I have just returned home after attending a Tribunal hearing for my appeal, about placement in the WRAG for my ESA benefit. For the last few weeks, I have been so stressed, drained, anxious and tearful with the build up to today. However, I am very pleased to say that in less than ten minutes the hearing was over, and the previous decision was over-turned, so I am now in the Support group.
I saw my psychiatrist last week, and asked if he'd ever been approached for further information from DWP or the DLA, and he confirmed, that he had NEVER been contacted by either party to verify my application, and offered to write a letter on my behalf. I picked it up two days later and sent it to the court, with a brief message stating that this was also the case with my GP. In my letter, I also pointed out, that DWP had stated that I had attended a medical, and this is what they had based their decision on, even though it was 11 months out of date! However, I had NEVER been to a medical, and said that whoever it was they saw on that day, must have been someone else!
It seemed quite clear, that panel had already made a decision from the documentation alone, but needed to see me in order to confirm their findings. As I left the building I was aware of being watched from the window by the appointed judge, and felt they had also monitored my approach, as I was greeted before I even opened the door.
When I did leave, I felt so angry that things had got to this stage, it was a real waste of money. No doubt, it cost cost more for that Tribunal, than the actual benefit that I receive. It makes a complete mockery of the whole system, and me in the process. Though the decision is great, I can't help but think of all I have gone through, with filling in forms, providing additional information, and of course the effect on my health and well being. They can't take any of that back and replace it.
Hopefully, the realisation of this outcome, will hit me at some point, but I honestly can't say that I feel any joy right now, as I am so depressed, tired and still in a lot of pain.
But, what I really want to say to all of you out there, that are facing the same thing, is 'don't give up', even if you think it's the best thing to; because that's what they want you to do. Go through their documents with a fine toothed comb, and cross reference it, to things that you have written or said. Ask everyone involved in your care plan if they have been approached for supporting evidence, and if not, ask them to write something for you. I was surprised the Tribunal panel, was more interested in what I was like at the time of application and the DWPs' decision being made, and NOT what I am like now, so bear that in mind.
So it' one down, and one to go, as I now have to prepare myself for the DLA hearing.
Good luck all.