Amanda Horton has been a full-time carer for her husband Alan since he suffered a subarachnoid brain haemorrhage in 2006.
Amanda, who lives in Lincoln, was left very frustrated and stressed by the process of helping Alan apply for the Personal Independent Payment.
“The assessment was very stressful for me as a full-time carer and very negative for my husband. The emotional impact of going over and over the long list of things he cannot achieve and needs help with is quite harsh,” recalled Amanda.
Since his brain injury, 63-year-old Alan struggles with a number of issues including memory, cognitive issues and a lack of motivation.
He also struggles to communicate when around groups of people or in noisy environments.
Although Amanda supplied the Department for Work and Pensions with numerous medical documents from health professionals, none of the information was taken into account and she was very unhappy with the assessor’s level of understanding of brain injury.
She said: “We made sure to provide lots of medical information from Alan’s consultant and physio but it was all ignored. It made me feel so cross, what a complete waste of time to go to efforts of getting it.
“An acquired brain injury is very complex and uniquely personal. The person who conducts the assessment needs to be a specialist in that area so that the right decision can be made and the correct questions asked.”
The assessors incorrectly judged that Alan could do complex reading.
Amanda said: “Just because he is able to read newspaper articles he was assessed as being able to do complex reading. He reads purely for his own pleasure and nobody ever tested him to find out if he understood or remembered any of it. For instance, when reading post, he reads something completely different to how it is.”
The assessors also judged that Alan was able to make complex budgeting decisions based on the fact he knows the value of money and change, a decision that amazed Amanda.
She said: “He is totally unable to deal with household bills, look after his bank card or wallet, as he never knows where things are.
“In shops he often walks away without remembering to pick up his change. The assessment just doesn’t work, it doesn’t get to the truth.”
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