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Thread: Mandatory Reconsideration success story

  1. #1

    Mandatory Reconsideration success story

    Hi, I'm new here but wanted to share my story in the hope that it might help someone else going through the same thing, even if it's just to give them a bit of hope.

    I have a chronic autoimmune disease with many symptoms that limit my day-to-day activities quite severely. I also have anxiety and agoraphobia as a result of living with chronic illness and being housebound a lot of the time.

    In 2013, I was assessed for ESA, having previously been on Income Support. I was put in the WRAG, despite telling them that I was unable to attend appointments due to anxiety, even during the times when I was physically well enough to leave the house. There followed a long battle with the Jobcentre, who kept threatening me with sanctions for not attending. Initially they did the appointments on the phone, but were soon putting me under more pressure to come in person, despite me telling them in detail about the deterioration this was causing to my mental health. Eventually, I got my MP involved and after some to-ing and fro-ing, the DWP decided to reassess me and the Jobcentre agreed to back off until I had been reassessed.

    Maximus agreed to a home assessment after my GP wrote to tell them I would not be able to attend an appointment at one of their centres. After a year's (!!!) waiting for the home visit to be scheduled, it finally took place in December last year.

    I thought it had gone well- the assessor seemed to 'get it' and was very friendly. Unfortunately, this turned out to be very misleading. A few months later, the letter came through saying I had been found fit for work and my benefit stopped. I was devastated. On reading the report, the assessor had exaggerated many of the things I'd said (eg, saying that on good days I could have a trip out for coffee, became 'walks 10-15 minutes between different coffee shops' in her report).

    The result of this has been having no income for the last two months. My anxiety and physical illness meant that I couldn't even go to the Jobcentre to claim JSA. Thankfully I had some savings which have tided me over, but it's been an incredibly stressful and upsetting time.

    I didn't have much hope going into the Mandatory Reconsideration phase, having heard that the decision was very unlikely to be overturned at this stage. I phoned CAB, who reiterated this, then advised me to write a bland, concise letter asking them to look again at my case and detailing the points I thought I should have scored for the different descriptors which were relevant to me. They also said I needn't bother sending in extra medical evidence as it was so unlikely to succeed at this stage.

    I wrote the letter as advised, adding a two-page list of inaccuracies in the medical report. I didn't rant or rave, or say anything about how stressed I was- rather, I stuck to the facts, going through the descriptors I felt I should have met and giving examples from my day to day life to back this up. I also copied in my GP and MP to this letter and emailed my MP separately to explain the situation. His advice was that I SHOULD get my GP to write in as part of my Mandatory Reconsideration request. After a lot of chasing, my GP finally wrote a very brief letter which I felt was not very helpful- he mentioned my anxiety problems, but very little about my physical illness. I reluctantly sent it off anyway.

    Today, about 20 days after sending in my GP's letter, I heard back that I've been placed in the Support Group! I was so surprised, having heard from all sides that the chances of this happening were very slim.

    I'm not sure why my case was overturned at the MR stage, but I suspect that them knowing my MP was involved was an advantage. Also, I emphasised their own regulations- for example, I asked them to pay careful attention to their own stipulation that descriptors must be able to be achieved 'as often as you need'.

    I would advise anyone going through this process to get your MP involved in any dispute. I would also recommend recording your assessment to avoid the assessor elaborating on what you've said. Also, during the assessment, emphasise the limitations around the things you can do- eg 'yes, I can occasionally walk 200m, but I would only be able to do this about once a week and would usually need to rest lying down afterwards.' You really do have to spell it out for them. I've learnt the hard way that anything you say you can do can be taken out of context and exaggerated by a dishonest assessor.

    Sorry this is such a long post, but I hope it will be of some help/encouragement to someone going through this tough process. Hang in there!

  2. #2
    hi well done and also for seeing it all the way through, getting you mp and doctor involved does make all the difference, again well done regards palmer

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurenJ View Post
    Hi, I'm new here but wanted to share my story in the hope that it might help someone else going through the same thing, even if it's just to give them a bit of hope.

    I have a chronic autoimmune disease with many symptoms that limit my day-to-day activities quite severely. I also have anxiety and agoraphobia as a result of living with chronic illness and being housebound a lot of the time.

    In 2013, I was assessed for ESA, having previously been on Income Support. I was put in the WRAG, despite telling them that I was unable to attend appointments due to anxiety, even during the times when I was physically well enough to leave the house. There followed a long battle with the Jobcentre, who kept threatening me with sanctions for not attending. Initially they did the appointments on the phone, but were soon putting me under more pressure to come in person, despite me telling them in detail about the deterioration this was causing to my mental health. Eventually, I got my MP involved and after some to-ing and fro-ing, the DWP decided to reassess me and the Jobcentre agreed to back off until I had been reassessed.

    Maximus agreed to a home assessment after my GP wrote to tell them I would not be able to attend an appointment at one of their centres. After a year's (!!!) waiting for the home visit to be scheduled, it finally took place in December last year.

    I thought it had gone well- the assessor seemed to 'get it' and was very friendly. Unfortunately, this turned out to be very misleading. A few months later, the letter came through saying I had been found fit for work and my benefit stopped. I was devastated. On reading the report, the assessor had exaggerated many of the things I'd said (eg, saying that on good days I could have a trip out for coffee, became 'walks 10-15 minutes between different coffee shops' in her report).

    The result of this has been having no income for the last two months. My anxiety and physical illness meant that I couldn't even go to the Jobcentre to claim JSA. Thankfully I had some savings which have tided me over, but it's been an incredibly stressful and upsetting time.

    I didn't have much hope going into the Mandatory Reconsideration phase, having heard that the decision was very unlikely to be overturned at this stage. I phoned CAB, who reiterated this, then advised me to write a bland, concise letter asking them to look again at my case and detailing the points I thought I should have scored for the different descriptors which were relevant to me. They also said I needn't bother sending in extra medical evidence as it was so unlikely to succeed at this stage.

    I wrote the letter as advised, adding a two-page list of inaccuracies in the medical report. I didn't rant or rave, or say anything about how stressed I was- rather, I stuck to the facts, going through the descriptors I felt I should have met and giving examples from my day to day life to back this up. I also copied in my GP and MP to this letter and emailed my MP separately to explain the situation. His advice was that I SHOULD get my GP to write in as part of my Mandatory Reconsideration request. After a lot of chasing, my GP finally wrote a very brief letter which I felt was not very helpful- he mentioned my anxiety problems, but very little about my physical illness. I reluctantly sent it off anyway.

    Today, about 20 days after sending in my GP's letter, I heard back that I've been placed in the Support Group! I was so surprised, having heard from all sides that the chances of this happening were very slim.

    I'm not sure why my case was overturned at the MR stage, but I suspect that them knowing my MP was involved was an advantage. Also, I emphasised their own regulations- for example, I asked them to pay careful attention to their own stipulation that descriptors must be able to be achieved 'as often as you need'.

    I would advise anyone going through this process to get your MP involved in any dispute. I would also recommend recording your assessment to avoid the assessor elaborating on what you've said. Also, during the assessment, emphasise the limitations around the things you can do- eg 'yes, I can occasionally walk 200m, but I would only be able to do this about once a week and would usually need to rest lying down afterwards.' You really do have to spell it out for them. I've learnt the hard way that anything you say you can do can be taken out of context and exaggerated by a dishonest assessor.

    Sorry this is such a long post, but I hope it will be of some help/encouragement to someone going through this tough process. Hang in there!
    Fantastic news, Thankyou for sharing other people going through MR process will be encouraged by your news I'm pleased for you

  4. #4
    that's great news,proof it's always good to see it through until the end

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