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UK: UC50 (Universal Credit) or PIP diary

Discussion in 'Work, Finances and Disability Insurance' started by InitialConditions, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. InitialConditions

    InitialConditions Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Has anyone submitted a diary along with their ESA/UC or PIP form?

    I am struggling with what to write and include. I've seen some PIP diaries explicitly based around the descriptors, which is of course a sound idea, but I've decided not to go down that route, and instead just give an overall picture of symptoms and activities etc over the course of several days.
     
  2. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I was told not to by welfare rights. He said they won't read it. I've heard others say it's useful.

    Ironically, I did submit the Chalder Fatigue Scale and a diary thing that let me rate overall symptom strength (0-10) from day to day over 14 days. The welfare rights officer seemed to like that idea.

    This time, for reassessment, my fiance submitted a 'carer's diary', which was just a letter detailing what each day's routine is like and how my symptoms affect me, with some reference to worse and less bad days, but always indicating what the proportion of worse to less bad days was.
     
  3. InitialConditions

    InitialConditions Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That's a good idea, to use a fatigue scale. I really cannot be bothered detailing the minutae of my life and each and every symptom, especially when day-to-day variability is limited with regards to activity.
     
  4. Diluted-biscuit

    Diluted-biscuit Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I have submitted a dairy in the past, it’s always debatable what helps and what doesn’t but I’d prefer to er on the side of providing more evidence than less personally. Even if the decision maker doesn’t read it, a tribunal will if it goes that far so the whole don’t bother they won’t look argument doesn’t hold any sway with me.

    However it’s it has to address the descriptors or it will be useless. You can write it in a more general way but it should talk about things relating to the descriptors because that’s how they come to a decision.
     
  5. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I agree with @Diluted-biscuit that you should use it to illustrate how it limits you when it comes to the descriptors.

    I know the system is stacked in favour of benefit denial, but I like to follow the advice my old schoolteachers used to give us at exam time. Give them as much relevant information and every opportunity to award every extra point.
     
  6. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I gave concrete examples of what I couldn’t do or needed support with organised under the descriptor headings, rather than a chronological diary in my current PIP submission.
     
  7. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I did, although it was pretty brief. It related to my answers to the main questions, where I tried to give an accurate picture of my three broad types of day:

    • Better – could get a shower, or visit a supermarket in my powered wheelchair, or do the laundry, or see a friend for a short time. Could make a sandwich lunch and microwave a frozen one-pot meal for dinner.

    • Intermediate – could sit up and watch TV or use the computer for limited periods during the day, but not leave the house or speak on the phone. Could make a sandwich lunch and microwave a frozen one-pot meal for dinner.

    • Worse – need to spend most of the day horizontal, and limit activity to meals and toileting. Rely on easy foods such as cereal, biscuits, toast.

    I then did a 14-day diary based on the above, categorising the type of day and giving a sentence or two about the activities (or lack of) on each. I also noted pain, fatigue and brain fog as a simple score out of 5. It fitted onto one page of A4 as a Microsoft Word table, and showed that I usually have around two better days, three or four intermediate days, and one or two worse days a week.

    I didn't try to show fluctuations within each day, as that would need a lot more detail – I think the above is as accurate as I could realistically make it, and it was enough to show something of the link between activity and consequences.

    I don't know whether they looked at it, but my welfare advisor suggested that I include it because my symptoms do vary quite a bit.
     
  8. Hell..hath..no..fury...

    Hell..hath..no..fury... Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I made up a table on my phone detailing every hour of the day. I think I used an example table from Benefits and Work forum and printed it off when it was completed.

    It was excruciatingly detailed on an hourly basis and I sent a sample of around 3-4 days worth of diary. I couldn't do any more as it took me 3 weeks just to type up those few days.

    They counted it as part of the evidence, whether they read it or not I have no idea but when I was interrogated at home and they sneakily cross referenced the answers on my diary, everything I said matched up with the details of the diary so if they were trying to trip me up thinking it was all lies, it didn't work.

    But I'm on high rate everything. I tried to include a diary with my recent ESA renewal before the Covid stuff broke out but they didn't include it saying they don't need as much detail for ESA and the ESA was renewed immediately with no waiting.

    Good luck with everything! I strongly recommend getting Welfare Rights, or similar to step in and help, having their weight behind you or in front of you to shield you from the blows definitely helps in more ways than one.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
  9. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    As part of their report, the 'healthcare professionals' doing all these benefits assessments are asked to provide an account of the claimant's 'typical day'. They usually try to get the claimant to give this verbally in the face to face assessment. If you have provided a good account of how you spend your days and this directly addresses the descriptors you can tell the HCP to refer to the diary or written account you have provided (I refused to provide this information verbally in my previous assessments - it requires a lot of communication skills, cognitive energy and a good memory, none of which I have).

    So in summary, document as much information as you can to help the HCP understand how limited you are on a 'typical day'. Do not focus on what you are like on a rare 'good' or 'better' day, make sure the HCP sees how any fluctuation in your functioning still leaves you very limited in what you can do even during the times you are 'at your best'.

    It's a good idea to use a diary/account to demonstrate how you are unable to do an activity repeatedly, reliably, safely, in a reasonable time and importantly, at the time you need to do it. For example, if you can't eat, drink or change your clothes until 2 pm, make this clear. If cleaning yourself means you can't prepare a meal that day, emphasise this.
     
    meg22, Wits_End, alktipping and 6 others like this.
  10. Hell..hath..no..fury...

    Hell..hath..no..fury... Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I usually do this too, but on my last one I had a rare 'human' assessor. So I decided to make a complete fool of myself and try to speak some answers. It worked in my favour because he could see I was trying to comply, but he could also witness the deterioration before his eyes over a matter of minutes. From being smiley and jovial, to a shaking, confused jibbering wreck.

    He actually felt sorry for me! I thought this was fake on his part at first but it turns out he was genuine! Very rare I know.

    He didn't make me answer anything more and said he'd seen enough to know what the answers would be and even apologised to me on behalf of the system and he went back to the office to fill in the rest to leave me in peace.

    ETA: he was also a ex psychiatric nurse, which made my stomach lurch when I heard this, based on our history with them. (I think he told me this to comfort me, but it had the opposite effect) But he was nicer to me than probably any Doctor I've ever seen. He said he was more than experienced enough to know the fakers almost instantly and he knows who's genuine. I was very lucky on that occasion.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
  11. Simbindi

    Simbindi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    For Universal Credit and ESA, the focus is on how the claimant would manage in a 'typical work setting'. The DWP assumes that any employer would bend over backwards to help the disabled/sick claimant preform their job! They also assume that the 'modern work place' is a large office, with both space and privacy, with toilets every few metres! So it's a good idea to make reference to how any 'reasonable adaptations/adjustments' would not help you preform the function they are looking at.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
  12. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Back when the DWP did their own assessments I was assessed by one doctor who was a psychiatrist - though she side stepped quite neatly when I asked her directly. She was actually very kind & understanding, though she did keep me talking long enough so she could see my ability to think straight and communicate disintegrate.

    When she left she made some comment about how I was obviously a very positive person and wrote down a couple of physical ailments she thought my doctor should rule out. I was awarded my Incapacity Benefit as it was then.

    They aren't all bad.
     
  13. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I agree – though emphasising that I could never predict accurately when I'd be fit to do some work without adverse consequences, or for how long I'd be able to keep it up, was probably the most important one for me. It's hard to argue that that's not a pretty significant barrier!

    In my case, I'd been working freelance for a tiny company where I could do almost everything at home. I needed to have tasks completed in time for finance, planning, and fundraising meetings, however; otherwise they couldn't go ahead, meaning other people's work was disrupted. Battling really hard to keep up with deadlines resulted in a major and prolonged relapse, that meant I finally had to admit defeat after 38 years in work.
     
  14. SallyC

    SallyC Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes, I submitted a general account of a typical day to show how limited I was, on a separate sheet in addition to the ESA50 form. The (very understanding - which was a pleasant surprise) nurse doing the assessment said it was very useful to help them understand. This was for ESA and I got put in the support group.
     
  15. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Moderator Staff Member

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    When I did my ESA claim I did a symptom diary in the form of a table with columns
    Activities - bullets of types of main activity I did eg any appointments how long out of the house for
    Sleep - hours slept from my Fitbit, my subjective view on sleep quality - v low, low, fair were the only descriptions I used
    Energy - steps from my Fitbit, subjective % score - scores were between 20& 50%
    Pain - 2 types of pain neuropathic and muscle with low medium high subjective description, mainly low with some medium.
    Other symptoms - just a list to capture my the main ones sore throat, tender glands, headache, weak muscles, nausea, and to highlight days with PEM
    Comments - I highlighted where plans had to change due to being too unwell, it was a particularly warm spell so I noted the heat, if I’d had to rest during the day or go to bed early.
    As mild/moderate ME person I felt by using fairly brief entries each day - around 40- 50 words per day -over a 3 week period for these areas I was able to give a pretty informative impression of the impact and fluctuation.
     
  16. meg22

    meg22 Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've never done a diary with my claims. I do tend to go into quite a lot of detail for each descriptor and then give examples of what has happened in the past when I have attempted to do the descriptor. I also detail a typical day in the additional information section and give a little bit of information on variation which isn't much in my case.

    I've depressingly been on benefits for 23 years now and I got fed up of rewriting all the forms every time for Incapacity Benefit so I now type my forms out in Word and then cut out the info for each descriptor and stick it onto the form with Pritstick - I've been doing this for the last 18 years without any problems. It means I can get a lot more into the boxes than I would otherwise be able to and also means there's a lot less work when a reassessment comes along - it's easy to amend and update. Being typed also means that it's quicker and easier for the assessor to read which I've always hoped might help with outcome. This won't work if it's an online claim of course.
     
  17. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've always typed mine too, as I can't write much by hand. I write 'See page X' in each box, then add a numbered sheet containing my answer to the question. As long as you put your NI number on each sheet and sign and date it, they're fine with this.

    The PIP form comes as a booklet, so each page had to be scanned onto a separate piece of A4 paper so that I could interleave my responses (my friend scanned it for me, which was really helpful). I understand the reasons for DWP giving each form an individual QR code, but why they can't make it accessible to disabled people by supplying the form as a digital download – or at least, a hard copy with separate pages – is beyond me. :mad:

    Typing your answers at least makes it easier to do next time round, as you already have the answers written out and can just tweak anything that's changed.
     
  18. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    My last ESA 50 form gave an address to download a digital copy of the form.
     
  19. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes, these are so much easier than the PIP form!
     
  20. InitialConditions

    InitialConditions Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Oh yes, I'm certainly doing everything electronically. I wouldn't dream of handwriting the form - it's such a disadvantage to do so. My only issue now is that aside from not being able to gather my supporting evidence, I can't print the e-form and my answer sheet.

    PS Thanks for all your helpful replies.
     

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