Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
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    Unhappy ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    Hello,

    I'm having some problems with an appeal for ESA. I don't really know what I'm doing, and I've just recieved a large pack containing all the evidence and notes for my appeal but no real information of what to do next. I was awarded 0 points on my ATOS medical examination and wrote to appeal last month, but it has come back 0 points again and when I look closer the decission was not re-examined.

    The report says that a revision of the decission has been refused, and the statement from the decission maker is 'No further evidence has been provided and I see no break of the law so I did not look at this decission again.' Firstly, I included a letter from my GP to confirm the medical conditions I do have and have been seeking treatment for as well as my own reasonings as to why the medical report was inaccurate (in rather straightforward bullet points), so new evidence is there, and secondly, I do not question a break in the law, I question my physical examination and being awarded 0 points.

    They also have included a sheet that runs down the point boundries and breakdowns. Straight away I notice things such as [iii] Person is unable to move around or get too places with which they are unfammilliar [6 points] and [iii] Person is unable to walk for more than 200 metres on level ground without stopping due to pain. [6 points] Such simple things, yet ones which have obviously been overlooked because the basis of my claim is to do with muscle and spinal problems effecting my back and knees. I am also registered blind with septo-optic dysplaxia and 6/60 vision, and also suffer from anxiety and an underactive thyroid which has yet to be regulated at a safe amount for more than a 6 month period. I take Levothyroxine, Tramadol and Beta-blockers currently. I also recieve both counts of DLA for my registered blindness.

    I never had any intention of cutting myself off from a world of work because of my disability, to do so would make things difficult to think about... But, then the pain struck last year. It was causing my anxiety to increase to the point where I was having panic attacks, and my doctor as well as Job center advisers told me to go onto ESA. I have since been working out a Levothyroxine dosage and attending Physiotherapy. It's my hope to return to work when I am better, but I have been locked away virtually immobile for months now, which has effected my muscles, mental state and so on. I need to be able to get better, but instead, I am hit with this appeal where I feel I am not even being listened too.

    Firstly - how can anyone with a registered disability score 0? I had to have someone follow me at school, to help me with mobility and daily tasks, to make sure I brought no harm to myself or others, or personal property, etc. They piled help upon me when I wanted to avoid it and 'be normal', and now that I need it, I somehow do not count any longer. Secondly - I just don't want to go to a Tribunal, I'm terrified. If I get anxiety attacks from leaving my house how can I better prepare and deal with this please?

    I am unaware of who to talk too, what representation means, etc... Though I have read the sticky post about ESA and Tribunals and so on. Thank you for that it was very helpful!


  2. #2
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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    I am unaware of who to talk too, what representation means, etc... Though I have read the sticky post about ESA and Tribunals and so on. Thank you for that it was very helpful!

    Hello and welcome to CAGicon. I think that might be my sticky. If you want to prepare a document for a tribunal, you can go through what Atos said about you with a fine tooth comb and highlight all the errors. The sticky templateicon letter is designed for you to slot in your own information and tell them what score you think you should have been awarded.

    It's possible to send your document to the tribunal and have a written 'hearing', but I believe the success rate is higher if you can attend. I didn't want to but it worked for me.

    As for representation, you might be able to find someone from Welfare Rights via the CAB. You could also speak to DIAL or MIND who have helped some people here.

    I hope that's a start for you and that other people will comment.

    My best, HB

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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    Yes, I believe it was.

    I did go through and seperate the points into bullet points, explaining where I felt I should have been awarded points using their own guide and the problems I faced during my 'medical'. However, the Decission Maker apparently refused to look at the decission so I don't think any of it was read... He said there was no new evidence right under a sentence acknowledging reciept of a GP's statement. So... I'm very confused.

    I assume that if I am there to point this out in words it might be easier, as you say? I'd just need help dealing with the anxiety of that I think.

    Thank you for the ideas. My mum suggested DIAL to me. x)

    Thanks.


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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    Thank you for welcoming me too! Sorry - a little all over the place mentally.

    You have helpful and wonderful forums here.


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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sura View Post
    Thank you for welcoming me too! Sorry - a little all over the place mentally.

    You have helpful and wonderful forums here.
    I'm pleased we're helping . I expect you'll have some more comments.

    HB

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    Nottingham1989 [with leemack] June 2011
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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    I should make a checklist of questions to make what I'm asking clearer.

    What can I expect from a Tribunal?
    I have heard quite a long and scary post about how I should not panic, and be confident, and prepare X, Y and Z and know exactly what to say and... things that I am just incapable of doing!
    How can I find a representitive or someone to help? Can it be a friend/relative?
    Is there anyone bar my doctor and councellor I can speak too for mental/anxiety help?
    Has my appeal been handled in the right way?
    I can not believe it was simply 'refused' to be revised and I was told I had no new evidence. It's not true at all.


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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    Have you spoken to your local council to see if they have a welfare rights advisor, normally they will help filling in the forms, prepare a case and attend the tribunal with you.

    My hubby would not have won his tribunal on both ESA and DLA without the help of the local welfare rights.

    It's well worth enquiring.


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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    Someone at CAB will help you with forms and to prepare your appeal papers, do go to them. Unfortunately the criteria for accessing a Mind advocate is whether or not you access support from your CMHT so you may not be eligible for that. Yes, you can take a friend or relative to the Tribunal however if they are not official advocate the panel may not like to hear from them and might want answers from you.

    As to the DM not looking at your appeal, they don't have to. They don't say yey or ney depending on diagnosis and whether someone is registered disabled but on what you can and can't do, so this is what the dispute is about atm. You say you can't do x y and z and they say you can, the evidence they wanted to prove your points therefore can't be from you and must be from health professionals etc. - that's the DWP standpoint. However once you are at Tribunal, the panel will hear from you and are very likely to believe you and you have a high chance of success here. Try not to worry about the Tribunal, it is far less scary than the ATOS medical imo and I've been to both more than once each.

    My recommendations, see the CAB to get advice and support with your paperwork ready for the tribunal and take someone with you even if it's just for moral support. You can do this.


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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    I can empathise with your anxiety but agree that the tribunal is not as scary as the ATOS medical. I found the professional panel much more approachable and understanding and I also won my case by having a Welfare Rights Officer attending. They do a marvellous job.


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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    Thank you for the help. I think I'll contact Welfare Rights and CAB once I recieve the form I have to fill in.

    feelingsad, you say the new evidence had to come from a healthcare professional? It did. I had my GP write a statement where she explained the illnesses I do have, the medication I take, how long I had been treated with her, and recommended I do not seek employment until my illness and pain had passed. It was new evidence for the appeal and was not even looked at or discussed.


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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    Sura, did the GP say you are unable to do x y and z though? Because a diagnosis, length of illness or a GP's recommendation to work or not doesn't influence the DWP, it's what you are physically able to do or not do they need evidence of iykwim. However as I say the Tribunal panel will listen to your oral evidence and have far more knowledge of your condition and how it will affect you so they will take note of what your GP has said.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    No! That would be why then, I assume. They don't exactly make it clear, do they?

    I can ask my Physiotherapist, who knows how far I can walk without pain, bend and so on and so fourth. It feels very awkward to ask these people to do such specific things though.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    Good idea, that's the exact kind of evidence you need Sura. It's easier for physical disabilites to prove you can't do z y and z, it is the can't do the things because of mental health issues that is harder to prove and why the ATOS medical has proved inadequate in the past for mental health purposes. Last year Harrington acknowledged this and said changes were made but the results are still proving poor. Many people are being passed fit for work by ATOS but at Tribunal 70% of those that go to Tribunal are successful in overturning that decision. That's because Tribunal panel members understand conditions etc.! The system is really poor, people would get better and be fit for work far sooner without the stress of Tribunals and appeals so the system is costing the Government/country money.


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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    I agree. I think a new system based on timings might be helpful. I know that my case is only temporary - or my Physiotherapist assures me he can help me reduce pain and get better enough, slowly increasing how far I can move without pain and how frequently this can happen, etc. My disability obviously isn't temporary but I've never planned on not seeking a career because of that alone.

    As for cases of mental issues, I know my own anxiety has been there since I was a teenager, I saw a few professionals at school and after, but it was clearing up before this happened, managable with medication and various mental exersises, but with my muscular problems I have been trapped indoors for about six months and now minor things, even going to speak to GP scare me. My partner has been left doing our shopping and things which I feel terrible for. But obviously the thought of having to do this whole Tribunal has caused a meltdown. I'd had four serious panic attacks before, to the level of needing assistance, being sick etc, and since I've had these problems (July '11) I've had another four.

    I worry for people wo have more threatening illnesses, or more severe disorders than myself. Usually, you'd think they would not need to appeal at all, but to share a story, my Uncle, who is in his thirties and a Project Manager, had to quit work after being diagnosed with Kidney failure. He has to attend dialasis three times a week for 5/6 hours, and that will usually leave him feeling sick or exhausted for the rest of the day. So, his only good days at Tuesday, Thursday and the Weekends. He has regular hospital checks, operations if necessery and has been known to sometimes faint, fall asleep or come over dizzy. With basic, hard, medical FACTUAL proof, he still had to go through this process of a tribunal. That to me is where a system is screwed up.


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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    I just found the actual report from the medical examiner. I don't see the point in trying when things like this happen. I have found many untruths, vague or forced statements and things we did not even speak about.

    For example, he states 'able to recieve visits from her mother despite anxiety,' ...My mother lives in Birmingham, I live in the North East. We never spoke of this at all. He also states I 'tidies up and vaccums despite pain,' after I said 'Once or twice I try to help my partner because I feel guilty but it always hurts too much.' Just an example or two. No actual mention of septo-optic dysplaxia or what it might involve anywhere on the form.


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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    My first ATOS medical was very similar. The HP asked me to bend forwards and I explained that due to the spinal problems (evidenced with x-ray reports and GP report) I can bend and would be able to but it would really hurt at the time and causes me pain that lasts days and incapacitates me for that duration and the nurse said "Oh, don't bend then" and the report turned up saying "* declined to bend when asked"! No mention of why, and actually I didn't decline, I offered to do it despite the pain but she told me not to when I explained how painful it would be. The Tribunal was where it was sorted and I got the impression that they rolled their eyes at the ATOS medical report as well.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    I had no idea that it was like this, in honesty. I knew some people had had a harsh time of it trying to prove they were unfit for work, and that it could cause them further illness and distress, but this is... shocking to me.

    I'm sorry to hear of your expirience.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    So far this is my plan of action. I am writing it here mostly to try and clear my mind and make sure I have guidelines and goals so I can stop getting into panics, but it may help anyone else preparing for Tribunal;

    - Read through the ATOS report and annitate/write up where and how it is incorrect.
    - Wait on the forms they say they are sending. When they arrive I plan to contact someone from Welfare Rights to help me in filling them out and attending the Tribunal as advised on here.
    - List what you are unable to do/what makes you unfit for work in the simplest terms.
    - Compare this list to their own chart and calculate how many points you think you should have recieved.
    - Prepare medical and social evidence to support these points. I have been informed that the DWP will only take this evidence into account if it states what you are unfit to do directly, so I will have to ask my GP, Physio and so on to be blunt.
    - Write the above information into a document. I am going to use the one from the sticky.

    I am lucky in that my partner can help me with most of the above, but asking various consultants for evidence and speaking to someone new from Welfare Rights terrifies me.

    For me It's become a case of either having a panic attack now or avoiding it, staying in the house and having a panic attack later when I can not pay any bills. I don't know at what stage this became okay... But hopefully putting it into baby steps will help.

    For anyone who's been through it, does this seem like a firm plan of action?



  19. #19
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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    Yes, well done. Try to keep calm inbetween bouts of working on it. Do you know about Mindfulness? Google it if not. This can help.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: ESA Tribunal Aid - Practical and Mental?

    Hello again. I'm not sure what form you mean. My tribunal was a while ago now, but all I sent in was the templateicon that is now the sticky.

    Wait on the forms they say they are sending. When they arrive I plan to contact someone from Welfare Rights to help me in filling them out and attending the Tribunal as advised on here.

    My best, HB


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    Please consider making a small donation to help keep this site running
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    If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

    IB/ESA Tribunal template successes [that I know about]:
    honeybee13 April 2008; brighton gal January 2010 ; cbbc May 2010 lee100 September 2010 HadEnough October 2010 nitelite February 2011 Pritti March 2011
    Nottingham1989 [with leemack] June 2011
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