EESA Appeals Procedure

Hi I am preparing all my documentation and gathering evidence for my appeal. Can any one on here who has already been to a appeal describe for me what happens. For instance is it an informal meeting or is it similary to a tribunal with a panel and being called up as witnesses. I have been researching but cannot find any information like this. I just want to do all I can to be mental prepared and ready for the day. Going in knowing what the set up is and what is the format etc. will be very helpful and reassuring for me. Many thanks in advance to any of you that can help me with this.

Colleen xxx

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  • Have you been in touch with your local CAB or similar organisation? They went with my husband his tribunals, I've attended them as well as a witness/support.

    He was met by the CAB adviser in the waiting room at the ESA tribunal location and after sorting out paper work with the Clerk he was taken into the room with 2 tribunal members. There was the tribunal Judge (a legal professional) and one other person (his war pension tribunal had 3 people). They went over his submission and my statement (I was in the waiting room this time as I was going in as a witness) and a few minutes later they appeared again and he was told there and then he had got his points for ESA (normally they write but had said he'd waited long enough already).

    Here is a copy of the Ministry of Justice video about attending tribunals that the DWP has pulled twice as Chris Grayling decided it has too much information in it to help you win your tribunal! Fortunately before it was pulled a second time a few people downloaded it and posted to their own sites:

    olanasfogblog.blogspot.co.u...

  • thanks for posting video lima x

  • Thanks for that Lima. I have been trying to find that video without success. I have tried for the last two days to get hold of the CAB but have not been able to do so yet. I will endeavour to keep trying. Its important though to know in advance what you are going to face so thak you for your help. And may I add that I am so glad it has worked out for your husband this time,

    xx

  • Hi. I cant seem to find the video? I would really like to see it as im helpimg my mum with her claim. Her appeal has just failed. Ive told her that she needs to get detailed letters from all the doctors and consultants she sees and gets as much information from the officials to help back it all up. Im sure theres more i could be doing but fibrofog is visiting today lol. She is going to make an appointment with CAB to help her so with the info from benefits and work website and backup from her local psychiatric nurse and her consultants etc hopefuly that will be enough.

    I hope the tribunal is a success for you colleen. I wish you all the luck

    Love and gentle hugs

    Chilli xxx

  • Hi Chilli I was able to access the video using the link sent by Lima6MCT. I am also trying to get help from CAB. Good luck to your mum, problem is getting GP's or consultants to do letters. I havent approached my GP yet. He is usually good so hopefully he will help me. MY CPN has said she will. Take care of yourself and your Mum. xxxx

  • Hi i have appealed twice and the tribunal where quite informal and helped me this was a about ten years ago so not sure what it is like now but so many members are not connected to dwp they gave me time to talk and explain myself and i won my appeal both times. now i am appealing again as i was took off ib transition to esa after medical. GOOD LUCK x

    try and get some advice from cab or other organisation dealing with appeals process.

  • Well update so far. I am sure I must be the only person in UK who wants to receive the brown envelope from DWP. I just want to get on with the battle now. Im all prepared, got my medical evidence together and sent a 35 page letter of complaint to ATOS (which I might add they have not acknowledged). I sent it via recorded delivery and checked that they received it, which they did on the 2nd August. According to their 'own' customer charter they will acknowledge complaints within 2 working days (its the 16th now!!). I have written and copied it all to my local MP. I have contacted CAB but they need to wait till I start the appeal process before they can step in to offer further help. On the downside though I became really unwell the last few weeks and I am now on Beta Blockers to try and control my migraines, palpitations and anxiety. They do seem to have help though, which I guess proves that stress was causing the problems. I think the stress as well has made my pain so much worse. Lately I feel very lethargic and pain popping up all over.

    Still I will keep the forum informed. Hopefully if someone else is having the same issues they might get some help from my experiences.

    Colleen

  • Update: Yesterday 5wks after sending the initial complaint to ATOS I received their response. Hilarious stuff. Obviously they disagreed with everything we said in my complaint and there are some absolute gems in the letter.

    "It might help if I explain that this was a functional assessment, designed to test Ms Hardy's abilityto perform day-to-day activities. It was not a diagnostic assessment (like that completed by a GP or hospital to diagnose the condition,), nor was it a self reported assessment (like a questionnaire which she filled in herself). The questions, and information recorded, therefore need to reflect the requirements and criteria of the claimed benefits. Someone may have any one (or more) of a number of conditions, but still not meet the criteria for ESA"

    My translation - We dont care what is wrong with you or what information you have on your health and your day to day abilities, unless your dead or dying you do not meet the criteria

    "The medical report therefore reflects the HCP's opinion about likely need, based on the evidence from the interview and physical examination, any medical evidence submitted, and the HCP's own knowledge and experience"

    My thoughts here are - but they just stated that the WCA was not about the medical truth or opinion regarding my abilities. They have not commented on the fact that I told them I did not say most of the things that their HCP said I did,or that when I did she totally misquoted me or took what I said in completly the wrong context.

    Now this is a good one, I'm sure you will all appreciate this one !!!

    "There are a limited number of medical conditions, that are neurological in nature (for example, Sciatica) that are assessed only by a doctor. These medical conditions have been agreed with DWP, and a doctor is assigned to undertake an assessment when a customer has this type of medical condition. However, none of Ms Hardy's conditions fall into this category and she could have been seen by any available HCP on the day"

    My thoughts : My conditions (and I'm sorry to be boring here but feel its relevant) are Fibromyalgia, Clinical Depression, Underactive Thyroid, Hiatus Hernia, IBS and Irritable Bladder. But apparently none of them warrant an actual Doctor's opinion but that of a young physio who by the way reassured me that she had been given a 'month of training' in Mental Health conditions. I'm most interested in why in particular they quote "Sciatica" as being serious enough to warrant a GP (and I do not mean in anyway to undermine the seriousness of the condition) and yet Fibromyalgia or clinical depression do not!

    "In light of this complaint, Dr Abbott, our Customer Relations Medical Adviser has reviewed the report. He concludes that, as recorded, there is an appropriate amount of diagnosis history and functionally focussed and relevant typical day information. He finds the recorded observations to be specific, detailed and relevant, and the physical and mental state examinations to be sufficiently detailed"

    My thoughts: Does he really, how interesting, so this means that the fact that I strongly deny saying most of the comments made by the assessor or have stated that she has misquoted me means nothing. The fact that my Community Psychiatric Nurse was with me and the assessor does not at any point quote any of what my CPN said does not matter. And he came to this conclusion without speaking to any of us. Incredible.

    "He goes on to explain that this is a FUNCTIONAL assessment, and that the report is written solely for the use of NON-MEDICAL Decision makers in the DWP. Hence, the specific names and details of the conditions and their treatment is of far less relevance than the functional information in the report. The general titles of the diagnoses and the amount of diagnosis history presented here is sufficient for the purpose for which the report was intended.

    MY thoughts: The Assessor did not write down my Conditions correctly and indeed missed out half of them which I complained about in my letter. Maybe I am being stupid here, but surely my conditions and treatment etc is extremely important in making a decision about my work capabilities because if I did not have these particular conditions then I would be capable of working and would not be in need of receiving DLA and ESA! Seriously, is it me being thick!

    "He also adds that these assessment are not, and can never be, verbatim records of what the customer states, and nor can everything the customer wants to say be included. Only sufficient need be recorded to give a representative summary and an active picture of the functional effects of the reported conditions for the benefit of the DWP Decision Makers to help them make their decisions. Hence, a detailed analysis of the report looking for slight differences between what the customer believes they said and what is written is not useful."

    My thoughts: Actually the assessment could indeed be verbatim records of what is said, RECORD THEM ! The assessor cherry picked out and misquoted what was said to suit DWP/ATOS's purposes. I did indeed do a very detailed report of what was said by myself and my CPN and the differences between that and what the assessor put in her report. I also pointed out all the remarks made by the assessor which she claimed I had said but I did not do so!

    "He notes that, in this case, clearly, Ms Hardy feels that what was recorded does not give a representative picture. Not having being present, neither Dr Abbott nor I can arbitrate on this and so this must remain irreconcilable"

    MY thoughts: Well that was helpful wasnt it!! Obviously they were not there but one would think that as an organisation when accusations of untruths and misleading evidence are aimed at their organisaton and one of their assessors they might have wanted to undertake a full investigation of said. but as they go on to say -

    "ATOS Healthcare are not involved in the Appeals process"

    In other words, they don't really care what I say or accuse them of because at the end of the day they will not in any way be held responsible for either their assessors or their own actions.

    Sorry for the length of this and I hope it makes some sense to those that read it. Obviously I could not copy down the whole letter but have just picked out some choice examples to share. To me it reads like a dog chasing it tail, just going round and round in circles

    The bottom line is ATOS know that they are not and will not be held in any way accountable for their actions and nor will any of the individual assessors. This is what really needs to be changed. Perhaps if they were subject to penalties, specifially financially and were accountable, then they would be more inclined to undertake truthful, realistic assessments.

    The letter will go straight to my MP along with our response to said rubbish. I am at this moment still waiting for my final decision. However, whatever the outcome I will strive to bring attention to the atroucious behaviour of ATOS and their assessors.

    ps. Please if you have been called for a WCA please please insist that it is recorded. They will change everything you say and they will write down things that you never did say. Please also make sure you have someone with you throughout the WHOLE of the assessment. Because my assessment stated 1/2 hr late my CPN had to leave for the last 15 minutes and in this time the assessor did her physical exam which she did not report back honestly. Had someone been with me I would have a stronger case in my disagreement of her comments about the examination.

    Good luck all. Colleen xx

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