Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Dreaded PIP, again!

Hi all,

I was awarded PIP at the standard rate for 3 years, then recieved the reassessment and filled it all in, basically saying I was no different than before other than a serious injury to my right leg/ankle which I now have a huge metal plate and pins......

I then had to go for a face to face assessment and I recieved a letter saying I wasn't being awarded PIP and I had been given 0 points.

I've done the mandatory reconsideration and used a great template to outline why I didn't agree. AGAIN, I was knocked back and given 0 points.

I've now sent my appeal back and have had a letter to say it's been recieved and will be dealt with. I'm now wondering if I should have asked to be present at the court as I opted for not being there. Mainly because I really can't cope with the stress of it and as I'm now on sick leave from work due to anxiety and have raised grievances about undermining and bullying behaviour from my managers.

Have I hindered my appeal by not requesting to be there at the court?

Jude 😊

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Hi it does make your blood boil this if you can and get help or someone to go with you phone and say you are now wanting to go and have a go at them politely at appeal with all your reasons and points.they are now saying you do not get care and help and can walk more than 50 metres safely and reapeatly.have you got a copy of medical report so you can make 2complaints against this assessor with the lies that will be on your medical report and dwp do try get help if you can . But do not let this go .

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I stated the inaccuracies of the assessment along with my request for appeal. It really angers me that they think fibro can just be switched on and off. Believe me, if I could choose to live without it then I would!

I said that the nature of the condition can give you good and bad days and that a 45 minute assessment could never give a true reflection of what I deal with on a day to day basis

Thank you for your support 😊

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Good luck hope you can get the right result take care

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Hi Puffypenguin

Your story just shows how the system is not working and how it let's both vulnerable disabled people and chronically sick people down over and over again. If you were awarded before and the abilities haven't changed and the assessment phase worked you would have been awarded the same surely?

Two things to add, if you haven't already maybe it would be worth speaking with the FMAUK Benefits Advisor, see contact information below;

healthunlocked.com/fibromya...

and I know this summer the Disability Benefits Consortium has launched a #GetAGripon PIP campaign for this summer outlining all the issues that is associated with claiming PIP. I wrote a post about it below;

healthunlocked.com/fibromya...

I think there are also many petitions around about this as it is happening to so many - it is so unfair and I sincerely wish I could help but it seems all we can do is keep fighting however hard it is for us.

Sending a little extra strength and resolve to you

All the best

Emma :)

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Thank you so much. It's tiring and demoralising. I still have the option to attend the tribunal as it states that in the letter I received.

I'm really perplexed as to how they can come to the conclusion based on what I would call a "good day" when I attended the f2f. I pointed out the inaccuracies of the assessment as it said I seemed comfortable and not in any pain.... The assessor commented that I looked uncomfortable as I was suffering from significant back pain and was holding/supporting myself throughout.

It's taken so much of my resolve to not just give up and accept their decision, I really don't know how people worse off than me cope with it all!

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I understand and you probably have but I always say not to use the term 'good day' as I feel the assessors seem to think this means the same as fit and can do all the things healthy people do daily without any trouble at all. I say best to use mild, moderate and severe symptoms describing that the symptoms are always present and while when mild can slowly achieve X, Y, & Z on moderate or severe days it is increasingly difficult to achieve activities of daily living and when severe impossible ie in bed due to agony not able to do anything.

I think a lot is subjective and down to the perception of the person on the day, which you quite rightly isn't a true representation of the illness. I wonder if the ME debate in parliament mentioning this fact may also help others with conditions that have fluctuating symptoms in the future. We can only hope x Fingers Crossed :)

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Ah that is such a great way of looking at it. I didn't think of it like that! I will definitely use that gauge in the future as now you have pointed it out it is easy to see why and how it can be misinterpreted.

You are awesome!

😊

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Thanks that made me smile but really it's just reading advice from others on the internet and passing it on :) Hope it all works out for you !

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Please don't give up, that is what they want us to do. It is wearing and degrading but why should we not fight for our rights? Good luck and here's some more extra strength. XX

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Not hindered but statistics show that you are more likely to be successful if you present yourself at the tribunal as the panel can ask for clarification of any points you have made which might be unclear. They also have the opportunity of seeing you and seeing how your disability affects you eg a bad limp from your operation. You are allowed to go with someone and they can sit with you. I did this with my OH twice as he suffers badly from anxiety and depression. I am not sure whether you have a date but if not or if it was some way away I am sure you can contact them and change your mind. Good luck.xxx

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I don't have a date as yet but they have stated in the letter that I can change my mind and attend. I'm just not sure I have the fight in me to be honest. I'm spent with all of the other stuff going on with work too! I'm having to go back in amongst the grievance investigation as I don't get paid while I'm off and can't survive on SSP 😥

Life can certainly be a shitter as times, but I can get through it with courage and chocolate 😁

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Hi

Is there any possibility that you could take ill health retirement, that's what I've had to do. I finished on Thursday, very emotional and dad day but my boss and everyone at work have been fantastic, I know not everyone has s good network their place of work. You also say regarding pip that every day is a bad day. Hope it all goes well for you, hope you can take someone with you please take care love and hugs Lynne

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I don't think I can. I'm 37 so have loads of years ahead of me to build up my pension.

I've applied to go to university, starting in September, I can't wait!

Thank you for the good luck vibes

Jude x

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Hi lynne_MA, was the process of I'll health retirement fairly easy? I am still working but having lots of sick, have been told that if it continues I'll health retirement may be an option. I don't have a great pension and understand you have to fight to get it, did you find this with yourself? I'm 55 this year but still need my wage to pay the bills, I get low rate pip and my pension, if made up would make up for loss of earnings. TIA x

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Hi

It has took about 6 months to go through but I was lucky I didn't have to fight. My boss has been brilliant and has kept copies of my sick notes but also I had to get medical records from my Dr and my consultant also backed me up which , my brother said would help tremendously. I had to go through occupational health who there again were very good. I've ended up getting top notch with pension and also a bonus if a weeks wage for every vyrar I've worked there which is nearly 20 years!! I think I've been very fortunate!! I really hope it works for you too . Love and hugs Lynne xxxx

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Hi I had to take ill health retirement last year due to my fibro, chronic back pain and IBS and a few other illnesses . My bosses were great at work and gave me lots of support . I also got back up from my doctor and the occ health from work . I'm 57 , unfortunately I don't have a pension but was awarded middle and low PIP , I also get other benefits to help me. I'm on my own and I can manage financially thank goodness as there's no way I could cope in work anymore. Give it a thought and ask your company how you would go about things . Good luck , Kate x

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Hi, may I ask about your Ill health retirement? I work for the local authority. I had my 9 month absence review recently. I have been informed that come September I will get a date for a dismissal hearing. It will be dismissal on other grounds, ie, that I cannot return to work, as no improvement in my condition. My boss is fully supportive but OH say that she would not recommend me for early retirement on illness grounds. Even the local authority HR representative questions OH decision. May I ask you, do you have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia? If so, how did you go about getting your pension, was it a battle? I should mention that I have been awarded enhanced rate for PIP, both components and esa support group. Tia. Xx

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Hi, I'm saddened & so annoyed to hear your pip hassles. I too went through all that 3 years ago & went to the appeal infront of a Dr, solicitor & someone else who I can't recall... I felt like a criminal as their accusations & questions came at me. My Mum came with me as she witnessed what the assessor actually said & the lies he wrote, all of which they dismissed, along with my dr's letters... It was an experience I don't want to repeat, but fear I'll have to as the time has come for a f2f. Please don't give up & fight for what's rightfully yours because I intend to this time!!! Chocolate time for me too🍫

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So sorry you are having to go through it too. It's like we have to prepare for battle before we have even been to the first appointment. It's so wrong 😥

Sending you luck, strength and 🍫

Jude x

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Thank you! Spent the day in bed sleeping on & off as the pain will allow... Please let me know how you get on tho please. Virtual pain free hugs for you🤗 x

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Hi Puffy penguin

I know it's difficult to go back in to work with the grievance, but.... they will be on very thin ice and have to watch what they say, cos you'll have more reasons to take to grevience

So you can hold your head high, just one wrong word from them eek you go girl.

Pip is a mess, just phone them, and send letter as well saying you want to attend appeal. Even if you're not well and can't go, just see at the time.

All the best

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I'm going to go back when my current sick note runs out, I'm only in for 1 week then have a week annual leave. Some days I feel like facing them head on..... Today I feel weak and want to hide away. Let's just hope fighty Jude is present for when I go back 😂

Jude x

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Aww I understand, each hr is different let alone each day 😔

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like said above - you are a classic example of how the system is not working ..... your problems have increased yet you have lost your award !!! I am sure I read an article somewhere that if they give you a lower award at re-assessment and you are either the same or worse - then they need to justify the lower award. I'm not sure if I saved it, but I will have a look through my files later and check.

I would always recommend attending the appeal in person ... as you then have the opportunity to answer any questions the appeal panel have - and this can be the difference between you getting the decision overturned or not. However, I also know how stressful this can be - having been through it several times with DLA, and accompanying others for PIP.

hugs xxx

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I would be interested in that article Hazel_Angelstar if you find it.xxx

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Thank you. It really frustrated me that one minute the believe the struggles then the next they say I don't have any difficulties at all.

I think I will contact the tribunal centre and ask if I can attend. Am I right in thinking that once the appeal is decided on I can't take it any further?

😊

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You are braver and have more fight than I do!! I’ve chosen not to go to Tribunal but to put those mental and physical energies into getting my business off the ground! Some tips for anyone who’s not filled their forms in yet.... always fill in the forms as if it were your worst day, make sure you visit your dr and any other relevant health professionals regularly so there is a medical record to back you up (that’s whats lost me my pip) and get on to the benefits and work site as for a one off moderate fee (unless you know someone who has all the info off them already) you can access all their info on how to fill in the form etc. Absolutely amazing resource and puffypenguin you need to do this to access their info on preparing for and attending the tribunal.

On my mandatory assessment the decision maker wrote I did not appear disheveled!!! This was in reference to not showering and washing my hair! Well I’m sorry I don’t want to advertise that I don’t shower etc so I put my hair up and if I left my hair down and didn’t brush it and had dreadlocks it would have been put down as a fashion statement!! I was eating my breakfast and drinking my first coffee of the day when the assessor came to me for a 9am appt and even that went against me!! 😕 when I finally received the medical report I just couldn’t read it. It was just too distressing.

I wish you 100% success at your Tribunal. Do see if you can find someone to go with you and represent you there. Someone who has experience with tribunals.

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My report said that I didn't appear unkempt. They obviously think that we should walk around looking like we haven't washed in a year in order to be eligible. It's a crazy system.

Wishing you luck with your tribunal and business!

Jude x

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Hi Puffypenguin the system stinks, my husband went through the same thing. He doesn't have fibro but chronic pain and mental health issues. He failed with 0 points twice and we went to tribunal. I went with him to support as he was extremely anxious and having suicidal thoughts at the time. The panel advised me I wasn' allowed to speak on his behalf which was the whole point of me being there. The whole experience was exhausting and triggered a bad fibro flare in me. We got advice from disability solutions who helped make a formal complaint he was then awarded high rate for both. The whole system is corrupt, get some support and fight them tooth and nail girl, stay strong!! Xx

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Oh that sounds horrific. I'm so glad you got a good outcome but it's such a disgrace that they push you so far to get it.

I just hope I have the fight in me!

Jude x

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So sorry for you, the same thing happened to me, it is a total nightmare and they just will not listen to reason. How can we have been refused PIP when we were awarded it for a couple of years, then despite deteriorating, following a reassessment have it remove. I cannot get an answer from the DWP, just "circumstances have changed so the claimant is no longer eligible " What changed, I am worse now? Good luck it does not seem to matter which way we turn, reason has 'gone out of the window' in some cases?

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Ah so sorry you have experienced the same. It's enough having to live with illness without having to jump through all of the hoops. Did you appeal?

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Yes lost the appeal as they just would not listen to us. I was told to reapply, which I did and they took all my points off me, Zero even though I was worse and had been awarded PIP previously! MR next step. The DWP told me to reapply again. I may end up with minus points this time! They are a 'law onto themselves'. Thank you XXXXXXX

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I did not attend my appeal because like you, I could not face the stress of attending. I had been awarded Enhanced Mobility but no Daily Living. I used the Benefits and Work Guides to prepare my appeal documents, and I had lots of medical evidence plus a DWP Access to Work report from Disability Assessors, from when I was working. As you are working, you could request an Access to Work assessment. You can get copies of all your medical records by writing to your GP and Hospitals, requesting them. There may be a small fee for this.

Also some people report that getting a Social Care assessment from the Local Authority, even if you don't qualify for any care assistance, will result in a report saying what you can and cannot do, which can be used as PIP evidence.

My appeal went in my favour. I went from no daily living to the Enhanced Rate and they doubled my points score from 6 to 12. So do go for it - 75% of people are currently winning their PIP appeals according to the latest press releases.

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Some years ago my mobility stopped with DLA , so I appealed was refused again, so went to Tribunal with family member and another official, I ended up with DLA being reinstated and also given low care, plus they had to back date it, I was given over £7,000 back, so if you ever get a chance to go to court to appeal however stressful it is, it proves it’s worth it. X

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Chances of winning are higher if you're there. You can bring someone with you...

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Hi have you contacted Citizens Advice Bureau as they can provide a disability advocate to help you with all appeals I found them very helpful, even with social services assessments

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Ah I didn't think of that. It's worth me giving them a call and see if they can help. Thank you 😊

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I have set up a petition on change.org if you would be interested in signing It?it's called,Stop the dwp forcing people with disabilities on jobseekers allowance 😊

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