Proved by MRI I have osteo arthritis both hips knees other possible complications due to arthritis tennis elbow plantar faschiatis.

I have bulged discs bottom of my spine proved by MRI which surgeon refused operation on even though from time to time when sciatic nerve traps am totally incapacited as a result.

I have high blood pressure and under active thyroid conditions controlled by medications.

I take maximum dose of tramadol and Gabapentin for pain and sleep.

As a result of all the above and other life events I have now been diagnosed with anxiety and and depression for which I also take regular medication.

I have a long history stretching back to at least 2003 with lots of supporting documentation BUT I do work full-time for a charity supporting vulnerable people with mental health issues.

Recent assessment with ATOS ORIGIN and attended by self which may have been a mistake as I feel the assessor has actually lied about what I am and am not capable of and has taken absolutely no account of periods of sick I have had to take from time to time over the last 10 years which may last up to 5 weeks where I am unable to speak to anyone feed self get out of bed just totally run down and depressed I guess.

Combination of all of the above I am in constant pain (pain relief ineffective) most of the time tired really difficult to bend down,which I evidenced in the assessment but the assessor just lied and said I could bend down without any difficulty. difficult in sleeping because I cannot lay on one side or the other.

I scored absolutely no points on the assessment and as result DWP have turned me down.

I sent a 3 page letter to the DWP to explain my difficulties particularly when things are at there worst. NO REVERSAL OF THEIR DECISION.

I am wondering whether to take to a tribunal please can anyone provide any assistance or advice as to what I should do and whether it is worth a go??

Best wishes


14 Replies

  • I wouldn't go to tribunal on my own. Can you get advice from CAB? They are really good at knowing what to do, and helping you with it.

  • Hi Earthwitch

    No won't do thanks for taking time to respond

    Best wishes


  • Hi LU, sorry to hear your not so good news about PIP. I would seek some help as you may need different wording in your review. You either need CAB, a local disability adviser or your council benefits office who do reviews of whether you are getting all your benefit rights. Definitely proceed to tribunal. This is a word of advice, you can use the emotional side of the illnesses but you must emphasize the severity of the impairment to daily living, Don't get me wrong you obviously have done this in your three page letter for review , however sometimes you need to just say a simple yes or no. Speaking from past experience if you work they construe this as not disabled enough for benefit, however the law on this is not the same it took me several years to realize this and convince them their decision was actually illegal by quoting regulation numbers. They actually sent me a copy of how to word applications to cover things like depression preventing you from going out, from the appeals department. Tribunals are independent so may view your case differently, please, please seek help and don't give up until all avenues have been explored so to say.Because many people do get refused at application. Best Wishes and good luck if you go on

  • Hi Katie

    Thanks very much for taking time to respond and I ‘will’ take notice of your lived experience.

    Don’t suppose you have those regulation no’s close at hand do you? Or the name of the document how to word applications from the appeals department?

    Thanks so much for your help and you have helped to give me some hope!

    Best wishes


  • The regulations have changed since then but not vastly, best place to find them is in the disability handbook from the library, or on line at Benefits & Works site. You can join this site to get access to all regulations for less than £20 per year. But they also give certain free advice to none members. Tribunal usually only supply relevant info once you fill a form in. The disability handbook gives you lots of addresses of groups that help with claims, you can also buy the book on line but it is changed every year due to constant changes in regulations. If you have a local law advice office they can help too and advise you how to proceed, however mine said I didn't have a chance but I proved the adviser wrong. :) :) , so there is always hope. Once again good luck x

  • Hi LU,

    I was the same as you in having trouble for many years with my back which started arthritis in just about every joint in my body (for me it started after an accident in the army and back was broke in three places) I applied for DLA three years ago which they refused and gave me no points even though i had supplied evidence along with my pain diary for the last two years showing how it affected me, when after 6 months they replied to me giving me 0 points i asked for an appeal form but they replied saying they had took a second look at it and now put me on the lowest care rate and nill for mobility again I asked for a appeal form and they replied saying i had now to apply for PIP as my area was one of the first to change over, so I applied for PIP and to start with it took over 6 months to just get them to send out the form so i filled it in and they gave me 0 points and stopped the l DLA I was getting so I asked for an appeal form and they replied and arranged an appointment for a interview with a "medical professional" who gave me zero points but as they had to send a copy of the interview to me i saw that he had put down a complete pile of lie's I replied to it stating that everything he had put down was a lie and I could prove it as my cctv system had recorded it all so then they replied by arranging a second interview but not at my home it was at their Nottingham depot when I checked where it was on google maps i called them and said that there was no way for me to get to that location as it was on a clearway on one side and in a pedestrian area on the other so I could neither park anywhere close to it or even get a taxi to drop me off as you cannot stop on a clearway they replied by saying they would cancel this appointment and arrange a new one and stated that if i refuse to go to the second one then they consider my claim closed but when they called me with the new appointment it was for the same place and i told the girl that I was happy to go to any but that I could not physically get to that location so she arranged the next one to be in my home on the day of the appointment I received a call asking if I was home as she had been knocking on my door for 5 minutes I said I was in but no one had knocked on my door when I asked her for the address she was at she said number 36 which was not so good as i lived in number 25 in the end she came in and did the interview and then again I had to wait for just over 3 months before i received a letter telling me they were still looking at my case and not to worry that it was taking so long but a couple of weeks later I received a letter telling me they had given me the lower rate for care and the highest rate for mobility in all it took around 30 months.

    so for your case do not worry they always reply the first time telling you you have zero points just ask for a mandatory reconsideration which is the first thing they will do(they do this so they do not have to back date your claim to when you first put it in) after the mandatory reconsideration if it is still not what you think you deserve ask again for an appeal if you get the interview in your home then try to record it either with a video camera or a voice recorder(most smart phones can record voice) and if what they put down is not what you tell them then just call them stating what is incorrect and tell them you have a recording of the interview (don't mention the recording before it is over as you are not meant to record it)

    just do not give up claiming what you deserve it can take quite a lot of time but you are entitled to the money we all paid into the benefit system so we all deserve to benefit from it when we are either ill or disabled.

    I received my final result two weeks ago and they back dated it to when I asked for the final appeal.

    Regards Poppy Ann.

  • forgot to say if you have to go to their place for the interview make sure you show them how you are on your worse day not as if today is one of your better ones or they will not give any more points that what they see you do for me walking 5 yards is hard so trying to walk to their depot was out of the question and i do not have a wheel chair or someone to push it even if i did, if you can provide a diary of your pain/disability showing how you are day to day that can help with the claim but can hurt you when you start to realize how bad you are I always said I was at my worse around 2 to 3 days a month but it was 20 to 25 days a month and out of them for around 15 to 20 days a month I could not even manage to get out of bed on my own (i went out and bought myself a electric bed to lift myself up) also write down about every day things you do but as if you had no help from anyone and how you manage to do them if you need a pixstik (a grabber reach stick) put it down if you would need a aid to help put tights or socks on put it down also if you live in a house with stairs then put down that you need two hand rails to be able to get up and if like me you can only get down by sitting down on the stairs and going down one at a time using your arms to lower yourself then put that down the same with things like you can only do the pots a few at a time and need a stool to perch on to do that put that down I have rails in the toilet and shower and a seat fitted in the shower as i cannot stand long enough to shower also i have a long handle with a sponge on to help me was my legs and back put that down the more you tell them the better your chance of getting the right result tell them that you are scared of going out on your own as you are scared you may not be able to get home again due to pain if you pass out with the pain put it down if you have something so you can go to the toilet in bed although it is not a easy subject still put it down it all helps you, take a look at this site it has all the aids for anyone who is disabled if you see something that would help you then put it down even if you do not have it yet it can show what is available and can help your claim.

    Regards Poppy Ann.

  • Hi Lu,good Morning to you,first of all I must say well done to the support you showed towards hehelping people with mental illness, I myself have a son who is suffering with the condition but with good family support he's do better than 3 years ago.what I wanted to say to you is don't get disappointed about failing your assessment, this new system they've brought out is designed for the assessor to fail people even when they've bin provided with medical evidence, they fail you so you have to appeal, and they know that 70 percent out of 100 percent won't apply so all that money that is entitled to the 70 percent of fail assessment will sit in the Dwp account,you have to get in touch with your local citizen advice beauru.The assessor did the same to me, and she lie in the report, I'm due surgery in 4 weeks for the same problem I have,I've already had the surgery twice with no results, and I have several other medical conditions, she stated in the report that I haven't had no medical evidence to support my conditions,why will I be under the Dr and specialist for 8 years then. Even tho I pay for my medical report in advance cause I know I had the assessment she didn't even look once at any of the report, and I had pages of them, so dwp fail me on my mobility but up my care which I wasn't expecting, I get in touch with my local MP and he had his secretary came to see me,when she look at my medical report she said that the assessor left so much hole in my report you could drive a bus through it, well she photocopy all my medical reports and send it along with a letter for them to reconsider my claim but they still said no,so she put in for appeal, and I'm waiting for a date now for the tribunal hearing, that's was in February, on Friday I had a call from dwp which surprise me saying that they've made a error on my awards,so I said to the woman that call,don't you think I knew that from the start, it's only because my representative send copies of my medical report they started to panic,but iv told her am going to trialet and I'm putting a complaint against the assessor, I shouldn't have to be going through this stress just before my upcoming surgery, I suffer with severe anxiety and depression, I'm going tomorrow for pre admission for surgery and I know I'll fail my fitness for the opp due to all this working,but it will worth it in the end,you go get what belong to you,good luck and keep me posted.

  • It's a absolute disgrace the way this evil government treats the ill and disabled, how the hell they were re-elected is beyond me. I had a similar problem to yourself, but I got my MP involved.

    She is wonderful and a carer to both her parents from when she was young as they were both born deaf,so she knows what problems disabled people face. If there where more MP,s like her this country would be a lot fairer and compassionate. Sorry I went on a tangent there.

    Back to the point within 6 weeks I had my PIP and ESA sorted without anymore medical. Also if you ever served in HM Forces SSAFA and the British Legion are also very good.

    My advice to you is to go to a Tribunal it may sound a bit daunting but something like 70% of claimants appeals are successful. I believe that this is done on purpose by Government, but would never admit it.because a lot of people give up at this stage. So do not give up FIGHT BACK and don't let these privileged bigots walk all over you. I bet most of them have never been on Council Estate in their lives.

    I wish you the best of luck and you get the Benefits to which you are entitled to.

  • You have to ask for reconsideration of the decision before you go to tribunal.

  • I'm on a forum called 'youreable' - remember with PIP, yes it's the disability but the descriptors only concentrate on how it AFFECTS you. e.g. can't shower - it hurts. Not enough you need to clarify:

    I have difficulty in showering as I cannot get into the shower, need assistance to undress, get in, switch the shower on because I cannot bend my arms. I cannot stand, need to sit, cannot lift my arms above my head as the pain is too great. Cannot reach down to wash my lower body as the pain is too much. I cannot lift my arms. When I do take my medication it makes me sleepy and being in the bath, could become unconscious.

    Poor example but hopefully you get the idea, you literally have to paint a picture for every question. Don't be afraid to be explicit even if it's regarding 'toilet' needs.

    I recently had a changeover from DLA to PIP - thought it would be easy as I was already in the system. They came to me - did a face2face home assessment.

    As Katieoxo - states - its sounds like it is your WORDING.

    Also remember with all the medical evidence yes it shows you have a medical condition but how many of your consultants, gps, social workers, occupational therapists have ACTUALLY seen you going to the toilet, shower, making a cup of tea - I doubt any one of them have SEEN it. Hence you need to paint the picture. Even statements from family members or friends.

  • You have been given some good advice. Take some one with you, like your local Age UK or Carers assn volunteer, or some one who has knowledge of doing it.I helped some one with their PIP.It is important to concentrate on the physical.Reply in a NEGATIVE way. If you cant do it some times, you cant do it. The assessors usually haven't got a health back ground and are just ticking boxes. So I say answer in a negative way and THINK POSITIVE afterwards.

    All the Best

  • Just noticed that you said you worked full time. How many hrs a week? If you say full time that will work against you.Say you work for a Charity as a disabled worker and have a record of the dates you could not work over previous year. Emphasise that you have to stay in bed because of pain and arthritis not because you are feeling low as that will probably not count. Tell them if you ever feel unsteady when you walk. Say if feel dizzy when stand up or turn round quickly.

    All the Best

  • ask the DWP for a copy of the report that Atos sent to them so you can challenge what the health assessor has written

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