Challenging “health care professionals” (“HCP”) reports average points increase from last three cases is 16

The vast majority of personal independence payment (PIP) appeals boil down to whether the claimant or the DWP’s agents are to be believed. 

My run of recent cases illustrates the point:

  • A man with renal failure going from 0 points to 20 points at a tribunal
  • A deaf man going from 2 points to 18 points after a simple complaint letter
  • A woman with complex physical and mental health issues going from 0 points to 13 points after a formal request for reasonable adjustments.

The agents are currently Atos and Capita who employ a range of registered nurses and other health professionals such as physiotherapists to write the reports.

The reports are largely based on “informal observations” – i.e. looking the claimant up and down and deciding if they’re worthy of PIP.

Bizarrely, the DWP frequently says the HCP reports are independent, even though the agents have a financial interest.  I.e. they have tendered for a contract to deliver PIP assessments and a key policy intention of PIP is to save £1.5 billion in payments to Claimants each year, as stated in the Parliamentary record.

The DWP insists the victims of these reports must report to the agents themselves instead of to the DWP, even though it is the DWP that is actually responsible.  It is little known that another option is to complain to the professional body of the person carrying out the assessment.  This can be the Nursing and Midwifery Council or the Health and Care Professionals Council.  At least this gives some independence to any investigation of malpractice in PIP assessments or, for that matter, ESA or Universal Credit.

 

The touch of evil at the DWP

A man with severe mental illness made homeless for not attending appointments he didn’t know about.  A deaf man unable to speak and with learning disability having his benefits removed after a “consultation”.  A woman recently sectioned having her benefits removed in similar circumstances.  And a victim of savage sexual assault having her benefits removed for no real reason at all.  And that's on top of Dave Boyce and Tina Leslie.  These are just a few examples of my cases where the claimant’s entitlement is obvious, but where administrative devices are used to remove entitlements and enforce destitution.

Having been in regular contact with the DWP, and its predecessors, over more than 20 years I've been forced to the conclusion there are now people at work deliberately hurting disabled people.  It’s like child abusers getting jobs in children’s homes, but the DWP does not appear to check its staff, nor those of its agents, for hatred of disabled people.  This, despite there being reported increases in disability hate crime of between one third and one half in a single year.  It would be naïve to think that such people could never get a job at the DWP. 

Many, if not most, people faced with this proposition will think something like, “That’s going much too far, it’s just the system and staff are forced to do it etc”.  But there’s no legal basis for most of the benefits removals I see – it’s driven by the custom and practice of the DWP.  And how does that custom and practice come about?  Because of those within the DWP – a mixture of politicians and officials, not many of course, but some and the number of those sorts of people seems to be growing, despite the vast majority of Officials of course not being in this bracket at all and doing their best etc.

But, nevertheless, there are some actions taken that only seem to me explainable by this deeply disturbing current of evil.

Looking at history, the parallels are terrifying.