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Do I or don't I appeal PIP?

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by lior, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. lior

    lior Senior Member

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    I've been awarded standard rates for mobility and daily living. I think I'm eligible for the enhanced rate for daily living, and there are some things in the write up that are just not true. E.g. 'you didn't appear tense during the assessment' - I cried. It was clear distress.

    It's £30 more per week. It's not going to make THE difference - I will need to apply for housing benefit in a few months anyway (because of reducing savings). I'm not 100% sure but I think with housing benefit plus current benefits I will be able to get by.

    Given that it's a lot of work, do you think it's worth going for it? It's taken me a year working on the process to get this far, and the stress has definitely made my symptoms worse. It's one of the most stressful things in my life. I believe it's preventing me from recovering as much as I might have otherwise done. I'm 29 and have been ill for 2 years, so there is some possibility I could recover. I worry I'm reducing my chances of that if I keep allowing stressors into my life.

    If you've been through this, please tell me how much work you had to do to do the mandatory reconsideration and appeal. Do you feel it was worth it? How long did it take?

    I'm also awaiting an ESA assessment, so it's very likely I'll be put in the support group.

    I've got about 2-3 weeks to decide if I'm going to go for the mandatory reconsideration.
     
  2. Judee

    Judee Senior Member

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    They expect us to be hyperventilating or something while we go through these otherwise they'll consider us as too calm to actually be in a distressed state. However, they don't take into account that with the ME/CFS we may be too exhausted for our bodies to react that way even though on the inside we feel like we want to scream because of the build up of anxiety.

    I don't know how to advise you on the other since I'm in the states and don't know how your system works. On another website, I read about someone here getting approved by the judge but the judge was not going to go back the full 3 years to the date of her onset. She wondered if she should appeal but her lawyer advised not to because there was the chance the favorable decision the judge gave her could be overturned and reversed so she stayed with the decision however, it sounded like she lost out on a lot of back pay.

    If you challenge this, is there a chance that this standard rate decision could be overturned like that where you could lose the benefit altogether? That would not be a good thing.

    Hope someone from the UK and can advise you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
    Shoshana likes this.
  3. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    @lior That is a very good point that @Judee has made.

    Is there any chance that an appeal would make them reconsider your entire application?
    If so, does not seem worth any risk, to me .

    Also, often they write things, not based on what they think of our condition, but what their employers, or financial kick-backs are. Very bad, and feels horrid for us, individually. I am sorry that happened to you!

    I wrote more on this topic, earlier today, in the Daily Moan section.
     
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  4. Wolfcub

    Wolfcub Senior Member

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    I wish I could be really helpful to you @lior because I am in the UK too, and have had times when I have applied for benefits in my life. But thngs have changed so much over the last few years, so I hear.

    But I have not recently had any experience personally with this.

    My instinct would be to try the appeal. As far as I know it is a legal requirement for any beaurocratic decision made to have the right of appeal (usually within one month.) It is the same with most of those decisions.

    However I have heard some shocking stories. My elderly (mid 80s) aunt is severely disabled and awaiting a double hip replacement. She applied for attendance allowance as she needs quite a lot of help (car lifts to appointments, help with her garden, various things almost daily), and she likes to be able to pay someone for taking the trouble to help her. Thus her disability is costing her money. She can hardly move about her living room, never mind house. She doesn't have a lot of money. Only 2 pensions and a small amount of savings.
    She was refused attendance allowance! They said she "didn't meet the criteria" !
    She was too worn out and disheartened to appeal and now it is too late.

    They system seems to be moving the goal posts a LOT recently. They just don't want to pay out money! People are suffering meanwhile.

    The intention behind that is quite heartless and cruel. It is money-based only. They are hoping to weed out the less tenacious applicants, or those who are too punch drunk and weary to fight.
     
  5. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    There ARE some benefits in the U.S, that a VERY high percentage overall, are turned down totally, on the first application, so it is considered nearly automatic, rather than according to the person's condition. COuld that apply to the UK giving the lesser benefit too?
    Whereas , in that US example, a greater percentage of those same people denied, are then accepted after the appeal, so they get out of paying those who are simply far TOO ill and too disabled and too stressed, to go through an appeal. Ugh.
    Though they still turn down many on the "first appeal", only to accept some of those, on the third. Ugh.
    The same people with the same illnesses. :(

    It is too much what ill people are required to go through. I must say, that it is better to submit the paperwork with all of the initial errors you make filling it out, so they see that you are not good at forms.

    The harder we work to make ourselves clear, the more "reason" or excuse, they have for the denials. :confused:o_O:aghhh:
     
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  6. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    I wonder if the chances of them giving you greater benefits on appeal, are very low .

    Perhaps they do not give them to many people, regardless of the persons conditions or needs. Just based on their budgets, they might refuse most,
    which, if so, would make it not worth while to pursue something high stress, and very low likelihood of succeeding???
     
  7. Moof

    Moof Senior Member

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    You could reapply with the help of a welfare organisation such as Benefits & Work or Fightback4Justice. They're up to date on all the latest caselaw, and will be able to help you argue your case. They also take a lot of the stress out of the process, as you feel as if you have someone batting on your side. In your position I'd definitely speak to them, to explore which particular points it would be best for you to challenge and whether they think you have a good chance (it sounds as if you do, to be honest). Good luck, whatever you decide.
     
    Lisa108 likes this.
  8. boombachi

    boombachi Senior Member

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  9. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    Looking at those excellent links, I personally do not think their evaluations fit well with this type of illness, and I would probably not appeal. Just my own reaction to that info.
     
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  10. lior

    lior Senior Member

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    Thank you everyone :)

    @Moof I'll check out Benefits & Work and Fightback4Justice. I didn't know Benefits & Work also help individuals, but I knew about their guides.

    Yes, lots of things are changing. And people that are too disabled to fight miss out on what they deserve. It's so unjust.
    And the PIP criteria isn't a good fit for ME/CFS. Their definition of disability ought to be better than this.

    They could indeed decide to give me less than what they have awarded me now. So there is a risk. And there's a risk I'd do a lot of work and still not get any change.

    I've made 2 phone calls today (which is unheard of - v difficult for me, but I was so stressed, I wanted to move forward with this). So now I have some clarity; I know I can safely wait another week until my Citizen's Advice contact gets back from holiday, and she can tell me whether she thinks I've got a good chance of getting the better rate. Then I'd have another month to gather evidence.

    I know what my symptoms are - I know what the truth is, and I know if they were being fair on me I'd get the enhanced rate. But the system isn't fair, they've directly ignored evidence I've given, and their own eyes.

    I know what I'd have to do to get through the next stage of things before the appeal - a letter from the clinic, and a letter from the GP, and to get good letters I will have to communicate really, really well with them and educate them about all those PIP points. Plus phone calls and emails with Citizens Advice. I'm dreading the work, I'm not well enough for this to all get done within a few weeks.

    I'm kind of hoping the Citizens Advice lady will tell me there's not a strong enough case, so it would be an easy decision to give up.

    Giving up was totally not my style before I got ill, but not doing things is what helps me recover.

    I've done a pros and cons list, and according to that I should just let it be. I've got SOMETHING, anyway. Valuing my health above extra money, that would make things only a little easier, would pay off.

    It does feel weird to not be fighting against this injustice though. Maybe that's partly why I'm putting off my decision until the Citizen's Advice lady comes back.
     
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  11. boombachi

    boombachi Senior Member

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    Whatever you decide, I wish you well with it
     
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  12. Moof

    Moof Senior Member

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    If you decide on a MR, there are three main bits of advice:

    • DWP will likely try to get you to do the MR over the phone. Don't do this under any circumstances, as you'll almost certainly be unable to recall all the points you need to raise and any specific phrases you want to employ to describe them. If the call handler pressures you, say that you haven't made a firm decision about whether to proceed with the MR yet, but that you would like to receive the form by post.

    • DWP will also give you the impression you only have a month to apply. This is incorrect, caselaw demonstrates that you have at least 13 months.

    • If you haven't already got it, obtain your assessment report before you start the MR, so you're completely clear about what you're challenging.

    Fightback4Justice would help you in return for a donation to cover their costs. The people running the charity are all volunteers, but they have to rent an office, run an online portal, and fund stationery, stamps and phone lines. One approach is to sign up for their VIP service, which gives you priority access (I think the rates are about £11 per month for VIP1, and £5 for VIP2). As soon as your MR is sorted, you can cancel the subscription.

    I joined the VIP1 service for two months, and got a lot of help with my PIP application. I was awarded enhanced rates for both components, which I'd never have achieved on my own – it just wouldn't have occurred to me to make some of the points FB4J suggested on my application.

    As well as initial applications and MRs, they represent people at tribunals all over the country, though in those cases they do obviously need their travel costs to be covered.

    (By the way, in case it sounds as if I'm trying to promote their services, I'm not connected to them in any way at all. I just know more about them than other welfare organisations because I've used them twice myself.)

    Good luck!
     
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  13. Alexi

    Alexi Senior Member

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    MR and tribunal if you have to.....you’ve already done all the hard work completing the form ! ! Unfortunately it does take time but your current award is paid until a fresh award is made.
     
  14. lior

    lior Senior Member

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    @Moof that is excellent information, thank you.

    My citizens advice contact told me to not go for a mandatory reconsideration because she didn't think I'd score enough points to make the difference.

    Honestly I think someone else would have been more helpful in helping me find ways of saying things to score points - she's been alright but not amazing. Describing my same symptoms in a slightly different way makes a difference... and things are important to the system that don't immediately occur to me, and she had the knowledge to tease that out of me, but she didn't take the time. It has frustrated me to have a lack of knowledge plus a lack of cognitive ability to be as articulate as I'd like sometimes. Anywayz.

    I haven't gone for the MR. I've got the ESA assessment tomorrow. Fingers crossed I'll be in the support group. I hope I say things in the way that ticks the right boxes. But lord knows what will come out of my mouth while I am this exhausted.
     
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  15. Wolfcub

    Wolfcub Senior Member

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    Good luck for tomorrow, @lior

    It's difficult isn't it? Knowing the things to say "in the right way" to tick the beaurocratic boxes....instead of just being able to say things your own way. But it's a learning curve and it will be worth it if you can get the benefit, which will be so helpful to you. I do wish you well.
     
    lior likes this.
  16. Moof

    Moof Senior Member

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    Good luck for today, @lior. In theory, ESA is a more straightforward benefit than PIP for ME patients, as it's very clear most of us have significant barriers to employment and some of the tests are less stringent. I've haven't had an assessment for it (I have multiple diagnoses, including Asperger's, and they awarded without seeing me), so no experience to report – but I really hope it goes well.
     
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  17. lior

    lior Senior Member

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    Thanks both @Wolfcub and @Moof, I appreciate the kind messages.

    They cancelled on me 30 mins before the appointment time. I cried my eyes out. I have spent a lot of energy preparing for the appointment - reading the application form I sent in took me several sittings, for example. And planning a friend to be there with me took a lot of thinking energy. Putting together the documents and things they need to see at the appointment took several goes. Not to mention I tired myself out on purpose yesterday to show my worst side today. So I'm left feeling crap today. At least I used my energy to do some useful stuff yesterday.

    I shall be complaining in writing. I got my friend to call them back to get the details.
     
  18. Moof

    Moof Senior Member

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    Oh, no @lior – b*stards! It happens to so many people, I'm sure they do it on purpose. You must be very angry! I just hope it all gets sorted soon. In your letter of complaint, you could tell them how difficult it was and try asking them to make a paper-based decision – it may not work, but there's no harm in asking.
     
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