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Recent PIP claim, 0 points and now MR

lucitango
lucitango Community member Posts: 6 Listener
Hello everyone, 
What a friendly forum. Although I've just registered, I've been reading a lot of useful info & learned a lot from you so thanks for all you're doing. 
Just thought I'd share my recent experience first time applying for PIP for mental health struggles. I've been living with depression and anxiety for many many years and in the last 12 months I've found myself more and more affected, stopped working, could no longer afford to fund my psychotherapy, fell pregnant (so I made a choice to temporarily stop medication) so everything's gone crazy for me. I became dependent on others (I'm privileged to have plenty of support around) to just exist. I was encouraged to apply for PIP as that's what is for. I've never claim anything before, so I was not familiar with DWP and the benefit system. I was expecting a fair assessment and I was very naive.
Anyway, I started my claim in October 2022, received my form and completed it in as much detail as I could and sent it off, along with a discharge summary from a recent NHS CBT treatment I had and some referral letters to a mental health team. In my form I included relevant medical history, previous treatment and obviously details on how my condition affects me on a daily basis. I keep a journal but I didn't send it off initially as I thought it was quite cheesy & intimate (a lot of feelings and thoughts) and I tend to write a lot (as you can see!). Silly mistake, I know. 
I wasn't offered an assessment, everything was paper-based, had no contact from DWP except the decision letter saying I scored 0 points against all descriptors. What shocked me more was their explanation, that they spoke with my mental health team (wrong, they spoke with the counselling service) and they reported my condition has improved and I can manage things independently. Now, if you're familiar with CBT, you will know that is a very short therapy course (I did 6 sessions, 20 minutes each) and they usually focus on one particular area, in my case this time was my inability to maintain optimal personal hygiene due to my low mood. There's absolutely no way they could've provided enough information for the assessor to score me in all domains, especially without the need for consultation. No one contacted my GP or CPN so how could the assessment be completed in the first place? Further more, they wrote that is their decision I can complete all the activities because I don't have a diagnosis of cognitive, sensory of physical impairment, because I'm not taking any medication (disregarding pregnancy and the fact that I have been taking medication for years previously and I have a plan in place to start them postpartum asap) and because I'm attending medical appointments (because I'm lucky enough to have the support to do so). Basically everything they say they're not basing their decisions off usually. I'm so confused...
Following your advice on this forum, I challenged the decision, I sent copies of my journal entries and crossed referenced them to areas I need support with, I obtained a letter of support from my mother and send recent CPN assessment summary. I did that fairly quickly as I had everything already in place, but I was just stupid not to send them in the first place. 
I'm now waiting for the MR decision, but I'm not very hopeful looking at the statistics. It doesn't matter though as I'm planning to take it to the tribunal because they do deserve to be fought, as there's very little accommodation for people with mental health. I'm rubbish at speaking in front of others, all I do is cry and choke all the time, so the thought of going to tribunal makes me sick, but I'm ready to fight it. I know it's partly my fault for not submitting more evidence, but at the same time, there's very little support and guidance from them with the claim. 
I guess I just needed to vent to someone who understands, so thank you for listening and sorry for such a long post, I just don't know how to use less words...
Did anyone have similar experience? How are you? How do you feel? I feel frustrated and deflated but I understand that sometimes it's not always do straight forward.
I will keep you updated on my progress if you're interested. 
Thank you 

Comments

  • rebel11
    rebel11 Community member Posts: 1,636 Pioneering
    Hi lucitango

    Welcome to Scope online, lots of information and fun to be had on this site.

    I like the positive energy, you are doing the MR, then if need be the Appeal, don't give up.
    Make sure you give 'real world examples' of the daily difficulties you face each day.
    I got zero too, so having to go the same 'root' as you. 
     
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 53,922 Disability Gamechanger
    It's very rare that there's a refusal after a paper based assessment. Actually, i think i've only ever read of one other refusal besides yourself.

    Most MR decisions remain the same and only about 23% of them change. If this happens you can proceed to Tribunal and then there's around 70% success rate, providing you either choose telephone, video hearing or appear in person.
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • lucitango
    lucitango Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    Thank you rebel11! The process is quite stressful, isn't it? I hope I'll be able to maintain the energy... Fingers crossed for you, sending some positive vibes your way :smile:
  • lucitango
    lucitango Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    Hi poppy123456, I was quite surprised myself. The whole thing was just confusing. I'm so tempted to ask for the report to be sent to me, thinking that will answer some of my questions on how the assessment took place and where did they get their information from, but I'm trying to avoid obsessing over it and triggering more anxiety than I already have, so for now I'll just manage my expectations and wait patiently.
  • rebel11
    rebel11 Community member Posts: 1,636 Pioneering
    lucitango said:
    Thank you rebel11! The process is quite stressful, isn't it? I hope I'll be able to maintain the energy... Fingers crossed for you, sending some positive vibes your way :smile:
    Yes it is stressful, everyone gets it, except the DWP and the 'genius' who created it and the process.
    When you have doubts, just update your thread. Thanks for the positive energy, I need it, but like you I'm prepared to go the distance (that reminds me I came 3rd in a race once :) ).   
  • lucitango
    lucitango Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    I hear you. Let's do this!
  • lucitango
    lucitango Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    Hi, just thought I'll update you all. After MR, which was done paper-based also, I got 6 points daily living and 0 for mobility, which meant no award. That was May 2023. I submitted an appeal to the tribunal and today was the hearing date.
    The judge and the doctors were professional and empathic and there was also a lady from DWP. She had no questions and apologised for not getting the opportunity to have an assessment. The hearing took 1 and 1/2 hours and, although I felt it was quite intense, I was provided with a lot of opportunities to say whatever I needed, was offered breaks and tissues haha. I was actually quite terrified, but they just wanted to know what my difficulties were.
    They said I will get a decision by post within 2 weeks, but I went in my appeal online account and the hearing outcome was uploaded later in the afternoon.
    I was awarded standard daily living and mobility until 2025 and I am very pleased, I think is reflective of my current needs. 
    Wishing luck to everyone who's fighting this and thank you for your suport at the time! 
  • lucitango
    lucitango Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    Just to add, I didn't submit any further evidence to the tribunal, it was all based on the original claim + MR
  • Hannah_Alumni
    Hannah_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,912 Disability Gamechanger
    I am so glad to hear you have been awarded! <3 It must feel such a relief. 
    Hannah - She / Her

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