Search rightsnet
Search options

Where

Benefit

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction

From

to

Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Disability benefits  →  Thread

PIP AR1 form telling people not to send supporting letter from GP in with form

JAS1
forum member

Advice Worker, Gaddum Centre

Send message

Total Posts: 300

Joined: 14 February 2017

Had a client read out the covering letter/first part of the AR1 form she got and it had a list of things to send with the form and not to send, but one of the things on the ‘not to send’ list was ‘supporting letter from your GP’.

Why would DWP be instructing people to not send a GP supporting letter in? I know they tend to vary in quality but unless they contradict anything within the form itself I can’t see why they wouldn’t want it

Mike Hughes
forum member

Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

Send message

Total Posts: 2463

Joined: 17 June 2010

Can’t say I’ve come across it and it’s a little concerning in relation to those people who may lack insight into their own condition e.g. LD, mental ill health but
generally I think it could be argued it’s good advice.

Their starting point is always going to be “There is no requirement for a statement from a GP or other health professional on the PIP claim form” as stated within .https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/757854/PIP-quick-guide-for-health-professionals.pdf. Even CA put GPs down at the bottom of their list of suggested evidence for a claim. See https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/help-with-your-claim/your-supporting-evidence/. Para 1.4.4 of https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-assessment-guide-for-assessment-providers/pip-assessment-guide-part-1-the-assessment-process#further-evidence-needed tends to reinforce this.

JAS1
forum member

Advice Worker, Gaddum Centre

Send message

Total Posts: 300

Joined: 14 February 2017

Hi Mike, hope you’re keeping well!

Thanks for those links. I can see why they may not prioritise it as evidence, I’ve seen a fair few letters from GPs which consist of two vague lines of text and not much else. Sometimes costing £50 or so! It makes sense they don’t advise claimants to request new letters from GPs too.

It is slightly concerning they are specifically telling claimants not to send them in though. The client in question had a great letter, I haven’t seen it but I’m taking her word for it, but was in two minds about sending it in as she wanted to follow the guidelines that came with the form. I told her to send it anyway.

In these times especially surely DWP should be obtaining all they can get in terms of evidence especially with ropey phone appointments taking place etc. I imagine it’s even harder for assessment providers to get hold of medical professionals at the moment too.

Mike Hughes
forum member

Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

Send message

Total Posts: 2463

Joined: 17 June 2010

Keeping remarkably well under the circumstances thanks.

I agree to the extent that it is incredibly unhelpful for DWP to say “don’t” to a specific type of evidence when there will always be exceptions. I can understand it in relation to medical appointment letters; five year old lists of meds etc. but after that I would think it in the best interests of all concerned to not be so prescriptive.

That said, I think it’s useful to remember that with a new claim or indeed a renewal the onus remains on the claimant to provide the supporting evidence to show entitlement rather than DWP. I find increasing frustration from claimants where they can’t understand why DWP haven’t “written to Dr. x” when in fact they ought to have decided for themselves what was needed from Doctor x and obtained it themselves.

None of that helps your claimant of course but I am wary of claimants who assert they’ve had “great” GP evidence unless I’d had sight of it myself.

nevip
forum member

Welfare rights adviser - Sefton Council, Liverpool

Send message

Total Posts: 3049

Joined: 16 June 2010

I had that exact conversation (again, and for the ‘thousandth’ time)) with a client yesterday, who asked, “will the DWP write to my doctors”?  You can fill in the rest of the conversation yourselves.

There is a widespread expectation among claimants, based largely on common concepts of fairness (I know, how naïve of them) that the DWP will write to their doctor(s), only to be extremely annoyed when their claim is turned down with no requested input from said doctor(s).

Va1der
forum member

Welfare Support Worker - Community Renewal Edinburgh

Send message

Total Posts: 315

Joined: 7 May 2019

Not sure I agree with the low value many ascribe to GP evidence. For many of my clients their GP is the only long-term contact they’ve had with the NHS. Specialist services are more of a luxury (attendance issues, lack of transport etc).
Granted, a GP might not have specialist knowledge, but surely that’s not necessary to push the balance of probability in the claimants favour?

I think a good starting point is to SAR the summary history report from the GP - should show most services they’ve engaged with, won’t cost more than a stamp, and only a couple of pages long doesn’t involve a workload for the GP (so shouldn’t antagonise that relationship).

If you need more you can either make specific SARs for certain records in the summary, or ask for a supporting letter etc.

Of course, I just lost an appeal which I’d based largely on GP evidence (client had SAR’d his entire records) - waiting for the SOR, not sure what to expect.

EDIT: On DWP contacting health professionals. There should be a line on the form saying ‘we won’t bother to contact them, but feel free to supply some details’, in red and bold font. I don’t blame clients at all for thinking DWP would contact them. It’s stupid, plain and simple.

[ Edited: 19 Nov 2020 at 10:50 am by Va1der ]
JAS1
forum member

Advice Worker, Gaddum Centre

Send message

Total Posts: 300

Joined: 14 February 2017

Interesting points. Yeah it’s the fact DWP put supporting letters from GP in the ‘do not send’ list. I can’t recall all the other things in that list the client read out but they were things like appointment letters and so on. Stuff that is definitely superfluous.

As a side note I went to a talk by an assessment provider before lockdown and the person giving the talk was adamant that they make every effort to try and contact health professionals, multiple times, but they have quite a low success rate hearing back.

Mike Hughes
forum member

Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

Send message

Total Posts: 2463

Joined: 17 June 2010

Mmm. My experience of assessment providers is that they tend to talk about what they do as an individual and translate that to us as “... and so hopefully you will conclude that I am convincing you that we ALL do this” when of course nothing of the sort is true and it’s most likely not even true of them.

I would have to check back on this but I think John Prings at the Disability News Service has a good handle on this sort of stuff and there have been several articles in and around the area of HCPs not seeking medical evidence when their guidance screamed that a case fitted perfectly. I seem to recall reading elsewhere, maybe the Work and Pensions committee report, that regardless of their assertions to the contrary they have an incredibly poor record of complying with their own guidance as regards those cases where FME ought to be sought immediately.

All that said, I do think it’s likely true that the effort made is a phone call and of course phone calls go through to secretaries or practice managers and culturally they are going to protect the medical professional and allow them to do their actual job. It sort of makes sense to ring as requesting a report would take weeks/months and you’d have even more stressed claimants on forums worrying about delays, but, ringing will largely get you/them nowhere.

JAS1
forum member

Advice Worker, Gaddum Centre

Send message

Total Posts: 300

Joined: 14 February 2017

Yep, were definitely a few raised eyebrows when she said that!