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Feedback from Benefits and Work members about the shortened personal independence payment (PIP) renewal form suggests that following the DWP’s instructions could lead to the complete loss of your PIP.

Below, we outline the risks and how to reduce them.

PIP renewal process
From June 2016 the DWP began sending out a PIP renewal form (AR1) which is much shorter than the PIP2 ‘How your disability affects you’ form.

The AR1 form that asks you whether each activity has got:

Easier

Harder

No change

If you tick the ‘No change’ box for any activity, the form tells you do not need to provide any further details about the difficulties you have with that activity.

The AR1 form goes to a DWP case manager initially, rather than a health professional.

DWP guidance says the case manager “will compare the new information against the evidence from the previous assessment”. The case manager can also contact the claimant or carer for more information, but cannot send for more medical evidence.

If the case manager cannot make a decision, then all the information is forwarded to Atos or Capita for assessment by a health professional. According to the DWP the health professional will have access to the AR1, any additional evidence obtained by the case manager and “all relevant medical evidence”. What is not clear is whether the most recent PIP 2 ‘How your disability affects you’ form must be consulted by the HP.

The health professional will initially attempt to make their assessment solely on the papers.

Only if that isn’t possible will the claimant be required to attend a face-to-face assessment.

A decision will then be made by a case manager, purportedly based on all the evidence, but more usually based entirely on the health professional’s report.

Here at Benefits and Work we’ve had considerable doubts about whether just ticking a box is always sufficient to ensure that a PIP award continues. We have also been concerned about what evidence the health professional sees, in reality, if there is a face-to-face assessment as a result of completing an AR1 form.

We asked for feedback from our members who had been through the process and below are some of the things you told us.

‘No change’ can lead to face-to-face
One thing that rapidly became clear is that simply ticking the ‘No change’ boxes does not guarantee that you will avoid a face-to-face assessment.

One member told us that they were still required “to have a face to face appointment even though I had ticked no change.”

Another member commented that they “completed the AR1 form stating things had not changed” but still had a face-to-face assessment. In addition:

The assessor didn’t have my AR1 form, said he wasn't familiar with the form and preferred to work from the original application form.”

The result was that even though our reader had arrived on a mobility scooter they had both components reduced from enhanced to standard rate.

In spite of the lack of evidence used by the health professional, things ended better for another member who also ticked ‘No change’:

“Assessor did not have AR1 form or hard copy of original claim.”

Nonetheless, both their enhanced awards were extended.

Deterioration may leads to face-to-face
It also appears that stating that your condition has deteriorated means that there is a real possibility that you will be required to attend a face-to-face assessment.

One member had completed the review form with their partner:

“The form says if there has been no change they do not need any further details as they had already got all the information they need, so we did as they said. We made it clear on the review form that his health had not got better in any way, but had in fact got worse and told them how. He was then sent for a medical assessment.”

Our member says they do not know what information the assessor had, though they did have some. But the result was that the award was reduced from enhanced rate for both components to standard rate.

Another member’s relative, who has a very serious condition, received the AR1 form:

“she filled in the form saying things were either the same or worse than before. She had an assessment at home and it was appalling . . . she went from the enhanced rate for the daily living section and standard rate for moving around to nothing at all.”

Another member had a similar experience:

“I indicated on the form that there had been no change in my ability to carry out activities, or I had worsened. However, I was then required to attend a face-to-face assessment at which the health professional in my opinion did not accurately report my conditions, resulting in my PIP being stopped.”

Things also went badly, though not quite so badly, for this member:

Completed pip review form. On majority of activities ticked harder, gave explanation, ticked some no change, no easier.”

They were then required to attend a face-to-face assessment and had their mobility component reduced from higher to standard.

No face-to-face but award reduced
One member told us they had been obliged to appeal to get into the support group for ESA before undergoing a PIP renewal. They completed an AR1 form:

“I had stated in the form that everything has got worse, mobility is much worse! . . . PIP have gone by assessment that esa did but I don't believe that they looked at further information I supplied.”

Their award of the enhanced rate of the care component of PIP was reduced to standard care

What is particularly alarming is that our member says that the decision was made without inviting them to attend a face-to-face assessment. Instead, the unreliable evidence from their overturned ESA assessment was used.

Increased award with minimal new information
One member’s partner managed to keep their award at the same level in spite of providing minimal information.

“Most of his renewal was answered with ‘No change’ but I did need to inform them of a change in his medication, 2 added ones and increased dosage for two of them. I also had to tell them that he was now suffering breathing problems which affected his walking.”

Our member received a telephone call from the DWP case manager asking further questions about their partner’s mobility. They were then informed that the claim would be renewed at the same rate without the need for a face-to-face assessment.

No change and additional information leads to same award
One member ticked ‘No change’ for each activity but also copied their written answers from their last PIP claim form onto the AR1. In addition they:

“provided an up to date note from my GP. I also provided up to date letters from friends/family stating there had been no change since they wrote in 2014, along with their original letters.”

The result was the same award again for another three years, although likely to be reviewed again in two years.

Conclusions
We can’t draw many firm conclusions from our limited anecdotal evidence.

However, it does seem clear that just ticking ‘No change’ does not in any way guarantee that you will have your award continue or be spared a face-to-face assessment.

It is also clear that explaining that your condition has got worse does not ensure that your award won’t be reduced or stopped altogether.

There also seems to be no consistency in what evidence health professionals use when making a decision. They may, or may not, look at your AR1 form or your previous PIP2 form.

The safest course
Your job when completing the AR1 is initially to try to convince, not a health professional, but a DWP case manager that your evidence is sufficiently accurate and detailed for a decision to be made. The purpose of the AR1 is to speed up the renewal process and cut costs by nor involving Atos or Capita. So there is pressure on the case manager to make a decision themselves where there is strong evidence to allow them to do so.

This is likely to apply whether you are arguing that your condition remains the same or that it has deteriorated. So, making your case as persuasive as possible, rather than simply ticking boxes, makes good sense.

The reality is that we have no way of knowing what percentage of claimants who tick the ‘No change’ boxes are referred to a health professional, but clearly some are. If this happens to you and you have not given any details of your current difficulties on your form or provided any supporting evidence, then you are clearly at a huge disadvantage.

Even if the health professional ignores your detailed evidence, that doesn’t mean it was a waste of time. A tribunal will almost certainly read it and they will give particular weight to evidence that has been clear and consistent from the very start of the renewal process.

So, we would argue that the safest course of action is to give as much evidence as possible, both your own and supporting evidence, including medical evidence, regardless of what the DWP advise.

There’s lots more about providing persuasive evidence in the PIP guide in the member’s area.

We will be updating the PIP guide in relation to PIP renewals over the coming week, to take account of members’ feedback.

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Comments  

#14 frmarcus 2017-02-21 17:46
Sister, with a raft of conditions, gets PIP enhanced care and standard mobility, awarded for four year 'til Jan 18, but got the new review form last month - so a year before her existing award expired. She was very anxious about it, partly due to her mental ill-health, but I tried to follow the suggestions on this site and gave full responses to all the questions, not just better/worse/no change.

Why make an award to Jan 18 only to 'review' it a year earlier?

In fact, if scored as I believe it should, she should receive MORE points for mobility and reach the enhanced threshold. All told, she should receive more in both areas - but I can't help thinking that not only will she not get them, she may be scored lower than now by the decision-maker' s sleight-of-hand...

We got her form in a week before the deadline of 15/2, so I anxiously await the outcome.

Good luck to all facing this anxiety-inducin g reassessment (for that is what it is).

Marcus
#13 Bunny12 2017-02-11 20:50
I've just received my pip2 form and am really anxious about filling it in. I suffer from epilepsy , CFS , severe depression and incontinence. Can anyone give me any pointers please ...thank you
#12 San52 2017-02-09 14:38
no wonder our anxiety and stress levels go up am appealing to DWP for ESA got date also transfering from DLA to PIP got medical for this 2wks time so stressed
+1 #11 Carolyn Bennett 2017-02-06 09:30
I had to renew my PIP as award ended 31.12 I was sent the old 40 PAGE PIP2 form - did not realise there was a new one, Also included 62 pages of extra information! Had my mobility reduced to standard which looks like is the normal thing now. Perhaps they are on bonuses?? Whilst the did not have time to process my claim form in time and my face to face was booked mid January, they DID have time to inform the council I had stopped my claim and so They wrote to me demanding £300 as I no longer qualified for benefits!

I am now about to post my mandatory reconsideration pulling apart their "decision" which does not seem to make sense or be written about me! I wonder if they have a standard set of phrases that they copy and past in to make it fit close enough without looking at all the info! Certainly they said my social history shows I can use public transport alone which I have never done. Been on bus once in last years and that was to hospital following a hand on - and I was not alone. Went to train once in 2014 - that was before I even put in my first claim! Know will have to go to court again - what a terrible waste of time and money. I am so distraught. Absolutely criminal!
#10 beverley 2017-02-01 21:34
I suffer from border line bipolar I got enhanced rate of disability and standard rate mobility had my pip assessment in Nov and was put on standard rate disability and mobility taken off asked for reconsideration and got same reply can anyone tell me if I have to wait for another review or can I put a new claim in .I could not appeal as this would have meant me going in front of people I didn't no and that is a big part of my illness
+2 #9 Londongirl 2017-01-30 23:29
I am a DLA to PIP claimant and like a lot of people it seems the deadline has prevented them from addressing some of the issues that have occurred. My main problem was ascertaining their perception of what 'standing' meant because I feel that standing when having to lean or hold onto something, is not standing. That is standing with the use of aids, whether that be the table, chair or whatever. I am worried about this very much as to why assessors interpret one's' ability to do certain things. I have my face to face at home this Thursday and to say that it is freaking me out is an understatement. Physically and mentally it is draining me and I am hoping I will definitely not be on my own. I do have someone to be with me and hoping that nothing gets in the way of that. I don't know if luck comes into this but at my age and with my long term disability I shouldn't have to be going through this, all because they have renamed a disability and want to save money:). Will let you all know how I get on and will follow the process here of an appeal if I get to that stage which I hope I don't:).
#8 cgc 2017-01-27 17:59
Hi guys, I've just got my AR1 form come through. Do you know when the guides will be updated to include them?

Many thanks
#7 Mr Jason Todd 2017-01-21 03:06
Apparently the DWP considers getting from the bedroom to the bathroom over 20 meters so my assessor says I don't know what kind of property these people live in but it certainly must be bigger than my bungalow
#6 peter 2017-01-18 20:05
i put no change to everything and put in a doctors letter, i got award for another 3 years, no change, no medical, always supply evidence
#5 adamant 2017-01-18 20:01
i PASSED MY PIP ASSESSMENT SEPT 2015 THEY SAID I WOULD NOT BE CALLED back till sept 2017 i got called back 2016 i filled my pip 3 form with the boxes indicating no change etc i just filled it in the same as my normal pip form sensing something dodgy I had to attend a medical nov 25th . on dec 23 i was notified by the council housing benefits my PIP was stopped on the 8th dec . i tried ringing housing but because it was fri 23rd no one answered strangely at 5 pm I managed to get through to the DWP who said they had not made a decision yet but would ring me back the following Thur . they rang thur to tell me my PIP had indeed been stopped .on the 9th dec . I told them I was going to ask for a mandatory reconsideration . and asked for my assessment forms and the forms with the managers decision . when I read through what both people had wrote it was clear they had not read any of my supporting evidence .and contradicted everything on the day of the medical .one part said I wa in good health which was consistent with all my medical reports from the last 30 years of ill health . When we rang them about the MR they said you can’t just write now you have to speak to the case manager . first can you sit by the phone for the next 3 hours up to 24 ? I told them no .Luckily as I was with my support worker they rang back within half an hour who then told us to put it in writing within 4 weeks of this phone call
+3 #4 rodney 2017-01-18 18:53
My wife and I have just been through this process and were successful :lol:
In effect I completed both forms because I am a carer for my wife who due to a stroke cannot manage these forms.
I was going again because of change of circumstances and at t the conclusion was awarded the same lower mobility.
My wife has some serious health problems and was being migrated to P.I.P. and she was successful and has been awarded the higher amount for a long time.
My advice treat your application as being unique and don't rely on what has gone before. But you should ask for your previous evidence be attached to your form when you submit your new application with as much evidence and examples of the effect it has on you.
Make sure your prescription list is up to date I just picked up on my wife's interview and this could have been devastating if I didn't. Pick up on it.
Don't strain yourself going to an interview if you need a home appointment at home ask.
When I asked as to the reasons for carrying out a face to face they said that some consultants were not available. It was clear that they were not going to pass her through without face to face.
Remember this is your time and there are no prizes for rushing or being rushed.
When describing walking in a shop put a distance on the aisle because surprisingly the DWP will presume it is not less than 100 metres
Remember you could be digging yourself a huge hole by stating your condition is worse!! You have statutory requirement to inform DWP if there is a change in your condition. Unless you can evidence the change was recent. The failure to contact DWP will cast a huge shadow over your new claim as to your trustworthiness . Keep a copy of everything dates times and people spoken to.
They state that the Health Expert doesn't make the decision but they have a huge influence on the outcome.
Although we were successful the judgement was littered with untruths
#3 Mr Jason Todd 2017-01-18 18:06
The same thing happened to me it's absolutely disgusting how disabled people are being treated and then to compound matters I consulted a so called solicitor who was going to help messed me about until the date at which I was to request a tribunal had passed and then when I messaged them saying if they didn't get back to me I would have to contact another solicitor and report the company they then sent me a disgusting message telling me the weren't a solicitor and I couldn't report them to sra and threatening me with the police if I contacted them again.
I would like to think nothing surprises me anymore but that just isn't the case.
#2 terry 2017-01-18 12:57
Hop all goes well for you.
+1 #1 Cazza 2017-01-18 12:14
I had to have my PIP renewal sent by Jan 10th and so am only reading this after the fact. The advice I found here and on some of the FB groups was similar though; to basically treat it as a new claim and give as much evidence as you can. As I've been diagnosed with M.E since my last assessment I said that I'd got worse in all areas but I was also careful to state that the issues I'd had previously with anxiety as a separate condition were still the same or worse.

I've no idea of the outcome but I'll let you know so you can build a good piggies of what's happening.

S

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