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Wife placed in Work-Related Activity Group without any medical?

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Hi guys, looking for a little feedback if possible and most appreciated in advance :)

 

Basically, my wife has been claiming Incapacity Benefit and Income Support for around 3 years now, and since that time I have been her full time carer due to a catalogue of health problems, the main of which include Fibromyalgia, Osteopenia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and severe depression. She also suffers from Arthritis to make matters even worse. In short, for anyone who is unfamiliar with these illnesses, fibromyalgia is a degenerative muscular problem which causes chronic pain to my wife constantly to the point where she is sore and in pain 24/7 no matter what she does - she is prescribed a controlled drug called Matrifen which is an extremely strong pain killer - not only does this add to her condition of confusion but it also affects her balance, walking and general day to day life. Without the drug she is in too much pain, with it she has to sacrifice her ability to function normally.

 

Osteopenia affects the bones and is basically the onset of Osteoporosis which, in short, is a thinning of the bone and means fractures are extremely easy, especially if the person falls or is prone to bumping into things. Chronic Fatigue is where you feel you have been on the go for days and days, yet you may have only just got out of bed or all of a sudden and without warning you have to lie down and close your eyes, although doing this doesn't necessarily mean you will rest sufficiently and gain any benefit from it, and in my wife's case it rarely helps her "recover" in any way, it's just that she has to lie down and close her eyes, normally she can still be aware of what's going on around her, it's just that she can't open her eyes or bring herself back into full conciousness any time soon. Finally, her severe depression is a result of all the health issue's she has had over the past 3-4 years and the stress and strain out relationship has had as a result - luckily, our relationship has survived and I've became to understand her health issues a lot better than I used to, but I digress, onto the matter at hand ...

 

She received an ESA form to fill in, which I did on her behalf and completed it to the best of our ability. They then sent a letter requesting my wife attend a medical, to which I intimated would be a problem due to both my wife's physical and mental abilities, she becomes very self concious about her condition when in public and has taken severe panic attacks in the past when asked to attend medicals. A prior request for a DLA medical to be performed at home was granted, and her DLA claim was approved so I considered it a fair request to ask the same of ESA. They refused point blank and told us my wife would be required to request a letter from her Dr excusing her from attending such a medical. We did, and the Dr had no hesitation in providing such a letter.

 

It was some 3 weeks later (just a few weeks ago) that my wife was sent a letter explaining she was successful in her claim for ESA and everything would be transferred over (i.e. from IB and IS to ESA). However, as I read further down the letter I noticed she had been placed in the "Work Related Activity Group" which basically means she has to attend a "back to work" interview, presumably on a regular basis too, which to my mind put's her more or less in the same boat as anyone wishing to claim JSA?. Apparently, some "health care" person will look at my wife's abilities and "needs" in the hope of returning her to work!. My wife cannot dress herself in the morning, I have to help her because of the level of discomfort and pain she experiences on a constant level - I have to be with her when she goes to and from the toilet because she has fell down the three stairs we have in our upper cottage flat (4 in a block) previously. She suffers mental blocks, and "fog" as it's known in the Fibromyalgia network which means she forgets things at the drop of a hat and cannot focus or concentrate for any length of time. She has been suicidal in the past and had attempted to end her life before I became her full time carer and I am now responsible for administering her medication. All of this was on the ESA form, and they have basically chosen to ignore all of those details and the request from her Dr that she is not able to attend a medical but would agree to one at home, and without so much as even physically seeing my wife, they have placed her into the Work-Related Activity Group.

 

My first question I guess is, can they actually make a decision such as this based on the fact they haven't actually performed any medical?. If so, would I be correct to assume their case would be extremely weakened by the fact my wife does experience such problems on a constant basis and they have chosen to ignore those details?. Basically, in a nutshell, there is a better chance of hell freezing over rather than my wife being able to even attend a "back to work" interview, let alone be considered by a "health professional" for which work she may be suitable for.

 

Any advice or opinions on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Mark

Edited by marko2002

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:marko2002:

 

This is a very common senario for reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants.

 

Your only option is a formal appeal for your wife to be awarded the support component of employment n support allowance. Letter to include the word 'appeal' or a GL24 form (downloadable from the internet).

 

Forum guide to appeals at;

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?251737-Appealing-or-going-to-a-Tribunal-Some-useful-information

 

Sincerely, Margaret. :panda:

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Thanks Margaret, I have already sent a letter of appeal away and received an acknowledgement back stating they had received it (sorry, forgot to mention that in my first post).

 

In the appeal letter I reiterated the chronic pain and discomfort my wife experiences on a daily basis which prevents her from performing even the simplest of tasks without fear of her injuring or harming herself, and the fact their decision was made in the absence of any physical examination and the vast majority of the details on the ESA form seemed to have been ignored.

 

As far as I'm concerned, the decision was an administrative one, not a medical or informed one - personally, I'd like to hear from anyone who knows what kind of job can be done by someone who lives with chronic pain and discomfort on the level which requires a Class A drug for little relief and who physically has to lie down at various times during the day for anything from an hour to 3-4 hours and who has to have medication administered 3 times a day to avoid them taking an overdose and can't focus or remember the simplest of tasks?. Apparently, according to the government, my wife fit's the bill for something!.

 

I'll keep you all updated as to the progress of the appeal, and possible tribunal, because we will be going the distance with this.

Thanks again

Mark

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Does your wife actually meet the criteria (just one) for the support group? You may also be able to argue that sending your wife to work will make her worse physically.

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:marko2002:

 

These decisions are administrative; Jobentreplus even have separate forms and standard letters for them. Theory's that claimants should be grateful for a conversion award and if they dare to appeal it'll be harder cos there's no ESA85 (often no completed scoresheet either) to challenge. :mmph:

 

Good luck, Margaret.

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What you need to do is find out which of the Support Group descriptors your wife fulfils (sorry I'm on my phone so can't post links) and take it from there. From what I understand, she cannot be placed in support group unless she meets the criteria for at least one of them.

 

Feebee_71

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Guys, thanks for all the replies, and yes, my wife fits a number of the criteria for being placed in the Support Group - some are on a constant basis whilst other criteria would be on a day to day basis. For example, her mood and ability to communicate successfully can fluctuate from one day to the next, one day she can be reasonably OK (yet, for me, knowing my wife better that most I'd say it's still a denigration of what it used to be and it's certainly not getting any better) but other days it's virtually impossible to recognise my wife; she becomes withdrawn, grey almost, and simply wants to retreat into her own little world, normally in bed or just wants to be left alone outright because the pain and discomfort is affecting her so badly. Physically, she is very much dependant on me to help her dress, get up and down from a seat, take a bath or simply use the toilet (most of those functions I have to encourage and coax her with anyway) as she would normally not be motivated enough to put herself through the extra discomfort and pain of moving and she has on more than one occasion left her toilet needs to the point where it's too late.

 

As for the specifics of meeting the criteria, I found this link: http://www.disney.go.com/mickey//employment-and-support-allowance/esa-glossary/1353-support-group-descriptors with the following regarding meeting the criteria for the Support Group:

 

(My wife would certainly meet many of these, although I find the "descriptors" somewhat unnerving, particularly the fact they call "reaching" putting something in a top pocket?! From what I remember from a previous DLA form and the ESA form, the questions are becoming more and more vague and more and more open to interpretation - for example, my wife could put something in a top pocket of a jacket but she couldn't put that jacket on herself, and unless she absolutely had to go out, she wouldn't normally anyway because she becomes anxious and stressed - does that then mean she can "reach" as far as they are concerned?!

 

1. Mobilising unaided by another person with or without a walking stick, manual wheelchair or other aid if such aid can reasonably be used.

Cannot either

(i) mobilise more than 50 metres on level ground without stopping in order to avoid significant discomfort or exhaustion

or

(ii) repeatedly mobilise 50 metres within a reasonable timescale because of significant discomfort or exhaustion.

 

2. Transferring from one seated position to another.

Cannot move between one seated position and another seated position located next to one another without receiving physical assistance from another person.

 

3. Reaching.

Cannot raise either arm as if to put something in the top pocket of a coat or jacket.

 

4. Picking up and moving or transferring by the use of the upper body and arms (excluding standing, sitting, bending or kneeling and all other activities specified in this Schedule).

Cannot pick up and move a 0.5 litre carton full of liquid.

 

5. Manual dexterity.

Cannot either:

(a) press a button, such as a telephone keypad or;

(b) turn the pages of a book

with either hand.

 

6. Making self understood through speaking, writing, typing, or other means normally used.

Cannot convey a simple message, such as the presence of a hazard.

 

7. Understanding communication by hearing, lip reading, reading 16 point print or using any aid if reasonably used.

Cannot understand a simple message due to sensory impairment, such as the location of a fire escape.

 

8. Absence or loss of control over extensive evacuation of the bowel and/or bladder, other than enuresis (bed-wetting) despite the presence of any aids or adaptations normally used.

(a) At least once a week experiences

(i) loss of control leading to extensive evacuation of the bowel and/or voiding of the bladder; or

(ii) substantial leakage of the contents of a collecting device;

sufficient to require cleaning and a change in clothing.

 

9. Learning tasks.

(a) Cannot learn how to complete a simple task, such as setting an alarm clock, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder.

 

10. Awareness of everyday hazards (such as boiling water or sharp objects).

(a) Reduced awareness of everyday hazards leads to a significant risk of:

(i) injury to self or others; or

(ii) damage to property or possessions,

such that they require supervision for the majority of the time to maintain safety.

 

11. Initiating and completing personal action (which means planning, organisation, problem solving, prioritising or switching tasks).

Cannot, due to impaired mental function, reliably initiate or complete at least 2 sequential personal actions.

 

12. Coping with change

(a) Cannot cope with any change, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder, to the extent that day to day life cannot be managed.

 

13. Coping with social engagement due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder

Engagement in social contact is always precluded due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the individual.

 

14. Appropriateness of behaviour with other people, due to cognitive impairment or mental disorder

Has, on a daily basis, uncontrollable episodes of aggressive or disinhibited behaviour that would be unreasonable in any workplace.

 

15. Conveying food or drink to the mouth.

(a) Cannot convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without receiving physical assistance from someone else;

(b) Cannot convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without repeatedly stopping, experiencing breathlessness or severe discomfort;

© Cannot convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without receiving regular prompting given by someone else in the claimant’s physical presence; or

(d) Owing to a severe disorder of mood or behaviour, fails to

convey food or drink to the claimant’s own mouth without receiving —

(i) physical assistance from someone else; or

(ii) regular prompting given by someone else in the claimant’s presence.

 

16. Chewing or swallowing food or drink

(a) Cannot chew or swallow food or drink;

(b) Cannot chew or swallow food or drink without repeatedly stopping, experiencing breathlessness or severe discomfort;

© Cannot chew or swallow food or drink without repeatedly receiving regular prompting given by someone else in the claimant’s presence; or

(d) Owing to a severe disorder of mood or behaviour, fails to—

(i) chew or swallow food or drink; or

(ii) chew or swallow food or drink without regular prompting given by another person in the physical presence of the claimant.

Edited by marko2002

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Ahh, thanks Nystagmite, seems like our post's crossed in the night ... I think both pages say the same thing anyways :)

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Yep, just tried adding it again, but it would appear I'm not able to post URL's or at least not to that site anyway.

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Just an update on the situation ... my wife received a letter on Friday asking her to attend an interview at the local Job Centre which sent her into an absolute tizz !. Her Dr wrote a letter to ATOS explaining she was unsuitable to attend a previous medical because of her disabilities and social interaction problems, yet here we have the DWP asking her to attend an interview to discuss the "help" and "support" available to her in the hope of helping her back to work. I phoned to try and explain the situation and was put through to a main call centre, sent around the houses and then heard the phone being transferred then eventually hung up. I tried again and was transferred to our local job centre where the phone simply rang out. Another attempt and I eventually got through and was told the person who my wife was to see wasn't available. I left a message asking for her to return my call so I could explain how impractical it was to request my wife attend an "interview" which could last upto 1 hour given her chronic pain and constant discomfort.

 

The following day at around 4pm I phoned again because we hadn't heard from anyone and was told this time the advisor in question had left for the day. My wife's appointment was 10am this morning so I phoned at 8am and was greeted by a message telling me the DWP was "now closed" and their opening hours for the contact centre didn't include Wednesdays !!. Not having a direct number for our local JC, I realised I would have to go up myself as the person involved in my wife's case hadn't returned my calls. The JC didn't open till 10am so I waited and finally explained the situation to the receptionist who kindly agreed to pass on the message. I had only just returned home when the phone rang and it was the woman involved in the interview asking to speak to my wife, passing the phone over it was clear this woman had neither been given the message I had just left 20 minutes previously or any of the other messages I had left via the phone. She then set about trying to speak to my wife via the phone, which was a struggle as she does become somewhat confused and quite anxious when trying to talk to someone she doesn't know on the phone but she struggled through and the woman from the DWP seemed quite understanding and sympathetic to my wife's problems. She also confirmed during her chat with my wife that someone had just informed her of my visit earlier. She asked my wife for a note of all her illnesses which I had to help her with and finally acknowledged the obvious difficulties my wife would have with seeking employment but explained she would likely have to check back some time in August to make sure there were no changes in her circumstances (remember, my wife has degenerative illnesses, in other words the illnesses only become worse, they do not improve!).

 

We still don't really know for sure what the outcome of the chat was as my wife as she was too keen to end the call and wouldn't have thought to ask what happens next, or if any particular decisions could be made based on the chat/interview but the appeal is still in, that's pending, so I guess for now it's just a matter of waiting to see what happens next. I don't expect anything, I've learned not to anticipate anything either cause it rarely works out as you would expect - I'll keep the thread updated as and when something happens though :)

Cheers for now all

marko

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I was transferred from incapacity benefits to WRAG without face to face assessment, I appealed and after waiting 13 months i won my appeal in the tribunal this year.

 

While i was waiting for my appeal to be heard, i had to go to JCP for interviews. First i was very nervous going to JCP for interviews, once i was there it wasn't like what i thought. Adviser was very understandable and i told him i'm appealing the decision, the adviser asked me a few questions about my health and my personal circumstances. He did 2 interviews in JCP and told me the next one he's going to do on the phone. He never pressurized me into anything. I am happy that i did go to JCP. When i won my appeal i phoned the adviser in JCP and he said there is no need for anymore interviews because you're in support group.

 

My advice would be if you can go to the JCP please go, if adviser sees your condition worse he may straight away say further interviews he will do on the phone. Though in the letter it says interviews can last up to one hour, in my case it just lasted 20 minutes.

 

I hope this will give you some idea and good luck with your appeal.

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Thanks for the reply aw248 - it's great if people are able to attend the JC interviews but unfortunately my wife isn't - she has chronic pain from the different illnesses she has and finds it extremely difficult to interact with people she doesn't know, particularly in public and busy places. She has been through all the consultations in the past and tried all the various "therapies" too and because nothing seemed to hit the mark for her she has basically been abandoned as far as I'm concerned, so much so that we have even fought with our local pain management clinic to have her re-enlisted back onto their books in the hope of new or alternative therapies becoming available after she was mistakenly removed from their systems after they moved premises, we even had to take this to her Dr for a second referral which was over 2 years ago now, and we've still heard nothing - basically, there is little more they can do for my wife, because of the nature of the illnesses and so she's resigned herself to the fact she will live a life of chronic pain which has messed with her head significantly - I can't profess to know the medical in's and out's regarding this stuff, but I can see first hand how it affects her .. some days are obviously better than others but when faced with a life of chronic pain, the last thing you want to do is to be faced with pointless interviews by someone who doesn't even have a first aid certificate, let alone any significant medical background.

 

If the government actually concentrated more on providing more funds to research and develop treatments for things like Fibromyalgia then maybe people would, once again, be able to be productive members of society and live a decent quality of life when struck down with such illnesses where little is still known or understood about them, but instead they spend hundreds of millions of pounds on private companies like ATOS who simply bully their way through application forms and medicals and all the while the taxpayer swallows all the bull**** about those on disability benefits being scroungers and cheats because the spin-doctors have successfully splattered their way through the media, which then allows the government to continue and justify their treatment of the genuinely ill and disabled ... I paid into the system all my life too, and when I hear ignorant and unsympathetic "taxpayers" bang on about how all the "scroungers" should be knocked off or how we are all "better off" than them, I just hope those taxpayers remember, firstly, most genuine people are most certainly not better off - I walked away from a £25k per year job to look after my wife and we wouldn't get half that on the benefits we get at the moment and secondly, just hope those taxpayers don't have to rely on the system we have at the moment because it would appear that it is entirely a random shot in the dark as to whether you succeed or not in your application, I believe eventually my wife's appeal will come through in her favour given the nature of her illnesses and the medical backing she has, but the strain and worry caused to both of us in the meantime sets us all back no end, emotionally and otherwise which add's more pressure to us, and to the health system - end result, more outlay for the NHS, massive bills from ATOS, more strain on the Dr's surgeries, and ultimately, it's the same taxpayer who will foot the bill for all these "improvements" to the system ... and all the while, appeals are on the increase, the vast majority of them are being made in favour of the person(s) claiming benefits, and so the additional extra outlay and strain is simply for nothing in the end!.

 

http://mylegal.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=frontline&action=display&thread=805

Edited by marko2002

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Well, thankfully my wife received a letter this morning explaining they have now reviewed the decision and placed her in the support group which, on one hand is a complete and utter relief to us both but on the other just proves the initial decisions being made regarding these applications are not based on the forms or medical evidence available to them. If those decisions were informed and considered one's, my wife would have been placed in the support group from the beginning and she wouldn't have had to ensure the additional stress and strain over the past month or so.

 

Regardless, I'm happy this has now been sorted and would just like to reiterate to everyone facing similar problems with this "system" not to accept what they say if you have a genuine illness or disability as I firmly believe initial applications are rejected pending an appeal, and only then will they look at the application in more detail. Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply back too, most appreciated :)

Thanks

Marko

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Well done Marko and good luck to your dear wife relax is the word comes to mind

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Well done i am pleased for you. your wife should have been in support group in the first place. I can understand how stressful it's been for you and i do agree with your points above

good luck

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I also have ME, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis in both knees, COPD and have also been placed in the work activity group..I have had ME since' 95 and Fibro since '97... I suffer like your wife 24/7 with pain, am on a whole host of medication, (Morphine) none of which work well enough to give me a good quality of life. I spend approx 85% of my time in bed and the other 15% trying to get comfortable on the sofa.. My husband is also my full time carer who gave up work 6 years ago to look after me as it was becoming fast apparent that I couldn't manage any more on my own after many falls, the last down dangerous one down stairs resulting in a broken ankle!! Since the I have had a lot more falls but have had no more than bruising and twisted ankles etc..

 

When I first got the forms and managed to fill them in I got a letter back saying they were looking into my claim, the next thing I knew my GP wrote to me asking me to come in and do a medical form for them so off we went. He was very thorough in his report explaining daily life for me and how my illness affects me and said I shouldn't have any problems with getting ESA. Oh I got it all right but have been placed in a group that I cannot see me being able to cope in.

 

I phoned them up and explained my problems and even the person said that although they accept I have a very real disability they are saying that they are working towards one day getting me back to work.. I asked her how they intended to do that when I had only been getting worse over the years and not better.. even the DWP could see that on my last renewal for DLA, they gave me a indefinite award and they don't just give them to anyone.

 

I've had this illness too long now and my quality of life has deteriorated, I. hardly go out except to the Dr's & Dentist & Optician's and haven't been shopping for at least 2 years now, all this is left to my husband and even then he needs to think about how long he is going to have to be out for as he doesn't like to leave me on my own in case I need the bathroom. They then said I had to appeal and are going to send me the forms but it is the interview and medical that I am worried about as I don't think i can manage to get there and pain wise it will be a nightmare! as for the medical, I don't want then thinking I am being funny when I have to keep saying things like, 'No I can't do that' etc...

 

I have to wake him up if I need the bathroom of a night as I am unable to get out of bed myself and need help getting there and if I have left it too late or have had trouble waking im and end up having an accident I need to be changed, have a bath and get dressed again and the bed needs changing and washing down.. all this is done by my husband as I can't even manage to wash and dress myself properly then I need help getting back in bed again, all this takes up to an hour and if I've had a particularly bad night he can be up 2 or 3 times with me so his quality of life is also affected in many ways..

 

We lost our home due to me being unable to work, we struggled for years but eventually it got too much and we had no other choice, we couldn't sell it because of the market at the time and eventually they took it of us. Since then we have survived on very little money as his job as a Lorry driver wasn't great and we had to find money for rent etc.. and daily living leaving us with nothing at the end of the month. Then as I said my falls became more frequent and eventually he had to give up work. We still had a lot of debt and we struggled on benefits, high rent and a rent top up of £200 every month as the housing benefits didn't cover all the rent.

 

Now we have recently moved as the stairs in our other place were too much for me to manage and I was ether confined to the bedroom or a floor down in the kitchen and a small craft-room and Never managed to get to the lower floor where the front-room was so the council re-housed us to a wonderful one bed flat but it is very small so I have no room for a commode in the bedroom thus why I have to try to get to the bathroom instead of a commode.

 

I am very worried about this and how it will affect me, I cannot work, God I would love to return to work but would need a a carer with me and a bed where I can have a sleep every couple of hours and I don't think an employer will go for that do you? I am wheelchair bound when I do go out as I cannot walk very far, approx 15 ft before I collapse in total pain and discomfort so would be in a wheelchair which I cannot self propel as I don't have the strength to manage that on my own...

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Thanks for all the support and comments guys, and for you in particular ragsrule I can 100% relate to how you are feeling. My wife was exactly the same, she got herself so upset and in a panic at the thought of me having to go out to work if things went differently because there would be no chance my wife could have done so. I we were forced into a corner like that, I would have had no alternative but to request social care for my wife whilst I worked and we appealed - she wasn't agreeable to that either simply because of the discomfort and embarrassment factor, but we can't live off nothing and I was preparing myself to return to agency work or anything which could have gave us some form of income - this is how the government are affecting people, they are ripping people apart and claiming that the taxpayer is having to pay for all us "scroungers" and "fakers" although the genuine one's amongst us are suffering badly and having to suffer through no fault of our own.

 

My advice to you ragsrule is this; first of all you don't need to wait for the appeal forms, simply write a letter back to the address which is on the letter stating you have been placed in the "work related group" stating how your illnesses affect you and in particular the difficulties you face on a day to day basis - or better still, if you feel you cannot do yourself justice on paper, ask your local social work department to contact the welfare rights groups to help you with the appeal letter. Sometimes writing a letter can be better than trying to fill in the forms because I still maintain the forms are scored on points and if certain boxes aren't ticked or certain boxes don't have writing in them then you'll not be successful with an appeal, despite having valid grounds to do so. The welfare rights groups within most Social Work departments can be extremely useful in supporting you whilst appealing and can offer a lot of advice too - and at the end of the day, don't forget that I believe no matter how unwell or disabled someone is, I think they are chancing their arm with everyone in the hope people don't fight the decisions and do try to find work when it's clear they should not be doing so as they pose a risk to themselves and potentially everyone around them depending on the type of job they may find themselves doing!.

 

Above all, don't panic like my wife did, there is light at the end of the tunnel - stay calm, get in touch with the welfare rights people at your local social work department and ask them for help in writing a letter of appeal, and like us, you may find there is totally no need to worry about the potential for a whole tribunal although from my understanding of the entire process, it would appear most cases which make it to the tribunal process are being made in the favour of the claimant because most genuine people don't take the chance of going the distance. For me, this would appear to be a "cleansing" process by the government to clear away all the fakers, but they have went entirely the wrong way about it as all us genuine folk have been swept up in the same stroke !

 

Above all, good luck and do post back to keep us informed on how you get on, hopefully others reading this will be encouraged to continue fighting for the correct decision to be made eventually. Oh, and like my wife, if you cannot make it to the work focused interview, telephone them and let them know, depending on who you get they may even conduct the interview over the phone with you like they did with my wife :)

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Oh, as for debt advice, there is a fantastic charity which used to be called the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) but I think they are now partners with a place called "StepChange" who will do an income and expenditure budget plan with you, leave you with a decent amount of money to live on each month whilst at the same time contact all the people you owe money to and tell them, yes TELL THEM (not ask) they have to stop any interest they are charging and they will have to accept a certain amount of money each month and those people will not be allowed to contact you again until the "budget plan" expires. If your circumstances haven't changed once the budget plan has finished, you'll simply enter into another budget plan and no-one can contact you again, all the people you owe money to have to go through the CCCS again - I did this many years ago when I was working and was struggling with debt and the relief this charity gave me was a god send. Don't struggle with debt, contact these people http://www.stepchange.org/ and they will guide you every step of the way :)

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Thank you Marko for your words of encouragement, I appreciate it.. I am also very appreciative of all your advice which I shall be following with haste.. I did get my appeal paperwork this morning but need to find a representative as I don't think I can do it on my own..But first I will phone them on Monday and do as you have said and ask to be moved to the support group because etc.. I shall have to re read your posts and those of others and make notes to follow else I will no doubt get it wrong and get in a muddle!I was also advised by the lady I spoke to to get people who know me to write a statement saying how my illness affects me etc.. but I really don't have any friends now and only have family and my Dr, will they be acceptable I wonder?

 

I forgot to say last night as it was very late and the old Fibro fog was setting in that we are just in the process of entering into an IVA where we will pay £200 every month for 5 years and after that will be debt free.. They have been great and said to my hubbie the other day that if at any time we are unable to make the payment because I need new glasses, well the difference between want the government pay and what I need for my prescription or the washing machine has dies etc,, that they can hold that payment for that month with no consequence which is brilliant as you can understand that only having limited funds we could never afford anything major going wrong!

 

I am so upset and worried as this ESA business is something I didn't think would affect me as I get DLA high on both but it looks like I was wrong, it's all wrong, why should we have to go through this, I was exempt from having to send in any medical notes and having to go for medicals by the Incapacity department as it was a few years ago for the simple fact that I do get DLA.

 

Surely that should be enough this time. We are ill enough without having to cope with and deal with jobsworth who know nothing about life in the eyes of a disabled person. Ok there are scroungers out there but there are easier ways, for instance our medicals for DLA should be enough and the fact that we have also had to have our Dr's fill out medical forms for us.. Oh I've had enough for one day, I am getting worked up and it's no good for me. I think I shall end here and go for a rest but I shall continue to let you know how I get on and once again Marko, Thank you for your help...

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I am not an expert on any of this....but my daughter part time cares for me due to my bipolar, and fibromyalgia, she wrote a letter, and so did my GP who I see fairly regularly (the same GP) which really helps with continuity. As these are the two people who know me and how my illnesses affect me daily then they are the best people to write. Its back up.

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Keep on fighting ragsrule, you will get there in the end :)

 

Good advice also Ruby, that would have been our next move if the appeal was rejected but I think even they knew that to place my wife in a work related group without as much as a medical was totally wrong!!

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Thank you yes I shall be asking my GP to write a letter for me and my Sister as she also knows first hand what my illness does to me and of course my Husband as he cares for me. Hopefully 3 letters from people who know me the best and see me the most will help my case. But I won't be giving up that's for sure... I don't see why I should and anyway, if I were well enough to work then I would be working instead of being ill.. I loved my Job and was on the way up promotion wise to an asst Manager and was learning so much and each day was a challenge but I loved it none the less..

I have never claimed benefits before this illness apart from Maternity benefit as I didn't believe in them, they were for the needy not the shirkers. I started work on the Monday morning after I left school on the Friday before and have worked ever since, apart from when I first had the children but then once maternity leave was over I was back to work!

Thank you again for your support, it's much needed and appreciated. :yawn: My bed is calling me now I'm afraid...

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