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Everything posted by reallymadwoman

  1. The advice in the post above yours is excellent. Are there any charities specifically in relation to your child's illness? If so, they may be able to help with an appeal. Try not to take it personally, DWP is apparently on a mission to reduce the benefits bill by any means possible and many, many people have to appeal to get benefits awarded for illness or disability these days, however the appeal success rate is quite high (over 60%) so don't despair.
  2. "The matter has been settled and the terms of the settlement are confidential".
  3. I've seen another thread in the last day or two mentioning using those tax years to assess a claim which turned out to have been issued in error, I wonder if the DWP have a gremlin issuing irrelevant letters at the moment? I know exactly what you mean about DWP envelopes - horrible sinking feeling at the mere sight of a brown envelope on the mat. I'd be tempted to ignore the letter for now, but if you have to phone or get someone to phone and query it.
  4. You might also consider contacting, or threatening to contact, Booking.Com as there's bound to be something in their terms and conditions which prevents property owners from doing exactly this, and depriving them of their commission.
  5. Yes, get your partner to write something, the more detail the better and giving examples wherever possible. If you let them read your form first, they should make efforts not to use your words but stick to what their own words. Letters from GP and psychiatrist are only useful if they say why you might meet some of the criteria or why it would cause a risk to you or someone else to find you fit for work. If they say no or just write something not useful, don't worry as most people don't have medical evidence. Not all assessors will agree to being recorded, however you can insist on rescheduling until they do find one who will agree. So far as your back is concerned, why not keep a diary of how you're affected every day and include an (edited if necessary) version of that? Your back might also affect your ability to sit and stand so don't just focus on walking, and include the side effects of the painkillers. Your tribunal report from last time would be useful if it details where they scored you points and, unless your condition is significantly different, it is definitely relevant if only to tell them you won't just let it go if you're found fit for work.
  6. My original post from a couple of days ago seems to have disappeared forever, so I'll try to recreate it. Not necessarily in this order, but I would :- 1. Check the list of descriptors (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/228/contents/made, in the Schedules) to see where you should score points. Make sure you give enough information to show how you meet each one, e.g. for mobilising, you could put something like 'I cannot walk more than a few steps without support because the pain in my hips is unbearable after less than a minute. I cannot use crutches or mobilise using a manual wheelchair because of the pain in my shoulders and hands. If I try to walk I end up in so much pain that I can't do anything else for the rest of the day and I am at risk of falling. The last time I tried to get to the toilet on my own during the night I fell and banged my head. Because my bones are so brittle there is a danger that I will suffer serious fractures if I fall.' Note the format - what you can/can't do (walk more than a few steps), why (because of pain), why you can or cannot need or use relevant aids (crutches or wheelchair), what happens if you try/when you last tried, use wherever possible and appropriate of 'risk' and 'danger'. 2. Browse the WCA handbook (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work-capability-assessment-handbook-for-healthcare-professionals) for more info on what the assessor will be looking for - if you can provide it on or with the form, there is an outside chance of avoiding a face to face at all. 3. Take your time filling in the form. Don't tick any of the boxes unless they fit your circumstances exactly, and don't be afraid to just put 'see attached' in the box and write an essay if it helps explain your problems. Use the descriptors and the handbook to make sure you cover all the relevant information. 4. When you think you've finished, leave it a day or two and then reread everything again to make sure you haven't missed something important - it's amazing how you can get so caught up in what you're writing that you believe you've written something which you haven't. 5. Include any medical information which is relevant and if you can get statements from anyone who helps you or knows you well, whether or not they're professionals. Their statements should focus on what your restrictions are and/or how much help you need day to day. If you have the information from your tribunal, include a copy of that too. 6. AT LEAST 4 days before the form is due back, and having taken copies of everything you are sending, take it to the post office and get a free proof of posting. 7. In the bit that asks about any special arrangements you might need, ask for the assessment to be recorded. 8. When you get an appointment, be aware that they won't necessarily have read anything you put so don't expect them to meet any of those special arrangements - phone to check, especially the recording bit. (You can have home assessments recorded too). 9. If you can, phone again the day before your assessment to check that a recorder is available. If it's not, or if it's not there when you turn up, you are entitled to insist that they re-schedule.
  7. I'm reassured that I wasn't imagining things anyway - if it doesn't reappear I'll try to repost in a day or so.
  8. I'm sure I posted a reply yesterday with links to the descriptors etc, but it seems to have disappeared?
  9. I took the lump sum, DWP weren't interested.
  10. Thanks for the advice. Making a counter-offer without the confidentiality clause seems to be the answer.
  11. The defendant in a fast track claim has made an offer for an amount which is acceptable to the claimant but is insisting on a confidentiality clause which the claimant does not want to sign. What are the potential cost implications if the claimant continues with the claim and is awarded that amount or less?
  12. I ended up having to go all the way to a Court hearing before Curry's compensated me for being messed around beyond belief over delivery of a washing machine, they didn't respond to anything until I actually issued proceedings. How long is it since the machine was delivered? Do you have anything from Curry's accepting that the machine was damaged prior to delivery? What solution would you prefer - repair, replacement or your money back?
  13. Probably quickest to phone and ask for the form. For reference, you only get severe disability premium with income-based ESA, not contribution-based.
  14. I'm not claiming compensation for the delay or care costs, I'm claiming for discrimination arising from disability so it does matter that I was separated from other passengers and put in a worse hotel. The Equalities Act applies to airlines just as much as any service provider, other than during the actual flight. I'm claiming for injuries and injury to feelings, the exact amount being based on the Vento scale and subject to the court's discretion. It's likely to be fast track not small claims.
  15. So after a lengthy silence whilst pursuing the complaint against Flybe, I would appreciate some independent opinions. I've dropped the cancelled flight claim for now to focus on other more important matters. Flybe have admitted in open correspondence that they deliberately accommodated me in a separate hotel from the other passengers and that they didn't arrange transport for me as they did for all the other passengers. The hotel where I was accommodated was of a lesser standard (3* instead of 4*, snack bar instead of renowned restaurant, in the middle of a run down residential area on the outskirts of the city instead of on the sea front in the middle of the tourist area). Flybe's only explanation for how I was treated is that they have a policy to offer no assistance to any passenger outside the airport building regardless of age or disability. They haven't explained how this resulted in me being carted around the city in unsafe taxis and ending up in a completely different hotel to everyone else - if they'd done it on racial grounds, it would be called segregation and is specifically identified as discrimination in the Equalities Act. Their latest offer is about 1/3 of what I consider to be the minimum acceptable and is subject to the usual gagging clause and denial of any wrongdoing or liability. If they want me to even consider agreeing to a gagging clause, they're going to have to make their offer so high that I won't risk court on costs grounds. I need to use this particular flight regularly to visit family, and I need to be reasonably sure that in the event of another cancellation I won't be abandoned again and so a gagging clause is wholly counter-productive - I'm sure airlines will only play ball if they know they'll be hit in the pockets if they don't and that relies on cases like mine being made public. Though originally trying to avoid Court, after the way Flybe have dealt with my complaint I'm now fully prepared to go all the way. I'm absolutely certain that proving indirect discrimination as an absolute minimum is a given in view of their blanket policy, and in view of their admission about the hotel I was put in and other matters, I'm as sure as I can be that I can prove discrimination arising from disability on a number of counts and probably direct discrimination as well. Leaving aside the question of costs, I'm of the opinion that even if I lost on every count at a first hearing and on appeal, I'd still have won because how Flybe treat disabled passengers will be on record as in Stott v Thomas Cook (http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/66.html&query=(airline)+AND+(montreal)+AND+(%22disability+discrimination%22)) where although the disabled passenger didn't get damages, Thomas Cook did not come out looking good. All sound reasonable or am I being a bit obsessive? Claim needs to be issued by 15th April at the latest.
  16. Please remember that no one will read anything you put on the form regarding the assessment, e.g. ground floor needed, and the appointment will be booked through their automatic system so you may need to check that the assessment centre is suitable once you receive an appointment. Also, no one will have read that you want the assessment recorded so you'll need to check that too. In fact, it's unlikely that anyone will have read anything on the form other than your name and address until just before the assessment.
  17. So far as I know you can still ask for assessments to be recorded, and definitely should. I'm overdue for reassessment by two years, and whilst I appreciate the peace (whilst I deal with the PIP assessment and subsequent complaint!) there's also that sword of damocles and the occasional stray thought as to whether the form has got lost in the post. Plus the panic attack every time there's a brown envelope in the post ... Good luck, and remember that if it's worth saying once it's worth repeating at every opportunity, mention 'risk' and 'danger' as often as possible and if their little tick boxes don't match your circumstances exactly, don't tick one.
  18. First, I think the Council pension guy may not be right. I have a number of small pensions each paid by a different company and nobody has made me 'compound' them, though one is only paid annually because it's a very small amount. Could you speak to PensionWise perhaps? Did he perhaps suggest she withdraw the whole amount as a lump sum and forgo any pension? I know the pension rules have changed enormously and there may be other options, though I don't think they would affect pensions already in payment. Second, it shouldn't make any difference whether the pension is paid annually, quarterly or monthly - if there is any reduction due to her ESA, it will be based on the equivalent weekly amount. Third, any lump sum should be treated as capital not income. I'm not a pension expert but I got a written quote from my providers which set out exactly how much my lump sum would be and how much the pension would be well in advance of when it was due to start, have you asked for a quote?
  19. You should continue sending fit notes until the decision is made.
  20. In theory, you can do voluntary work whilst on ESA. In practice, it is likely to be taken into account when you are re-assessed so it really depends on the nature of the work. There's a huge difference between being able to do an hour every so often sorting clothing for a charity shop and working one day a week for CAB, for example. You may find that being able to do any voluntary work suggests that you shouldn't be in the support group since this is for being 'not fit for work related activity'. You must also ensure that whatever work you're doing doesn't contradict the ESA or PIP assessment findings, for example, litter picking in the local park if you're not able to walk more than 50 metres might need some explanation. For most people doing some voluntary work is likely to be good for them, so I'm not trying to discourage you, just warning of some potential pitfalls. Without knowing what you've been awarded ESA and PIP for and what the work it, it's impossible to even guess what DWP might think.
  21. I've found involving the ICE generally has the effect of making DWP deal with stuff, and I do believe that often no one actually reads what is sent in.
  22. On a practical point, I would rather get the appeal in within the one month than argue about it and risk it being rejected for being late. You don't have to go into much detail at this point, you can do that later, so it shouldn't be difficult to submit it within three weeks. At this time of year, it's not that unreasonable for a second class letter (DWP never seem to use 1st) to take 5 working days to arrive.
  23. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/independent-case-examiner email them, they will tell DWP to deal with your complaint urgently.
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