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PIP Tribunal

My father was recently awarded the standard rate for both the daily living and mobility from this new PIP assessment and now they want to take his car away from him. I have appealed the decision and it came back with the same result. We therefore need to appeal for a tribunal.

My father is 67 and has been receiving the highest level of DLA for almost 17 years. He was diagnosed with MS 20 years ago. With his condition only getting worse and with no cure I was surprised that he did not qualify for the enhanced rate of mobility.

He was awarded 10 out of 12 points for the moving around question however he was awarded 0 points for the following and planning a journey question. Even after explaining that his memory is not good and he can’t always remember a route and that MS causes learning and planning difficulties, they still awarded him 0 points in the mandatory reconsideration. They said this was inconsistent with his assessment. I was in the assessment with him and I don’t think the physical assessment was very detailed? Nor did I think it assessed much of his cognitive abilities. I also pointed out that my mother always travelled with him on every journey and always directed him and now she has died he has to rely on a sat nav to find his way around. I also advised he gets extremely anxious when going to somewhere he does not know. However these points seem to have been ignored.

i was wondering whether any other MS sufferers have experienced this? Has anyone had their car taken from them?

How will my dad get more points on this question? Need tips for the tribunal!

thank you so much in advance for an replies! All are desperately welcome!!

Lisa

I don’t have any direct experience (other than non-MS friends having to deal with their own tribunals) but understand that the majority of appeals are successful. Obviously a super stressful time but it does sound like they’ve totally ignored your dad’s cognitive issues. You could try getting some advice from a specialist source - the one time I visited my local MS centre they offered help with benefits so if you have one locally that’s worth a try. Also worth asking his GP / MS nurse for a letter explaining how his symptoms affect him?

Chin up and good luck x

Lisa

From what I understand from forums & help guides is that if you can drive a car then it is hard to get points under activity 11.

regards

paul

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Hi Lisa

I have just looked at the criteria for following and planning a journey, and I don’t think the system is set up to award points for someone who is cognitively OK to drive, but simultaneously cannot manage to drive anywhere without another person to guide them. There is one place where it seems to accept that a sat nav system might be used, but really the cognitive problems which would normally indicate a person gets 12 points for being unable to plan and follow a journey don’t seem to fit well with the DVLA criteria which state whether a person is fit to drive.

And there is no amalgamation of points from different activities in the Mobility component the way there is in the Daily Living component. So he can’t for eg score a few points from the following and planning activity and add it to his 10 points for walking ability to achieve 12 points.

If you think his mobility component was wrongly assessed because he can’t manage to walk 20 metres (reliably, safely, repeatedly), then that’s the grounds that you could appeal on. But he’ll need some evidence of this (GP, physio, etc).

I am not an expert on PIP, and this is an area I’d not looked at before, so I could be wrong. I hope you have some expert representation at the appeal for example, a CAB welfare rights advisor. They will know more that me.

Sue

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Sorry if I’m way off, but I was under the impression that if you were over 65 & in receipt of DLA, you don’t get assessed for PIP? I thought it carried on as in theory, your Dad is over what is deemed as working age?

I Don’t think it really matters Trace - PiP isn’t means tested and you can claim it and still be working so age probably doesn’t come into it.

Hi Traceydc, My understanding is that DLA only continues if a claimant was 65 or over by 8th April 2013. So anyone born on 9th April 1948 has to apply for PIP when DWP send it.

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I don’t know what to say, I haven’t been accessed yet for pip but expect the letter soon. I can no longer drive and in wheelchair but all these people who are getting refused worries me. Still hope the appeal goes your way.

Don

I think it’s terrible that they are putting people of retirement age through it to be honest, bad enough for us lot, but do they expect these poor people to find a job? It’s a lot of stress for somebody of this age.

Like Sue, I may be wrong, but maybe the answer lies in this…

As your dad was under the age of exemption for remaining on DLA, back in 2013 when he was 63/64, he had to have a new claim/ assessment for all parts of PIP.

This is what Chrissie is saying.

It’s a bummer, I agree. But rule changes seem to have snookered him.

But there is still the tribunal to plead his case.

I hope he is successful!

Pollsx

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Yes; something to think about especially with this election happening. If you get someone around canvassing from any party; especially Tories get them to try and do something about it; amazing what they will do for your vote…

My Council has just put up the contribution I make to my care from £15.39 per week to £93 per week a 500% increase. They seem to love their percentages; inflation 2.7%; 0.2% we give to other Countries in Aid; 11% was the MPs latest pay rise. I’m a record holder; 500% my MP is taking it up.

George

Thanks for your comments.

yes he was 64 in April 2014 when the change to PiP came into force so unfortunately he just missed the cut off!

It has so far been an extremely stressful process for me and my father and I’m beginning to think there is no way he could even qualify for a motability car.

i am going to visit the citizens advice bureau next week for their advice and hopefully I can get a letter from the GP about his cognitive issues. I’m hoping he will score a few more points from this but not even sure how they score it so it probably won’t be any use.

has anyone else had their car taken from them? Alternatively is there anyone out there who have managed to keep theirs? If so how?!

thanks!!

I got 0 points for planning a journey too, but the full 12 for Q12, so maybe look at that one again and see if you can tweek that one a bit?

How is his mobility on his worst days?

Lisa I think it is the walking part they are more concerned with if you can walk 50meters unaided they seem to think you can walk anywhere. The fact your dad is driving I dont think is the problem.

Don

Chrissie was right in that in order to remain on DLA you had to be aged 65 or older on 8th April 2013, being aged 63/64 at that date means transferring to PIP, but at least there is a possibility of getting PIP for mobility. If you hadn’t already been on DLA for mobility, you can’t claim PIP, only Attendance Allowance and while it’s easier to get the care aspect of AA, there is no mobility aspect.

Ang has asked how his mobility is on his worst days. This is a bit of a false belief really, you ought to be able to say what mobility is like on your worst days and have entitlement based on that. But it’s not. You really need to think about what life is normally like, how often you can’t walk more than 20 metres and get some independent evidence of that. Plus, if you state that you can barely walk then walk into the tribunal without difficulty, you will lose. It’s all about reliably, safely and repeatedly.

So supposing your Dad can walk 20 metres once, then be utterly exhausted and unable to walk another step that day, then you can’t really say he can walk 20 metres or more, he would then be entitled to 12 points. (Obviously you still have to prove this with evidence from his GP, neurologist or physio.) But if he can walk somewhere between 20 and 50 metres reliably, safely and then do it again several times that day without repercussions, then 10 points would be accurate.

The business about cognitive problems is a tough one. Because the fact that he can decide where to go and is deemed to be safe on the roads in his car would seem to make him disqualified from any points for the cognitive part of the Mobility Activities. Presumably the DVLA do know that he has cognitive problems? What would happen if he is turned down for PIP, loses his car and has to rely on public transport? Would he be capable of it? Would he be able to figure out what bus to get to take him from point A to point B? Can he walk as far as the bus stop?

I think you / he really needs to get some expert help with it. Have you got a welfare rights advisor helping with the tribunal? Maybe from the CAB or Age Concern?

Sue

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I would get help over this, can you not talk to aged concern? they can advise you. I think with the planning journey its a diffcult one, but like someone else said, perhaps you should concentrate more on his walking 20 metres, as in he needs a car as he walk far without pain and fatigue everyday. I mean as soon as i put my foot down on the floor i am in pain, and can barely walk without pain its everyday. I am sure if your dad thinks about it, he is the same.

Did he not get any back up from a GP or neuro, who knows him?

In the assessment they recorded that the walk from the waiting room to the assessor’s office was 35 metres and that my father managed to do this using the bannister and a walking stick. They therefore stated he could walk more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres. I assume to qualify for the full 12 points you have to be noted as not being able to walk 20 metres? In reality he suffers with discomfort and pain regardless of the length of time and distance he walks!

If my father has his motability car taken away from him he will lose all independence. He will not be able to do his food shopping or go to his numerous doctor/hospital appointments without being taken by myself. The bus stop is approximately 300 metres from his house and does not provide direct transportation to the hospitals he is a patient at. Both hospitals are approx 15 miles away. This has all been explained but again these points were not mentioned in the mandatory reconsideration we received from DWP so i assume they were ignored. DVLA are not away of any cognitive problems. Although he suffers from memory loss from time to time and learning new things/planning can be a bit of a struggle, i do not believe this affects his ability to drive and therefore i do not believe there is anything to report to DVLA.

I will visit the citizens advice bureau next week for their assistance.

He was able to walk from the waiting room to the assessor’s office during the assessment and therefore they recorded he could walk 35 metres. This was using a bannister and walking stick though.

He provided a letter from the neurologist however this was a general letter about his symptoms and not specifically about how they affect his daily living or the questions raised in the assessment and form. I will go to citizens advice bureau and will go to the GP for a more specific letter.

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Can I just mention that you are required to notify the DVLA of medical facts that may affect driving. If you’ve been telling the DWP that he can’t drive alone because of his cognitive problems, then you/he should also notify the DVLA.

However, in terms of his walking, managing to get 35 metres from a waiting room to assessment room shouldn’t be a factor. Although, the distance he’s walked from the car park to the waiting room in addition to the walk from waiting room to assessors office could be considered as meaning he could do the walk repeatedly.

If you start to consider the walking distance as what should make him qualify for enhanced rate, then you (and he) need to start getting evidence as to what distance he can walk repeatedly (and safely).

If, however you think he should qualify on the grounds of his cognitive problems, I would imagine that to qualify for enhanced PIP, he should have problems that the DVLA ought to be aware of.

Sue

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Very sensible post Sue, i agree. Its a double edged sword, you have to be careful what you say in these tribunals, i am always wondering if the information can be passed on. Its a bit dodgy if one has bad cognitive issues, then should he really be driving. I know its awfully sad when people loose their cars, and I am amazed the motability people simply dont carry on with the lease, and let the person top up the amount wouldn’t that work? It does seem so unfair, but its there for people who have very restricted mobility, and its quite clever the way they write the questions, almost like they are trying to trick us.

I am entitled to a car through the scheme but never bothered as what one gets given can easily be taken away again, i found a fab kangoo wheelchair access car for 5,000. I had saved my motibility element to buy one. Its mine and no one can take it away, i dont drive its for my husband or care worker to take me out.

I much rather go it alone, although i know people cant afford to buy their own, but i think if you can afford to use your mobility element on a car, then its just as easy to save it up to buy one for yourself at least then its ours. What a sad mess really though for people. I do really think they should be allowed to keep their car and top up payment after all its not worth anywhere near as much as it was when they first use it, and where do all these cars go when they have been changed is it after 3 years? I expect they go to auction.

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