I'm glad that writing about how my appeal was allowed due to exceptional circumstances has been helpful to those who commented.
It was a tough decision even to go to the tribunal as I only get my NI payments paid. On incapacity benefit I got £10 a week as I have a teacher's pension, (Luckily I had paid in for exactly 20 years when I became so ill I had to retire sick at 49yo. This with a state pension would have meant I would not have to worry constantly about money but retiring early there is no state pension and none of the 'perks' of being a pensionner.) On ESA awaiting appeal this small amount was stopped.
The reason I went ahead was that I didn't want to be a statistic of a claimant who when assessed was actually fit to work. I have responded to the government enquirey into the benefit changes as well as appealing the decision. The outcome of the enquirey appalled me as it seemed to say there was nothing wrong with the criteria or the ATOS medicals.
I was also angered by TV programmes like Saints and Sinners where some people on benefit were shown to be able to do such 'extra-ordinary' things like attend a special football match, sweep a supermarket floor, have a day out with the family... All of which if we pace ourselves, many with fibro between flare-ups can do. Not only can we do it, we are told by our doctors to keep moblie and increase our fitness and we are encouraged to do 'permitted work'. What is ignored is the fact that we are constantly pushing the pain barrier and after doing such things there is payback - intense fatigue when any activity is impossible.
I really hope that the government's treatment of disabled and sick people is highlighted during the paraolympics. They seem to think we want to be without work, to have no status and to be taken advantage of by all stratas of society, from builders who see the opportunity to bodge work as they think we will not have the energy to complain to complacent politicians who think they 'know' everything without stooping to speak to us individually.
What really angers me is the official indifference to the inbetweenees, too sick to be on Job Seeker's Allowance and too well to be on ESA; The plight of those who fear they will loose their homes if they lose their benefit and the consequences this has such as suicide attempts.
I am also angered that those who do attempt suicide because of their pain, fatigue and circumstances are then given lots of support, help with their claims etc. etc. Not because they do not deserve it, they do, but if they had the help they deserved originally they would not reach such a point of despair, there would be no hospital expenses and ongoing mental health team expenses. Result, - more money available to give to those who, for no fault of their own, find themselves unable to work and live without some financial support.
I am sick of fighting but fighting does give purpose to life!