Open University research into PIP appeals and invisible impairment.

GMWRAG can only apologise for being a little tardy in publicising this (especially as some of us have already signed up). We’d vouch that there’s not a WRO alive in the North West who would not have something of value to add to this if you have ever been involved in a PIP claim from start to end at appeal.

So, here’s the original blurb (kindly nicked donated by Rightsnet).

My name is Alexandra Murray and I am conducting a study on appeal hearings for Personal Independence Payments (PIP). This is to gain a better understanding of how disability is defined in the welfare state and how this impacts on disability benefits.

I am looking to speak with welfare benefits advisers, welfare lawyers and tribunal judges who have been involved in hearings with claimants that had a hidden, less visible, or invisible disability. This is to draw together accounts of PIP hearings from different perspectives to investigate how invisible disabilities are evaluated by the tribunal. To take part in this study, you must have provided advice or represented someone who wanted to appeal their PIP decision.

Participating in this study will give you an opportunity to share your knowledge and experiences of the PIP appeal process anonymously.
What will I be asked to do if I want to get involved?
• To provide a short, written reflection or diary entry based on a time when you were involved in a PIP appeal (at any stage) for someone with an invisible disability.
• To take part in a semi-structured interview that will last for approximately 1-2 hours that will be audio-recorded and transcribed. This will be arranged for a time and place convenient to you.

To take part in the study, or if you would like to know more about it, please contact me via email: Alexandra.Murray@open.ac.uk. Your information will be held in compliance with GDPR regulations.

This project is funded by a PhD studentship in the Faculty of Business and Law at The Open University. This project has been reviewed by, and received a favourable opinion from, The Open University Human Research Ethics Committee, reference: HREC/3369/Murray.

If you’re interested, and we can’t think why you wouldn’t be, then you can also download an information sheet here.

NAWRA in Wales.

GMWRAG used to be really good at notifying you all about NAWRA meetings. Indeed we used to make our web site do clever things like count down to the day of the meeting but then… well then we just got too busy. So here we are with 3 days left to go to the next NAWRA meeting and we can probably no longer refer to them as “our friends in NAWRA” as we keep messing this up. Anyway…

All NAWRA members are invited to attend their quarterly conference.

Date: Friday the 6th of March 2020.
Time: 10.00am – 16.00pm (registration from 9.30)
Location: Swansea Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea, SA1 3SN

Guest speakers will be Fran Bennett of Oxford University on recent research about universal credit and couples followed by Lisa Reese, a tribunal judge, on the role of representatives.

There will be participatory workshops on mixed age couples in UC, conditionality in UC and public law remedies, support for disabled people in UC, and assessing mental health for PIP.

Download the agenda

NAWRA meetings are only open to members.  There’s no need to book a place.  Please let them know if you have any accessibility needs.

GMWRAG has fond memories of their first visit to NAWRA being a trip to Swansea approximately 30 years ago in the back of a some kind of van with people from Flintshire Welfare Rights. Nowadays there would be a hashtag attached to that and some kind of legal action! Nowadays we think the train may be an option.

Research measuring the impact of applying for PIP on a claimant’s perception of their health condition.

With grateful thanks to our friends at Rightsnet.

Can you help? Catherine from the University of Bedfordshire is wanting to reach people who’ve applied or are applying for PIP.

Are you going through or about to start the PIP application process? This can be a difficult time but, if you can, please spare a few minutes to complete a short online survey.

Your answers will contribute to new independent research into the possibility that people’s perception of their condition changes as a result of going through the PIP application process. It is important as perception has demonstrable impact on levels of depression, quality of life, ability to follow treatment plans and even recovery and survival rates. If there is an effect then this needs to be highlighted and, if not, we can look for other explanations for the experiences that many PIP claimants describe.

The research is part of an Applied Psychology Masters dissertation by Catherine Haslam and has been approved by the University of Bedfordshire’s Psychology ethics board. The survey is short and doesn’t ask any personal health questions. All data is annonymised & aggregated.

Thank you in advance for your help. The survey can be accessed at:

https://bedshealthsciences.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9uJpGzsLdeEnPpP

The ink still wet minutes of the probably not even finished last meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group.

The minutes of the latest meeting of the NWMHWRAG are already available as are the notes from the talk on claiming the mobility component of PIP for people with mental health conditions. Both documents will as ever be stored permanently within the relevant NWMHWRAG pages, and if you wish to check you’ll find they’re already there.

Related to the above the RF High Court Judgement can be found at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2017/3375.html and there is an addendum to the notes from the talk:

Psychological distress is defined in the Interpretation to the PIP descriptors as “distress related to an enduring mental health condition or an intellectual or cognitive impairment.”

Next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group.

We’re really going to have to find a more original way of saying this but the next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group will be on Thursday the 26th of July 2018 at 9.30am for a 10am start.

The venue is Room 226 at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The address is:

Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University, 4 Rosamond Street West, Manchester M15 6LL.

There is an entrance on Oxford Road, directly opposite the Aquatics centre, or a wheelchair accessible entrance just off Rosamund St. West. The best place for car parking is the NCP at the Aquatics centre.   There is a café on site where you can buy tea/coffee etc.

IHelen Rogers is going to do a talk on claiming the mobility the mobility component of PIP for claimants with mental health conditions.

Volunteers for chairing and taking the minutes are required.

Details of the next NAWRA meeting in Nottingham are now available.

NAWRA’s quarterly conferences are held around the UK and include keynote speakers, workshops and a range of networking and professional development opportunities.

Here are details of the next NAWRA meeting:

Date: Friday the 1st of June 2018
Time: 10am – 4pm (registration from 9.30am)Nottingham Trent University
Location: Nottingham Law School, Chaucer Building, Goldsmith Street, Nottingham NG1 5LP

The meeting is kindly hosted by Nottingham Law School Legal Advice Centre and Advice Nottingham. Our guest speakers will be Dr Tom Vickers of Nottingham Trent University, Tessa Gregory (Leigh Day Solicitors) and Elizabeth Davey (Equality and Human Rights Commission). There will be workshops on PIP case law, financial resilience and CPAG’s new Upper Tribunal Assistance Project.

Download the full agenda along with information about travel, accommodation and our social evening.

NAWRA meetings are free for members to attend. There is no need to book a place. Please let me know you have any access requirements.

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group is upon us.

The next meeting of the North West Mental Health Welfare Rights Advisers Group will be on Friday the 23rd March at 9.30am for a 10am start at Manchester Town Hall.

Details of the room and how to access it are to follow but can we please have volunteers to chair and to take minutes?

The minutes of the last meeting can be found in the usual places.

We will be discussing the group’s “Mission Statement.”,  which you can view by clicking on the foregoing link. This is the blurb that we have used in the past on letters and responses to consultations but, as you can see, it needs updating!

We will also have a discussion about PIP decisions post the RF judgement and the Government’s announcement that it will trawl cases for incorrect decisions. Members may also want to read the minutes of the last GMWRAG meeting which provide significant detail on the live-streamed talk re: RF and what should happen next.

Please bring any (anonymised) cases that you want to discuss.

Quick reminder – the Blue Badge consultation is ongoing and is not a done deal.

And a further quick reminder for GMWRAG members that the Blue Badge consultation in response to the loss of a legal case quite some time ago (and not because the government are nice as they seem to be proclaiming :)) is not a done deal and remains an open consultation.

Full details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/blue-badge-disabled-parking-scheme-eligibility-review/blue-badge-scheme-consultation-on-eligibility and it’s worth GMWRAG members responding because whilst the proposal theoretically expands the scope of the scheme it also links it explicitly to two areas of already problematic wording used in the PIP mobility criteria.

The consultation closes on the 18th of March 2018.

The BBC are looking at the accessibility of every ESA and PIP assessment venue and your help is needed.

With thanks to our colleague Peter Turville via our friends at Rightsnet.

A BBC disability correspondent is compiling details of the accessibility of every ESA and PIP assessment venue – following up on a piece on ‘You & Yours’ some months back.

They are looking at practical issues including:

• Where is the venue located – city centre, out of town industrial estate, rural location etc?
• How easy is it to get to by public transport? Frequency of service, distance from nearest bus stop / trains station etc. Would a client need to take a taxi for part of the journey?
• Parking – at venue or nearby, cost etc. Problems if not a Blue Badge holder.
• How well is the venue signed – big sign or little plaque on door / in window? How is it identified – providers / sub-contractors name / logo?
• Financial difficulty for client paying for the travel cost up front / delay in provider paying refund or refusing to pay taxi fares.
• Accessibility – steps, ramps, for (electric) wheel chairs etc. Issues with suitable adaptions, provision of BSL and other interpreters etc.
• Pre-appointment info. – does it provide details of public transport routes, parking, accessibility restrictions, prepayment & refund of fares, paying for taxi, requesting an alternative venue or time of appointment?

They would be interested in particularly difficult to get to or find or otherwise inappropriate venues and other related problems like clients refused appointments at local / most easy to get to/accessible venue.

For example: a venue (featured in the previous item) is ‘hidden away’ in a small industrial estate in a village which has no public transport on a Sunday (when claimants are offered appointments). City centre(ish) venue is on a busy main road with no parking (double yellow, residents only in side streets, public car park 150m away and often full), old shop front with whitewashed windows (looks empty) with a tiny sign in the window (if you can see it due to condensation!).

If anyone has a claimant who is willing to be interviewed (radio – probably pre-recorded) about issues they had with a venue Carolyn would love to hear from you!

So for example – if a client missed their appointment because they couldn’t find the venue (tucked away on an industrial estate with a tiny sign on the door) or couldn’t get to the venue for the correct time (or had to go hours early or hang around for hours after) because of infrequent bus services etc.

Perhaps what they are not so interested in is claimants who were given an appointment at a venue a long way away when they had a more local venue. That was covered in the original piece – although if the provider refused to change the venue that would still be of interest.

Please contact: carolyn.atkinson@bbc.co.uk