I am reaching out to you as I'm absolutely exhausted with the WCA saga and I would be grateful for any help, advice, guidance, support. I'll try and keep this short...
Main medical conditions:
- Postural Tachycardia Syndrome - its a rare conditions, but an accurate description of symptoms is listed here: potsuk dot org/symptoms (please note: to diagnose POTS the heart rate has to increase by 30bpm after 10 minutes of standing, upon test mine increased from 65 to 140, so its obviously a more aggressive form of POTS).
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome & Hypermobility (symptoms: ehlers-danlos dot com/what-is-eds/)
- Previously had spinal fusion for scoliosis, in recent years the titanium rods in my spine broke; had a two-stage anterior and posterior corrective spinal fusion operation to take out the broken metals and extend the fusion,
- Major abdominal complications post spinal fusion op (just uploaded video here: youtube dot com/watch?v=P4GraSbCCy4 - eating food is not fun for me)
- Divarication of recti of at least 8cm.
- Other less significant conditions
The WCA saga (main points only):
I had returned the ESA questionnaire and a bundle of medical records in total weighing quarter of a kilo by recorded and signed for delivery. The Health Assessment Advisory Service and DWP claimed they didn't receive the bundle in time, even though they signed for it, and my benefits were stopped (including housing). I tried to dispute this, 3 separate advisers at HAAS and DWP intimidated me accusing me for not accounting for their internal delays despite having submitted my form in line for the deadline - it was as though they've been taught intimidation techniques from the same script. Anyways, after a battle that got restored. I feel sorry for those who did not send their forms recorded and signed for...
Due to various issues I registered formal complaints. In a complaint response HAAS wrote that medical records prior the year 2015 might not be considered, claiming its a DWP requirement for the documents to be 'recent'. This meant my medical records might not be accepted due to a 'bad' date and I did not have enough time to get my conditions to be re-diagnosed. (Note: this is contrary to their own WCA handbook gov dot uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/535065/wca-handbook-july-2016.pdf providing that medical history should be considered).
Anyway, the WCA went ahead. As expected by this point, the outcome was work activity group with compulsory JobCentre appointments under the threat of benefit sanctions etc. My GP wrote a sicknote, only to find out that DWP does not accept sick notes from sick people and their is no way to formally register sickness, so you have to go to Jobcentre or loose benefits. I attempted to go to the JobCentre, my heart rate became unbearable and I ended up in the A&E on the drip. This happened twice.
DWP told me I could submit for mandatory reconsideration, but would not grant me an extension for the deadline, nor would they allow me to access my medical report before the deadline to submit for the reconsideration. Effectively I was forced to submit a blind and a very week mandatory reconsideration request simply because I had no idea what I am disputing or asking them to reconsider. Naturally, I don't expect a positive outcome from that.
After eventually receiving and reading my medical report it became clear to me that the WCA was purposely conducted in a manner that would lead to a certain (unfavourable) outcome; I conclude so due to the excessively biased nature of the medical report. I find the assessor covered up my physical medical conditions and struggles, with some very significant medical history either left out or very subtly hidden at the back in the notes. The assessor went as far as to deny the symptoms of my conditions, making serious allegations and negligent recommendations. The effects/symptoms of my condition are not being recognised by the assessor (who apparently is a doctor). The assessor effectively denies all the symptoms and even alleges that I don't have any such symptoms (in relation to POTS) and that I only have an increased heart rate. It is even recommended in the assessor's report that I can "remain at a workstation standing unassisted by another person...for more than an hour before needing to move away in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion", which to me as a POTS sufferer (I faint from such activities) is just unthinkable. The assessor forgets to mention the broken metals in my spine altogether. Frankly I think the report is an outrage.
I believe aggressive practices are in place to disallow positive WCA outcomes. I also feel discriminated.
After getting my share of bullying from the DWP and their party of association I am starting to think it's not possible to get ESA anymore, unless you have a solicitor or the law behind you.
I'm just really tired now... Any help is much appreciated.