Upcoming Tribunal - panic

Last October my IB was changed to ESA, and I was placed in WRAG group. My doctor at the time agreed that it was unlikely that I would be capable of holding down a job. In fact coming to terms with the idea that I would never work again has been a tough one for me. Initially I kept applying for jobs, submitting my old CV which laid claims to skills I no longer have, and tasks I am no longer capable of. I would attend interviews, wondering how on earth I'd manage if offered the job.

Through counsellors, I have eventually given up applying, though am still coming to terms with 'not working' as it is against every idea I was brought up with.

On advice I appealed the WRAG decision, believing I would have support. I went to CAB, who dragged their heels and eventually contacted my doctor for supporting evidence in January. Alas the doctor who knows about my condition and was supporting me, had left the practice in December, and the doctor who replied (Head of Practice) hadn't seen me in years, so his answers to their questions was not favourable. He agreed that I have Fibro and am suffering 'chronic widespread pain'. He also went on to say that it could be managed. There was no reply from the counsellor, who has since gone on maternity leave.

On receiving the doctor's reply, CAB contacted me to say that without his supporting evidence, I did not have a strong enough case and they would only take cases they believed had a good chance of succeeding at tribunal, so they would not be supporting me further.

I have been wondering what I could do since.

Today I have received a letter giving me the date for the Tribunal Hearing on 16th May. They have asked me to submit any further supporting evidence, but I haven't any.

I have been given various aids for around the house, including a door step, stair rail, stools and a bath chair etc. I have attended a Pain management Course, Pain Clinic and now an Extensive Physiotherapy course.

Last week I was sent to see a new counsellor, she agreed that I am not depressed and mentally am coping reasonably well with the fibro. So apart from referring me to a support group and yet another course, which will be similar to the PM course, but this time just with Fibro patients, there isn't much more she personally could do for me. She did ask how I felt about not being able to return to work, so is aware of the situation. However I have seen her only once and won't be seeing her again until end of May, so unlikely to get a letter from her.

I feel I have nothing further to offer and am panicking at the thoughts of this appeal. I don't feel I have a hope in hell of being placed in support group as things stand. I am not being pressured to attend Work Focussed Interviews, though of course that situation could change. I do wonder if at my age (almost 60) if it is even worth going ahead with the appeal? or if I should cancel it and carry on as I am, and so avoid the stress.

ANY advice whatsoever would be most appreciated.

Thanks

Em

12 Replies

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  • Em. I wish I could give you some advice but unfortunately I can't as I have never been in this position .. I hope someone can offer some words of wisdom here

    VG xx

  • I don't know about this either, but if you can bear the stress I should go for it - the worse that can happen is a 'no' and you will soon get State pension.

    Best of luck, whatever you decide to do!

    Moffy x

  • Thanks VG and Moffy for replying. Guess others haven't replied as no-one knows what to say.

    I wish I knew what the worst case scenario would be. If it was a case of 'no' and things carry on as they are, its worth trying, but if it changes anything detrimentally it could be a mistake to go to tribunal. I just don't think I stand a chance of being put into support group with nothing new to offer.

    With all the changes in the retirement age Moffy the state Pension won't be available to me until November 2016, so a few years to put up with the delights of Atos and DWP yet :(

    Em xx

  • Dear Em,

    I am so sorry to hear of your distress over this issue. I, too, have had a similar experience although my own GP has been wonderful. I am pasting a link here with the copy of the letter my GP signed for me. This DID make a difference as although I am on the WSG I have also been told by the interviewer that she does not anticipate me having to attend further interviews. I appreciate your new GP is less the helpful but it does seem as if there is enough supporting evidence for this doctor to sign the letter without qualms. Anyway, it's worth a shot.

    Here's the link: blacktrianglecampaign.org/2...

    (Please note that there are links within this letter relating to the GP letter AND an appeal letter.) Good luck with this and know that everyone who subscribes to fibroaction IS ON YOUR SIDE and understands completely the misery you are going through. You are really not alone so please don't think so. :-)

  • Thanks so much for your kind and supportive reply. The GP letter looks interesting ad I know my old GP would have signed it. However there isn't much chance of the new one doing so. He thinks work is good for everyone. I'd love to work, but as with most Fibromites what I do one day, usually impacts on the next day, so holding down a job with varying degrees of fatigue and pain is not possible.

    The beauty of this forum is that we all understand each other's problems in a way that family, friends, and too many doctors just don't.

    Still undecided if I should go ahead with this tribunal or cancel it - decisions, decisions

  • I have read your post and didn't reply, not because I dont care, I do very much but I have absolutely no idea how to help as I don't have any experience of this.

    I hop seone here will be able to help you and you are in my thoughts and if you need to have a good moan or rant then I can help there. Private message me if you wish to have a chat and I will always be here.

    Please take care and let me know how you get on.... Charlii xx

  • One of the keys to getting into the SG lies in ones ability to sleep, Stress and anxiety + Depression are other factors to consider. It is better to focus on many factors like this, which may result from having Fibro, rather than stating Fibro as the main reason for you appeal. These are things you should bring to the attention of your GP and the DWP.

  • Thanks for the advice Esagestapo. I wasn't aware of that. No use telling my doctor as he appears to be deaf when it comes to discussing the symptoms, or possible changes of medication, but I will certainly mention it at the Tribunal. It is very unlikely I will sleep the night before so I will go along and look at them with my red ringed eyes with the pretty purple bags underneath.

    Much appreciated

    Em

  • You really need to have all this sorted before you go to Tribunal, and submit it as further evidence in writing to the DWP and Tribunal before you get there.

  • Thanks, when I first appealed, I wrote a lengthy letter detailing all my symptoms (not diagnosis) and how they affect me on a daily basis. They then replied to say they had looked again at my claim and had not changed their mind, so it seems unlikely that if I now submit it as further evidence it would make any difference. That is my reason for wondering if I ought to cancel the tribunal as I really have nothing else to offer that they don't already know.

  • You must see your GP about your symptoms rather than self diagnosing, he should put you on medication and refer you to a psychologist for help with stress etc. That counts as further evidence, which they must look at as long as they get it before the deadline.

  • My GP is aware of my symptoms and accepts I have Fibromyalgia because it is in my medical notes now. I am already taking medication, and have seen a psychologist, though she did say that I am not depressed and just need to come to terms with my loss of independence. I have only seen her once and the next appointment isn't until after the tribunal hearing. My previous doctor set the ball rolling by sending me to a Rheumatologist who put me on the 'Fibromyalgia Management Program. This has included the pain management program, a new Fibromyalgia support program coming up, and an extensive physiotherapy program I am already attending, as well as seeing the psychologist. I have already made DWP aware of all these appointments,and sent them a list of my medications. I also sent them a list of the aids supplied by Social Services so that I can have some independence at home whilst my son is out at work, but they didn't think it warranted changing their decision. They seem to be of the opinion that after all these appointments in 12 months I will be fit as I ever was and able to return to the workplace. My doctor also seems to think returning to the workplace would be good for me - I wish!

    Do you think writing to them again would make any difference?

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