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TOPIC: PIP, Part 2 form, Brum-based, with severe ME/CFS

PIP, Part 2 form, Brum-based, with severe ME/CFS 3 weeks 2 days ago #197896

Hi all readers !

Birmingham seems to be poorly served with organisations able to help effectively with the Part 2 PIP form - with no professional members of BW, here ? A sad state of affairs ( - as in many parts of the UK, it seems).

The GP surgery concerned for this claimant ('C') is also showing a gross dis-interest in providing any support, with an appropriate report, or similar. It seems safe to assume the Practice has no reasonable experience of preparing such ( technically nuanced) reports, specifically for PIP.

So, having subscribed to BW, as an individual member, have just begun to go through the PIP guidance notes, which seem pretty clearly written ( - and its clear considerable work went into preparing these !).

The C suffers from a chronic case of CFS/ME, and has already received over 10 years of middle rate care, and higher rate mobility of DLA, which having been awarded 'indefinitely' were never reviewed. These more acceptable decisions were finally arrived at after MUCH hassle. The situation is now (probably) even worse, with PIP applications, esp. if these are not completed in the technically correct manner.

The current submission date is by 30 Sept, but a request to extend that further may well have to be considered (one more !) ! Obtaining any/additional medical evidence may of course be delegate to the DWP/its agents under the provision of the Equality Act (2010).

There may be specific issues and Tribunal decisions, which are relevant for this type of debilitating, grossly stamina-limiting, essentially visually 'invisible' condition which may be relevant to this and similar cases ( - and too specific to be in the guidance notes). Hence this thread, to recap any long-learnt or recent points of law, for a PIP application concerning this debilitating, chronic illness, that is often referred to as CFS/ME, just ME, CFS or even ( more usually in the USA) CFIDS ( - chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome) - although it is understood that the level of the PIP awards is not on a particular diagnosis, but on that one is affected.

Look forward to any considered pointers which may help, including minimising the information to be supplied, with no detrimental effect to the assessment. Certainly this cannot be an application having to PROVE the level of debility/disability from first principles, given the history of awards already made by the DWP - can it ?

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PIP, Part 2 form, Brum-based, with severe ME/CFS 3 weeks 1 day ago #197926

Mike

I would not bother with Case Law at this stage, either it is accepted by the DWP in which case it will be in the Claim guide and more importantly the DWP guidance, or it won't in which case the DWP will not apply however strong the argument is.

I would recommend your have a good read of the sections on fluctuating conditions and the use of the reliability terms.

However, be careful there will always be a tendency for assessors to base their recommendations on how the claimant is on the day rather than the majority of days and Decision Makers will also place greater emphasis on the variability of the claimants limitations than is reasonable, so make sure that claimants capabilities are clearly defined.

Gordon
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PIP, Part 2 form, Brum-based, with severe ME/CFS 3 weeks 1 day ago #197953

Hi Mike,

To follow on from Gordon's advice -

You need to be aware that DWP/assessment providers seldom contact the claimant's medical advisors. Nor do they routinely look at any previous benefit claims. It is up to the claimant to show very clearly how and why they should score points against the DWP descriptors.

In addition, the PIP criteria are so different from DLA that it is not helpful to think about the level of previous DLA awarded (DWP certainly won't!).
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PIP, Part 2 form, Brum-based, with severe ME/CFS 3 weeks 1 day ago #197964

Thanks Gordon ! :)

I'm aiming to get the basics down asap, and leave the onus on the DWP to source further info. at its discretion, or request it from the applicant - hopefully worded clearly enough so that if that's not done, it would be reasonable to claim that the assessment failed to be sufficiently inquisitive and helpful under the Equality Act, etc.

Appreciate your point about not being concerned re. recent appeal decisions/case law, for the present - will certainly help to keep things simpler.

However, did find this piece from April's newsletter:
benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3617-enhanced...-health-dwp-examples - which gives some confidence towards being awarded the enhanced rate for mobility, given the appropriate material facts - and that decision would be a relief in this case !

What if evidence the C gives on (the effects of the condition) is simply ignored ?

Could this be claimed as a case of: a) negligence and/or b) abuse of power ?

I don't know if BW has found many cases of this. I am also not aware of whether any of the CFS/ME support groups are collating such data from its members - surely, it w/could be valuable.

Is it worth writing a paragraph cautioning that if a lower or no award of PIP results (than the current (hard won !) 'indefinite' DLA awards) following this assessment with no good reason, civil legal proceedings will be commenced against the DWP in addition to any appeal to the Tribunal ? .

I can see why some would hesitate to use such a phrase ( - as being too combative) - but might it also help to deter to poor, unjust decisions ?

Also there would, as in many cases of ICIs ( - invisible chronic illness) be very little or nothing to see in a face to face interview, even it that was reasonably arranged as a home visit. It seems reasonable to mention this, in the hope that recognition of it would prevent an unhelpful or essentially meaningless 'interview/in-person consultation'. The debility/disability (in these ICIs) is best assessed by carefully measuring sustainable activity levels over periods of days, or preferably weeks and months (which the 'reliable' concept now allows for !) - so, we can now reasonably EXPECT the DWP to formally understand that ( - on a balance of probabilities). 'Reasonable expectation' from 'a public body' ? This seems to speak for itself !

Further: In principle 'indefinite' PIP awards are possible, . . . . . but are rarely/never awarded (at present) - is that the case ?

Am inclined to make some clear intimation of what duration of awards may be considered appropriate, and ask for clear reasons to be provided if a much shorter duration is 'assessed' as appropriate.

Any further comments on the above, when convenient would be very appreciated.

:)

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PIP, Part 2 form, Brum-based, with severe ME/CFS 3 weeks 1 day ago #197967

Mike

I would advise you to be more circumspect in your approach, you are making a number of assumptions which in reality may not be of value.

There is no legal requirement for the DWP or the assessor to contact any of the claimants medical contacts, you can argue that failing to do so depreciates the report and a Tribunal might agree with you but don't expect the DWP to pay any attention.

The DWP statement is interesting, but is not reflected in current DWP guidance!

I don't see any opportunity to start Civil proceeding against the DWP, there is a defined process of reconsideration and appeal for claimants to follow.

Gordon

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