DLA Appeal - Aggressive smarmy questioning and poor administration from HMTCS!

I've recently been for a DLA appeal for my first claim. I claimed after I received my diagnosis of FMS, CFS (Which was dated back to 1993) and Fat Pad Disease (a rare condition affecting knees and knuckles) I'd had a diagnosis of severe depression in 2009.

First of all the tribunal had not received my submission and supporting evidence from the Administrative centre. They confirmed on the telephone to me they had received them, but the panel or clerk on the day did not.

This may explain why the DWP sent someone along also (which I was assured was unlikely to happen). So it felt to me that they had already had a certain approach thought out in their questioning and my excellent relevant and crucial supporting evidence from the actual GP who saw me regularly (not the GP that filled in my report at reconsideration) and my consulatant who both backed my claim and documented how I have difficulties with self care particularly. My GP stated in his report at the end that he felt I was entitled to DLA 'at probably the middle rate' after being factual and very clear in his approach.

Anyway, they had a 2 minute glance over those and asked me in.

I was asked the most bizarre set of questions from the chair. He asked why and where I had lived in 2008!?? If I was in a domestic violence relationship at that time!? And when I moved back to my home town and what sort of accommodation I was in. I was also asked about my mothers employment and about my father (who committed suicide in 2002) I was then asked how old I was when he committed suicide as though it was a trick question!?!

All of this a long time ago and COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT!? I was then subject to the smarmy doctors questioning who asked why I couldn't be bothered to pick up a phone when my rheumatologists follow up appointment never arrived earlier this year. I was moving house and knew I would have to wait until my doctors notes caught up at my new surgery. Also following things like this up is part of my problem, however I never managed to explain that as I was too brow beaten by his tone.

The disabled rep then started asking lots of questions about the care of my 5 month old baby at the time of my claim in January 2012. I told her I had constant help and the chair added that depressed people would not be able to accept that amount of visitors. The disabled rep also laughed at me when I told her my baby's baby grow did not normally need changing more than once and day. She thought this was 'incredible'. Anyway, every one of them including the DWP rep had a comment each to suggest I was lying. It was more like a cross examination from the prosecution in a criminal trial to discredit me.

The chair ended by saying it was clear I'd had a good education and asked about my GCSE's which I told him I never completed due to glandular fever and fatigue. He then added it was clear I could communicate with people in a difficult situation. I'd put on my form I had trouble communicating in terms of dealing with household and personal admin through telephone calls and stated that my depression and anxiety made it difficult to get it together to sort these things and that it tied in with my destructive self neglect.

I was told I could wait outside whilst they came to a decision, I was then told after waiting that they would send it out in the post. Incedentally I did not see the DWP rep leave the room, I'm sure she did but it owuld have had to have been a good 5 minutes after I left. It hasn't arrived and they can't tell me over the phone so its a waiting game now.

I felt it was highly demeaning and aggressive, and the fact they never had the full evidence going in makes me angry.

I'm beginning to not care if I get turned down and my attention is more on how many other people they are doing this to when they are meant to be impartial and look at the evidence. I'm sure as I have heard there are many panels who are indeed impartial and seemingly more understanding with a better line of questioning but I feel under no illusion this panel had preconceptions and sounded as though they didn't believe one iota of what I was saying. I am a singer/songwriter and am writing a song to send out to the likes of the Black Triangle and many other people. It's a protest song about the whole business of the condemnation of the poor.

Watch this space!

4 Replies

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  • I had the same issue at my tribunal last year, they said they had only received the extra evidence the evening before and could not take it into account and I could either go on without it or book another hearing date. My mum was with me and nearly lost it in the hearing about the evidence when they said about it again as I had missed my daughters last ever play at middle school to go to the hearing. At the end of it though, they relented and said they would read it throughout the day before making a decision.

    The so called doctor was awful and rude. He basically told me that I would get better and most people do in his professional opinion. I don't think he banked on me and my colleague, who also came to challenge him.

    We said in our professional opinion as social workers, we get involved with those who do not get better and provide services to help with daily living tasks and that was what I needed now. I told him I may go into remission for a while but it hadn't yet. I also said that if I did get better I would certainly let him know.

    I also let clear that I would put everything at risk if was lying. I would lose everything, my work in a job that I love as I would be struck off and at the end of the day, that was why I was there for some help for me to continue as without it I am.nothing.

    I got low rate care but told to put in for a suppression as my condition had deteriorated further. Since I first applied.

    I am used to challenging doctors in work but it's harder in private life let alone for others who are scared to. It's not fair.

    Hope you get a good outcome

    Jo

  • Its called bullying and once they people cowed they fire questions to cause confusion itbis vital the the person appealing or being tested try to stay calm not an easy thing yo fo but itbis vital the DEPEND on applicants getting stressed and unable to fight back

    I havevseen this used in cases of security questioning once you get flustered they are 90% CERTAIN of victory and go in for the kill likeva pack of dogs its a set routine my staff were trained in the art of interragation. Dontfall for it stand up up for what you know to be true

  • Zoo star i know axactly how you feel, this happened to me last year and ive just put in for another tribunal appeal for DLA for the 4th time!!!!! i'm not givin up!!. altho i dont feel like i have the energy to do it, but there not going to do it again. It was a lady from JSP that told me dont bother sending extra letters in because they dont read it anyway. Its all a big joke. Why is it that some people get the lot for having Fibro n we carnt get anything??? When i did mine at the end of the meeting it was like a who wants to be a millionare, the Man said after me being outside for only 5 mins for them to make decision he said "we have made a decision, but were not going to tell you now" it will be in todays post. they make you feel so small and stupid. But after being turned down 4 times I'm not giving up!!!!!. good luck xxx

  • Ive got my tribunal coming up next month im dreading it, when i got my letter i was shaking and felt light headed i ranf my welfare officer in tears. Im not good at coping with situations and if this sort of thing happens to me i will crack, i suffer from depression and anxiety and a history of self harm i just know i will struggle i so hope they dont interrigate me like that its awful xx

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