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Everything posted by reallymadwoman

  1. So after a trial we've bought a FoldandGo (can't link to the supplier obviously, but a search will find them) imported from the USA, and so far it's coped with everything, even off road up a stony, rutted slope and up the garden across what could very loosely be called grass, though I'd still be very wary of wet or muddy ground. It's barely more than 30cm wide when folded, which it does in seconds, and only weighs 25kg so is relatively easy to get in the car, either in the boot or behind the driver's seat if the boot is needed for other stuff. And the best thing isn't that I have my freedom back, it's that I have my confidence back. The difference in other people's attitudes is really quite astounding - on a mobility scooter I was a nuisance, in a powered wheelchair everyone is very quick to offer help so I have no fears at all about getting stuck somewhere etc. I am already so confident that I booked a flight yesterday and plan to get myself to the airport this end, though I am being met at the other end. Having only previously travelled with a manual wheelchair and with a companion, I'm a bit nervous, but I'm still going to do it.
  2. The first thing you/he should do is look at the descriptors (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/228/contents/made, Schedule 1) and decide if you think the award of 6 points is appropriate - if you read other ESA threads you will find that people are often given fewer points than they should receive. Your son has 4 weeks from the date of the notice to query the result so this needs to be done quickly. You could also ring DWP and ask for a copy of the report - again, it's not unusual for people to think they've received someone else's report by mistake as the information recorded bears no resemblence to what was actually said. If there's any chance that the assessment is wrong, then mandatory reconsideration (waste of time, but has to be done as part of the process) then an appeal should be the next step.
  3. Shame you didn't get the name of the HCP, they could hardly lie if asked directly.
  4. For future reference, if you're already in the right group, there is no advantage to chasing after an appointment if your nerves can stand the waiting. ESA awards don't end until you've been found fit for work following a face to face, so delaying the face to face as long as possible and thereby delaying any potential hassle re appealing etc would seem sensible.
  5. They won't obtain any medical evidence themselves, they will rely on what you put on your form and their opinion of your limitations. It's not uncommon for the assessor to totally ignore medical evidence if they even bother to read it. Also, if they're anything like ATOS, no one with any sense will have read anything you submitted before deciding you must have a face-to-face assessment, and all anyone will have read is your name and address - the bit on the form about adjustments you might need to attend an assessment is there purely for show. I'd heard Capita were more amenable to home visits, but certainly ATOS will only do a home visit if you supply proof that you can't leave the house.
  6. Has anyone have any experience of the newish folding electric wheelchairs, like the Pride i-go? I'd have to give up any hope of using bridlepaths etc, but I could at least get to the local shops on my own, it would leave plenty of room in the car boot for other things and we wouldn't have to change cars again.
  7. Enquired with Motability about the cost of a suitable powered chair and nearly fell of the one I'm sitting on. Over 3 years they get more than 3 times the cost of buying it outright myself, what are they, a pay day loan company?
  8. Yes I have a blue badge and we have a car that was new and adapted for me only 18 months ago. An electric wheelchair would go in the boot, but it wouldn't allow any room for anything else. In town centres etc I always have someone with me (I don't drive and public transport in the area is non-existant even if I could use it) who can push the manual wheelchair so that's not a problem, it's getting out locally on my own and ideally being able to negotiate slightly rougher terrain. I only have reasonable grip in one hand and the scooter I've been using has a lever which you push forward to go forward, which I can do, but to pull back to reverse I have to let go of the handlebars so I can't steer at the same time.
  9. Thanks for the help. We're thinking about the information provided, it's a difficult decision because it affects the whole family. I'm wondering how badly I need to get out on my own!
  10. I can't easily use the one I have with one hand as I can't operate the lever to go forward or reverse and steer at the same time.
  11. If you really believe someone is claiming benefits to which they are not entitled, then you can report them to DWP. I would urge you to be absolutely sure before you do that though - having been the victim of malicious reports, I can say that it's horrendously stressful to be wrongly accused.
  12. After receiving the assessment report, I ended up complaining to ATOS because the nurse who did the assessment appeared to have selected descriptors at random and hadn't justfied anything or even mentioned any of the evidence I sent in. Atos first responded by saying claimants recollections of assessments are often inaccurate, but then when I pointed out the assessment was done on paper so there couldn't be any dispute as to what information was provided, they changed tack and said that the senior medical officer had reviewed the report and it was an accurate reflection of the evidence provided. He apparently hadn't noticed that she'd missed my vision problems and an issue with my hands that makes it impossible for me to use crutches, and despite providing the OT's report about my wheelchair, she decided I could walk more than 20 metres using crutches! The justification for a 3 year award was, and I quote, '3 years is reasonable', which to me is the same as saying 'because I said so'. Pretty much every single page has a mistake on it, including pretty obvious ones such as the descriptor ticked not matching what she'd written at the bottom. From later information provided by ATOS the review was carried out after all the paperwork had been returned to DWP and they didn't think it necessary to see the evidence in order to say the report was accurate. ATOS obvioulsy didn't uphold my complaint so it went to ICE just over a year ago. Apparently it should be allocated to an investigator next month. I hope he's quick, as I'm expecting the renewal paperwork by the end of November when we will no doubt be going through the whole thing all over again.
  13. I have no direct experience of this situation, but you need to be quite careful and consider some less obvious issues before making a decision to give up your ESA. Some thoughts:- 1. If you're in the Support group, the effects of your condition must be quite serious. Are you absolutely sure you could manage even part time work? Would it be possible for you to do fewer hours for a while to see if it suits you, particularly if you would be able to do that under the permitted work rules? The problem is that if you give up your ESA to start work and then can't manage the hours, you may have extreme difficulty getting back into the support group or even getting any award of ESA - if you think you're capable of work, then DWP are likely to agree with you. If you can, it would be much better to do some permitted work first. 2. You don't have to give a reason for stopping your ESA, but if you have to reclaim, they will know that you have been working. I'm not sure on the rules for 'linked claims' now, but it used to be that you had to reclaim within quite a short time for your claims to be linked together so that e.g. you still qualify for contribution based ESA without having had to make sufficient NI contributions. If you don't reclaim within that time, then it's treated as an entirely new claim, you'd be back on the assessment rate until your WCA and you wouldn't get any increase if they put you in WRAG. 3. Working should not affect your PIP unless what you are doing contradicts the limitations you have claimed, so if the rules were fairly applied there would be no effect on your existing or any future award. You don't have to tell them if you start or stop work, but assuming you have a time limited award, it will certainly come up when you're reassessed. 4. Have you checked the rules for WTC if you're disabled? Would you have to do 16 hours to claim? Could you possibly get help with transport costs under access to work? 5. Does anyone claim carer's allowance for you? Have you considered the effect on them if you start working and lose your PIP award? Also if you get disability premiums on any other benefits or someone else gets carer's premiums on their benefits, have you taken those into account? That's all I can think of for now. It might sound negative, but taking a chance on returning to work could have quite serious repercussions in the future. However, if you do decide to take the job, I wish you the best of luck.
  14. Why respond at all? It will just make them think you're going to respond every time.
  15. If you wanted to avoid any chance of a confrontation or any allegation of being intimidating, a polite note (keep a copy) through the letter box might help.
  16. If there's no restriction in your lease about the type of vehicle you can park then so long as you don't breach any other condition, e.g. causing a nuisance by blocking someone's light, then the management company have no right to impose restrictions. Even the landlord couldn't make any changes without your permission.
  17. They are in fact using the legislation from when ESA was first introduced to do these interviews and Nystagmite is correct, they did do what was called a 'work focused interview' then immediately after the WCA so presumably they had some idea how likely a return to work might be. They were scrapped almost immediately.
  18. It would be easier for you to have someone else complete the form, but you have a good starting point for doing it yourself if you have to, and you can't afford to wait too long to get started. Start by copying across any information from your old form which hasn't changed plus updating the list of diagnoses and medication. Try doing one page a day to make it more manageable as it is quite a daunting form, however not all of it will apply to you. For new information, draft it out on a piece of paper first so you can make sure you don't forget to include anything. You don't have to tick any of the boxes if they don't exactly apply to you, for example the one I remember was going out which didn't give an option of 'never' so I didn't tick any of the boxes. Try to give as much factual information as you can, something along the lines of 'I can't do/I have difficulty doing (this activity) because (condition) means that if I try (this happens). To give a random example which is all I can think of at the moment, I have difficulty chopping vegetables because I have poor grip so I can't hold the knife firmly enough. If I try, it takes me a very long time and I often cut myself when the knife slips. If in the meantime you can get an appointment at CAB, then you'll have already made a start which they'll find helpful as you are the best person to know how your conditions affect you, and if you can't get an appointment, then you will be able to carry on by yourself.
  19. May have more information after the fire brigade do a site inspection, but for now so far as I am aware they spoke to the management company on Friday and told them to either remove the padlock or give out the combination immediately. They did nothing until today when they confirmed that they're keeping the padlock but displaying the combination code inside the building, however they can't give the code for the existing padlock because 'it has been tampered with', which I presume means someone removed it again.
  20. Confirmation received today from the management company that the combination code for the padlock will in future be displayed on the communal notice board. Thanks again for the help and support - just having someone else say we're not being unreasonable is a huge help.
  21. Did you keep a copy of your previous form or could you get a copy from CAB? If so, you could copy across anything that hasn't changed and just update anything that needs updating. If you have a care plan or anything else which might prove how severe your problems are, then include copies. Did you have a face to face assessment last time, and if so did you ask for a copy of the report?
  22. Except that medically qualified people say they're not - there are many, many people only 4 weeks into an ESA claim who would not gain any benefit from such an interview and could be harmed by even trying to attend.
  23. The only advice I've been able to find is to contact CAB for help. It is usually recommended that you get professional help to challenge a tribunal decision.
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