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How do you 'prove' you can't walk more than 20 metres?

mel60mel60 Posts: 7Member Listener

Hi

I've recently been refused any kind of mobility allowance help as I can't prove that I can't walk more than 20 metres.

 I have suffered quite badly with fibromyalgia for around 10 years now to the extent that I was retired by ill health  from my job of 25yrs. I was a data officer for my local authority.

I've been claiming dla since not long after I retired and was originally refused mobility component 4 yrs ago but got the living allowance. As my mobility wasn't so bad, I just let it go. However, since then my mobility has become much worse and u suffer foot, ankle, calf,  knee and hip and back pain even walking more than about 10 metres  but I can't prove this to the dwp. At my last medical assessment the nurse calculated I could walk more than 50 but less than 200 metres just by seeing me walk the few metres (prob less than 5) to the room where the assessment took place. DWP are saying that my condition has not increased/changed since my original claim. I rarely go to my doctors as I know there is little to nothing they can do for me. How would my doctor even be able to judge how far I could walk? It's easy to prove you can do something but not so easy to prove you cant. I desparately need financial support to get/run a car as I'm not working now. My nearest bus stops are around 400 metres away and uphill.

I would appreciate any help/advice you can give me in this matter as soon as possible as I'm fairly sure once it's all been decided that's it until the next review which will be in just over 2 yrs as I completed my last review in December 2016 and just had my appeal yesterday 29th Sept)


Replies

  • MatildaMatilda Posts: 2,616Member Disability Gamechanger
    @mel60

    Do you use a walking aid?  Do you travel to assessments/tribunals by taxi/car or by public transport?  Assessors and tribunals are not likely to accept that claimants have serious walking difficulties if they don't need walking aids and are able to travel by public transport (on their own).

    Have you been turned down for PIP mobility by a Tribunal?

    I was on DLA for many years including higher rate mobility, had assessment for PIP Oct 2016, Atos paramedic assessor watched me walk 16 metres from waiting area to interview room, using a walking stick, and she decided on that basis that I could walk 20-50 metres outdoors using pavements and kerbs!  DWP awarded me standard mobility.  Assessor asked me how I got to assessment (taxi).

    At my Tribunal Hearing the doctor quizzed me hard about my walking ability. I insisted that I couldn't walk more than about 20 yards before needing to stop and rest because of pain, stiffness or fatigue. The Tribunal decided that I couldn't walk more than 20 metres so they awarded me enhanced mobility.  

    I didn't obtain any reports from either GP or hospital as neither know in detail how my condition affects my ability to undertake daily living activities and my mobility - they only know about my inflammation, pain, stiffness and fatigue (I have rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and sciatica).  Amongst my Tribunal bundle were DWP doctor's report and GP's report from when I first claimed DLA in 1998.  Also in the diary I submitted with my PIP claim which gave details of my walking ability.

    A benefits advisor will be able to give more advice.


  • rhinosrhinos Posts: 74Member Connected
    I think its a belt and  braces job

    1.for  me I paid  for a drs letter that agreed with my self scoring of all criteria-not able to walk aided or  unaided  20 yards and  beyond.
    2. took my wheel chair
    3. said my postural hypo tension is too bad to walk around her room-as is  my  chronic heart disease-and osteoarthritis
    4.also paid for a physiotherapist report to  say the  same-£80

    I recommend paying out some money to get the  secured evidence

    approach the  whole thing-like a forensic lawyer-barrister
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,679Member Pioneering
    mel60,

    Hi, I think we looked at your question on another thread. Unfortunately if you've been to appeal (the stage where your award is considered by an independent tribunal) and been unsuccessful then it may not be possible to go any further. You can sometimes appeal further if there is an 'error of law' but you'd need advice from someone who can look at all the paperwork. You could start off, if you haven't already, by asking for a written statement of reasons of the tribunal's decision. You should do this within a month if you can. 

    As Matilda has mentioned, there are lots of factors including whether you use an aid, how long it takes you to walk, how often you have to stop and for how long, whether you get breathless or experience pain, as you clearly do. One tip, even if you haven't got medical evidence, is to keep a diary showing what you can/cannot do and even listing incidents where you would have walked to the bus stop if you could - but didn't because of the problems it would cause. 

    I'm guessing from your post that you do get some PIP (daily living) so making a new claim isn't a good option for you. So I think your options now would be:

    get advice about appealing further, to the Upper Tribunal (try your local CAB)

    argue that you have got worse since your last assessment and ask for a 'supersession' (a decision which changes your benefit based on a change of circumstances). That will probably result in you having a new assessment

    wait until your next review, which as you point out might not be for a very long time.

    There is PIP case law which says that your own evidence is just as much evidence as medical reports, and it could be an error of law to prefer medical evidence over a lay person's account without giving reasons.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • rhinosrhinos Posts: 74Member Connected


    HI mel

    as before

    pay out  for

    recent  GP evidence- £16

    any specialist evidence

    and maybe  phyiso

    I think the professional advice on here should be  belt and brace your  evidence;  It needs to come more frequent as professional advice.  I hope scope and their  professional helpers  will soon wake up to this.

    a £100 quid or  so

    is small peanuts compared to you  loosing your claim.

    Irksome- agreed  but  well worth it

  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    @rhinos I don't want to make this personal as I don't know you as a person but from a factual point of view I cannot agree with the advice you are giving in some of your posts that claimants should pay anything up to £100 for evidence and by doing that you will ensure success in claiming PIP. It is PIP by the way not PIPS. From your posts I have gathered that you are relatively new to PIP and although I know you are wanting to learn from the questions you ask, I think it unfair of you to pass judgement on the advisers who have far more experience of the system and how it works. This applies not just to the advisers, many of whom have many years experience in helping 100's of claimants so should know what they are talking about, but also to other forum members who have been right through the PIP process and so also know how the system works. Before writing this I checked on your present situation, I'm not sure if you took advice about getting the assessment report before the Decision is received or whether you have had the MR back but may I suggest you reserve judgement on how effective medical evidence is till you know it has worked in your favour. Many people don't have £100 to spare and in my opinion if you have always attended medical appointments there is no need to pay more than a small admin fee for any relevant info. to be printed off from your medical records. That is the same source that your GP would use if you requested a letter so why pay extra for the same thing. As for physio I see a private physio but she works at my surgery and I provided 2 excellent reports, one from 2010 which was used to get me DLA by a Tribunal and one from 1st Dec. 2016. My PIP assessment was in Jan. 2017 so the report was very current. To date BOTH reports have been totally ignored in favour of false info. from my under qualified assessor. I did not pay any extra on top of my appointment fee for either of these reports. So as I say some of the forum members have learnt something from our own experiences and are willing to pass that on to help others. But we do not advise about spending money to obtain evidence that can be accessed free or for much less than you suggest and that may well be ignored.             
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    Sorry i forgot to mention that letters are always sent by hospital specialists to GP's and these also can be accessed from your surgery simply by requesting they be printed off from your medical records. There is no need to pay for separate letters that would say the same thing.  
  • MatildaMatilda Posts: 2,616Member Disability Gamechanger
    Hospital specialists should send a copy of their letters to GPs to patients.
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    edited October 2017
    @Matilda yes that's true, but not sure if you have to request this when you leave a consultation or whether it happens automatically?

  • MatildaMatilda Posts: 2,616Member Disability Gamechanger
    @wildlife

    I've never requested this.  For many years all hospital specialists I've seen have automatically sent me copies of letters they have sent to GPs.
  • rhinosrhinos Posts: 74Member Connected


    wildlife

    yup you made it personal

    I am out of this conversation
  • rhinosrhinos Posts: 74Member Connected


    I should say  I  have fought 8 appeals for others-pro bono and  won

    and had the whole of  Scottish occupational company sacked for unacceptable practice

    you dont know me

    why challenge my  credentials ?

    I would emphasize  Pip folk need to belt and brace their evidence
  • mel60mel60 Posts: 7Member Listener
    edited October 2017
    My whole point about me asking this question is that, 'Isn't my word of any use at all?'  Am I a liar and benefit fraud because I can't afford £100 or £50 or even £10 for letter/reports etc to prove (not that anything can prove it).  I rarely go to docs for my condition because of years of being told it's nothing they can do anything about, it can only be 'managed' and then every 3 years this comes around I can see I will get less and less help.  Surely, it's MY signature at the bottom of the application form saying that what I have told them is the truth - why can't I be believed?  We all know that there are people who exploit the truth to falsely claim benefits but it's so annoying that those that really are unable to live a productive and independent life get tarred with that brush.  Isn't my work record of 40years (25 as a data officer for my local council) worth anything at all?

    My doctor of 40 years has just retired and for the last year I've only ever seen locums as our surgery seem to have problems recruiting.  None of them know me, none of them would know if i can or can't walk a certain distance.  I KNOW how far I can or can't walk, my family KNOW how much I can no longer do for them or go places with them.  Back to my original question 'How can you PROVE you cannot do something.  You can only prove that you can, not that you can't.

  • MatildaMatilda Posts: 2,616Member Disability Gamechanger
    Tribunal placed a lot of weight on my own evidence.  Also visible physical evidence - deformed hands.  And on medical evidence - however, the only medical evidence available was from 1998 when I first claimed DLA.  Had no more recent medical evidence as although doctors know about my conditions of course, they do not know in detail from their own observation how these impact on me day to day.
  • mel60mel60 Posts: 7Member Listener
    @Matilda The very same thing happened to me at my medical assessment.  I was dropped off at the front door to the place and walked probably no more than 10 meters into the assessment room -  on those grounds she decided I would be able to walk more than 20 (I think) but prob no more than 100.  What is not taken into consideration is the fatigue, pins and needles and numbness when I walk more than even a few meters that builds up the further I go.  i bought myself a walker (thing on wheels to push like a pushchair with a seat).  The problem is that I can't get it in and out of my car very easily so often just prefer not to go anywhere unless I really have to and also my upper body strength is also very poor so my arms hurt alot as I'm holding onto the handles - it's the kind of pain and fatigue that a probably 'normal' person would feel if they'd run the 100 meter race trying to keep up with Usain Bolt - this is resulting in me becoming very withdrawn from society which is obviously not helping my mental health.  ofc, none of this is taken into account.

  • MatildaMatilda Posts: 2,616Member Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2017
    @mel60

    I really don't understand why a Tribunal refused you PIP mobility.  Will has outlined your options above so I hope that one of those proves successful for you.

    Have you asked Tribunal for a Statement of Reasons?
  • rhinosrhinos Posts: 74Member Connected

    Forget the aspect of money- its really crucial that all PIP claimants- know they need the most recent  evidence that witnesses their claim to each point of  relevant  disability-

    without this-we as claimants are hugely vulnerable ,are peculiarly vulnerable to a system that is geared to reject the validity of our claim in order to  save govt £££

    At the point of Tribunal -mandatory consideration- PIP interview- what is absolutely key is to belt and brace your  claim.

    Any disability help organisation needs to emblazon this  key message-period.

    I would be happy and  satisfied if each PIP claimant new this pre  PIP  interview.


     And this  knowledge can be disseminated-with  determination and intention.
  • TopkittenTopkitten Posts: 1,003Member Pioneering
    These assessments need to be handled carefully. I know a lot of people can push themselves when they either have to or need to but it mustn't be done at assessments. If necessary get there and phone to request help to get inside. Also request the same when leaving. If something is difficult then refuse to do it on the grounds you will suffer later. It isn't our place or in our own best interests  to give them excuses to refuse our claims.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • MatildaMatilda Posts: 2,616Member Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2017
    Or request a home visit.

    When I went for my assessment, there were two claimants in wheelchairs in the waiting room, with their carers.  Which surprised me.  One of these claimants was effing and blinding something awful at having to attend an assessment centre.  One of the staff apologised to me and I thought, no, don't apologise to me - apologise to the claimant for dragging him in in a wheelchair.
  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    I suggest if you refuse to do an exercise due to pain ask to see the screen and what the assessor wrote as this gives them the freedom to record that it was done with a result they make up themselves. Then check on your assessment report that it was recorded correctly. 
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