that they are looking at his decision and he will receive this decision in the post soon. I had to ring them to get the jist of the text because my son deleted it and forgot what it said, as I say it’s been a difficult experience. I just hope that the revised assessment is positive for him.

I am pleased to say that on the 26th July we finally received my sons PIP award and he has been awarded both care and mobility components and I am highly delighted and so is he. Thank goodness this whole process is now over and he can now get on with living his life and know he has some financial security. It has been a long and painful process and I do not at all envy anyone who has to go through it at all.



Whilst I have been trawling through the web site and googling all manner of things associated with PIP, I have found loads of information and bad press about this benefit.  I am very glad that my experience is universal and it’s not just me! The following is a piece that I have copied from the site #PIPFightback and it is very interesting so I am including this on my post –

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is the replacement for Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Whilst DLA worked to provide support for the extra costs of being disabled, and the system worked well, the whole PIP system is rotten to the core.

The whole purpose of making the change from DLA to PIP is to remove people’s entitlements to the vital support which DLA provided to help enable disabled people to live a life on more even terms with non disabled people.

With the PIP assessment regime now in place, thousands of people have already lost out and reports of the shoddy nature of the assessments are growing every week. Whilst the success rate at tribunal is high, it is taking up to 6 months or longer for cases to be heard – leaving disabled people struggling

Atos and Capita are making a killing from conducting sham PIP assessments which are seeing thousands of legitimate claimants having their benefits refused, their incomes slashed and their motability cars removed.

 I also found information from the DWP site and found a very interesting review that is taking place right now it is called the Second Independent Review of the PIP Payment assessment and they are calling for evidence from carers and claimants, they state –

This call for evidence relates to the second Independent Review of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment. It seeks information about how the PIP assessment is working. It focuses in particular on the use of further evidence in the claim process, data sharing and the claimant experience.

Individuals and organisations are invited to submit evidence to help inform the review by answering the following questions. Where we use the word “condition” in these questions we mean disabilities, health conditions and impairments. We use “condition” for short.

Your responses can only be taken into account if you press submit at the end of the form. Please ensure your response reaches us by 5pm on 16 September 2016.

I have got the following link for anyone to click on if they would like to include their experiences and send them in, its worth a try anyway!

Call for Evidence Response Form