I just had my appeal yesterday and it was rejected! I was awarded standard rate for both DL and Mobility and while I agreed with the award for DL I was not happy with the one for Mobility! I have had PPMS for about four years now and while I can walk some days more than 20m this is not without considerable pain and fatigue.
I went for a MR (Mandatory Reconsideration) first and when this was unsuccessful I thought I would go all the way and go to appeal. The basis for my appeal was the many factual errors and inconstancies in my Health Professionals report. The tribunal board could not have been less interested in this. The whole process felt like another assessment and they went out of their way to be as condescending as possible!
It is also interesting that the appeal room is more than 20M from the waiting room! I wonder if that is deliberate? I got the feeling that the whole process is trying to make it as challenging as possible to gain the higher rate of mobility and the services it would open up to me.
My house is approximately 400M from the bus stop so without a car or unlimited money for taxis I would be unable to go anywhere. Fortunately I work from home so I won’t lose my job and all the terrible things that would come from that but my heart goes out to others less fortunate.
I think what upsets me most is that you are made to feel like a scrounger! I have never been unemployed and have never claimed benefits (not that I have any problem with those that do) but when I need some additional help I find there are all these, nearly impossible, hoops to jump through to get the help that I feel I deserve!
I have now asked for a statement of reason from the tribunal and will look at this closely to see if it is worth taking my case to the upper tribunal.
Sorry this has been a bit of a personal rant but I am really angry right now. It is time something was done about this unfair benefit system we have had thrust upon us.
I can really appreciate what you say. I was on standard rate for both then had another assessment a year or so later and they stopped both benefits with immediate effect. A miracle, a progressive illness that had improved! Some chance I was obviously getting worse …got it back at mandatory reconsideration but I can barely jump those hoops anymore…which I guess is their hope.
Hi Andy, I am so sorry to hear that! It’s so awful for you.
I once had to go to appeal for DLA and it was the same. A panel of 3 people and they couldn’t have been worse, condescending at best, downright nasty at worst. And the same that the room was down a long corridor which I had trouble getting down and they went on and on and on until I was in floods of tears. Eventually they gave me no points for care and bottom level for mobility.
Luckily when I reapplied a year or so later (I think they only gave it to me for a year) I got high mobility and middle care. But I find the whole process is humiliating and designed to put us off making a claim.
I haven’t had to apply for PIP and I’m dreading it!
Well done for following the whole process through. So many people don’t as it’s too emotional and too difficult, so although you didn’t get the result you wanted and deserved, at least you were brave enough to follow it through.
All the best. I hope you do take it to the upper tribunal and hope you win. Do you ever go on website ‘Benefits and work’? They are very good. Guides to all the benefits and appeals. It cost about £20 for membership but worth every penny.
Thanks for your reply and yes I am a member of benefits and work and they have proved very useful.
I think what really thew me about the whole appeal was that I had spent a lot of time looking at the report made by the Health Professional and had written a 3 page document explaining why I thought much of what she said was wrong and how I wanted the tribunal to overturn the decision made as it was based on inaccurate information.
It seems to me, now, that this is not how the appeal process works and it is very much an assessment of their perception of your abilities. I also wonder, on reflection, how reassessment is relevant to an appeal against a decision? Surely the appeal should be looking at the original decision and was it made fairly based on the information that was there at the time? Also, IMO, the Health Professional should be there to explain why there are factual inaccuracies in their report. It all felt very one sided and loaded in the favour of the DWP.
I guess I am a little bit bitter and again I know there are lots of people out there who are a lot worse off than me!
There sole aim with PIP is to pay-out less money to less people. I think the whole system is disgusting but still a lot of the general public are not aware of what is going on and how those less fortunate are being treated.
These are amazing and Eric is very good in helping take a look
I think it’s terrible I’m so sorry Andy, it’s just not fair. I think it just depends on how understanding the person is who comes to do the interview. I was fortunate both times the people they sent were lovely. I wish I could be more help i struggle with cognitive as well as my legs I hate fighting I’ve done it over the years for my autistic daughter but I’d struggle to fight my own corner now. I think that’s where they have you, many people just give up. I hope that the support on this forum helps you. Michelle x
Andy, this sounds dreadful. Can you send a message to the MS society for advice about the report?
Even if you can walk past 20 metres on some days you cannot do it on others. Always state the worst scenario. All I can do is send a train of empathetic encouragement.
Best of luck mate.
I will do that and thank you all for your kind words and support. You are quite right of course some days are better than others but lets not kid ourselves, the DWP don’t care about that.
My report from the Health Professional stated “…is diagnosed with MS for which he takes medication…” now that to me sounds like I am on medication that will help my MS or even make it all better! What I am on is Simvastatin which is, in some cases, found to arrest the progression of PPMS. A pretty misleading statement don’t you think? She also got many other things wrong in the report but as I have already said this seems to be of no interest to the tribunal.
I told the tribunal that not only were there many days (4-5 out of 7) that I could not manage 20M but on the days I could it would leave me in pain and exhausted.
I have emailed the tribunal service to ask for the “statement of reason” and look forward to that coming in the post in due course.
I phone the DWP today and told them, again, that my condition had worsened, which it has, so I am going to start the whole process again but this time I am going to get more help with the forms.
I was also thinking about emailing my local MP to ask what they are going to do about the dreadful way disabled people are being treated in this country. Probably won’t do any good but it will make me feel better!
once upon a time, when i was healthy and strong, i would have cried for a revolution!
although some would say i’m still revolting, i haven’t got the energy to lead a revolution.
and we don’t have a guillotine.
what a waste of a bolshy attitude and paying attention in history when we were doing the french revolution.
I dont blame you for being angry. And congratulations for having appealed. I dont think I would have had the energy to do that. But the more people who appeal then I think the less inclined DWP will be to make spurious decisions. Keep them honest, well as close as honest as DWP can get.
Im sorry I know nothing about disability benefits atm but am soon to find out!
But Im wondering if you have legal representation. I only really knows what applies in employment cases. But I think that there might be a right to advice and/ or representation on appeal even if there isn’t at the first instance tribunal. Have you spoken to teh Disability Law Service? Also in theory under the Human Rights Act there is a right to legal representation for disabled people where failing to provide representation would constitute discrimination in the application of rights under the European Convention, including in your case the right to a fair trial. Someone with MS could certainly argue that the lack of legal representation has a disproportionate impact on someone with MS, as the cognitive problems in MS will make it harder to research and present their case at tribunal.
As I understand it, and I dont really know much at all, on appeal you will need to look at whether the tribunal fell down on a point of law or reached a (sorry Im having problems remembering legal terms atm) basically a conclusion which could not reasonably have been reached from the facts of the case.
perverse decision. That was teh phrase taht was alluding me. Alleged tribunal bias can also be dealt with I think on appeal but it can be a risky strategy unless there is a very clear cut case of bias.
I think you are absolutely right Bob. I am fairly sure that to go to the upper tribunal I would have to show that there was an error on a point of law. I think the statement of reason will be a useful document to have anyway!
Regarding legal representation, I didn’t have any representation (other than my wife) but on reflection that was a mistake! (Not taking my wife but not having a rep).
I thought it was going to be fairly straight forward - can I walk more than 20M repeatedly, safely etc etc but it was a lot more intrusive than that.
I would advise anyone going to tribunal to get any help that they can as, in my case, they fire questions at you and will ask things like how long do you think you can walk for.
Will give the Disabiliy Law Centre a call on Monday just to see what is available.
I just remembered that someone on teh Forum said that Disability Law service will take a case if someone is a member of teh MS society. But Im not sure to what extent this is true.
The descriptors for most parts of PIP ask can you do things safely, repetitively and in a timely fashion (and I’m going from memory from when I fought mine!) so you fall down on a couple of those points already - definitely keep fighting!
We`ll have our own revolution Carole!
Meet you by the town hall…placards at the ready.
We could ask AD to join us, but he`s too busy looking for socks!
Yes, take it further. This is unreasonable and their behaviour should not go unreported.
i’m going to write my request for mandatory reconsideration tomorrow.
i was absolutely furious when i got my decision letter (plotting grisly acts of violence on the government).
having calmed down i’m appealing against the DWP.
feels good to say “i was revolting but now i’m appealing”!
i also substituted swear words for the initials DWP now you can think of your own!
well it amused me for a while.