As promised I received the Tribunal decision this morning and typed a big long update earlier quoting what it said etc ... and my iPad did something odd and I lost all of it 🙈 I haven’t got the energy left to type it all again so I’m going to keep it short and sweet ....
Oh. My. God. After over 13 months of fighting to prove that the assessor had lied through his teeth and that I wasn’t being dishonest the new tribunal have overturned the previous award and grants me higher rate for both elements. They’ve accepted that I can’t chop vegetables etc for myself and granted an extra 2 points for that and have reinstated my 2 points for needing help with food as I have to regularly use a nutribullet due to my mouth ulcers and have chunky cutlery made for arthritis sufferers due to the grip in my right hand - I’d been awarded the points for that 5 years ago when I was first assessed and as nothing had changed I was lost as to why it was then removed on my reassessment. I didn’t gain any extra points on the using a normal bath which is the one that I thought I had the best argument on but could care less as it gives me 13 points up from the 9 I was granted before. They’ve also accepted that I qualify for the higher rate mobility as well, which I’m quite emotional about as I have been becoming more isolated at home as I’m struggling with my manual car and desperately need to switch to an automatic with adjustments made to help me and I simply couldn’t without the help. That decision alone is going to make a HUGE difference to my life.
They state that they relied heavily on the medical evidence confirming my diagnosis of hip bursitis and also the letter from Guys spelling out just how dangerous the photosensitivity I have is for me and how much it affects my joints and mobility. They also stated that the supporting evidence supplied by me was compelling - I’ve taken photos of my swollen joints at various stages over the last few years to be able to show doctors and so on what my joints do as a visual always helps them if I’m not flared at the time I see them and they came in very helpful thankfully.
All along all I’ve asked is for my case to be looked at properly and assessed on the facts not on the twisted picture and outright lies from the ATOS assessor and if I don’t qualify than so be it. Thankfully someone finally has.
I’m not sure what happens now as I hadn’t dared to look at what would happen if I won - I know the DWP can appeal in the next 30 days so I’m not celebrating yet. But it then says they don’t have to follow the ruling so I’ve no idea how likely that is to happen and whether they just automatically make the adjustment and sort it out or if I have to contact them to get it sorted. I also have no idea how long that will take so if anyone else has any experience of that please do share.
So after a very long and uphill fight I should now be able to relax (hopefully) for the next 4 years before having to go through all of this again. Anyone out there who is going through the same I hope this gives you some hope and encourages you not to give up and keep fighting. If you know you are right you shouldn’t let anyone else bully you into defeat. I felt like I’d been accused of being a liar for the last year and looked at as if I was some kind of benefit cheat and I knew that wasn’t true and couldn’t let that go unchallenged. It feels like you’re banging your head against a brick wall at times but just keep going.
So another 30 days before I can relax fully but finally some good news to share.
Oh and it’s my birthday today as well - couldn’t have time it better 😊 (and Yes I did sit down and cry once I read the result - stupid I know but I’m sure many of you will understand that rush of relief)