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Everything posted by marie72

  1. Cumbrian Peasant - I have sent you a PM. I haven't been online for ages due to very poor mental health. Rae, I'd like to thank you for all your help with the letter for my appeal, which has now been passed to tribunal stage as obviously - I was found fit to work after all the 'discrepencies' at my medical. I wish you all the best of luck. -Marie
  2. Something similar happened to me. When I left work due to sickness, I rang them and told them straight away. They said they would continue to pay my working tax credit for four weeks after the date. They kept paying it after then, so I called them and asked them to stop. The woman I spoke to said I had never called her in the first place to say I had left work and therefore would have to repay all the money back. She was incredibly rude on the phone and basically called me a liar, saying there was no record of my call, so I didn't phone in. Well, an intemised phone bill soon resolved that matter! In the end, it turned out they owed me nearly £2,000 as they never had my daughter who was in full-time education on my claim.... even though I made them aware of this when I first went back to work.
  3. My 10 year son has dyspraxia and like your little boy, has much the same problems. He is on the waiting list to see an OT at present. The school nurse made the diagnosis of dyspraxia - he has NOT been officially diagnosed by the Occupational therapist as yet. The waiting list is really long here. Yes, you can make a claim for DLA, an official diagnosis makes it easier, but it's not always necessary. Don't be put off by the size of the form and if you get refused, appeal. Nearly everyone gets refused first time unfortunately. I would say, yes you can make a claim for DLA
  4. All the very best Rae. -Marie
  5. Is it this one? Labour BeLittle's Britains Wheelchair users | Facebook#
  6. I've never heard of the Job Center imforming the council before, I always thought that it was up to the claimant. I can't understand why they told you that at all. I recently appealled against an overpayment of £2,500 HB and £900 CT and won. While I was working, I went down to my local council area office with details of my Child Tax Credit, wage slips and Working tax credit and was told I didn't have to pay any rent or Council Tax as my wages were so low. Well that didn't sound right to me, so I kept asking them if they were correct in their calculations. They kept telling me not to worry and it was all fine. Then in December I had a letter telling me of the overpayments. I appealled on the grounds that I had visited the council office on four occassions because I was convinced that they had made an error and I was given incorrect information. After investigation, all the visits I had made were logged and it was decided that the front line staff had made the error and the overpayment was wiped off. I hope really hope things work out for you. JCP and DWP are pretty poor at communication at times and I personally would not have accepted what I was advised and informed the council of the changes myself. If you have the money saved aside though and can prove that the Job center advised you that they would inform the council for you, hopefully it will be seen that you acted in good faith.
  7. I'm a Born and bred Bristolian! Talking of dialect one of the funniest things I've heard in my life was when I was about 14, my father, a very keen gardener gave our nextdoor neighbour some rather large leeks. I then heard my neighbours wife's exclaim from the kitchen..... "Cor, theyze gert big uns, werz get they?" "He next dorr giz um I"
  8. I wouldn't worry about it too much. I was on IS between periods of employment a few years back. I had very much the same letter. A DWP person just came out and just checked all my details were correct. I was worried about it at the time, but everything was fine. -Marie
  9. Many thanks for your help again Rae, just spent the best part of today writing a letter of complaint to DWP and ATOS. I'm far from subtle though and am worried it might be a bit 'sarcastic'. Not that I've got anything to be sarcastic about mind you, regarding my medical assesment.......
  10. Congratulations! I am so pleased for you and your family -Marie
  11. Ok....one more question! Where exactly do I need to send this letter? Any specific address? Sorry for the questions guys. I'm just totally in the dark. Cheers -Marie
  12. Many, many thanks for your help Rae. Very much appreciated. -Marie P.S oh and Patrickq1 also of course!
  13. How would I go about doing that Subject access request? Do I need to fill in a specific form, or just send an email to ATOS? I'm totally clueless here. Thanks people. -Marie
  14. I had my medical assesment for ESA on 12th April. Last Friday I telephoned DWP and asked for a copy of my medical report. Well, I expected to be waiting a fair few weeks for it. I got a shock as it turned up in the post this morning. It probably won't come as a surprise to anyone that there seemed to be quite a few discrepencies on there...to say the very least. I suffer from bi-polar, my condition led to me loosing my job in February. Currently I am on anti-psychotic drugs as I have been in one of the worst manic phases I have ever had the 'pleasure' of experiencing. This leads me to have hallucinations and paranoid thoughts. Yes I mentioned this fact to the 'registered nurse' who did my medical. I also told her that I had seen my G.P only the week before, who told me that she wants to see me every week for the foreseeable future as I am walking a 'tightrope' in regards to my mental stability. Well, surprise, surprise.... "No hallucinations", "No paranoid thoughts" on the medical report..... I had a representative from mind with me, who took notes. Of course he was told that these notes would not be allowed to be used in an appeal or tribunal before he started writing. I was so upset by this report that I telephoned the DWP and told them about the misrepresentations on the form. I was then told, very coldy that I should never have been given the medical report so quickly as it hadn't even been put on the system yet. The lady I spoke to sounded very perturbed that I had effectively obtained the notes before she had. I just can't believe how the DWP can get away with this.
  15. All the very best for tomorrow. Really hope things go well for you. -Marie
  16. I'm really glad that you have a copy of your claim form, I think that's vital to have. I can only advise you on what I would do, or am doing, if it might possibly help you in anyway then I am only to happy. I would add the details of the hospital doctor who is currently accessing your son and also state that your son is waiting to see a speech therapist. My son is waiting to see an OT at present, I put this on my claim form although there is no report at present as he is still very far down on the waiting list unfortunately. If you can get some support from the hospital doctor to give some light on your sons condition and care needs, It may help your claim. I know what you are going through. My son is eleven and will be going to secondary school in September. He still has problems with wetting and soiling due to his condition. He will sit in it all day as he is too ashamed and embarased to tell the teacher. He is constantly bullied and comes home crying nearly everyday. I am being called into the school office by the headmistress several times a month where she tells me about his behaviour issues and what I must do at home to stamp this out, then in the school report for DLA she fails to mention any of this! The mind boggles... Hang on in there and keep fighting. I certainly am. -Marie
  17. I wish you all the very best with this Rae. I recently had my medical assesment for ESA. I have Bi-polar and was working as a care assistant until February of this year, when I had probably the worst manic phase I've ever experienced - it lead to me loosing my job. The 'health proffessional' that did my medical assesment, didn't seem to have a clue about my condition either. I read somewhere, can't remember for the life of me where now, that a midwife qualifies under the name of 'health proffesionals and have been used to carry out ESA medicals.
  18. If it was me in your situation, I would write a very strong letter of complaint. It seems to me that they are incompetent beyond belief (as we all know they are) - or they have 'accidently, on purpose' lost your son's file.... (edit) Can I ask did you make a copy of your origional claim form? DLA is really getting incredibly difficult to claim these days. My son has severe dyspraxia, and like you, his school said 'oh he's fine', despite him coming home in tears every single day due to bullying. Funny though that I have been called into the school on countless occasions to listen to his teacher tell me just how, un-organised, distracted, clumsy and disruptive he is. How he is so far behind other children in the fact that he can't use a knife and fork, hold a pencil, dress himself or tie his own shoe-laces! On his school report for DLA, they failed to mention any of these things! If you can get legal aid, see a solicitor who specializes in benefits. It's just unbelievable that only now they tell you they've lost your file! I was actually shocked when I read it.
  19. marie72


    She's not the only one, check this out... http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/04/16/too-unfit-to-work-too-fit-for-benefits-115875-22189295/
  20. Hi, Could you put up a link for the group on facebook please. I found one group under 'give it back' but don't think it's correct. I am at the moment posting and contacting as many UK disability forums as possible. The more people that know about this the better. Marie
  21. Hi, I just joined this site. I am currently contacting as many organizations as possible about this and have written to my local MP and newspaper. This is taken from the Benefits and work site. Apologies if it has been posted before. I am really concerned about this. As taken from Benefit and Work's Forum: 13 April 2010 Tens of thousands of claimants facing losing their benefit on review, or on being transferred from incapacity benefit, as plans to make the employment and support allowance (ESA) medical much harder to pass are approved by the secretary of state for work and pensions, Yvette Cooper. The shock plans for ‘simplifying’ the work capability assessment, drawn up by a DWP working group, include docking points from amputees who can lift and carry with their stumps. Claimants with speech problems who can write a sign saying, for example, ‘The office is on fire!’ will score no points for speech and deaf claimants who can read the sign will lose all their points for hearing. Meanwhile, for ‘health and safety reasons’ all points scored for problems with bending and kneeling are to be abolished and claimants who have difficulty walking can be assessed using imaginary wheelchairs. Claimants who have difficulty standing for any length of time will, under the plans, also have to show they have equal difficulty sitting, and vice versa, in order to score any points. And no matter how bad their problems with standing and sitting, they will not score enough points to be awarded ESA. In addition, almost half of the 41 mental health descriptors for which points can be scored are being removed from the new ‘simpler’ test, greatly reducing the chances of being found incapable of work due to such things as poor memory, confusion, depression and anxiety. There are some improvements to the test under the plans, including exemptions for people likely to be starting chemotherapy and more mental health grounds for being admitted to the support group. But the changes are overwhelmingly about pushing tens of thousands more people onto JSA. If all this sounds like a sick and rather belated April Fools joke to you, we’re not surprised. But the proposals are genuine and have already been officially agreed by Yvette Cooper, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. They have not yet been passed into law, but given that both Labour and the Conservatives seem intent on driving as many people as possible off incapacity related benefits, they are likely to be pursued by whichever party wins the election. We know that many people will find this news deeply upsetting and even frightening and we know that some people will condemn us for publicising the planned changes or for the language that we are using to do so. But we also believe that it’s not too late to stop these ugly plans in their tracks if claimants and the organisations that represent them act now. With 1.5 million incapacity benefit claimants waiting to be assessed using the work capability assessment in the next few years and tens of thousands of people already on ESA and set to be reviewed annually, these changes will be of great concern to many voters – if they find out about them before polling day. So, please spread the word in forums and blogs and to people you know who may be affected. Ask any disability charity you have a connection with to speak out now, before election day, against these plans. You might also want to contact local newspapers and radio to warn people about the proposals. And above all, contact not just your MP, but the other candidates in your constituency, and let them know you will not be voting for anyone who does not loudly condemn this shameful attack on sick and disabled claimants. These plans really are a potential seat loser, but only if enough people know about them. Limited capability for work The biggest changes and cuts are to take place in the limited capability for work assessment which decides whether you are eligible for the work-related activity group of ESA. Claimants need to score fifteen points to be placed in this group unless they are exempt or covered by the exceptional circumstances rules. Walking The activity of walking has been replaced by the activity of ‘mobilising’, with the fifteen points for ‘Cannot walk at all’ to be removed. Instead of looking at how far you can walk with a walking stick or other aid if such aid is normally used, the test is now ‘Mobilising with or without a walking stick, manual wheelchair or other aid if such aid can reasonably be used’ In other words, even if you don’t use a wheelchair you can be assessed as if you did – an intention which is made clear in the body of the report. To score fifteen points you will need to show that you could neither walk nor wheel a wheelchair 50 metres without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion. If you cannot do so repeatedly ‘within a reasonable timescale’ you will also score fifteen points. Nine points are scored for 100 metres and 6 for 200 metres. This means that many people who get the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA may not be awarded ESA at all. Even the fifteen points for being unable to walk up and down two steps is to be cut to nine points. Standing and sitting Points for these activities have also been slashed. At the moment, you can score points if you can’t stand or if you can’t sit for given lengths of time. Under the revised test you will have to show that you can neither stand nor sit for more than 30 minutes at a ‘work station’ before having to ‘move away in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion’. Even then you will only score 9 points, or 6 points if you can last for an hour, not enough to be awarded ESA. Fifteen points are only available from this activity if you can’t move from one seated position to an adjacent one without help. The chair has also been changed from an upright chair to an ‘adjustable chair’ even though the reality is that these are not readily provided in most workplaces, regardless of what the Disability Discrimination Act might say. Bending and kneeling The activity of ‘Bending and kneeling’, for which 30 points are currently available, is to be completely done away with. Bizarrely one of the reasons for doing so is ‘health and safety reasons’ as people should not ‘bend forward when lifting’. Reaching The fifteen point descriptor for not being able to put either arm behind your back is to be ditched. Picking up The panel have decided that the fact that you do not have two hands should not be a reason for scoring points for problems with moving a half litre or one litre carton or moving a light but bulky object. They argue that ‘an item may be transferred by wedging it against the body, or another limb’ and that many amputees who chose not to have a prosthetic limb ‘remain able to complete the task’. All references to using hands in this activity are therefore to be removed. Manual dexterity The nine scoring descriptors for manual dexterity are to be reduced to just four. Problems with just one hand and problems with pouring will no longer score points and references to a ‘conventional keyboard’ are to be changed to a ‘suitable keyboard’. Problems with pressing a button are to be added. Speech, hearing and vision The three activities speech, hearing and vision are to be replaced with three new activities. Speech now becomes ‘Making self understood through speaking, writing, typing or other means normally used; unaided by another person’. To score fifteen points a claimant will need either to show that they: ‘Cannot convey a simple message, such as the presence of a hazard.’ or that they have ‘significant difficulty conveying a simple message to strangers.’ So, the fact that your speech cannot be understood by other people will no longer score points if, instead, you are able to write, type or communicate by ‘other means’. Hearing is replaced with: ‘Understanding communication by both verbal means (such as hearing or lip reading) and non-verbal means (such as reading 16 point print) using any aid if reasonably used; unaided by another person.’ To score fifteen points a claimant will have to show that they ‘Cannot understand a simple message due to sensory impairment, such as the location of a fire escape’ or that they have ‘significant difficulty understanding a simple message from a stranger’. Being unable to hear someone talking will no longer score points. Problems with vision have been turned into ‘Navigation and maintaining safety, using a guide dog or other aid if normally used.’ To score fifteen points you will need to be able to show that you are: ‘Unable to navigate around familiar surroundings, without being accompanied by another person, due to sensory impairment’ or that you cannot safely cross a road. Being unable to see well enough to read large print or to recognise people will no longer score points. Continence This is one area where the descriptors do seem to have been improved. Previously there were three separate and highly complex activities. These have been reduced to just one where the issue is whether the loss of bowel or bladder control or the leakage from a collecting device is ‘sufficient to require the individual to clean themselves and change clothing.’ If this happens at least once a month, fifteen points are scored. Consciousness Points for losing consciousness at least once a month are to be reduced from nine to six and a six point descriptor for losing consciousness twice in six months is to be axed. Mental, cognitive and intellectual function assessment The mental health and learning difficulties section of the WCA has been slashed from 41 point scoring descriptors to just 21. For example, one of the fifteen point and one of the nine point descriptors have been removed from the ‘Learning tasks’ activity, and a fifteen point descriptor has been removed from the ‘Getting about’ activity. The three activities relating to ‘Memory and concentration’, ‘Execution of tasks’ and ‘Initiating and sustaining personal action’ are all rolled into a single activity called ‘Initiating and completing personal action’. Currently claimants have 5 opportunities to score fifteen points outright from the three activities and many more opportunities to score fifteen points or more from a combination of points from the three activities. Under the new test, however, there will be just one opportunity to score fifteen points. This is likely to greatly reduce the chances of being found incapable of work due to such things as poor memory, confusion and depression. The three activities ‘Coping with social situations’, ‘Propriety of behaviour with other people’ and ‘Dealing with other people’ are to be reduced to two activities; ‘Coping with social engagement’ and ‘Appropriateness of behaviour with other people’. Again, the opportunities for scoring points have been considerably reduced. Limited capability for work-related activity The limited capability for work-related activity assessment decides who is eligible for the support group, based on any one of a range of descriptors applying to the claimant. These descriptors have largely been altered in line with changes to the work-related activity group. However, there are some notable changes and even some improvements. For example, distance for being unable to what we must now call ‘mobilise’ has been increased from the original 30 metres to 50 metres. In addition, there are now more ways to qualify for the support group on mental health and learning difficulties grounds. These include: ‘Awareness of hazard’, ‘Coping with change’, ‘Coping with social engagement’ and ‘Appropriateness of behaviour with other people’. However, descriptors relating to ‘Maintaining personal hygiene’ and ‘Eating and drinking’ have been removed. The exemptions relating to the support group are also to be widened to cover not just people who are receiving certain types of chemotherapy, but also people who ‘are likely to receive chemotherapy within the next six months’. It could have been worse In spite of some improvements in relation to the support group, overall the changes to the work capability assessment are likely to lead to many thousands more sick and disabled people being forced onto jobseekers allowance. And yet, it could have been even worse. The original changes proposed by the working group were even harsher. It was only after their proposals were looked at by the Chief Medical Adviser at the DWP, following complaints by disability group representatives, that some were toned down and additional points attached to some descriptors. It was this final review, contained in the Addendum, that was approved by the secretary of state. -Marie
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