Would like some advice on a ESA Tribunal coming up soon

My main argument is with the issue that I am continually in pain when I walk. I had believed that if you are in constant pain, any distance you can manage is ignored.

As a secondary issue is that the medical assessment (4 minute physical examination) concluded I could walk ok, whereas I was diagnosed with Acute Grade 4 cartilage damage in both knees three weeks after the examination ! Surely this makes these medical assessments a complete waste of time. ( Have had 2 total knee replacements since then)

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  • I replied to your other thread. Did you provide all the Consultants reports or any documents etc....

    I provided loads of documentation - didn't have a medical for either ESA Support or DLA. I have problems with my feet - pain etc...

    What documentation did you provide when you filled in the forms?

  • Apologies for not replying sooner. I have sent the tribunal, a report from my consultant. Since this report, I have been back in hospital twice, once for my second full knee transplant, the other occasion 48 hours after leaving one hospital I was admitted to another hospital because of acute pain and swelling. In my original forms, I detailed my conditions and my current drug regime.

  • So you have a written report from your Consultant? You sent a copy in?

    As you have walking difficulties do you have an OT (Occupational Therapist) who can also provide a written report? Your GP sorts out OT's or you can self refer.

    Tribunal will 'presume' knee op will help your walking etc... so they would be seeing the short-term rather than the long term. Do you have any reports whatsoever to show your condition is permanent and not temporary?

    You should have received a copy of your form including the documents you provided them and with this a copy of what your GP and Consultants have said. They send a copy out showing you what you are 'defending' so you know what they have replied and said. Have you got a copy?

    You say you sent the Tribunal a copy of Consultant's report. Did your Consultant say this condition is permanent and you are unable to walk?

    You say you are in Pain, have you provided the Tribunal with details of your Pain Clinic and Consultant?

    You say you had a knee transplant or do you mean you've had pins etc or a metal knee?

    Does your condition have a name?

    Here is the link: dwp.gov.uk/publications/spe...

    I presume you are applying for ESA Work Group? Or did you apply for ESA Support Group - huge difference between the two.

  • I do apologise. I meant knee replacements. I must chase up what my GP has said. Thanks for all the points. I will get onto them tomorrow and give you a fuller reply.

  • Good advice. There is a fantastic online service which tells you pretty much exactly what to say to pass called "Work and Benefits". it's not the DWP or ATOS, but for people like us. There is a subscription of about £18 pa, but in my view worth every penny. I found out if your Doctow says "it would be dangerous for you yo work"(ie. make you worse) Atos are breaking the law by not putting you in the support group. So if that's true for you, you should be sorted ( to state the obvious you musn't lie. Also ask ATOS for a risk assessment for your examination before you go. As a govt. agency they must do these, but they don't therefore you can OT visit their premises. If you bring this up at Tribunal (I learnt of both from Benefits and Work) their decision will be found illegal. Good luck, Bowbells

  • I had been put in the WRAG (without appearing in front of anyone!) but whilst for some people this might have been enough, for my own person circumstances this was simply not going to be any use for me, so I had submitted my appeal to be put in the Support Group with this EXACT argument you are making, (I can walk, not particularly ever "OK" but it is walking and get me from door to car, (can still drive) plus with assistance I can even do some small amounts of shopping (not exactly in hypermarkets!!!) but I can't walk anywhere near as far as 50m in one go without having to stop etc, and yes, I can repeat short episodes of walking as long as I do stop & rest between, but even the very first step is way beyond the level of "significant discomfort" which it refers to, (to be honest even lying in bed isn't very often less than "significant discomfort!") even though I can and do have to walk on past this level of pain or I wouldn't ever walk at all or leave a chair. *PLUS* as I have mental health issues too , the appeal was also on the basis of the argument (s.29 or s..35 depending on circumstances) it will seriously affect my mental health (the whole procedure already HAS, very much, no surprise I can't remember having so much stress in my entire life!) to do even work related activity.

    The assessor had assumed an extreme interpretation of what I had said on the original form (proving that they are looking for excuses to deny you benefit, not based on what anyone with half a brain would take those words to mean!), and took the fact I could walk at all as "proof" I could walk without the discomfort, (and hadn't made any argument to back that up either, it looked rather stupid to be honest) and I had to emphasises that the walking I do is ALWAYS with actual PAIN, which is a lot more than just "significant discomfort." I also backed things up with a lot of evidence and paperwork dating back years, (even included academic medical references to my conditions) and stressed the deterioration over those years since first being diagnosed, and emphasised the degenerative nature of my conditions. I had obtained a letter from my GP outlining all of this and the potential impact on my mental health, but I hadn't even submitted it yet, as I had stressed in the appeal that I hadn't obtained all of the information I was intending to submit!

    OK, your circumstances may well be different, but it is proof the argument can work.

    Even though I had asked for a reconsideration before, which had been turned down, this time without appearing at the tribunal I received a letter just the other day which appears to put me in the Support group, detailing a tiny back amount owing too. No explanation of what had happened of course, I was left guessing, but it definitely says Support group and it takes me to a date 12 months from when I was first put on ESA. (no doubt more hassle will come after that date, and then it's on to the problems PIP will bring when that comes into force, but proof that you have to stand your corner!)

    I also subscribed to the site Bowbells refers to, benefitsandwork.co.uk/ and it is well worth the cost, as it heads you in the right direction plus gets the jargon into perspective!

    So yes it's definitely worth taking this approach.

  • Hi there, I had my tribunal today for ESA after having my appeal refused. The key thing was that the information the GP asked of me today was related back to the original assessment date (I can't remember what I did yesterday, let alone Oct 2012). There was a brief overview of what has happened since and what may happen in the future regarding surgery/treatments etc but the main concentration was on the 3 sections referring to walking, sitting and standing and picking things up. I was asked indepth where I walked to, how far was it, how often, do I take the car, how far do I drive, where do I park, who drives distances, how do I walk around the house and up and down the stairs, how do I get around a supermarket etc. How long could I sit in a chair at a desk/computer, how often do I have to stand up, how do I sit on a sofa, how do I sit, what equipment do I have around the house. Basically the ins and outs of a ducks arse! It was very draining because what us chronic pain sufferers do without realising is adapt but then that becomes the norm so its very difficult to explain something that to us is normal. So all I can say is think about the points above and remember to include stopping times during a short walk, taking shortcuts around the supermarket, eg send husband up the aisles while you stand at the bottom, etc, etc . Icould go on but I won't unless you require more tips then just ask. Let us know how you got on. I won by the way!

  • Congrats :) so pleased for you.

  • WELL DONE and thanks for the advice. Everything I am receiving from all the kind folk on here is so much appreciated.

  • Attended the ESA Tribunal in front of a judge and doctor in Chester and heard today that I had won my appeal. These small victories are so important for all of us who struggle with pain. Many thanks to all of those people who offered advice and support.

  • Having won my ESA Tribunal, I have received no communications about any ESA entitllement. I am expected to contact them about it, when they should be contacting me?

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