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Independent Assessment Services Compensation

marc1974
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Welfare Rights Service, Lancashire County Council

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Joined: 22 November 2018

IAS refused my client a home visit despite him having a supporting letter from a GP stating he struggled to leave the house. He was unable to attend the PIP assessment but DWP did not accept his reasons. Due to DWP not providing appeal papers it took 18 months to get to appeal - we were successful, a home visit finally took place and are now awaiting the decision.

I drafted a letter of complaint to IAS and have just been informed they have offered my client £70 compensation and an apology. I didn’t expect this and was reasonably content. My thoughts were to accept £70 from ATOS and send complaint to DWP regarding overall process. My client is adamant Atos should offer more?

I’m not sure what to advise. Has anyone had a similar scenario?

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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For future ref (and apologies for my assumptions here) but the GP letter is neither here nor there. The strong argument here is to request an RA under EA 10 if the person is a disabled person as defined by EA 10. That requires the AP to frame any refusal of a HV in terms of the legitimate reasons for refusal in EA 10. I have never yet seen an AP capable of understanding any of this and so usually the HV is either put in place or, more likely, the case decided on the papers.  What you have now is a need for immediate advice on EA 10 as it’s an anticipatory duty and whether there’s a possible claim for a failure. If there were then the damages would be considerably higher than £70; can take account of feelings etc. and would very much focus the mind of the AP on what they might want to actually offer as comp. Solicitor time then.

JojoMitchell
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Disability Law Service, London

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I’m interested in this as have had no luck with home assessments or having a paper based review with IAS.  Even the involvement of the MP seems to make no difference.  I spoke to IAS this morning regarding a client who has been refused a HV - first assessment we had to go to appeal to have his non-attendance accepted and was told that if someone can leave their home to go to hospital they can attend an assessment!  RA under Equality Act fell on deaf ears to.

How have you managed it?  Do you have a template letter?

Thanks!

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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No template letter for me although others may have. I think it’s important to personalise it. “This person is very anxious ergo HV” is not a winning argument in my experience. Start from the assumption that there are no givens. You cannot assume that condition a always means outcome b. Make the case. In detail. The specifics of what happens when the person is faced with that scenario.

Interestingly, I have just had my first failure despite moving to a letter before action. IAS treated it as a complaint and in the meantime the client was forced to have a home visit rather than have it decided on the papers. I’ve yet to see the justification but I’m awaiting the outcome of the complaint before referring to a solicitor.

JojoMitchell
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Disability Law Service, London

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Joined: 10 July 2017

Thanks Mike.