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ESA Tribunal - ** WON, PUT IN THE SUPPORT GROUP **

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Hi folks, just a little re-assureance

 

I have early in December 2012 my ESA tribunal, I will explain my circumstances.

 

In March 2010 I survived a near fatal car accident, the accident was non fault and the other party admitted liability following a sucessful prosecution by the police, I suffered a subdural haemorrhage, fractured skull, a hairline cervical fracture at C2 & C3, 4 broken ribs, sprained both wrists, crushed discs at L3-L4 L4-L5, broken tibia & fibula, as well as having my spleen removed.

 

I have in part recovered except for the damage done to my lower back and a brain injury caused by the brain haemorrhage, in September 2010 I lost my job as a result of my injuries, and in October 2010 I started a claim for ESA as I did not fit the critera for claiming JSA.

 

Futhermore in November 2010 I entered a claim for DLA.

 

In December 2010 I was declared fit for work by ATOS, what a complete joke that was so I appealed the decision, and were awarded my ESA back until a tribunal hearing was heard.

 

In January 2011 I underwent surgery to help repair some of the damage done to my lower back, this included a laminectomy, and various microdiscetomies between L3 & L5.

 

My tribunal for my ESA came around in November 2011 and I was awarded 27 points due to the various disabilities I had but was placed in the WRAG as it was uncertain by the tribunal as to how I would recover. Also in January 2012 I had my DLA tribunal and was awarded Higher Rate Mobility and Lower Rate Care until 2015, on the basis that my mobility was severely affected, but yet again it was undecided as to what care I required as I was still recovering.

 

However after a meeting with my welfare rights advisor in February 2012, it was suggested I appeal the ESA decision reagrding being placed into the WRAG as my disabilities had infact worsened and become more premanent with regard to my lower back problems and the constant mobility issues. My advisor explained that a provision exists within the ESA regulations that if a person is unable to mobilise more than 50 metres. (Sched 3, Para 1), and moving between seats unaided (Sched 3, Para 2) that they should be placed into the ESA Support Group, my advisor pointed out that it had already been decided at my DLA appeal that my ability to mobilise was virtually impossible without the aid of another person, and that I could not move to and from nearby chairs without aid. My doctor has told me I cannot drive, due to my medication which consists of Pregabalin 450mg, Mirtazapine 30mg, Nortriptyline 10mg, Tramadol SR (Mabron) 400mg, Oramorph 10mg/ml as this makes me dizzy and drowsy and has also ruled out the use of a self propelled wheelchair for my safety and that of others.

 

In the face of all the evidence provided by my GP and consultants the DWP still refuse to grant my appeal to be moved to the support group. And now i'm begining to get worried about continuing with my appeal at the tribunal.

 

My question is, are these feelings of self doubt normal or should I be generally worried about failure this time round. Okay the tribuinal experience doesn't bother me as i've been there twice before and have left twice before with a sucessful result. But although even with all the medical support something is just niggling at me.

 

A latest MRI shows that there are further bulges developing in my lower back, along with athritis at the surgical site. There is also thickening in the cervical spine were I had both fractures in my neck, so all in all things are not getting better and my GP says he expects things to get much worse.

Edited by zoltron

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Hi,

What an awful experience you've had and what a shame the benefit rules and the way they are applied are just making it worse.

 

I think it's perfectly normal to worry about appeals, but what have you got to lose by going through with it this time? Worst case scenario is that you are left in the WRAG (they can only consider how you were at the time, not if you've got worse since). There is in theory a possibility of them finding you're not entitled to ESA at all but so far as I know that's never actually happened and is most unlikely.

 

If they refuse to put you in the Support group, given the evidence that your condition has got worse, you could then just ask for your claim to be reviewed due to a change of circumstances.


RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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At the time I entered my appeal to be moved to the support group things were bad, so bad in fact our rear dining room was converted to a bedroom for a short period until a stairlift could be installed as I could not get upstairs. I could not walk about unless i was aided.

 

Since then things have got worse slowly, the mobility issues are the same but the pain has incressed significantly.

 

So although things have got worse, it is only in relation to pain. Rather than being in pain upon trying to excert myself with the aid of another, pain is almost constant now.

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I received a letter from the DWP today, stating that in light of the forthcoming tribunal they have sent my claim back to a decision maker to review it, however the response from the decision maker was that their initial original decision would remain.

 

So its definately off to the tribunal then on the 7th December, the only issue I have is on this point that was mentioned that I should be able to use a manually propelled wheelchair. However my GP has told me not to use one for my own safety and that of others because of the medication I take, plus he is worried with the previous injury to my neck that this could be aggravated by the use of such a chair. I tried also to use one when I signed up for a local mobility scheme at my local shopping centre, but using it caused just as much pain in my lower back and left arm as trying to walk when applying force to the wheels.

 

So I don't know, is it worth telling the tribunal as this is the case with the wheelchair. My GP when I showed him the letter indicating i should use a manual wheelchair, stated who came up with this ludicrous idea, he has also put that in a letter he did for me.

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You need to give as much information as you can; so I would get a letter from your GP explaining the situation

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Yes, not being able to use a manual wheelchair is an important issue - so make sure your GP has mentioned in a letter the danger, the increased pain it would cause, and the likelihood of aggravating your injuries by trying to wheel the chair.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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Yes the letter which my GP gave me states I can't use a self propelled chair because of the drowsiness and dizziness the medication causes. Besides the medication clearly states on the side of the instructions not to drive or operate machinery, which the medication clearly affects me due to the high doses I take, surely this should be enough as the doctor at the tribunal should realise the side effects of the medication.

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You must make it clear how badly the medication affects you. Everyone reacts differently to side effects and some wear off after a while.


RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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You must make it clear how badly the medication affects you. Everyone reacts differently to side effects and some wear off after a while.

 

 

 

 

The mirtazapine and pregabalin are the ones that really knocks me about, the doctor tried changing it but it's the only ones of a few drugs that help with the neuropathic pain, the side effects are the lesser of the two evils when compared to the pain if I dont take them, plus they help with my depression so effectively they kill two birds with one stone. my GP says at the moment these drugs are the ones most suited to me after tinkering around for the last 2 years.

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I know exactly what you mean about neuropathic pain - unfortunately the side effects of anti-depressants are so bad in me that I can't take them at all, even half a therapeutic dose messed up my insides so much it put me in hospital. I'm on gabapentin at the moment which is knocking me out without an appreciable effect on the pain so they've referred me to the pain management clinic.


RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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Yes the letter which my GP gave me states I can't use a self propelled chair because of the drowsiness and dizziness the medication causes. Besides the medication clearly states on the side of the instructions not to drive or operate machinery, which the medication clearly affects me due to the high doses I take, surely this should be enough as the doctor at the tribunal should realise the side effects of the medication.

 

Its also important to emphasise potential further damage and pain to your spine if you try to self propel - can your doctor write this in a letter?


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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I know exactly what you mean about neuropathic pain - unfortunately the side effects of anti-depressants are so bad in me that I can't take them at all, even half a therapeutic dose messed up my insides so much it put me in hospital. I'm on gabapentin at the moment which is knocking me out without an appreciable effect on the pain so they've referred me to the pain management clinic.

 

Ask your GP to try pregabalin for you, I could not tolerate gabapentin at all, I got terrible memory loss with it, confusion, and I kept forgetting the most simple things. My GP put me on pregabalin and things improved but I still get the drowsiness and dizziness with it but it's tolerable, I wouldn't drive on it hence I won't put myself in charge of a wheelchair for this reason and my neck and lower back.

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Its also important to emphasise potential further damage and pain to your spine if you try to self propel - can your doctor write this in a letter?

 

I'm sure he would if I asked him, I have to go back and see him on the 3rd December to get a new sick note from him, which I know he will issue for 6 months. Every other note has been for 6 months. I will ask him if he can do this for me.

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Ask your GP to try pregabalin for you, I could not tolerate gabapentin at all, I got terrible memory loss with it, confusion, and I kept forgetting the most simple things. My GP put me on pregabalin and things improved but I still get the drowsiness and dizziness with it but it's tolerable, I wouldn't drive on it hence I won't put myself in charge of a wheelchair for this reason and my neck and lower back.

 

Although a response to someone else - thanks. I couldn't tolerate gabapentin, so I'll ask about pregablin at my next pain clinic appt.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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By comparison pregabalin is miles ahead of gabapentin, I needed 2800mg of gabapentin to get some relief with awful side effects, which was almost the maximum dose. I take 450mg of pregabalin and get a much better result with less side effects, other than the drowsiness and dizziness.

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By comparison pregabalin is miles ahead of gabapentin, I needed 2800mg of gabapentin to get some relief with awful side effects, which was almost the maximum dose. I take 450mg of pregabalin and get a much better result with less side effects, other than the drowsiness and dizziness.

 

Thanks, 300 mg of gabapentin made feel like death and gave me bone chilling, wake up in a cold sweat, nightmares, multiple times a night. So anything else would be better.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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Hi folks, just an update..... I won my tribunal today..... Got put into the Support Group backdated to November 2011 as it appears I got put into the WRAG by accident or a bad decision.

 

The head panel member was fantastic, only asked me 2 questions and the doctor only asked 3 questions. Couldn't have gone better. Not the result the DWP want..... but hey its not them who is suffering is it. so what do they know.

 

Anyway the tribunal has put on the decision notice that it recommends that I am not reassessed by ATOS for a period of at least 24 months, which is a another good result, not sure if they will stick to it though.

 

My advice to everyone is get your doctor on side, his help is key.... If you can't use a self-propelled wheelchair then tell him, and give him the reason why you cant self propel, I did and he gave me a letter for the tribunal, if you are in the same predicament as me its the only way you are going to get past the idiotic ideas of the DWP and ATOS. If you are genuine in your plight you will succeed against these morons.

 

Been to the tribunal 3 times in 2 years and won 3 times, okay didn't get put into the right group at first but with a bit of fighting justice prevailed.

 

Thanks everyone, and keep fighting..... don't let them wear you down.....

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Hello again.

 

That's great news, well done and thank you for letting us know. I'll change your thread title. :)

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Great news. Well done!


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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