I wrote before that the DWP had told me that my mental health was not an issue when they gave me my Personal Independence Payment – PIP Assessment decision. Despite saying they’d contact my psychiatrist it appears they didn’t.
I called the PIP helpline this week to see if my Mandatory Reconsideration had been done yet.
As I previously advised, despite me suffering from severe depression and Borderline Personality Disorder – BPD, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decision maker said that my mental health is fine.
Their reasoning for this was that I “made eye contact with the assessor and did not appear nervous or stressed.”
Not only is this ridiculous it is also unfair for a few reasons.
I have a few issues with the above statement.
- The Atos assessor arrived half and hour early and startled me. I was upset about this and was very nervous.
- I have trouble making eye contact with anyone as it makes me feel uncomfortable. I am working on this but on the day in question I mostly looked at my feet. (That’s my go to thing.)
- Most important is that mental health is invisible and unpredictable. Regardless of my demeanour during the assessment, the medical opinion of my Consultant Psychiatrist should carry more weight than a 25 minute assessment. Should I cause myself a panic attack to please them?
Their lies revealed
What first made me suspicious was that sent a letter on dated; June 4th, stating they were contacting my doctors then just two days later they’d arranged an assessment having “received all the information.”
I knew this was a blatant lie as I called my psychiatrist and his secretary confirmed no report had been sent.
I must send the evidence
Fast forward to this week. I’m on the phone after waiting for 35 minutes to get through and the agent says “we need evidence of your mental health conditions.”
I was confused as my decision letter states they had “considered the evidence from my health professionals.” Surely they hadn’t made a decision without anything from my doctors?
Well the answer is: yes, they had.
The agent advised that no medical reports are in my file so I must get one from my psychiatrist and send it to them.
I challenged them on why I need to do it and not them but the scripted responses told me I was going to get nowhere.
Well first I called my psychiatrist and his secretary told me that he HAD sent a report to the DWP as requested. If I want a report it would cost me so instead I’ve requested the report in my medical records to send them.
I’ve written to the DWP challenging them on;
- Why I have to do their work in getting medical reports.
- Why a decision was made without any medical evidence.
- Why they lied in my decision letter.
- Why must mental health conditions be blatantly apparent at the time of assessment
This is not something I am going to let go. If it has happened to me it has happened to others. Apart from being just blatantly unprofessional it will be affecting everyone who has been assessed.
How do we know if any medical evidence from doctors that actually know and understand their patients has ever been used?
What we now have is a civil servant with no medical training and no medical reports relying on a snapshot of someone’s life by an assessor who doesn’t even understand what people’s conditions are.
This is not only unprofessional but it’s a disgrace and cannot go unchallenged. People will no doubt have suffered because of decisions like this and I intend to change that.
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