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Thread: PIP claim 26th week and ESA assessment

  1. #1
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    PIP claim 26th week and ESA assessment

    Hi guys

    Well tomorrow marks the start of the 26th week since I first called DWP to make a claim for PIP.

    I had my home assessment by capita on the 28th of march, DWP received electronic assessment on 13th may and the paper copy on the 15th. I've called every few days since my assessment as the health care professional promised faithfully it would be sent to DWP same day, which it wasn't.

    Now I want to add in order for me to even be given an assessment I did have to contact my local mp who in turn gave capita a nudge.

    I have informed them of the lack of progress and on Tuesday 3rd june they have tried to contact DWP to find out my decision.

    A week or so after my assessment a letter came through from atos this time for my ESA assessment, which I have been claiming since august sending monthly fit notes provided by my gp.
    I suffer extreme anxiety and agurophobia, to the extent that leaving my house even to take the bins out is a big push for me.
    My gp faxed a letter to atos stating that it would be hard for me to attend this assessment at their medical centre and a home assessment would be more suitable.

    Received a letter yesterday saying that the evidence isn't sufficient to provide hone assessment and they will send me a taxi, paid for at their expense.
    There's not much hope that I will be able to go and get into the taxi knowing where I am headed to without having a panic attack and going into a downwards spiral before I even reach the centre.

    Does anybody have any advice on either situation, I'm starting to feel I'm going to be refused ESA and pip, left with a 14 month old and partner to support with no help coming from any direction.

    Thank you for your time and advice in advance.

  2. #2
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    I get the highest level of dla, middle rate care, claim esa for me and my husband. He also gets carers allowance, we get council tax etc. would we still be able to get a mortgage?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emmaj View Post
    I get the highest level of dla, middle rate care, claim esa for me and my husband. He also gets carers allowance, we get council tax etc. would we still be able to get a mortgage?
    I would think highly unlikely and it's also unfair to the original thread starter hijacking this thread I would hope mods delete this post,

    Wades Wilson I'm sorry I haven't got help for you I'm sure flymo will help you with a detailed reply good luck.

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    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    If you're thinking of buying your council house you'll need to take this financial information with you to a lender.
    A mortgage.jpg

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    PIP is hopefully not too far from a decision. It usually takes 2-3 weeks once DWP have the paper copy of the report, but there's been a bank holiday and a school half term (when DWP staff may well have taken a holiday) in the way. This 2-3 week time scale assumes that the decision maker feels able to make the decision on the initial version of the assessment report. If (s)he needs to request further evidence or ask the assessment provider to clarify or correct something, it will obviously take longer.

    Hard as it is, I'd try to leave PIP for a couple of weeks to see if a decision turns up in the post.


    For ESA, I think the problem may be that your GP's letter says it will be hard for you to attend a centre based assessment, rather than impossible. As the letter says, the evidence is not sufficient for a home assessment.

    You could appeal against ATOS's decision to refuse a home assessment. If you are to do this, you are likely to need a new letter from your GP stating that it is impossible for you to travel to an assessment centre in a taxi and that you must have a home based assessment.


    The alternative is to try to go through with the assessment using the taxi. You could contact ATOS to ask for a private room to wait in once you reach the assessment centre. Is there anyone that could go with you to support you? If the assessor at the centre sees how distressed you are away from home, it increases the chance that they will get a full appreciation of your agoraphobia.

    If you attend the centre in a taxi, there is a risk that you become so distressed you are unable to talk about your situation, which is another reason to take someone with you who knows you well and can speak in your place if necessary. If there is no person to speak in your place, the assessor may determine you are unfit for assessment and abandon the assessment.

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    Thanks for your reply Flymo!

    My main concern if I attend the medical centre is that could be automatically used against me?

    I didn't get to see a copy of the letter so its exact wording I can't confirm. It wasn't my usual gp who wrote the letter as shes been away. Hoping she is in tomorrow and she is very good and understanding and will rewrite a letter for me.

    I didn't think of the half term at all affecting the decision being made but that is a very valid point. As of Friday it was still with the case managers waiting a decision so hopefully I will hear sooner rather than later.

    Its criminal how they can do this and drag it all on for so long!

  7. #7
    Wadewilson

    I had the same thing. I am Agoraphobic and haven't left the house in three years. Yet Atos tried to get me to go 20 miles to a appt. When I called them and explained, they said they would look into it.
    The offer was to send me a taxi!!! Because that helps!! Idiots, if it was that easy I would have thought of that before. Even ESA bods laughed when we told them.
    All we had to do was ring them back and tell them plainly that it is out of the question for me to attend, we also called ESA and they also spoke to ATOS. They then re-interpreted the doctors evidence and arranged a home visit.

    My experience is that with Agoraphobia you have to be clear on what you cannot do. As if you leave any possibility of being able to go to a centre they will get you to. And if you can go to an assessment then you can go to work etc etc etc. Stand firm.

    ps We didn't have to supply extra evidence. but that was two years ago.

    Forgot to add, we also made it clear I wanted to participate, just needed it to be at home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emmaj View Post
    I get the highest level of dla, middle rate care, claim esa for me and my husband. He also gets carers allowance, we get council tax etc. would we still be able to get a mortgage?
    It's best to post a new question in a new thread, rather than hijacking an existing one on a different subject.

    If I understand the benefits you receive correctly, you get:

    • highest rate Mobility DLA (£56.75/week)
    • middle rate Care DLA (£54.45/week)
    • Income Related ESA for you both (probably £113.70/week personal allowance for a couple both over 25, £34.20/week Carer Premium and either £28.75/week Work Related Activity Component or £35.75/week Support Component which also entitles you to the Enhanced Disablity Premium of £15.55/week - a total of £176.65/week in the Work Related Activity Group or £199.20/week in the Support Group)
    • any Contributions Based ESA will be deducted in full from the Income Related ESA, so can be ignored
    • Carer's Allowance will be deducted in full from Income Related ESA (assuming you followed the requirement to declare it as income), so can be ignored



    This gives you an annual income of £14968.20 in the Work Related Activity Group or £16140.80 in the Support Group. Mortgage lenders may refuse to take some elements of this into account, on the basis it is paid for disability related costs. The absolute maximum monthly mortgage payment you are usually allowed is a third of your income - and that assumes that you can satisfy the lender you can cope without a significant part of your current income (you are unlikely to be putting anything like a third of your benefits towards rent at the moment, even allowing for the Local Housing Allowance and 'bedroom tax' rules).


    There are two big and foreseeable factors you have to take into account - you will have to migrate to PIP in the next few years (potentially losing some or all of your existing DLA, as well as your husband's Carer's Allowance / Carer Premium), also interest rates are likely to rise from the current historic low. It is also possible that house prices are overheating and might fall back, which will throw you into negative equity.

    If you are on means tested benefits such as Income Related ESA, you have almost no savings and therefore little to put towards a deposit.


    I think most mortgage lenders will refuse to consider a couple whose only income is from benefits. Those that are prepared to lend are likely to advance only a small sum on such a low income (not much more than half the national average income) and will be wanting a high deposit. Most high loan to value mortgages are limited to those who are remortgaging.

    I think any hope of taking out a mortgage is almost a non-starter, unless you're intending to buy in an area of the country where house prices are extremely low. Round where I live (London commuter belt), you need a around £100k for a small one bedroom flat and the better one bedroom flats go for £115-120k.


    I also wonder why you are so determined to buy. You can't get any Housing Benefit towards mortgage payments. Income Related ESA includes a limited provision to help towards mortgage interest, though that doesn't amount to much.

    If you are intending to exercise the right to buy your council house, have problems keeping up the repayments and are repossessed, you won't easily get another council house. I have a feeling that 'right to buy' purchasers severely limit or even give up their rights to future council housing entirely.

    If you get into trouble with repayments and move out so you can let the property (which you may not be allowed to by the lender), the equity you hold in the property counts as capital for means tested benefits such as Income Related ESA, which likely disqualifies you from that benefit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flymo View Post
    . Income Related ESA includes a limited provision to help towards mortgage interest, though that doesn't amount to much.
    I might be wrong so apologise in advance if I am, but I'm fairly sure you cannot claim any mortgage interest help on a mortgage taken out while you are already on benefits. So even if you could get a mortgage you'd have to fund the payments yourself.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thundersparrow View Post
    I had the same thing. I am Agoraphobic and haven't left the house in three years. Yet Atos tried to get me to go 20 miles to a appt. When I called them and explained, they said they would look into it.
    The offer was to send me a taxi!!! Because that helps!! Idiots, if it was that easy I would have thought of that before. Even ESA bods laughed when we told them.
    All we had to do was ring them back and tell them plainly that it is out of the question for me to attend, we also called ESA and they also spoke to ATOS. They then re-interpreted the doctors evidence and arranged a home visit.

    My experience is that with Agoraphobia you have to be clear on what you cannot do. As if you leave any possibility of being able to go to a centre they will get you to. And if you can go to an assessment then you can go to work etc etc etc. Stand firm.
    That's really great first-hand advice, Thundersparrow. WadeWilson - you really have nothing to lose trying a similar approach, as it's unlikely the taxi offer will be withdrawn if you try it.


    As I said in my earlier reply, I think the problem is that the GP's letter says it is 'hard' for you to attend a centre based assessment, not 'impossible'.

    What you need to do is explain patiently and calmly how badly you are affected by being away from home. Try not to get angry at ATOS - if you think about it from their perspective, they have little understanding of how agoraphobia affects you as everyone is different, and they have a letter from your GP saying that it's 'hard' but not impossible for you to attend the centre.

    As Thundersparrow says, you need to ask ATOS to reconsider the medical evidence from your GP, in this case on the basis that 'hard' (GP's letter) really means 'impossible even following your understandable offer of a taxi'.


    Thundersparrow's makes the important suggestion to stress you want to participate in the assessment process, but you need the assessment at home. ATOS are trying to deal with a mixture of people - some who genuinely need adjustments in the assessment process, and others who are trying to trick the system by making assessment impossible.

    You could use your recent PIP assessment as an indication of your willingness to engage fully with assessment once it is put on a basis you can cope with.

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