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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Disability benefits  →  Thread

PIP Activity 6 and Vision Impaired clients

Gary
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Welfare Rights and Benefits Adviser - Vision Support, Chester

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I’m wondering if anyone has experience of working with vision impaired people and recently not getting any points awarded on Activity 6, Dressing and Undressing. In the past clients would get 2 points on descriptor C) ii, but they get awarded nothing now. I have been looking for any Tribunal Case law that might help me in Reconsiderations and Tribunals if anyone has anything that could help. Thanks.

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

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Hi Gary,

Do a search on here and you’ll find some previous threads to which I’ve contributed.

My caseload is nothing but sight-impairment. I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference. 6cii almost every time subject to the specific eye condition.

- putting on clothes inside out; back to front;
- needing clothes to be in a specific location to know that they’re the clean ones;
- not having sufficient ability to distinguish colour and contrast and thus needing help with matching;
- not knowing that you have spilt something until someone tells you;
- not being able to judge the nature of a fabric e.g. whether see through or not; whether it has holes in it.
- being able to identify a matching pair of socks;
- being able to fasten shoelaces; match buttons to holes without delay; zip to zip fastener; bra clasp etc.

I’ve never used case law. All my PIP clients score 2 points for this at the claim stage. I’ve also had no issues at the appeal stage.

The only cases I’m aware of are

CPIP/3760/2016 - extra time to choose clothes counts as long as linked to the health condition.
CSPIP/196/2015 - made an assertion which is demonstrably wrong i.e. that someone with 6/18 visual acuity would know when there was a stain on their clothing. The only thing DMs and tribunals get consistently wrong on this is confusing VA with level of VI. A mild VA can still mean a severe VI. 6/18 tells you that a person can see at 6m what others can see at 18. It doesn’t tell you whether it’s in focus; how that translates to near field vision; how it’s impacted by movement and so on.

As someone with a complex VI myself I have spent many an uncomfortable day with a sweater on inside out that no-one told me about or undies back to front. I also turned up to a session I do for medical students and when I took my sweater off I had a toothpaste stain all the way down my white t-shirt! Kinda made the point for me. Can guarantee that most days I spill a drink on the floor or on me when either brewing up for others or having lunch. Can also guarantee that I I’ll go home from work with a stain I never came in with. Most people conclude you’re a messy eater without maybe appreciating why. You don’t know about most stains unless they are huge; involve extreme temperatures and maybe only 1 layer of clothing. Anyone wearing a t-shirt; shirt and sweater can be completely oblivious to the need to change. I’ve also come into work with non-matching socks and on one occasion non-matching shoes and with a hole in the arse of my trousers. My VA varies between 6/12 and 6/18.

The only thing I’d add here (and/or under bathing) is that poor central vision such as a lack of sharp focus means there’s an inability to do facial recognition without audio cues. That means most women stop doing make-up and most men screw up shaving spectacularly. If you can’t see your own face accurately in a mirror then the basis for being able to accurately approach getting dressed in a reasonable time to a reasonable standard is debatable at best.

Hope that helps.

Mike

PS: Note that you’re in Chester. Kills a Wrexham fan to help anyone in Jester although I did used to work down the road from the Bluecoat when there was an Unemployed Workers Centre on George Street.

[ Edited: 16 Dec 2019 at 04:42 pm by Mike Hughes ]
Gary
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Welfare Rights and Benefits Adviser - Vision Support, Chester

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Hi Mike,

Thanks for the reply and for all the useful information.
I agree with the points you’ve raised on this activity and they are all of the things that I put on the PIP form, depending on the level of vision impairment of course; but I’ve noticed in the Decision Maker’s replies and the comments on recent Medical Reports that no points are now commonly given for this activity. I noted that one of my clients, who is totally blind, did not receive points even though her husband has to select and put out all of her clothes every day. In the last Mandatory Reconsideration reply for another one of my clients, the Decision Maker said ‘This activity assesses your ability to put on and take off culturally appropriate un-adapted clothing that is suited to the situation…although you report not being able to identify colours or stains, this is not looked at in this activity.’
This non-award of points has been going on for some time, apparently, although clients of mine have been given points for selecting appropriate clothing after Tribunal Hearings. RNIB legal rights told me that although there is no legislation for this change, that DWP have been instructing Health Care Professionals not to award points now for this activity, based on sight loss. All very underhand and frustrating of course.
PS, I’m a Widnes boy, so definitely not a Chester fan. Rugby League’s more my bag!
Gary

SamW
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In terms of caselaw see also CPIP/3730/2016 - claimants needing prompting to avoid them selecting “malodorous” or “unhygienic” clothing

https://www.gov.uk/administrative-appeals-tribunal-decisions/dp-v-secretary-of-state-for-work-and-pensions-pip-2017-ukut-156-aac

It is in a mental health context rather than VI but it certainly contradicts the DWPs argument that the descriptor is only dealing with taking off and putting on clothing.

Really the DWP shouldn’t even need to consult the caselaw to get this right - it is right there in the regulations that “prompting and assistance to be able to select appropriate clothing” scores 2 points.

Gary
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Welfare Rights and Benefits Adviser - Vision Support, Chester

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Thanks Sam,

That’s really helpful

BC Welfare Rights
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The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

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It’s a bit ancient history now but The Government’s response to the consultation on the Personal Independence Payment assessment criteria and regulations in December 2012 did specifically state:

“Some respondents mentioned that this activity should specify that clothing is co-ordinated and clean. However, there is no need to include this level of detail as this will be taken into account by considering whether the activity is being carried out reliably. For example an individual would not be considered able to perform the activity reliably if they are unable to determine when it is appropriate to change into clean clothes.”

As far as I can see though, that never made it in to any version of the PIP Assessment Guide

Gary
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Welfare Rights and Benefits Adviser - Vision Support, Chester

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Thanks for that. I see this as a bit of a grey area and that DWP have possibly seized on this to give instructions to the Assessors not to award points for VI people. It’s extremely frustrating when I get clients who miss out on an award for Daily Living by just 2 points, Standard or Enhanced.