PIP tribunal the next stage ... πŸ™ˆ

Been absent for a while - after my pip tribunal I decided to take a step back from everything and just recover for a bit.

Anyway - having lost my tribunal I asked for the statement of reasons from the court which arrived a couple of days ago. The first paragraphs states that I also have an underactive thyroid, vitamin d deficiency, asthma and osteoarthritis but that I don't take any medication for these. So clearly they didn't take any notice of the long list of prescriptions I had printed for them and handed in when I arrived, and the list of medication included throughout the paperwork and included on all the hospital letters they had then! I was just absolutely gobsmacked and it makes me doubt whether they took any of my evidence into proper account.

They then stated I told them that I could walk the 100m from one end of my high street to the other and wandered around the shops when I went out which was the exact opposite of what I actually said. I used the high street as an example of what I COULDN'T walk when I go out! They used this as one of the examples of why they rejected the mobility part of my appeal. I've now asked for a record of proceedings which will hopefully back up that they have got that bit wrong.

And finally they stated that I go to London every few months and attend the hospital at Guys and that this together with me actually attending the tribunal which required me to walk more than 60 metres showed that I can walk more than 20 metres as otherwise I wouldn't be able to do these.

So no account taken of the pain I was in as advised to them, that I'd had to use my inhaler when I got there as my breathing had been affected, that I'd had to take additional anti histamines as I could feel myself reacting to the lights in the centre, that my walking got slower and slower while I was moved between rooms, that I'd had 2 days off beforehand to prepare for it and that I stated that I'd be wiped out for days afterwards (it was actually well over a week), that I pointed out that I swell really badly when I go to Guys, that the consultant has told them he's seen my joints inflamed and my difficulty walking when I'm there, that I told them it takes 3 days on average to recover after, that I can't collect my prescription when I'm there because I am suffering so badly, that I have no option as it's the only facility that can treat my severe level of photosensitivity, that it takes me 20 minutes to walk a distance that is shown to be 5 minutes maximum on the hospital website ... none of that taken into account.

I wasn't going to appeal and had decided to just let it go but I'm now so angry at the way this has been dealt with that I'm in contact with a local charity disability advocate who is going to see if she can help me get the tribunal decision vacated on the basis of fairness etc. She has then advised that my doctor should provide me with a letter stating that I cannot attend a hearing due to my particular conditions and state that any repeated tribunal be carried out in my own home or by telephone due to the impact it has on my health. She was also horrified on the few things I've emailed to her that st no point did the tribunal suggest adjourning to request additional medical evidence as they cannot possibly be qualified to make a proper judgement based on the extreme rarity of the problems that I face.

From my initial assessment to the mandatory reconsideration to the tribunal onwards the entire system has been an absolute joke. The way it's all been handled has been totally incompetent and misinformed and at no point has anyone actually listened to what I've said but have twisted and misunderstood and misrepresented it every step of the way. It's not like I'm asking for the moon - all I want is a proper and fair assessment and my award decided based on this. You'd think that would be easy right?

Oh well next stage of the fight is about to begin. I'll let you all know how it goes but I'm not holding out much hope if im honest.

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  • I'm so sorry that you've had to go through this. You had more guts than me, I couldn't have done it. I was very naive at first. I remember posting that the assessor had been quite nice and it hadn't been as stressful as I expected. I nearly passed out when I got the letter from DWP as it bore no relationship to the assessment that I went to.

    Have a good rest and keep well.

  • Good luck - the whole thing is utterly disgusting and god only knows what their so-called experts are experts in. Production of alternative facts it seems - should qualify them for a post in the USA in the future...

  • I do wonder what the world is coming to. It's shameful the way they've treated you. Are they not medical experts? If not, how on earth can they judge you? It is absolutely ludicrous. If I was one of your doctors I'd be furious too. It looks like they're questioning their competency as a physician. Keep on fighting because they clearly don't know their arse from their elbow! Like you mentioned earlier, experts?? What in? They clearly can't read.

    Good luck, you have my support.

    Charlie xx

  • Unfortunately I was brought up with a strong sense of injustice and it's bred in to me that you can't ignore things when they aren't fair or just. I sometimes wish my parents had brought me up with less of a sense of right and wrong because life would be so much easier lol

    If they get the facts right and still reject my claim for the higher rates then fair enough but to assess me based on incorrect information and unfair assumptions taken from that is just unacceptable.

    Oh and I was naive too .. I even thanked the tribunal panel for actually listening to me! Turns out they didn't actually hear what I said at all πŸ™ˆ There was a whole discussion about how long the high street was, if I wasn't going around the shops why did I need to walk from the post office to the other end (for banking or to pick up my prescription or doctors appointments when needed) with the judge googling it to see how far it was while I was answering other questions. If I'd known he had got it the wrong way round I'd have corrected it immediately.

    It is interesting that they dont send the record of proceedings immediately as I assumed this would be done automatically - it's not mentioned anywhere in the appeal info I was given so if anyone else is in the same position then make sure you ask for the actual transcripts and the reasons for the decision straight away as who knows what they have based the decision on. I was quite surprised at how inaccurate it was when I read mine. I'm guessing it's just carelessness due to trying to rush everything through.

  • Oh and the walking round the shops itself is quite funny ... the whole high street is about 100metres long at most. There's a couple of banks, a butchers, a chemist, 2 pubs, a small posh sandwich place, a handbag shop, greengrocers, beauticians, Estate agents, post office, keebab shop (never open), dry cleaners, small supermarket, a convenience store, bank, art gallery, health food shop and a book shop ... that covers both sides of the entire village. It takes mot people about 2 minutes to walk from one end to the other. Even if I looked around all the shops it would probably still be less than 20 metres at a time πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  • Shocking, Mifford. Even worse is that you are not alone - your story exemplifies the whole system. First, the government decides that they are spending too much on disabled people, so they introduce a new privatised assessment system with the aim of getting people off the welfare bill (by ignoring inconvenient evidence, and making stuff up).

    But then they find that tribunals are overturning their dishonest assessments. Instead of scrapping the whole PIP system, they spent Β£22m on hiring new "presenting officers" to represent the DWP at tribunal.

    At the same time, welfare rights officers and legal aid for claimants was cut. Oh, and they hold the tribunal hearings in distant and inaccessible venues. Just to show how disability aware they are!

    I despair, really, and can only applaud your strength and determination to have got this far. Go Miffy! x

  • The dwp didn't turn up to defend the case for mine. What shocked me though is the lack of care taken by the tribunal in getting the facts right. It's a flipping legal process which is supposed to be fair, just, unbiased and accurate. To be so sloppy as to say I don't take medication for my thyroid and asthma despite having them documented and a fresh copy handed to them minutes before seeing me is absolutely disgraceful.

    And yep my venue was an hour away in a town I don't know at all so couldn't find the best place to drop me off with the shortest walk despite me checking in advance and then being penalised for the only car park being further away.

  • GRRRRRR: HORRIFYING!

    Each detail of your post is vvvv important: there must be many others enduring this monstrous treatment by the system. Your discussion is helping MANY already, I'm sure

    Go Get 'Em Miffy!

    And please keep us posted

    πŸ˜˜πŸ€πŸ˜˜πŸ€πŸ˜˜πŸ€πŸ˜˜πŸ€πŸ˜˜ coco

  • I certainly hope so BC - hopefully even knowing to ask for the record of proceedings as well as the reasons for the decision will help someone else

  • I, for one, know your post will help others dealing with this...cause your subject title key words mean this is the sort of post that will appear in the Related Posts @ top right of each HU LUK forum page

    + I intend to remember your post & will reply with the link to your post if I spot others asking about this here on forum πŸ’ͺ✊️🀝✌️

    Knowledge is Power ...ALL your posts on PIP add up to a Master Class on this important subject !

    πŸ€πŸ˜˜πŸ€πŸ˜˜

  • Hi mifford, so sorry you are having to fight this, they are unbelievably cruel the way they twist things!. So pleased you have an advocacy worker helping you!. Fingers crossed you succeed. Good luck and keep us posted. X

  • Good lord that is shoddy! But on the other hand I'm glad you are furious enough to fight! It takes a lot of energy so I wish you strength

  • Hi Mifford! Ive have just received my letter from PIP today to say i no longer will be getting any more payments. Im in shock as the report does not mention one thing that i told them about all the struggles i face. Just so stressful! Hope it all works out for you xxx

  • Get some advice and challenge it - I used CAB as there isn't a welfare officer at my local council, which in itself is poor. I think it was a little bit out of their league and all they could really advise was how to appeal etc which I knew anyway. They were very helpful but through no fault of their own they were somewhat limited and I'm aware that I'm a very rare and unusual situation. Get onto your welfare officer who will help you with the mandatory reconsideration and if you can back it up with further medical evidence at this stage do it. Then if it goes to appeal I think they will go with you and I'd definitely recommend that. From what I've heard not all appeals go the way mine did so don't let my story put you off but be prepared for having questions fired at you to distract you and keep your cool and make sure you say everything you want to. And good luck - it's exhausting and quite stressful but at this point you have absolutely nothing to lose.

  • On the bright side my new adviser is still looking at the few bits I've emailed to her (not easy to send a 280+ page file so it's highlights only!) and she's confident that we should apply to have the tribunal vacated. I'm not keen to go through another hearing but If I can have it at home or by phone I think that will actually help.

    And I've been in touch with the physio I used to see privately - they will do me a report stating the problems with my hips, the range of movement in my wrist and the strength and power in each arm to dispel the absolute lies the assessor told in that respect and so on. She saw me when I was going through having my bathroom converted as well so she knows the problems I was having with a bath at that time and hopefully she can back that up as well. As she saw me for pretty much a year with different problems that kept coming up she is going to do it during a one hour physio booking and they will charge me the normal fee of Β£40 for that hour which I think is fantastic of them. I'm assuming there might be a small extra charge if it takes her extra time to write it up but we'll see. I also have another appointment at Guys in April so I'm going to see if I can get the doctor to really spell out a number of areas in his letter after in the hope that also helps.

    I'm actually feeling happier about my re-trial as I'm calling it now I have a few people supporting me with it and it's not me being made to question whether I am a fraud in other people's eyes. It makes a big difference knowing it's not just me and this IS my real situation.

  • Very proud of you for sticking your ground, its so exhausting and stressful. Seems to be alot of lupus sufferes being denied it. If only they could live in the life of us for a day. I really hope yours gets granted sounds like you have a lot to deal with. So frustrating!! Xxx

  • Hi everyone - quick update for those interested. The lady who's helping me now sent me a draft of a letter to request that the tribunal decision be vacated and advised me to keep it short as only needed one or two reasons for it to qualify. So 6 pages later I'd ripped the reasons for the decision to shreds - from the fact that the first paragraph said I don't take medication for my other illnesses, despite these being listed on every hospital letter and me handing in two pages of the latest prescription list, to them stating that I was treated for lupus at Guys when the hospital letters make it clear that isn't the case. Going through it I even discovered they had used my daily diary as a reason for their decision and saying it formed part of my appeal despite it being clearly marked on it that this was 3 years old and was part of my original assessment when I first applied for PIP. Out of 15 paragraphs something like 10 of them had errors in!! If I ran my business like that I'd be bankrupt and it's shocking considering this is a Court and these are legal decisions being made.

    The advocate has sent it off with everything included as she feels that the level of carelessness and neglect is so high that it would be wrong to leave any of it out. She is very confident that the tribunal verdict will be vacated and that I will get a new hearing which I can request be carried out by phone or Skype so that I can stay at home without having to be subjected to the physical effects the tribunal had on me again. She also said she wouldn't be surprised if the decision gets superseded without the need for another hearing but based on my experience to date I'm not too hopeful.

    Today I've been to see my old physio to see if they can do a report for me. THey don't really know what to do as they usually receive a pro forma from insurance companies and aren't sure what would help. They are going to send me all of my notes from when they were treating me though which I'm hoping will be useful and she's carried out tests on my wrist today including a machine they use to test grip strength - my right side is about 2/3rds the strength of my left when it should be stronger as it's my predominant hand. She's not sure whether her boss will let her report on that as they've never treated me for the wrist problems but at least then they have it fully recorded if the tribunal ask them for it and it's possible they may send me that info as well.

    So battle still ongoing but hopefully things are starting to swing my way at least a little bit now - we'll see.

  • Hi Mifford! Any update in your pip claim? Ive just had my letter back from my mandatory and they have still said NO. I am now going to have to go to a hearing. I am really worried xx

  • Hi - sorry been meaning to update for the last couple of weeks. My tribunal decision was vacated and the Courts have confirmed that I will be granted a new hearing which is allocated for 75 minutes rather than the usual 45. Unfortunatelynthey refused to do the hearing by telephone and added a paragraph that stated that it was in my best interests to attend or send my representative. Unfortunately the charity who have been helping me out can't attend for me as they don't have the funding to do it and as they are doing the re-hearing in the same location as previously it was completely unsuitable for me. I was unbelievably ill for weeks afterwards last time as it was in the brightest shopping centre ever in Ashford which is an hour's drive away and they were unable to put me in a room that wasn't bathed in sunshine ... that was back in February so I can't risk it now that we are into summer months. I've written to them again to ask them to reconsider as I cannot attend and asked my gp for a letter of support ... unfortunately it wasn't that useful as all it said was "this lady has told me" rather than her actually saying in her opinion. I asked Guys for the same but haven't heard back from them yet to send it. I did also send in my physio report that shows that my grip in my right hand isn't as strong as my left and reporting the restriction of movement which I'm hoping will back me up as it proves that what I've been saying from day one is true and everything the dwp wrote isn't. I suspect it doesn't work that way though!

    I've also advised them that I would be unable to get to the hearing in any event as my other half can't drive me at the moment and it's too far for me to drive myself - unfortunately about 3 weeks ago my fiancΓ© had to have a test done at the hospital and we got knocked for 6 a bit when they told us they'd found a 4 cm tumour in his bladder. He has an operation to remove it tomorrow and hopefully that will be all that needs to happen and they just check him regularly over the next 5 years to ensure it doesn't come back. But we won't know that until they send it off to pathology to find out how aggressive it is. Thankfully at the point they found it it hasn't invaded the muscle wall as far as they can tell and hasn't spread so it's classed as a superficial tumour. It's honestly been the longest 3 weeks of my life waiting for him to go in and the next week or so waiting for the results are going to be tortuous.

    So although I should be chasing Guys and going all out to get thenappeal sorted I just don't have the energy at the moment and if they refuse to reconsider my request for a phone hearing then I'm just going to have to submit a statement for them to read at the appeal stating my case and leave it in their hands as I really can't do anything else and my fight is just gone. It's annoying me that they get away with it by default at this stage but at the same time it just doesn't seem so important right now.

    With your appeal I would say to get some advice - depending on where you are you may have a welfare officer at the local council who can help you (we don't have one here annoyingly) or use the CAB but they won't go to hearings with you. Get yourself a very clear set of responses as to why you feel your descriptors are wrong and be prepared to be bombarded with questions coming at it from a strange angle ... my right wrist is the problem so they asked me if I can cut things with my left and what food I can cut and what I can't for example. I'd never really considered that and wasn't prepared for questions about if it was soft pasta as opposed to hard carrots for example. Take someone in with you even if it's just to sit as a witness as I think that support would have helped me. And if they do fluster you just take a breath and slow everything down so you have time to think - I didn't and it was a bit like an argument where you think of everything you wanted to say after it's too late so I missed things because of it. If they grant me the telephone hearing I'm going to still type myself out a statement with my arguments anyway to make sure that I don't miss anything this time so might be an idea to d something similar. Don't be intimidated by it though and just be honest and the worst that can happen is that you stay as you are so it can't get any worse at least and good luck x

  • Update number I've lost count now ... for something that should be really straightforward this really is dragging on! Still not heard back regarding my further letter putting my additional arguments for a telephone/Skype hearing but apparently the courts are now taking much much longer to allocate dates to cases as they are inundated with people appealing who have been switched from DLA to PIP and lost their motability entitlement as they've now started to switch over en mass.

    Anyway my hips have now been diagnosed as likely to be caused by FAI which further backs up my evidence of the pain I am in immediately and why it is so hard for me to mobilise. I've now sent the x ray report to the court to go with my appeal evidence in the hope that if I keep bombarding them with enough eventually they'll give up and accept it .. you never know lol

    In the meantime I rang the DWP yesterday and asked them if they wanted to review the case again or if that's not possible while it's under appeal. The lady on the phone told me to send the additional evidence in and they will look at it. So I've now sent them the letter from Guys confirming that it is dangerous for me to go outside and that I walk slowly and with very swollen joints which he has witnessed, evidence from my physio with my grip strength test confirming that the evidence in my assessment is wrong and stating the limited movement in my right hand and the x ray showing FAI to my hips and scoliosis in my lower spine. I've also done a brief report stating which descriptors I believe should apply and how the evidence supports it. All of which is without prejudice but they told me on the phone that if they look at it all and would have made a different decision with that level of evidence at the time they can stop the appeal and grant me the points. I'm not holding my breath but worth a try.

    Oh and she also said she doesn't know if they would backdate it to August or just start it from now ... to be honest if they gave me it now I'd take it and abandon the last situation as it would stop all the stress etc.

    Fingers crossed that at least one angle finally works. It certainly won't be from lack of trying I know that much!

  • Hi mifford

    So sorry your going thru such stress in appealing PIP!. Do hope you win as your working so hard on it. Just wanted to say my cousin is having to do the same as his appeal was badly done. They didn't have all his evidence and he's managed to get the courts service to disregard the hearing and hopefully he will get a re-run with all the right papers this time!. It's really shocking what they're doing and putting people thru!. As you rightly say these hearings are the due process of law and should be conducted accordingly but they're not. In the end the govt saves nothing as these tribunals are expensive. Fingers tightly crossed for you mifford. X

  • To be honest I'm actually not overly stressed by this point as I no longer care what happens next ... I've got nothing to lose 😊 I'm not very good at being bullied and so I dig my heels in. I may not win but I'll be damned if I'm going to lie down while they walk all over me and I will be a pain in their backside every step of the way.

    I'm now at the stage that I'm actually angry. How did our country get to the point where we treat people like this and everyone else accepts it? Blaming people for getting sick and virtually telling them it's their own fault? In my case I had a doctor .. a DOCTOR for crying out loud .. asking me if I can walk in the dark and nobody else on that panel thinking that was an unreasonable question. Making me have to break down all the problems I have day to day was humiliating enough and was the most sole destroying thing I've ever done but to then at the end of that make out as if I'm lying or as if asking for help to be able to leave my house is like asking for the moon. All I'm actually asking for is a fair hearing where the facts are fully taken into account - that doesn't seem too much to me!

    And I'm one of the lucky ones who can deal with this stuff myself - how anyone less confident or less able copes I really have no idea. The way that society is starting to treat the weakest among us is just absolutely shameful and I will stand up and shout against that as loud as I can for as long as I can.

    And yes I object to the amount of money that is being wasted on this circus as well - it would have been so much cheaper to just do it properly in the first place.

    Rant over 😊

  • Oh Mifford,

    A circus is an understatement!! I'm actually speechless at this farce - it's no wonder the country is in the state it's in when they waste hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to 'catch people out' who are genuinely very ill. I think that they assume that we're an easy target and won't make a fuss. I actually pity them because if anything that I have learnt over the past 10 years is patience and how to stand up for myself. It makes my blood boil - grrrr!

    Go Mifford!!!

    C xx

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