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Hi all,

 

Came across this forum on Google following a BBC article on the subject, so I thought I'd post and see if there's any comments or suggestions :)

 

My wife has been a recipient of Incapacity Benefit since 2002 following a nasty horse riding accident which has left her (according to her osteopath) with an ligament overstrain injury to her lower spine. Result of which means she's in near constant pain and has long periods of restricted mobility.

 

She has "passed" 4 previous medical assessments in Bristol, however after moving to Hertfordshire in 2008 we were asked to attend a medical at Cambridge's ATOS premises in November 2009. The examiner was obviously disinterested in her condition and after a couple of weeks we had a letter back stating that she was no longer elligable for IB and the benefit was stopped.

 

We wrote back challenging the outcome and 3 months later in February we had a letter back stating that the decision had been upheld.

 

At this point we made an appointment with a local specialist benefits solicitor to see if there was anything we could do. She produced a submission letter for us stating that in her professional opinion my wife should have scored 62 points, not the 10 points awarded by ATOS. Now I do take that with a pinch of salt, given that the solicitor was being paid, but some of her points were damning, such as:

 

ATOS claimed my wife could stand for >20 minutes at a time / could sit for more >20 minutes. By ATOS's own submission, the entire medical lasted only 28 minutes, some of which was seated and some standing for the "excercises".

 

Fortunately for my wife I do work so I've been able to support her, but if she was on her own then she'd be screwed. It doesn't seem right that the DWP can do this? It smacks of the Gov't pressuring the DWP into trying to get as many people off benefits as possible, regardless of their entitlements... especially with this new ESA?

 

Anyway, we submitted our tribunal case at the end of March and are still awaiting a date. I rang them a couple of weeks ago and the person I spoke to suggested it'd be within a month as they were approximately 7 months behind.

 

I look forward to any comments / suggestions if anyone has any?

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Hello and welcome to CAG. If it helps you, I've been through a similar situation and have created a sticky on this forum, with the help of Erika and Bookworm. It talks about the appeals and mostly the tribunals system and gives you a template letter for the tribunal.

 

I hope we can help. HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi HB,

 

Thanks for the reply!

 

I saw the thread, it was nice and informative - we've been waiting since March for our tribunal date... fingers crossed :)

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Just an update to this, we've finally had the tribunal date through, 1 year to the day that the benefits were stopped and 8 months since it went to tribunal! Hopefully I'll have good news in a couple of weeks :)

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Hello again. Fingers crossed for you, please let us know if you need more help or how you got on.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Well the tribunal went ahead today, but was adjourned after it emerged that our letter from the doctor was missing from the tribunal's papers (despite being sent in at the same time as the osteopath and solicitors letters, which they did have) and the fact that the DWP had failed to provide the medical reports of the previous 2 medical examinations, despite my requesting my own copies which haven't arrived either.

 

At least we have a date for the next visit, at the end of February and the tribunal have demanded that the DWP provide the necessary information.

 

Will let you know how it goes in Feb :)

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That's a shame, what a lash-up by them. Good luck next time and thank you for letting us know. Have a good Christmas and try to put it to the back of your mind.

 

HB x


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Well the saga continues, turns out that the tribunal service itself has lost the DWP's medical report submission that the previous tribunal requested.

 

So now it's been adjourned again, I was not amused!

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Oh dear, I thought it was only the DWP that lost things. I hope you get a new date soon.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Well we're now over 18 months since the DWP pulled my wife's IB and still no new tribunal date. Gave them a ring the other day and was told that they couldn't speak to me, despite my wife giving them verbal and written authorisation that I can act on her behalf...

 

Eventually got through to a supervisor who said they'd "send a reminder"... I'm not holding my breath!

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If she wins she should be awarded IB for the following two and a half years and then she would not be migrated to ESA until that period was up.

 

This is only as the guidelines stand at the moment but I thought it worth mentioning.

 

Good luck.

 

- dj


Benefits rules are complex, and although I do try to inform and support people, I may get it wrong because the rules apply to individual claimants and their particular circumstances.

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Got some news at last - we finally received a letter last week saying that the DLA tribunal would not be until November at the very earliest... so I rang the tribunals people up again got really angry with them, all guns blazing (Not something I do regularly!)

 

It seems to have worked because we received a letter yesterday to say that the tribunal for both the IB and the DLA will be heard at the same time on the 28th of July. Result!

 

Now we just have to see if it goes our way or not... fingers crossed.

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Hello again. That must be a relief for you both.

 

Please let us know if you help with anything prior to the hearing.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Will do :)

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At last some good news to report :)

 

I received a call at lunchtime from my solicitor who'd had a call from the tribunal judge telling us that we need not attend this afternoon as they had had a cancellation and managed to review our case again (3rd time's a charm!) and were satisfied that the DWP/ATOS were in error and they were finding in our favour :-D

 

So after nearly 20 months, 2 adjournments and about £500 in legal fees and evidence costs we have a result... phew!

 

Thanks for all the tips and pointers all :)

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Excellent! Congrats.

 

What a crazy system, you should be compensated.

 

- dj


Benefits rules are complex, and although I do try to inform and support people, I may get it wrong because the rules apply to individual claimants and their particular circumstances.

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Brilliant news, I'm really pleased for you. And thank you for letting us know.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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