ESA Tribunal Hearing outcome: WIN! WIN! WIN! Girls, a message to you. Never give up!

ESA Tribunal Hearing outcome: WIN! WIN! WIN! Girls, a message to you. Never give up!

So, on the 25th of January, 2012, the decision was made (after a Work Capability Assessment) that I was deemed 'fit for work', despite being in chronic, daily pain. I hadn't been able to work for well over a year, and was devastated at the result. Some of you may remember this, as I wrote a blog on it.

Anyway.... 15 months later, my Tribunal Hearing date came through, and today I went to Walsall County Court to have my story heard. Finally! I was nervous, and anxious and thought to myself 'why am I putting myself through this?'. But, my boyfriend and wonderful representative kept reminding me, that I was doing it as I needed to right a wrong.

And ladies, I did!

I won my case, and I couldn't wait to come home, get onto my laptop and tell you all that I won! I WON! I WON! And I urge anybody going through this awful, stressful, flawed system to keep going and never give up, as there has been a positive story here in The Midlands and there might just be with you too.

The Judge said that it was more than apparent that I should have scored points on the assessment day, and that they were wrong in their decision. He said that throughout his time as a county court judge, he has had 7 girls with Endometriosis sat before him; all of which had scored 0 points in the Assessment. He then went onto say that it was impossible for us, as Endo sufferers to score points, due to the nature and variability of our illness, and that this was wrong and something needed to change so that this stops happening to girls. Which in itself, is amazing! And I do not intend on giving up the fight here and he urged me not too. I wrote to my local MP during this whole process, and had positive replies, not only from him, but from other members of parliament. So I shall continue to write to whoever will listen and tell them how flawed the Work Capability Assessment is for Endo sufferers.

If you are going through this process, try not to lose heart. There are things that you can do that definitely helped me through my case. Write to your local MP. Go to the Citizens Advice. If you are appealing, keep mentioning that no-where throughout the silly questioning that we have to endure does it ask about pain. PAIN? PAIN?!? What about our Pain?! Harp on about it until the message finally sticks. And fatigue. And stress. None of these factors are taken into account, even though they are supposed to be.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. I won my case, and you could too. Just stay positive, and don't give up. Stick it to the man! Common sense will prevail!!!

Aimee x

38 Replies

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  • Congratulations. X

  • That's fantastic! Well done what a long journey but worth it in the end ! Having to go to court must have been exhausting too , I hope you've helped many others fighting for this too, you must be so pleased! I'd say you deserve a drink to celebrate but if your on pills like me then I'd definitely treat myself to a big bar of chocolate! Well done xx

  • that is such great news im so happy for you and well done for sticking it to the man! ive just applied for DLA for the forth time and i know i will have to appeal so thank you for the hope aswel :) what did you say to your local mp? im guna kick up a stink about this this time so any advice you have would be greatly recived :)

    i hope your enjoying your self and proud

    tummy love to you xx

  • Absolutely fantastic news!! Thank you so much for fighting for all of us!! You're a star xxx

  • Brilliant news well done - I applied for ESA just this week, and I was looking through the questions that they ask for the work capability assessment and thought there's no way any of this applies to me - well done xx

  • Congratulations :) xxx

  • Bravo Aimee, delighted for you, and it's a rather scary thought that the one judge alone has already had 7 cases of endometriosis patients scoring zero. Clearly the WCA is not fit for purpose. Not every medical case fits neatly in to boxes for assessment, but that doesn't mean such benefit applicants are 'fit for work'. The whole process is so badly flawed and grossly unfair to the very people it was designed to protect and support.

  • Wow that is amazing. I hope the feeling you have now stays with you a very long time. I really admire you for doing what you did. Xx

  • Well done and congratulations. ...people who don't suffer with endo have no idea what we have to put up with on a daily basis. X

  • Wow Aimee, what a brave strong lady you are. Made me want to cry reading your story. I had a capability hearing at work a few years ago and won but said I would never go through it again as the stress of it nearly killed me. Living with that and everyone seeing me as the one who scraped through the capability hearing was hard and wrecked my confidence. After my fourth laparoscopy they threatened to take me to another. Just at the same time they offered voluntary redundancy so I took it. What you have done is seriously amazing fighting for your right outcome and helping to set the precedent for all of us. I applaud you big time you're inspiring xxx

  • Well done you deserve a medal! X thank you for fighting xx

  • Well done, your an inspiration to us all. Not only did you stand up and fight, you won, seriously congratulations mate, as a woman suffering with endo from 16-46yrs of age I'm so proud of you. Thank you for sharing this with us. Xx

  • Congratulations to you!!! Well done. xx

  • What brilliant news - I am going to an ESA tribunal on 18th April (my bloody birthday) after being declared fit for work despite agoraphobia and endo - I can hardly ever leave the house and when I do it is for usually for very necessary gynae appointments so unsure how that would work into any employer's vision...

    Anyway, your story has really made me feel better about it all. Sincerely, well done :)

    C xxxx

  • Reading about your fight for recognition of your pain and suffering brought tears to my eyes as I too was originally considered fit for the WRAG group and had to appeal, despite having a history of severe endometriosis, extensive pelvic and stomach adhesions, diverculitis disease, hiatus hernia, ibs and a prolapse along with all the horrible symptoms and bowel problems and chronic pain and crippling anxiety and fatigue that often goes hand to hand with such conditions. I had a terrible time trying to cope with all this and the stress nearly killed me! With the help of the CAB I was finally vindicated. However, I live in a permanent state of anxiety and pain and symptoms, knowing I will face reassessment again in the near future. I am so confused as to what to do as further major surgery may cause worsening of my adhesions, which now affect my stomach as well as my pelvis, so I live on a cocktail of medication to get through each day. Recognition of this awful often life wrecking condition (endometriosis and adhesions) still has a long way to go.

    However, hearing your experience is uplifting and gives hope to sufferers out there.

  • This is awesome and gives me hope. I'm also appealing after scoring 0 points. I am housebound with my endo and other problems. My gp was absolutely disgusted with the result. I too plan on fighting this as I know at least 10 people who've scored 0 and won their appeals. It is a despicable system. Really well done and I'm so pleased for you! Xx

  • Thank you from all of us.You should be so proud of yourself this is ground breaking.Massive well done.xxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Hi Fletch, I really do take my hat off to you, well done. I worked in an Advice Agency as a Welfare Benefits Adviser volunteer for more than 2 yrs, after qualifying in 2010. I really can empathize with everything you have described and its true people fail their medical assessment and then give up. I have helped many clients to win their cases unfortunately none with Endometriosis but with serious health issues, none the less.

    My advice to others is that if you feel that the questions do not pertain to you specifically then you can always complete 'Extra Information' pages at the back of the form or better still write out a statement and attach it......you can however go to an advice agency and get help with form filling from an experienced adviser....... there are many out there as well as CAB, Advice UK is the umbrella organisation for many agencies nationwide.

    Fletch, it seems as though your case may be one of the first of its kind which is a tremendous boost in changing case law legislation that advisers use to help their clients win their appeal, as they can use direct quotations from your trial as well as medical evidence from specialists and GP's.

    It fills my heart with joy when I hear stories like this because many people either do not realise their rights or are in so much pain they will give up quite quickly so I am glad to help you spread the word to fight, fight, fight for your rights!

    Well done! :) xx

    PS. I am awaiting Laparoscopy appointment to confirm Endo.

  • That very good news, well done, X

  • massive congratulations :) and thank you so much for sharing your story and for campaigning for us :) xxx

  • Congratulations,

    I'm going to capability and this time fear I will be sacked, first capability I went too was because I was in a RTA and they told me I should be lucky that I weren't sack that day. Now I have been off work for 2 half months and I'm back at work on light duties, they are making it really difficult at work and I get snide remarks all the time. I applied for another job and got it, the manager who interviewed me said it was a fantastic interview, anyway I had to send two references one a brilliante sister who I someday would like to aspire too. The ref she sent was really good the other ref had to be a band 7, I got a phone call yesterday saying that they were redrawing my offer as the second ref said I was not developed enough due to time off, I beg to differ as the 10 that started have all left apart from me because they hate the ward because there was never any support, since more have left and its now looking bad on the band 7. I asked to speak to her and she said I came across indifferent which means I don't care! I stay late on duty to care for patient in my own time and I'm never paid for it, I can get at lease 6 people saying that I'm a caring nurse and go that extra mile every day or my patients. I asked the direct of nursing that I felt the ref was wrong I asked I asked to see the ref and he said I couldn't when I know I can. I told him I could get other refs that would say different and his answer was no.

    Sorry for ranting on but now I have o go to capability and this time I feel they are gunning for me as I told the band 7 why everyone was leaving due to lack of support, of course she didn't like that and said I shouldn't of put her down as a ref.xx

  • Congratulations,

    I'm going to capability and this time fear I will be sacked, first capability I went too was because I was in a RTA and they told me I should be lucky that I weren't sack that day. Now I have been off work for 2 half months and I'm back at work on light duties, they are making it really difficult at work and I get snide remarks all the time. I applied for another job and got it, the manager who interviewed me said it was a fantastic interview, anyway I had to send two references one a brilliante sister who I someday would like to aspire too. The ref she sent was really good the other ref had to be a band 7, I got a phone call yesterday saying that they were redrawing my offer as the second ref said I was not developed enough due to time off, I beg to differ as the 10 that started have all left apart from me because they hate the ward because there was never any support, since more have left and its now looking bad on the band 7. I asked to speak to her and she said I came across indifferent which means I don't care! I stay late on duty to care for patient in my own time and I'm never paid for it, I can get at lease 6 people saying that I'm a caring nurse and go that extra mile every day or my patients. I asked the direct of nursing that I felt the ref was wrong I asked I asked to see the ref and he said I couldn't when I know I can. I told him I could get other refs that would say different and his answer was no.

    Sorry for ranting on but now I have o go to capability and this time I feel they are gunning for me as I told the band 7 why everyone was leaving due to lack of support, of course she didn't like that and said I shouldn't of put her down as a ref.xx

  • Congratulations,

    I'm going to capability and this time fear I will be sacked, first capability I went too was because I was in a RTA and they told me I should be lucky that I weren't sack that day. Now I have been off work for 2 half months and I'm back at work on light duties, they are making it really difficult at work and I get snide remarks all the time. I applied for another job and got it, the manager who interviewed me said it was a fantastic interview, anyway I had to send two references one a brilliante sister who I someday would like to aspire too. The ref she sent was really good the other ref had to be a band 7, I got a phone call yesterday saying that they were redrawing my offer as the second ref said I was not developed enough due to time off, I beg to differ as the 10 that started have all left apart from me because they hate the ward because there was never any support, since more have left and its now looking bad on the band 7. I asked to speak to her and she said I came across indifferent which means I don't care! I stay late on duty to care for patient in my own time and I'm never paid for it, I can get at lease 6 people saying that I'm a caring nurse and go that extra mile every day or my patients. I asked the direct of nursing that I felt the ref was wrong I asked I asked to see the ref and he said I couldn't when I know I can. I told him I could get other refs that would say different and his answer was no.

    Sorry for ranting on but now I have o go to capability and this time I feel they are gunning for me as I told the band 7 why everyone was leaving due to lack of support, of course she didn't like that and said I shouldn't of put her down as a ref.xx

  • Just I case you were thinking what does this have to do with anything, I have suffered with endo for as long as I can remember and had my 4th lap on the 1st of march I went back to work three weeks later even though I wasn't ready due to the fear of being sacked.

  • That is fantastic news! Congratulations! Go you!

    I cannot believe how rubbish the system is..well I can actually as I have had to help my mum through various disability claims and it so frustrating! I have been thinking about trying to apply for the ESA but was worried about it, and the hassle/stress of it all.

    It nice to hear a Judge, or just anybody, who is listening and understanding what us endo sufferers are having to deal with.

    Your victory certainly gives hope to us all.

    Once again huge congratulations!

  • Congratulations on winning your case. I am going through exactly the same thing now, I scored 0 on the work capability assessment & despite my g.p signing my sick notes for 3 months at a time, they are saying I am capable of returning to work within 3 months. I am just waiting to hear when my tribunal will be, I have also said I want it to heard with me present so I can put my story across & not just the opinion of the assessment, which in my opinion was rubbish, the lady wrote down that I don't go to sleep until 4 maybe 5 in the morning & don't get up til lunchtime then I either sit in bed or on the sofa watching tv, she failed to put across what I had actually told her which was I can't sleep due to the pain & even if I go to bed at 20.00 I still can't sleep or if I do get to sleep the pain wakes me up, then I wake up around 8 only to be in agony, my partner gives me my medication & then because I am on such strong painkillers (Oramorph, Zomorph & Ibruprofen) I end up dosing back off plus being completely exhausted on top of this. The assessment just made it look like I'm lazy & can't be bothered to get up or take my 3 children to school. Maybe if some of these people could spend a day in our shoes then they would no longer say we are just lazy & they would realise how much endo affects not only our lives but our children & all the people who love us & have to watch us all suffer without being able to do anything.

    One thing I would like to ask you is about the representative you had? Ive been told I can have one but where do I find someone to represent me? They have given me no information about this. I would also ask you if you minded me printing out your story to send into my tribunal as further evidance of how endo affects us?

    Thank you & its lovely to know I am doing the right thing by fighting the system because at the moment I feel like I am banging my head off a brickwall

    vickie

  • oh yeah I forgot to mention I am also in contact with my local m.p who wrote a letter in my appeal saying that the evidence is self explanatory & it is disgusting how I've been treated.

  • Congratulations to you. I had to give up my career two years ago - I've been trying to run my own business as, despite chronic pain and ME, it's clear I would not score enough points to get DLA or ESA. I'm failing miserably. I decided recently to apply for DLA anyway - will see how that goes and may apply for ESA too.

    The system is deeply flawed - what it doesn't recognise is consistency. I could go and work an 8 hour day if my life depended on it, but I'd then be bed bound for up to a week. I can not earn a wage - who would employ me when I couldn't make it in 90% of the time? Why should they?

    Well done to you - when I left my job, I threatened them with legal action because of the way I was treated. In the end, they paid me off and I really regret not standing up for myself more. If things are to change, we need brave people like you.

    x

  • Omg this is amazing! I live in Walsall and I'm trying to get the pain sortd. I suffered a mc and had to have 2 evacuations and a lap were they said some endo was removed but I've just keep getting worse. Now been off work since late November and being reviewed constantly by work. Got another hospital visit nhs today then their occupational health Wednesday and a family funeral 2moz and all they have done is said can't I get signed back for work and pushed to call and visit me x I'm a bit lost x well done!

  • i too appealed against the esa decision i was fit for work only mine did not go so far as court i won because the examiner left too many loopholes in her decision i am now on my third attempt at DLA but im going through citizens advice who are trying to get endo classed as a disability don;t understand how one ESA can say your disabled but DLA wont

  • Congratulations.... Uve gave me a kick 2 fight my insensitive employees about my endo suffering!! x

  • Good for you!! I know the appeal process is really hard so good for you that you stuck it out xx

  • Hi everyone....

    I just wanted to say a massive thankyou for all of your lovely comments. I am truly overwhelmed.

    I am so, so, so pleased to hear that my story has inspired some of you to keep fighting. You can do this! The system is flawed and the more of us that make a noise about this, the more they will have to listen. I know it is hard, but as I am now a lot healthier these days (touch wood) I will keep fighting for everyone.

    It's not over!

    But believe that if I can win, so can you.

    Aimee xx

  • I have my tribunal tomorrow & unfortunately I have to represent myself although my local MP has been brilliant throughout but he cannot attend with me, my CAB gave me an appointment with a man who represents people but he said that as the case had gone so far then he wouldn't be able to represent me, as you can imagine I am really nervous which is not doing my pain any favors at all. All I can do is hope I'm in alot of pain in the morning & hope they see just how much the pain affects me & my movement. Will update you how I get on, keep fingers crossed for me girls xxx

  • How did you get on Vickie?

  • I am now applying for ESA - wish me luck! x

  • Best of luck with it all! xX

  • OMG!!!!! I WON, I WON, I WON!!! I can't believe it.

    I was so nervous about having to represent myself but I think it helped with the fact that we were running late so walking to the court from the car park was hell on earth & I was an absolute mess by the time I got in there. I was crying my eyes out & could hardly breathe through the pain, I got in there & the lady who was assisting in the waiting area first handed me a box of tissues, then a glass of water personally I could of done with a canister of gas & air lol.

    The judge, a man, was very sympathetic & the doctor was lovely, I think it helped that the doctor was female. She asked me what I would be doing after my hearing so I replied "the same as I do whenever I go out, once I get home in agony just from going out I will have to take my trousers off as everything I wear pulls on my abdomen after that it is straight into bed as I won't be able to stand by that point" she asked me how long I would have to stay in bed & I replied "I'm probably the same as most of the woman who suffer with this, once you go out & take the energy & strength to do something you end up flat on your back for about 3 days" she was genuinely shocked, I wish these people could understand what we go through on a daily basis.

    I am so glad its over now though & can breathe a sigh of relief, although the hole thing has been unbelievably stressful it has definitely been worth it!

    I would urge anyone going through this to fight the system as we have to make our cries heard! Why on earth should we suffer from this horrible illness in silence, we all go through hell in the years it takes to get diagnosed why should we then have to go through hell to get the financial help that we deserve & need due to being in too much pain to do pretty much anything just because we are female.

    Thank you so much Fletch for giving me the strength to fight this. I really didn't think I stood a chance of winning until I read your story. We really do have to stand up against the system.

    Don't suffer in silence girl's we have just as much right as anyone else who is ill why should we go without just because our illness is inside & can't be seen.

    Keep shouting & shout loud.

    Love & Hugs to you all girl's

    & to the friends & family that by us all & have to watch us suffer

    Vic xxxx

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