What can I do to get evidence for a benefit appeal ?

I have already submitted all the evidence I have, doctors letters, consultant letters, two separate muscle test results showing myopathy, diaries of symptoms especially of hemiplegic migraine attacks. I wrote extremely detailed info on how my symptoms and not being able to walk affects my life, written statement from relatives that help to care for me. Also detailed history of not being able to tolerate thyroxine and letters from private doctors that I consulted.

I really need something to show that my untreated hypo is affecting my life to the point where I am housebound/ bedbound a lot of the time. My gp has written vague reports even though I wrote a 5 page letter detailing everything. My endocrinologist tells me that I have autoimmune hypothyroidism and says that my tsh is too high and wants me to be on thyroxine. But then in the same breath he says that I am borderline and my thyroid dysfunction is mild at best so would not account for my muscle weakness and walking difficulties although he agrees to the symptoms of fatigue. I have asked him to write me a report but he talked himself out of that saying that the symptoms cannot be attributed to thyroid. Aaaggh!!

To be honest I have not been to see my gp in months due to not being able to get out of bed much ( I do have the odd good day which is spent catching up on household stuff) and I have two hospital referrals which I haven't made appointments for yet as frankly don't have the energy to get there.

I dont know how i can I show the tribunal how this is affecting me when I can't get a doctor who is supposed to know about the effects to acknowledge it. I had an Atos doctor come to my house who said limbs normal power and no significant disability and that I could walk 200 metres, even though I was sliding along the floor of my lounge dragging my left leg. He also said no muscle wasting when my poor calves look like chopped up jelly sagging down off my bones. He also said no arm weakness when another recent examination I had reported weakness. (But to be fair it wasn't that bad at that time as I hadn't done anything for days just lie in bed.)

I would be glad for some suggestions. Is there a doctor I can see who will understand the effects of non treated hypothyroidism or do an examination and not misrepresent the findings?

Thanks in advance

Carolineanne x

12 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Hello CarolineAnne, have you asked any person who comes to help you/assist in any way to write a letter which outlines how your mobility is affected? It could be someone formally but also it may be a friend or a family member. Also, can I recommend you check out the 'benefits and work' site and ask the same question on the forum or seek out the tribunal questions in the search field. I hope this helps - I am not in the support group for ESA as I got put in the work related group, so I can't help you with how to argue that. But I hope my pennyworth helps (I know it is upsetting to be in the middle of this kind of appeal)...

  • Thanks Townie for replying. Yes I have got my mum, sister and hubby to write a statement. I don't have any formal help.

    I have just joined that site a few weeks ago but forgot they have a forum, so thanks for reminding me. I will ask there too. I'm so sick of having to try to prove stuff especially as it is a fluctuating condition so sometimes I can walk but for the most part I can't.

    It's a nightmare being caught up in all this benefit malarkey. I tried to go back to work with my walking difficulties part time. I thought I would be ok on a till. I would have to slide along the floor to get there but once sat down I thought I would be ok. I was for a couple of months but then my arm weakness kicked in and I couldn't stretch out my arm to give the customer their change.

    It's not like I haven't tried to fight this illness. I want to go back to work. It would be nice to get out of the house and talk to people. My employers kept my job open for a year which was good of them but most days I cannot go outside the house.

    Thanks

  • I don't want to give you false hope, but many cases are being won on appeal, so try if you can to just concentrate on gathering your evidence and see what outcome you get. The Benefits and Work site is good, and I find if I read it, it helps me feel less scared about the future and being better informed is always a help :)

    'Of the 53,200 ESA cases cleared at an appeal hearing 22,500 (42%) were found in favour of the claimant. These figures highlight ongoing problems with the standards of decision – making following Atos ‘Work Capability Assessments’ – the DWP is still making an unacceptably large number of incorrect decisions. '

    (This is from DPAC.UK )

  • Thank you

  • I would highly recommend getting some formal help with your appeal. I got help from the Advice Shop and won my appeal. There's no way I would have without them as they know how to word things and what the law is behind every question.

    Is there any way you can get some formal help? By Citizen's Advice or similar? People who get help from organisations like these have a much higher success rate with appeals.

  • Hi. We do have a law centre here that offers representation free ( at least they used to, they may have had their budgets cut now!?). I had thought of going to see them but it is very difficult to get out and about. Everyone who gives me lifts works in the week so I try to get things done on the weekend

    I know that you are right of course, I would stand a better chance but I think that I am going to just do my best and tell the truth ( and hope my brain is working that day! - on second thoughts maybe it would be better to leave my brain at home. Lol! )

    CA x

  • If you can't tolerate T4 have you tried T3 or NDT? These might relieve symptoms.

  • Hi yes I have tried these. T3 was slightly better but I think I'm having swings of hyper and being on thyroid seems to make it worse. I'm on nothing now and still swinging all over the place. I don't know what to do really. I kind of give up for a bit and then gather my thoughts and research and make a plan and try again, but it's very difficult through the hyper episodes. I have tried to tell my endocrinologist and gp about these episodes but they don't think it's hyper so I don't really know what to do.

  • Have pm,d you

  • Hello CarolineAnne

    I am diagnosed with ME/CFS as well as hypothyroid, and help people with their benefits issues, especially with ESA on another forum. I have fought my own battles too in this regard and managed to get into the Support Group.

    It sounds to me as if you should be covered by the 'mobilising descriptor' if it is ESA that you are appealing, as you are unable to do the activity 'reliably, repeatedly and safely'. Those words are key here, as even if you were able to mobilise any distance, in some kind of fashion, you could not do them repeatedly.

    I am guessing too that you would not be able to do any of the physical descriptors 'reliably, repeatedly and safely' either. It says this on the new form so it's there in black and white.... 'To answer Yes to any of the following questions, you must be able to do the activity safely, to an acceptable standard, as often as you need to and in a reasonable length of time.'

    Furthermore I would argue that you are covered by Exceptional Circumstances Regs 29 and 35, especially by Reg 35 which can be used if you do not neatly get covered by a descriptor. I have been put into the Support Group after Reconsideration only (ie I did not have to go to Tribunal) on this Regulation. It allows for the fact that your health could be at risk if you had to participate in work or work related activity.

    However ideally you do need some medical evidence which would support the Regs - a GP who would be willing to stick their neck out and say this, and this is not always easy to get.

    The Benefits and Work site helped me to understand the Regs and use them in my own application.

  • Hi have pm,d you x

  • Hi Agapanthus

    Thanks for your advice. I have sent you a PM. I hope that this is ok.

    Best wishes

    Carolineanne x

You may also like...