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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Disability benefits  →  Thread

Cl’s learning disabilities referred to as mental health issues

Catherine Spalding
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Citizens Advice North Somerset Debt and Money Advice Caseworker

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I have a cl with severe learning disabilities who has been on DLA since he left school. Now in his forties he is being migrated to PIP and has been rejected, One thing that leapt out of the decision letter was that the assessor marked him down because he was ‘not taking medication fr his mental health condition.’  He doesn’t HAVE a mental health condition, he has learning disabilities which he has had from birth.

He has never lived independently and never will be able to. It was also stated in the assessor’s report that ‘there was no evidence of cognitive impairment.’  The cl’s mother stated that he looks at picture books and can read some children’s books ‘with help’.
He manages his medication by referring to the colours and shapes of the tablets but doesn’t know what they are or what they are for.

He needs a great deal of help and support to understand basic ideas.

These are just a few of the issues I have and obviously we are appealing but I would be interested in any comments about the competence or otherwise of the assessors.
I’ve come across instances of this incompetence or lack of knowledge of specific conditions before but this is the worst one.

Va1der
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Welfare Support Worker - Community Renewal Edinburgh

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Until the PIP appeal goes through you might be able to use (threat of) judicial review to delay stopping the DLA. Provided DWP failed to identify his needs and are shutting down the DLA without proper safeguards etc. for vulnerable adults.
You might also, or alternatively, be able to use JR against, not the PIP decision itself, but the way it was carried out.

stevenmcavoy
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i work for a charity that supports people who have a learning disability in scotland so this type of thing makes up the bulk of my work.

I regularly see clients who went to additional support needs schools get 0 for things like reading and budgeting, as well as those on the autistic spectrum getting 0 for social engagement so what your seeing in this one isn’t unusual unfortunately.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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Entirely smacks of an assessor using the stock phrasing that they’re encouraged to use when compiling their report.  If/when you challenge the decision, it’s also worthwhile lodging a complaint with whichever company was employing the assessor.

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

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stevenmcavoy - 11 December 2019 04:17 PM

i work for a charity that supports people who have a learning disability in scotland so this type of thing makes up the bulk of my work.

I regularly see clients who went to additional support needs schools get 0 for things like reading and budgeting, as well as those on the autistic spectrum getting 0 for social engagement so what your seeing in this one isn’t unusual unfortunately.

You couldn’t make this stuff up. I regularly get sight impaired clients refused points for social engagement because it was “only intended for mental health cases”! Tribunals award it every time.

Peter Turville
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Welfare rights worker - Oxford Community Work Agency

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As there is something important going on today and at least some of the protagonists have made some king of commitment to reforming the assessment process - as if we at the coal face haven’t being arguing for that for donkeys…....

Current client at MR stage - severe brain injury in RTA with significant impact on physical, cognitive and MH with some extremely challenging behaviour - has recently been discharged into the community after years in hospital / residential settings. Copious medical evidence provided. HCP opinion / DWP decision 0 points.

I wish we were only making it up!

Chrissum
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We had a client in her 60’s whose learning difficulties were disregarded as the HCP recorded she didn’t have a special educational needs assessment and went to a mainstream school - the fact she came out with no qualifications (which had been noted in the same report) and SENs didn’t exist at the time didn’t come into consideration by either the HCP or the DM. We had an identical statement in a report about a client whose difficulties occurred as a result of a severe head injury that happened after they had left school, again a key point mentioned in the report ignored by the HCP and DM,who cited the lack of an SEN and presence of school qualifications as evidence that they didn’t have cognitive impairment and also they had an ability to learn. This apparent “cut and paste” attitude of the assessors is callous and ignorant and is particularly noticeable in cases such as yours. We are seeing more and more of identical stock phrases appearing in HCP reports. Hopefully when they either fully record these assessments (or scrap them completely) such things will become a thing of the past.

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Citizens Advice Bridport & District

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We are seeing similar mind boggling scenario’s for PIP and ESA/UC WCA’s with client’s who so obviously learning disabled that….................................

Just a thought if your client is on ESA and in the Support Group (or UC etc), and previously spent years on IB etc etc.

Would be tempted if i were you to advise/help etc client submit a SAR to get copies of relevant DLA stuff GPFR’s, EMP reports etc, ESA 85A’s, ESA85’s, ESA 113’s etc, IB85A’s etc.

https://secure.dwp.gov.uk/personal-information-request

 

 

Dan_Manville
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Mental health & welfare rights service - Wolverhampton City Council

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A skeptic might think they’re working to targets…

Sorry, “expectations”

stevenmcavoy
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Welfare rights officer - Enable Scotland

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Mike Hughes - 12 December 2019 10:17 AM
stevenmcavoy - 11 December 2019 04:17 PM

i work for a charity that supports people who have a learning disability in scotland so this type of thing makes up the bulk of my work.

I regularly see clients who went to additional support needs schools get 0 for things like reading and budgeting, as well as those on the autistic spectrum getting 0 for social engagement so what your seeing in this one isn’t unusual unfortunately.

You couldn’t make this stuff up. I regularly get sight impaired clients refused points for social engagement because it was “only intended for mental health cases”! Tribunals award it every time.

I have to say that in the main the tribunals have been great with my clients also.  mind you it helps that my referrals tend to come from professionals who work with the clients so are able to specifically comment on issues relating to the activities with actual examples.

obviously the DWP tend to ignore this evidence.

my success rate at appeals for ESA/PIP/DLA is ridiculously high and for a fair % of these my work is done getting the client in the door.

Emma B-G
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Welfare benefits adviser - Hertfordshire County Council Money Advice Unit

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I have seen a claimant with Down’s syndrome awarded zero points in the PIP assessment. In justifying this score, the health professional and DWP claimed that there was no evidence of cognitive impairment and made much of the fact that “she is not receiving specialist treatment for her Down’s syndrome”.

Another claimant with learning disabilities, who had attended special school, provided evidence including a detailed letter from a support worker who assists him with correspondence and other daily living activities. After his PIP assessment, the health professional declared that he is able to read both simple and complex information - “because he can ride his bicycle in the park for six minutes”. The DWP agreed (even at MR) that if someone says they can ride a bicycle in the park that proves they can read.

Both of these had to go to appeal to get an award.