Mandatory reconsideration question... — Scope | Disability forum
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Mandatory reconsideration question...

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lanielemon1987
lanielemon1987 Community member Posts: 8 Connected
edited March 23 in Universal Credit (UC)
Hello, I'm new here and just needed a little clarification on something. 

I'm in the process of doing a mandatory reconsideration letter for the group I have been placed in.
I've been through alot posts on here and learned how to to do so, the descriptors and which i feel apply to me and that it may not even change the decision.

It may seem like a stupid question but is there such thing as too much information? I'm using what I've already discussed in my form and during my call to make my points but have also noticed a few details missing. Is it OK to add them to this letter? 

Im an overthinker. Any help would greatly appreciated 
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Comments

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,271 Disability Gamechanger
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    Yes there is such a thing as too much information, they do not need to know your whole life story. Keep it relevant as to why you think you should have been found to have LCWRA. Yes, you can add more detail. What they can't take into consideration is any worsening of condition.
    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.
  • lanielemon1987
    lanielemon1987 Community member Posts: 8 Connected
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    Thank you so much for your reply

    I can finish writing it up and finally get it sent away 😊.
    Will be glad when it's done, but I am also aware it may very well be tribunal.

    Fingers crossed its not.


  • Tibik
    Tibik Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    There are cites, notability Citizens Advice, that can give more information about the descriptors.

    You can write as much as you want, but, start with how that element of the disability causes *substantial difficulty* for you. Talk about what you cannot do because of this issue.

    THey look at what you can do "reliably safe and repeatable". So, highlight any safety issues, and if undertaking the act means you become tired, worn out, or unable to repeat the task.

    For example, with mobility, if you can walk 50 metres today, but, fall frequently and become so fatigued that you can only undertake the task once a week, it is neither safe nor repeatable. 

    You also need to highlight the help you need- from people, aids, etc. So, if we go back to the 50 metre walk, and you need a walking frame, and someone to pick you up if you fall, and then someone to be with you overnight because of the fall, you need to tell all those things. 

    This outline might help:

    1. What problems do I have in this area and why?
    2. What does that substantial disadvantage mean to my life, independence, choices, relationships, ability to work, etc.
    3. Are there issues with safety?
    4. Can I repeat this task as often as I want, or does the task impact my ability to repeat it?
    5. What help/ aids do I need to safely and repeatedly do this task?
    6. What impact does the difficulty I have in this area have on my life?
    7. What would I do if I had more support?

    So, just to give an example... Let's say you have difficulty washing, as you cannot get in and out of the tub easily. 

    1. I cannot shower/ take a tub independently as I cannot safely get in and out of the tub, because of the arthritis in my hips, my reduced vision, and arthritis in my arms. I experience pain, stiffness, reduced movement and reduced strength. I also take blood pressure tablets and can become dizzy, especially in a warm/ hot shower. Although I wash in the sink, that too is very tiring. WHen in the shower, I have problems washing below my thighs, washing my back, and washing my hair. . 
    2. This means I often struggle to bathe as often as I need to, as I do not feel safe.
    3. I have fallen repeatedly trying to transfer in and out of the tub, I have injured my shoulder and my arm, and on more than one occasion I was left on the floor waiting for someone to help me. 
    4. I find standing in the shower exhausting, and I experience a lot of anxiety because of the repeated falls. As a result, I need to take a long rest after showering due to fatigue and pain. I do not feel I could even shower more frequently because of the anxiety and fatigue. 
    5. I have asked for help to get a wetroom or bath transfer aid, but the council said the room was too small. I have a friend who has sometimes helped me, but they are not available as often as I need them. I cannot shower safely on my own as I never know when I might fall, what injuries I might get, or how I would call help. I do use a brush to clean below my thighs and my back, but it is difficult to wash well as I feel unsteady.
    6. Because of my inability to shower independently, I do not go out socially, I have skin break down, and I feel very self conscious. MY doctor said this has also contributed to frequent bladder infections. 
    7. If I had more support, I could hire a carer to help me and or acquire an appropriate bath transfer aid to help me remain safe. 

    If you structure yourself around the key aspects of any of the descriptors
    - how the issues link to your disability and why
    - Safety
    - repeatability
    - impact on your life
    - obstacles to independence and well being
    - aids/ helps that you have and how well they work or don't work and why
    - need

    If you want to post the specific descriptors you are worried about, I can outline them for you to help you perhaps have more structure if that helps?
  • lanielemon1987
    lanielemon1987 Community member Posts: 8 Connected
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    Thank you for you response @Tibik
     
    Any help just so that I can double check all is correct. One of my biggest stuggles is asking for, so any help is greatly appreciated 😊

    For me its; 

    Starting and finishing tasks 
    Coping with social situations 

  • Tibik
    Tibik Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    Thank you for you response @Tibik
     
    Any help just so that I can double check all is correct. One of my biggest stuggles is asking for, so any help is greatly appreciated 😊

    For me its; 

    Starting and finishing tasks 
    Coping with social situations 

    May I please ask, are you neurodivergent and are there other disabilities as well?


  • lanielemon1987
    lanielemon1987 Community member Posts: 8 Connected
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    My apologies, I didn't even think to put what for 🤦‍♀️ 

    It's depression and anxiety 



  • Tibik
    Tibik Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    NO need to apologise! :)

    You need medical confirmation of your problems, so if you are not in counselling, request it immediately- at least you will be able to say "I am waiting for an appointment". Without secondary back up, the DWP is ridiculous about taking us at our word. You need some proof that you are getting "help", and it not, why not. If you don't have some, get it now. You can explain that doing the form made you realise how much help you needed. Mention contacting agencies for help (if you have). WIthout some kind of professional interventions, you don't do well. Even if you just speak to your GP regularly, tell them. 

    I have cut and paste from Citizen's Advice... they have exceptionally good info about esa/pip assessment questions. 

    Want to take a look at these, see what you think, and if you want, you can write out and message me and I will give you my opinion?

    One thing- full disclosure- I worked for Maximus doing ESA assessments- I didn't want to learn them, I wanted to learn how they were done... I achieved my DWP qualification as an assessor, then I quit. Just being honest. 


    Ok, Starting and finishing tasks:- this is from https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/employment-and-support-allowance/help-with-your-esa-claim/fill-in-form-esa/13-tasks/

    on that site, it gives the points for

    How to answer the question

    This question is about whether you can plan, organise and complete at least 2 routine tasks, one after the other.

    The DWP isn't asking about your physical problems in this question. They want to know whether you have a mental health condition that affects your ability to start and finish routine tasks.

    "Can you manage to plan, start and finish daily tasks?"

    • Never
    • Sometimes
    • It varies

    Routine tasks are things including:

    • showering
    • dressing
    • collecting a prescription
    • preparing a basic meal
    • ironing clothes
    • paying a bill
    • making appointments

    Think about whether you could complete 2 of these tasks, one after the other, for example before you leave the house to go to an appointment.

    For example, imagine you're making a cup of tea and the phone rings. Would you be able to stop making the tea, answer the phone and then finish making the tea after the phone call?

    Think about whether you'd be able to do these and other routine tasks repeatedly during the same day.

    What to write in the box

    It's important you tell the DWP more by explaining your situation in the box.

    It's important to explain whether:

    • your condition makes it hard for you to concentrate
    • you need to be reminded or encouraged
    • you get confused
    • you get distracted
    • you forget what you're doing
    • your medication affects how you complete tasks
    • your condition makes you lack motivation
    • your condition makes you lack energy or you get tired

    • you have good days and bad days

    Example

    Subhi says: "I have bipolar disorder, and often find it hard to do simple things like pay my telephone bill. I spend all of my money on the wrong things, so I often can't pay for the things I really have to - and it gets me in trouble.

    "I sometimes think about paying my bill, and even get my credit card details ready, but I just never do it as I've spent all my money on something else. I paid it really late and got fined last month, as by the time I'd got enough money together, it was overdue."

    16 (a) Engagement in social contact is always precluded due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the claimant. (15 points)


    (b) Engagement in social contact with someone unfamiliar to the claimant is always precluded due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the claimant. (9 Points)


    (c) Engagement in social contact with someone unfamiliar to the claimant is not possible for the majority of the time due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the claimant. (6 points)


    (d) None of the above apply. (0 points)

    Ok, this is me, "majority" means "4 days out of 7 in the week" or other relative timing.

    Remember- (this is from me again)... talk about safe and repeatable. If you forget you've left a chip pan on the cooker... if you leave food out and forget to refrigerate it... and talk about how much it takes out of you trying to do everything. 

    NOw I will go to the next one.

    THis one is from: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/employment-and-support-allowance/help-with-your-esa-claim/fill-in-form-esa/16-social-situations/

    How to answer the question

    This question is about how you cope with meeting and speaking to people.

    It's about whether you have difficulties relating to people, or if meeting and speaking to people causes you significant distress.

    The reason you have difficulties could be because:

    • you have a condition like autism which means you find it hard to relate to people
    • you have a learning disability
    • you have issues with anger or aggression
    • you have a mental health condition

    The DWP is trying to understand:

    • whether you have difficulties with people you know
    • whether you have difficulties with people you don't know
    • how often you have problems - whether it's all the time or most of the time

    "Can you meet people you know without feeling too anxious or scared?"

    • No
    • Yes
    • It varies

    This could be anyone you've met before like your doctor, your neighbours or friends. It doesn't just mean people you're close to.

    Don't feel embarrassed if you have to tick "no", for example if:

    • seeing people you know makes you anxious or scared, for example because it makes you feel stressed or nervous
    • you avoid meeting up with people

    "Can you meet people you don't know without feeling too anxious or scared?"

    • No
    • Yes
    • It varies

    This could be someone like a cashier in a shop, a person in the bus queue, or a neighbour you've never met. Consider how you'd feel if you needed to deal with the public in a job, for example in a shop or a hotel.

    You might need to tick "no" if:

    • speaking to strangers makes you scared or anxious, for example because it makes you feel stressed or nervous
    • you try to avoid meeting and speaking to new people
    • you try to not go out because you don't want to see people

    You might need to tick 'it varies' if bumping into people you didn't expect to see makes you anxious or scared, but you're okay when you plan to meet them.

    If this is the case then explain what happens and how it makes you feel in the box.

    What to write in the box

    It's important you tell the DWP more by explaining your situation in the box.

    Use the blank box to explain how you feel about spending time with other people. For example:

    • how you feel when you have to meet and speak to people
    • if you find it hard to relate to people - how they react to you, and how it makes you feel
    • how often you avoid seeing or meeting people
    • whether you find it easier to meet other people if someone you trust is with you
    • whether you have good and bad days
    • if you could cope with meeting or speaking to more than one person at a time
    • whether it physically affects you, for example makes you feel hot, faint or dizzy

    Example

    Keisha says: "I can't make eye contact and talk to my friends - they're people that I used to see all the time. It's impossible for me to leave the house because I don't have any confidence and wouldn't be able to deal with it, even if I had a few weeks to prepare for it. I wouldn't be able to cope if my GP left and I got a new doctor - my pulse would race and I'd have a panic attack."

    16 (a) Engagement in social contact is always precluded due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the claimant. (15 points)


    (b) Engagement in social contact with someone unfamiliar to the claimant is always precluded due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the claimant. (9 points)


    (c) Engagement in social contact with someone unfamiliar to the claimant is not possible for the majority of the time due to difficulty relating to others or significant distress experienced by the claimant. (6 points) 


    (d) None of the above apply. (0 points)


  • lanielemon1987
    lanielemon1987 Community member Posts: 8 Connected
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    I had mentioned in my call that I had been a sent a link apply for, but my referral never went through so it needed to be done again. I also explained I had done some a few years back but it didnt work out and went on to explain why, but did say I'd be applying again (it's needed) 
    Do I need to include that it has been done? 

    Thank you, I will take a look at them and go through what I have written. For as much as I'd be embarrassed to send over the letter, I'd actually welcome the help 🙂 


  • Tibik
    Tibik Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    @lanielemon1987 Yeah, you need to mention it, if you have any appointment letters, and please mention you are in a peer support group to help you- that's what this is!

    Please do not be embarrassed... I have no judgement in my heart, just a real drive to make sure that people like us are treated fairly and that we receive what we are entitled to. I'm very happy to try to help, people help me too so it's just passing it forward. :)

    Message me privately if that's easier. You can also contact CAB and one of their workers can go right through your forms with you, but I personally find that people with lived experience have a different take and that can be very powerful.

    Back to you feeling embarrassed- I would just like to point out... you are being quite courageous to ask for help, you are setting a good example for others through your openness, you are taking care of yourself and showing real self-awareness... I think you've missed the "pros" column, maybe because it has more lines than the "cons" column. Dealing with the kind of stuff is stressful, exhausting and can feel overwhelming. Despite the impairments you experience, you're fighting anyway. I'm pretty impressed. Lots of people give up. You're fighting. That's something to give yourself a pat on the back for. :smiley:   
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,271 Disability Gamechanger
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    I'd just like to point out that you don't need medical evidence, many people are found to have LCWRA without medical evidence. Most MR decisions remain the same. If it gets to Tribunal then they will apply to law correctly.

    The best evidence to send is your anecdotal evidence. A couple of real world incidents of exactly what happened the last time you attempted each descriptor that applies to you. Include detailed information such as where you were, what exactly happened, did anyone see it and what the consequences were.

    Tibik said:

    Message me privately if that's easier.

    The scope team do not support members contacting each other for benefits advice. This is because if someone gives incorrect advice then no one can correct that advice. It's always advised that if advice is needed that members ask on the forum.

    You can also contact the scope helpline.

    Call: 0808 800 3333

    Email: helpline@scope.org.uk

    For expert advice from an agency near you start here. https://advicelocal.uk/welfare-benefits




    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.
  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,562 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hello @lanielemon1987 and welcome, I'm glad to see our members offering help and support with your MR, do keep us up to date with how things go!

    You are more than welcome to message each other if that feels comfortable, and we'd always advise that members here share reputable sources of information, as per our community house rules.

    We're all here to support you, and as @Tibik has mentioned, it's a really positive step to reach out for help and advice in the first place :) 
    Online Community Coordinator
    Scope

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  • Tibik
    Tibik Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    Tibik said:

    Message me privately if that's easier.

    The scope team do not support members contacting each other for benefits advice. This is because if someone gives incorrect advice then no one can correct that advice. It's always advised that if advice is needed that members ask on the forum.





    It was not for benefit advice. I have given that in public, it was just to discuss the difficulties they were experiencing as they seemed self conscious and I was trying to be discreet. 

    But, since it is such an issue, I shall refrain from giving advice of any kind from here on in. I apologise for breaking the rules: I thought it was compassionate to do. I didn't realise I was breaking your rules. 
  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,562 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hello @Tibik it seems there's been some crossed wires here, as I've mentioned, you are more than welcome to message other members to chat and support each other- that's what this community is about :)
    As you say this is a very compassionate thing to do, and shows you're a caring person, so thank you for explaining that. 

    As Poppy had earlier mentioned her own concern over the sharing of misadvice, I wanted to explain this section within our house rules for everyone's reference, but that was not to imply that you have or were intending to breech the rules. I apologise for any confusion or upset caused. 
    Online Community Coordinator
    Scope

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

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  • Tibik
    Tibik Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    I'd just like to point out that you don't need medical evidence, many people are found to have LCWRA without medical evidence. Most MR decisions remain the same. If it gets to Tribunal then they will apply to law correctly.


    With all respect, you only have half the stick there... no, you don't *need* medical evidence, however, with any kind of medical evidence- even an appointment letter or referral- the information is treated as "confirmed" and this can make a big difference especially if you'd like to get things done sooner rather than later. The difference in scoring between someone who says they have a problem and it is unconfirmed and someone with exactly the same reported problem but with confirmation can be substantial. 

    Assessors are trained to apply the *lowest possible score* unless there is evidence to increase it. 

    YOu said "Most MR decisions remain the same". That's not accurate. According to the citation which will follow this, "In the month to January 2023, 57% of the ESA-WCA decisions going to MR were revised" https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-march-2023/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-march-2023  - 

    The best way, in my experience, to get MR to go your way is to add evidence and to take care in whatever experience you serve up their terms, words, and parameters (within the truth of course). As you said, examples are good but you need to be careful how they are framed because they can be used against you as well. Something as simple as "I get that pain every couple of days" instead of "I get that pain several days a week" can cost points. The first one says 3 days a week, and the second one says more than 3. That's why it can really help to have another person read what you have written and give feedback on how it sounds. 

    I remember one lady said "I take a 5 minute trip to the shop" and she said the shop was "across the road". The assessor actually looked up her address and found the shop, then measured the distance. If the lady could make that journey walking in 5 minutes she was not mobility impaired. So she lost her points for mobility. Well, of course she meant "a quick" trip, not specifically 5 minutes, and across the road meant "near by". But it made her sound like she was not accurate in her assessment of her needs and abilities so she was marked down. 

    ff the assessor is not taking that you have depression seriously and so scored you low (as an example) but then you prove you are known to the crisis team, or go to therapy, etc, then they must reassess their previous score. 

    One really good example of this is incontinence. If a person claims to be incontinent, the assessor will ask how often they are seen by the continence team. If they say they are not seen by the continence team *the guidance as I received it said that it was not correct to score them for having incontinence". Please trust me that sending evidence to back up anything you say is to your benefit.  GPs are required to send in their assessments but they are notoriously sketchy and more than half aren't even filled out. One solution to this is get a copy of your GP "front sheet" (which will be several pages) which confirms all active diagnoses and problems. 

    So although you don't *need* evidence, if you have it or can get it, it is most certainly in your favour to provide it. 

    And, more than half of MR where someone is assessed as someone impaired but not LCWRA are overturned on MR. 

    It's not the law that is applied differently, it's DWP Policy. At MR they still must follow all the policy and assessments, including the scoring done based on descriptors. However, at Tribunal, they are *not* beholden to the policies, guidance, etc, and do not have to adhere to the very strict evidence required for each descriptors. They are able to make a much more reasonable view of the big picture. 

    As I said in my "hello", I was trained to do ESA assessments and was qualified to do so by the DWP. I only went to that job, which was 6 months of hell, so I could learn how the assessments worked so I could help people who weren't getting what they should. 





  • Tibik
    Tibik Community member Posts: 26 Connected
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    Hello @Tibik it seems there's been some crossed wires here, as I've mentioned, you are more than welcome to message other members to chat and support each other- that's what this community is about :)
    As you say this is a very compassionate thing to do, and shows you're a caring person, so thank you for explaining that. 

    As Poppy had earlier mentioned her own concern over the sharing of misadvice, I wanted to explain this section within our house rules for everyone's reference, but that was not to imply that you have or were intending to breech the rules. I apologise for any confusion or upset caused. 
    Thanks for speaking to me Alex, you've been really lovely helping me sort. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,271 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hello @Tibik it seems there's been some crossed wires here, as I've mentioned, you are more than welcome to message other members to chat and support each other- that's what this community is about :)
    As you say this is a very compassionate thing to do, and shows you're a caring person, so thank you for explaining that. 

    As Poppy had earlier mentioned her own concern over the sharing of misadvice, I wanted to explain this section within our house rules for everyone's reference, but that was not to imply that you have or were intending to breech the rules. I apologise for any confusion or upset caused. 

    Thanks Alex. I never said that members can't message each other, of course they can. I was pointing out that the scope team do not support giving benefits advice through PM.

    I will make no further comments on this thread.
    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.
  • lanielemon1987
    lanielemon1987 Community member Posts: 8 Connected
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    Just thought I'd pop back with an update. 

    After sending my MR off, little over a week later the decision came back with no change, so its on to appeal for me. 

  • lanielemon1987
    lanielemon1987 Community member Posts: 8 Connected
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    Last update for me..

    After a wait of around 6 months for my appeal, I had it this week and the decision made by DWP was changed 😊.  I can finally breathe and have some time to get myself and my mental health back on track! 

    I truly do feel for anyone still waiting for their appeals or starting the process. I spent alot of time consumed by it and the added struggles on top and almost managed to convince myself not to go, but I glad I did! 

    Don't give up, keep fighting 💪 


  • Rosie_Scope
    Rosie_Scope Posts: 2,240 Scope online community team
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    Hi @lanielemon1987, I don't think I was around for your original post but it's brilliant that you've had your decision changed. Thanks for updating us all, it's always good to hear when things go well. Well done for getting through it! :)
    Rosie (she/her)

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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  • Lou67
    Lou67 Community member Posts: 7,292 Disability Gamechanger
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    @lanielemon1987
    Good morning I hope you’re keeping well.
    Thats amazing news you won at tribunal, it’ll be a massive weight off your shoulders.
    I hope you can now relax and treat yourself when you receive your backpay.
    Theres plenty of chats and games you could join in it would be lovely to see you around.

    Take care ❤️

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