‘Degrading’ benefit assessment – by ‘trainee’ – overturned so disabled woman has essential benefit reinstated

Denise Haddon [Image: Denise Haddon].

Denise Haddon [Image: Denise Haddon].


What a catalogue of excuses the Department for Work and Pensions lined up in the case of Denise Haddon!

The standout line for This Writer (having seen it many times myself) was that the original decision to downgrade her benefits was “based on all available evidence at the time”.

The implication is that the relevant part of the evidence, that showed why Ms Haddon needed her benefit and her car, was not presented to the original assessor.

But this has to be rubbish. She has bilateral femoral focal dysplasia, a condition well-known to medicine, and it is impossible to believe that the DWP wasn’t fully aware of its symptoms and effects.

Ah, but the DWP insisted that the assessment had been carried out “correctly”… right up until the same organisation tried to excuse itself by saying the decision was taken by a “trainee disability assessor”.

Was it? Was it really?

Call me jaded, but after more than four years of writing about disability, long-term illness and the DWP – and many more dealing with the Department in the case of Mrs Mike, This Writer isn’t accepting a word of it.

A disabled woman who had the car that allows her to do her job taken away after a “degrading” capability assessment, has had the decision overturned on appeal.

A tribunal took just 10 minutes to decide Denise Haddon, who cannot walk more than 20 metres without severe pain, should never have had her benefits downgraded.

She was given less than a month’s notice that the vehicle that gives her independence would be taken away after an assessment for Personal Independence Payments (PIP), introduced by Iain Duncan Smith.

The decision was taken by a ‘trainee disability assessor.’

The Department for Work and Pensions said [in December that] the assessment had been carried out “correctly”, and insisted she no longer qualified for Motability assistance to pay for the car.

And even though the decision was thrown out ‘indefinitely’ by a judge, a solicitor and a doctor last month, they insist the original assessment was made “based on all available evidence at the time.”

When asked if they still believed Denise’s assessment had been carried out correctly, they refused to answer.

Denise, who has worked since she was 16, was born with a condition called bilateral femoral focal dysplasia and reached her full height of 3ft 8 inches when she was a teenager.

The condition causes her painful problems with the lower part of her body, her hips, legs, ankles and feet.

She was told just before Christmas that her benefits would be downgraded, which deprived her of the supplementary payment that paid for the car.

She says the person who assessed her had no understanding of her condition.

Source: Disabled woman has essential benefit reinstated after ‘degrading’ assessment by trainee overturned – Mirror Online

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8 thoughts on “‘Degrading’ benefit assessment – by ‘trainee’ – overturned so disabled woman has essential benefit reinstated

  1. Neilth

    So if the assessor was a trainee then he/she had a trainer and as part of the training I would expect the trainer to inspect the trainees decisions in order to train the trainee in the correct procedures etc. I suspect the trainee was doing exactly what they were being trained to do.

  2. eric

    what a disgrace this government has a lot to answer for i think smiths resignation shows what a shambles he has made i also think anybody who has an indefinate award should not have to go through with this again smiths idea also if you reach 64 after april 2013 you have to go through this shocking treatment of greed over peoples lives assesors making 20,000 pounds its time all this harassment stopped

  3. thelovelywibblywobblyoldlady

    The public money these unnecessary Tribunal hearings must waste, all with the woeful and abject failure of the DWP as the core reason for them. It’s all about saving money and nothing to do with supporting disabled people.
    I have said it before and I will say it again, if you have a condition that will not improve (and this ladies condition certainly won’t; if anything it will deteriorate as she ages) why, oh why do the DWP continue with these pointless “assessments”?

    It wouldn’t be because couldn’t give A TOSS, CRAPita and MaximARSE get huge amounts of public money and it is more likely than not that 1) some tories have shares in these companies and 2) these private companies who receive public money (our money) donate funds to the tory party …

    1. eric

      its nothing to do with saving money it has cost the tax payer millions if not billions in setting up universal credit ,pip.appeals,computer fails ,etc,tory idealogy blame the most vulnerable in society and keep on telling public lies after lies eventually people turn a blind eye or so they hope to the most vulnerable ,sick ,disabled ,this government has no intention of helping the sick and disabled remember cameron and smith saying if you are sick or disabled you have nothing to worry about ,what a shambles smith has made now crabbe will follow suit we just have to keep publicising the atrocities they [tory party] are doing.keep up the good work mike expose this dreadfull government and the lives that have been ruined

  4. Terry Davies

    the assessment is repeated until a person reaches a stipulated age.
    what a waste of taxpayers money paying assessors to assess medical conditions which never improve.
    it would be good to use their talents to assess social worth of MPs and their performances or suitability for their portfolios as cabinet ministers.
    doesnt matter if they have little understanding of politics just monitor the MPs for corrupt expenses claims, tax evasion, secondary conflicting interests. and they adhere to acceptable parliamentary standards.

  5. jeffrey davies

    all part of their aktion t4 plans daily do we hear of the abuse by contractors who lie lie and lie but decent government not on your nelly they want your benefit no matter whot yet how can mps live with themselves hearing these abuse storys yet they now talking in those side rooms about it yet on it goes aktion t4 rolling along without much of a ado jeff3

  6. Barry Davies

    Unfortunately your diagnosis plays no part whatsoever in the decision making process which is why they are not done by qualified people, it is supposed to be how you manage with the items they consider are the only ones that mean you can’t work

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