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Thread: PIP/Atos and hideous DWP experience

  1. #1

    PIP/Atos and hideous DWP experience

    Hi all

    New user to the site, recently disabled 2013 and already thoroughly disgusted by ATOS and the DWP in general!

    Following numerous spinal procedures including pain block injections and rhizolysis, I finally underwent surgery in October/November 2012 for cervical disc replacements x 2 and spinal fusion lumbar x 2. Cervcal op went great, lower spine not so good, and I am left with degenerative disc disease, spinal sclerosis, little to no feeling in my right foot and constant pain in my left leg ranging from bearable to agony, as the day goes on.

    When in early 2013, my consultant surgeon admitted I was unlikely to get any better, and his surgical options were exhausted, I firstly admitted defeat to ever being able-bodied again. I attempted to initiate the DLA option in March 2013, but as I live in Cumbria, (pilotscheme area for Personal Independence Plan), was advised that I would need to PIP claim, when this was available. I finally received the PIP forms in July, with a 4-week period to complete, and these were completed in mid-august. As I write, I have JUST had my 1-2-1 assessment with a healthcare Pro on the 28th Jan(lovely lady, formerly a nurse/midwife) who advised me her report would be sent to Atos by 1st feb and subsequently sent to DWP shortly afterwards. Atos sent their file to DWP 5/2/2014, DWP have confirmed receipt of the points allocated, but are unable to process until they receive both the electronic and hardcopy detailed report. As I sit, I have waited for 11 months in total, and still receive nothing other than the £100 and pence per week for ESA.

    I am doing everything possible to stop my property being repossessed, my car similarly, and as I am advised, I do not qualify for a hardship payment as I receive contribution-based ESA as previously, I have worked all of my life and fulfilled my contribution to society sigh* On basic care and enhanced mobility, I estimate that the DWP owe me £2800 as they will only backdate the claim to the initial telephone claim in august

    Just wondered what others experiences have been of the process?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    You can read about my experience of PIP in the sticky PIP thread, though as I now have a copy of my PIP file, I intend to add a more detailed timeline later this evening.

    When my claim was progressing, I was led to believe that the DWP received the full report a week after the initial electronic transmission. It then took about three weeks for a decision to be made and another week for the back payment to be made.

    If the Case Manager is happy with the report and does not ask ATOS for any clarifications, I'd guess at a decision in around a month, possibly a bit less. If any clarification is requested, it could be longer.

    I'm a bit confused about the history of your claim, as PIP claims should have been possible in the North West from April 2013. Ordinarily, PIP claims are started over the phone, with the date of claim being the date of your phone call, but I appreciate things might have been different during the pilot stage before the 10 June 2013 switch to PIP for new claims across England, Wales and Scotland.

    If what you describe as the "PIP form" was actually the PIP2 How your disability affects you questionnaire, your date of claim will be earlier than the date you received that form. If it was a paper PIP1 claim form, covering those areas normally handled over the phone, the date of claim will probably be the date you requested that form but might be the date DWP got that form back. In other words, I believe your date of claim may be earlier than the August 2013 date you give.

    The first day you will be paid PIP if your claim succeeds is the date of claim or when DWP believe the assessed functional problems have existed for 3 months, whichever is the later. Your needs must be assessed as lasting at least 12 months for PIP to be payable.

  3. #3
    Hi Flymo

    I am a little vague about dates as my memory is not the best, but I do remember that the initial enquiry in april, resulted in me being advised that the transition to PIP meant that I could not apply until the process was in place to do so, so I believe it would be july for the telephone application, maybe a little earlier, then it took about three weeks or so for the forms/questionnaire to come out to me, and finally I had 4 weeks approx to complete and return them.

    I initiated complaints to both Atos and DWP, that basically Atos had breached the Service Level Agreement they contracted to DWP which I understand was 8 weeks from receipt of the application (Atos claimed that the forms arrived with them 1 October), and although it doesn't seem to have hurried anything per se, I hope that I will be 'fast-tracked' at DWP, as has been indicated to me from a Complaint Resolution manager by telephone

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    I've now posted the full timeline of my PIP claim and some discussion on the service level agreement standards in the assessment providers' contracts.

    The key service level agreement standard is that 97% of assessments are supposed to be completed within 30 working days of referral by DWP. If there are no bank holidays, that's six weeks, not eight weeks as you state. If this standard was to be met in your case, your assessment should have been completed by 12 November.

    The assessment providers can't be managing anywhere near 97% if this forum is anything to go by, but you always have to be careful as online posters are a self-selecting group that is unlikely to be representative of all PIP claimants. People are more likely to post online when things go wrong than when they go smoothly.

    The biggest indicator that all is not well with the PIP assessment process is the scrapping of the 6 October 2013 start date for "planned reassessment" across England, Wales and Scotland, which is the process where existing DLA claimants needing reassessment for some reason are required to claim PIP. Instead, we have a more gradual roll-out of "planned reassessment". It seems that the PIP assessment providers couldn't cope with the workload of "planned reassessment" launching as was intended.

    Really, all you can do is to pursue your complaint with ATOS, hoping that your assessment report travels swiftly through the post-assessment checks, and reaches DWP quickly. Once the report reaches DWP, they seem to be relatively quick making a decision if they do not need to ask the assessment provider to clarify the report in any way.

    It also would be worth doing what you can to put pressure on DWP and its ministers (by writing to your MP) to hold the assessment providers to the contractual standards. I suspect complaints to politicians will be met by the usual sort of reply in these circumstances, that it is a difficult and complex project where unforeseen complications can be expected, but ministers have taken decisive action to alleviate the pressure on the system by delaying "managed reassessment" until there are sufficient resources in each area. Still, if nobody kicks up a fuss about the delays, nothing will be done about them. Ultimately, the providers are failing to deliver a large Government contract as they agreed, and it is individual claimants who are suffering as a result.

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