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Another Tribunal Success Story

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I've been helping my flatmate with her claim for ESA for 18 months now. When we both moved house, the JCP investigated us and found that we were living as a couple [ consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?324511-ESA-Suspended-(-quot-Living-with-Partner-quot-)&p=3598108#post3598108 ]. After several months of frankly talking to a brick wall, we finally got our local CAB involved. The CAB themselves said actually everything we'd done was good, and just gathered up a few more statements and forwarded them on. Within a couple of months, the JCP had reversed the decision - hurray...

 

...except in the meantime, my flatmate (the claimant) had attended a medical assessment, which she failed with a score of 6 points (she had previously attended an assessment and passed), so she was back on the appeal route. Oh well, at least she was now able to claim the assessment rate and be able to live to some extent.

 

The CAB helped enormously again, getting the Doctor to write a letter - a note about this, the Practice Manager kept 'bouncing' the requests (on CAB headed paper) with a counter-request for £50. The claimant made an appointment with the Doctor herself who was not happy about the situation, and wrote the letter - apparently it's a common problem and the CAB will pay out if there's no option, but as a rule of thumb if this happens to you then go and see your doctor yourself, they tend to be more sympathetic.

 

This was submitted with a request for redetermination - which resulted in the JCP adding 3 points for a total of 9 (all on the "Getting About" descriptor). Still not enough. Finally got a date, exactly around the time the Tribunal suggested she'd get an appointment. Two weeks to the day before Christmas.

 

Another letter was written by the claimant's CBT therapist.

 

The date came. [ youtube.com/watch?v=tbWXG6Ho4i8 ] This video really helped us both prepare. Entering the court was far from ideal - full body scanners, and the "waiting area" in Sheffield is essentially a cellar - "if you plead guilty" posters everywhere - not settling. If this is how things are going to continue, more appropriate facilities need to be sought.

 

The Judge was an absolute credit to the British Justice system; friendly, taking her time to explain everything. The Doctor too was really good. The questions themselves were not that different to those asked at the Medical Assesment, but obviously a lot more professionally, and the doctor and judge both encouraged as much detail as possible (where the Atos monkeys obviously just assume whatever they like). I had a chance to put forward my comments - which I used to clarify some of the examples bought up through the cross examination from my perspective, along with a couple of things I felt had been left untouched. Again, the Judge was clearly keen to ascertain as many specific examples as I could give.

 

Sent outside, longest 5 minute wait ever, back in - "we've upheld your appeal". YES!

 

From 6 points initially, to 9 points at reconsideration to 30 points at Tribunal! They've also recommended to the JobCentre that they wait the maximum period of 2 years before reassessing. Can anybody confirm if that's from today or from the previous assessment?

 

From my perspective - something has to be done about the Medical Assessment - it's wasting valuable resources at the CAB, with (real!) medical professionals and the courts. It's really not on.

 

Just glad to have finally got to this stage, what a relief. Wanted to thank everybody who's posted their stories here and elsewhere before - really got my friend and I through the hardest of times. Fantastic resource - viva la web!

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