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Thread: ESA Tribunal - desperately need help please!

  1. #1

    ESA Tribunal - desperately need help please!

    Hi guys,
    I desperately need advice and help please. I am also sorry in advance if this post is too long.

    My mum applied for ESA in June2014. Due to a backlog her WCA wasn?t until Feb 2015. The result of which she scored 0 points.
    When applying for ESA initially we mainly filled on the form about her right hand pain and depression. But by the time her WCA came, her condition had deteriorated to pain in both hands, her back and left leg. Which has greatly affected her daily function. She has been having chest pains since xmas time. There is a history of hypertension and insomnia too.

    This has caused problems because she hasn?t had consistent care and when she has to go to the GP she often ends up seeing locums, who have now left. It can also be very difficult to get an appointment with her regular doctor. Due to all this it took 8 months for one of the GP?s to refer her to a specialist. So even though she is under a specialist (tests are being done) we still don?t have a diagnosis of what is actually the cause of her ill health.

    We put in a mandatory reconsideration to appeal the decision as the ESA85 was full of lies by the doctor. My sister went with my mum to her WCA and helped explain what she could and couldn?t do, and where my sister said my mum needed help, the report said she had no problems with those areas!!!

    Also, during the mandatory reconsideration someone from the DWP phoned the house to see where we were at getting the medical evidence. They also hadn?t received our MR in writing, following requesting it by phone. We did send the MR by next day delivery. So the lady said she would ring back in a week to see where we were in getting the evidence and to allow the MR to filter down to them. A week later we received a letter to say the MR had gone ahead and the decision hadn?t changed. When we called to say why did no one call us back as agreed, at first they couldn?t find evidence anyone had rang us and when they did, they said the person who was due to ring us back had been sick all week!

    So we have appealed mainly by saying on the SSCS1 that the MR went ahead without waiting for the medical evidence.

    We do have a representative to help with the appeal.

    But we are struggling to get medical evidence. We asked my mum?s regular GP to provide a supporting letter at the MR stage and he said he won?t provide anything for the courts. My mum is under an occupational hand specialist and he said he will only write to the GP when my mum is due for discharge and I can see him working with her for a few months to come. The rhematalology specialist is waiting on the results of the MRI, which still hasn?t been reported on when we rang this week. But he thinks it could be a Neurology issue rather than an arthritic one. Whilst the cardiac team have at least two tests to do in the weeks to come. This leaves us in a difficult position to prove what we are saying.

    Also this week, my mum?s tribunal date came through for towards the end of June. We were surprised it has come through so quickly. Our representative is coming out next week, but she has said the date would have to be changed because she doesn?t work that day.

    Since going through the MR process we realised that my mum shows signs of a learning disability. We have seeked advice, and been told to have her GP refer her to the learning disability team for a full assessment. Someone from the team called yesterday to clarify a few things, so now my mum is on the waiting list to have her initial assessment. There could be up to a two months wait and then to see the psychologist is a wait again. Due to my mum?s history this could not be picked up when she was a child, so it meant she has ?fallen through the crack?s? so to speak.

    As you can see every direction we turn we are hitting our heads against a brick wall. It feels like we are not getting much help. I am not well myself, so i?m struggling to keep mine and my mum?s head above water.

    Do you think we should pull out of the appeal until the medical evidence comes and then start a fresh claim based on what wasn?t mentioned in this assessment, e.g. the learning disability, chest pains etc. I don?t want to put my mum through the stress of a tribunal. It?s important to mention that she struggles to understand what people ask of her and i don?t want her to miss important information, because we can?t speak for her on the day. Though the representative said she can prompt.

    It might be important to mention, when the DWP sent us a copy of their response to the courts, no ESA113 was contained.

    Any help is so appreciated. We?re desperate.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are going through the mill.
    (I realise that this is for your mother but will term it in the first person).

    The first thing that you should try and get your head around is that the ESA capability assessment is not a medical.
    This is a common mistake that people make.
    Yes, we know that the term 'medical' is often used but it is not what is being assesed.

    What is being assesed is how your condition affects your ability to do work of any kind.
    Your particular condition is not important in this process, how it affects you functioning is all that counts.

    Whilst doctors and specialist reports can support your case they will not make your case on their own.

    You need to show, using the descriptors that they work to, that whatever your particular condition is you are not capable of working at the moment.

    You can find the descriptors and the point they score starting at page 18 of this:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...ev-oct2013.pdf

    You have already gone through the assessment and a MR - you now have to show to the tribunal that you are not capable of working at the moment.

    It is tempting to try and base your case on the fact that what was said before was wrong (lies?) but that will not help.

    The tribunal are independent of the DWP but have to work to the same rules, the difference is that they are independent and will look at your case with a fresh set of eyes.
    The fact is that you have to convince them that you are not capable of working, using the descriptors.
    They will not consider any complaints you have about how the DWP/assesors treated you - they can only consider whether or not you are capable of working.

    Look at this a fresh chance to make your claim.
    You have already learned what does not work so you now have a chance to start again with the knowledge you have gained.

    Best of luck and please come back with anything you need more help with.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  3. #3
    Thank you so much for your reply nukecad.

    For the MR I went through all the relevant descriptors and wrote at length how it affects my mum, it was 5 pages long. So I know the tribunal will receive that too.

    When I said about lies in the ESA85, I meant for example, my sister told the doctor at the WCA that my mum needs help with washing, aspects of dressing and to wash her hair. However the ESA85 form, which the DM based their decision on said MRS.....has no problems with showering, dressing, washing her hair. Though, there are parts that were untrue that I know in the scheme of things have no baring arguing against.

    I know the tribunal is independent, but I worry without enough supporting evidence it will be harder to cast doubt on the previous decision. So far we do have a patient summary record for the last year and the specialists initial letter stating a possible diagnosis.

    How do I help my mum prepare for the appeal? because she wouldn't understand the descriptors or the handbook you've linked. I'm worried she will struggle to get across what she needs to on the day.

    Thank you for sharing that the tribunal will look at my mum's case with fresh eyes, I needed to read that today. It just feels like every direction we turn no one is giving us a break.

    I just want to give her the best chance because I know she isn't well enough to work.

    Thank you again.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    I understand your concerns about how your mum will cope at the tribunal, but remember that they are not the DWP.

    We see a lot of people who are worried about going to tribunal, and then after they have been wondered why they were worried in the first place.
    Tribunal panels tend to be a friendly bunch, nothing like the WCA assessors.
    Of course if you want to you can attend with your mum and even take an advisor (CAB or similar) if they have the time.

    This video explains what goes on at tribunal and shows a typical tribunal hearing, its a couple of years old but nothing has changed.
    It always helps if you know what to expect.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbWXG6Ho4i8
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  5. #5
    Thank you for taking the time to reply nukecad, I really do appreciate it.

    That video is great, put my mind at ease a bit and will help my mum.

    Me, my sister and a representative will be there to support my mum. Fingers crossed for some good news.

    Thank you again.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    No problem.

    Do come back and let us know how it goes.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  7. #7

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    No problem.

    Do come back and let us know how it goes.
    Hi,

    I just wanted to update this thread. My mum had a successful tribunal and has been placed in the support group for ESA!

    The panel was kind, fair and tried to put us at ease from the beginning.

    I would like to say thank you for the support and advice you gave, when I felt extremely low about this whole process.

    Thank you

  8. #8
    Congrats on the win I'm glad you went to tribunal and didn't give up it was well worth it

  9. #9
    Thank you, definitely relieved it's over at least for a bit.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Good news, glad to have been of some help.

    It always goes better when you know what it is they are looking for, and what to concentrate on getting across to them.

    Its also a good thing that we have recourse to the court tribunals who can tell the DWP that they are being dicks and make it stick.

    Bet you are wondering now what all the worry was about?
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

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