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PIP appeal letter

EllieStar1989EllieStar1989 Member Posts: 45 Connected
edited February 2018 in PIP, DLA and AA
This is what I wrote for my pip appeal. I used to be on standard care. I hope this is okay, Major stressed over it all. I did put my address on the letter 



I am including a copy of my mandatory reconsideration letter with this appeal letter.

I wish to appeal the decision that was made regarding my personal independent payment.

On my mandatory reconsideration letter, it says that I appeared to be in a good mood. I disagree with this. I was crying during the assessment and I was feeling suicidal that day because I was under a great deal of stress. I was in a very low mood that day. It also says that I was not observed to be in any pain or discomfort during the assessment, this is not true, I was in pain that day, my hip was hurting. My hip was hurting a little bit that day. I was not in excruciating pain that day but on another day, I could be.

My sister wanted to be there for my assessment to support me and help me out. My assessor arrived early and I was not able to ask my assessor to wait because of the difficulties I have with speaking to people. My sister said afterwards she didn’t know how to handle the situation. She didn’t know if she should of just walked into my assessment.

I struggle with every day activities because of my mental health problems, my anxiety and my sciatica not because of cognitive or memory problems. It was hard for me to talk to the assessor and get my point across.

 

I have difficulties with preparing food, taking medication, engaging with people face to face, washing and bathing, dressing and undressing, budgeting, communicating verbally, reading and understanding signs and planning a journey.

 

I have outlined the difficulties that I have within this letter.

 

 

Preparing Food

                                                               My sister prepares and cooks all my meals for me. I can’t prepare a meal using fresh ingredients. I struggle to peel and chop food. My hands shake a lot and are often sweaty due to my anxiety. I drop things a lot when holding them and I think this is because of how sweaty my hands are most of the time. I am at risk of accidentally cutting myself with the knife while chopping food because of how much my hands shake. I am also at risk of purposely harming myself with the knife if I was to be using a knife and my mood was to suddenly change. My moods change very frequently which is a part of my emotionally unstable personality disorder.

                                                                I struggle to stand in one place for very long as it hurts my back, legs and hips. I have sciatica on the right-hand side which affects my back, hip and leg. This makes it hard for me to stand to wash up. I can only manage to wash up about two items as anything more than this amount would be too painful for me.

                                                                It’s also difficult for me to use the Hobs on the cooker because of the problems I have with standing up for a long time. I also struggle to use the hobs because of how much my hands shake. I worry that if I pick the pan up my hands could shake a lot and I could end up burning myself from the hot water.

                                                                I struggle to use the oven because of my anxiety and because of my fear of burning myself. If I cook using the oven I could end up dropping the hot oven tray onto my foot. I don’t always sleep well at night. I sometimes don’t sleep for 2 or 3 nights at a time. This is because of my mental health problems, nightmares that I get and from being in too much pain to sleep. Because of my sleeping problems if I use the oven I could turn it on and fall asleep. When I have not had much sleep, I can’t think clearly, and I have a tendency to forget what I am doing. It has happened on several occasions where I have either put the oven on and fall asleep and my sister has seen the oven on or where I have in the past took something out the oven using oven gloves and then seconds later I seem to have forgotten that I have just taken the food out the oven and I have just touched it and burned my fingers.

                                                               If I do have to cook which is not often I will feel exhausted and over whelmed afterwards and I will need to lay down and won’t be able to eat the meal.

 

Taking Medication

                                                               My sister must hold my medication for me because I am at risk of over dosing on it. I have taken several overdoses in my life. In the most recent years I over dosed in October 2017, I did not seek help though because I knew that if I called the ambulance, I would be taken to the hospital where they would give me a blood test, they would medically clear me, get me to speak to the on-call psychiatrist and then they would discharge me. During this time, I was living alone in a bungalow about 6 miles from the hospital and it was late at night when I took the over dose so I would have been discharged and I would have been stranded at the hospital. I couldn’t walk the 6 miles home. I physically couldn’t walk 6 miles. Even if I could walk that far the road was a main road with no path and very few street lights. A taxi home would have cost about £15 which I would not of been able to afford. I know I should have seeked help but the thought of not being able to get home terrified me. I have a fear of being locked out of the house and having to spend the night outside. I overdosed in May 2017, I went to Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire that time. I went to A and E in Blackpool and London several times for over dosing and for self-harm when I lived in those areas. I can’t remember all the exact dates that I ended up in A and E. My overdoses are very spontaneous. A lot of the time my mood will be really low and I will have tried several things to raise my mood with no success that I will just feel like I can’t take any more of life. I will feel like I am a burden to people because I need to rely on other people so much. I will feel like I hate myself, like everyone else hates me because I am not good enough and then I will take a bunch of pills. After this I usually feel physically sick and I will feel angry that I am still alive.
My sister must remind me to take my medication. If she doesn’t remind me I will forget to take it, or I will end up forgetting that I have taken it and I will end up taking it twice.

                                                               My sister also reminds me of my appointments. Even writing them down does not help me to remember them. I always forget where I put things. I have tried to write my appointments down, but I end up losing the pieces of paper that I write them down on.

                                                               My sister also monitors my health conditions by watching for changes in my mood. If she sees that I am in a really low mood she will try to encourage me to speak to her or she will get me to call the crisis team if necessary. It’s hard for me to monitor my own health because if my depression is bad then I won’t seek help without encouragement because I just won’t care about what happens to me.

 

Engaging with people face to face and communicating verbally

Because of my anxiety I find it really hard to speak to people that I don’t know. I can’t look at people when talking to them. During my assessment I was not able to look at the assessor. I was also crying during my assessment because having to speak to someone that I don’t know is so distressful and exhausting for me.

                                                               I guess I find it hard to look at people while talking to them because I have been through so much abuse.

                                                                When I have an appointment with my GP I find it so hard to talk to them because I can’t look at them and because I find it so hard to talk about myself to a stranger and I find it hard to ask for what I want and need.

                                                                I find it hard to make a phone call. I will text and e-mail before I have to make a phone call. I will always try to get someone to make the call on my behalf. Before I make a phone call I will properly spend days thinking about and I will feel really anxious and stressed during the phone call.

                                                               Because of issues that I have with speaking to strangers I can’t just go into a shop and ask where things are. At the moment my sister does my shopping. In the past when I would go shopping if I couldn’t find something I was not able to ask where it was so I would just go without. I can’t ask for directions when I am out. I have been out before and I have just sat down and cried because I have gotten lost.

                                                                The anxiety that I face around engaging with people face to face has an impact on my mental health because it makes me feel abnormal, it makes me hate myself more and it often makes me feel suicidal. It also makes me feel alone and isolated.

 

I struggle with communicating verbally for the same reasons that I struggle to engage with people face to face.

 

Budgeting Decisions

I struggle to make budgeting decisions. I can never remember when my bills are due. I often forget to pay bills and I am then charged extra money for late fees. A lot of my bills I can’t afford to pay off in one go so I try to pay a bit each time I am paid but then I forget how much I have paid and how much I have left to pay. I find it hard to read and understand bills and my sister helps me to understand my bills.

                                                               I have times where I over spend because I don’t think about needing the money. This can happen if I am planning on committing suicide.

 

                                                               I struggle to count money when I am in a shop because of how anxious I feel. When my hands are shaking it makes it very hard to count money. My anxiety affects my concentration. My sister helps me if I go into a shop. I struggle to know what change I will receive in a shop. When I go into a shop on my own I have to pick one item up bring it so the counter pay for it and then walk away to count my change and see if I can afford anything else in the shop. When I am in the shop alone because of how stressful I find the whole experience I usually just end up handing over a big bunch of change to the shop keeper.

 

Dressing and undressing

                                                               When I get dressed I sit on the edge of the bed and I put my bra on the same way I would a t shirt. I then put my t shirt on. I then put my foot on a box which is beside the bed so that I can put my socks on. I then put my trousers on and stand up to pull my trousers up.

                                                                If my sciatica is bad which it can be up to a few times a week I will find bending over painful to do so I won’t get dressed if I am not going out. If my sciatica is bad I will have to take painkillers before I can get out of bed or get dressed.

                                                               When getting dressed if my anxiety is bad which it is most days I will struggle with bra straps, zips, buttons and belts.

                                                                My sister helps me to get dressed. She will help me by doing up my buttons, zips and belts. My sister also ties my shoe laces for me.

                                                                When My depression is bad I lack the motivation to care for myself. I neglect my personal care. I don’t have the motivation to get dressed, brush my teeth or hair. The thought of caring for myself in a depressive episode is so distressing.  When my depression is bad which is a majority of the time I need a lot of prompting and encouragement.

 

Washing and Bathing

                                                               I can’t get in and out of a bath tub because of my sciatica. It hurts my back and hip climbing in and out of a bathtub. I risk getting stuck in a bath tub if I was to climb in. I would need a bath chair if I was going to use a bath. I had some rails but up in my bathroom by Lincolnshire Social services, but they didn’t really help me. I had my own place from September to January, but I had to give it up to move back in with my sister, so she could provide me with the care that I needed. 

                                                               I use a chair in the shower. I use it because I find it hard to stand for an extended period of time. When I sit down in the shower I don’t wash my feet because it’s so difficult for me to do so. If I stretch that far it would mostly like hurt me and I could end up falling of the chair.

 

                                                               It takes me about half an hour to shower and that not including time to undress and dress myself again.

 

                                                               I am not always safe to take a shower because of my difficulties with sleeping and with the anxiety on top I can feel really dizzy so therefore I don’t always feel safe getting a shower.

 

                                                               I also don’t shower if my depression is bad. I have had issues where I have got sore in private areas due to a lack of hygiene.

 

Reading and understanding signs
I find it hard to read and understand bills. My sister has to explain bills to me. I struggle to read if my depression is bad. I can read but it’s like I have to keep reading over and over things because it’s like I just won’t be able to take information in. My anxiety can make it really hard  for me to concentrate. I feel anxious all the time but my anxiety is worse when out of the house.

 

Planning a journey
I struggle to use public transport because I get panic attacks. I wouldn’t be able to get public transport to an unfamiliar place because I would end up having a panic attack, I would be unable to ask for help if I got lost. I would struggle to read maps, bus time tables because of how much my anxiety affects me. I struggle to cope in places I don’t know. My anxiety and panic attacks make me feel tired and disorientated. I don’t leave the house now unless I have to. My sister brings me somewhere if I need to go. My sister does the shopping and picks up my medication. I hate being out the house. It’s so stressful being out the house and its all got worse since being abused and since being homeless. I can’t go out alone.

 

I would like to say I am now prescribed co codamol now for pain. Doctors don’t like to prescribe me painkillers because of my history of overdosing. 


Replies

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    Lots of detail but you need to say that you want an oral hearing.
  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2018
    Hi @EllieStar1989, and welcome! Thanks for sharing this with us and I hope the above feedback from Mike is helpful. Do keep us updated with your appeal and we'll advise where we can!
  • EllieStar1989EllieStar1989 Member Posts: 45 Connected
    Thank you 
    the appeal letter arrived today 
    what happens now 
    is there a way to get someone to represent me 

  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Hey @EllieStar1989, good to hear that you've had your letter. Do you have a date for a face to face appeal now? Here is some more information about DWP appeals, and there's some more information about choosing whether to have representation on the Citizens Advice website.
  • EllieStar1989EllieStar1989 Member Posts: 45 Connected
    No I have not got the appeal date yet. I am worried about it. I can't walk into a room full of men. I can't always leave my house. And speaking to people I don't know is hard
  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm sorry to hear that you're worried, @EllieStar1989. It can seem really daunting, but many of our community members have gone through the process and received a much better outcome- hopefully they'll be able to offer some words of encouragement. Do keep us updated!
  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    @EllieStar1989 You can ask your local cab to represent you I think or at least they can point you in the right direction. I love your letter and can empathise totally. Good luck!
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    It is unlikely that CAB have the resources to represent a claimant at tribunal but they may be able to point you in the right direction
    @mikehughescq might be able to suggest something

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • susan48susan48 Member Posts: 2,229 Disability Gamechanger
    Just in case your not aware, even if you have representation, a friend or a family member with you the tribunal board usually want you to answer any questions, regardless of how long that takes.
    That was my experience anyway 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    edited March 2018
    Hi susan48/EllieStar1989,

    You are correct in saying that the tribunal want the appellant to answer the questions first and foremost, that's because nobody knows the appellant and how they are feeling better than themselves. Friends or family can attend for support and are usually given an opportunity at the end of the hearing to say anything they think is relevant or anything that the appellant might have missed.
    You can ask for an all-female panel if that will make you feel more comfortable, but having someone to support you is imperative if you are anxious.
    My understanding is that CAB won't be able to represent your case at the hearing, but if your Local Authority has a Welfare Rights team, they may be able to do so, so give them a call.
    Good luck.

    Lee

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    @BenefitsTrainingCo thats news to me and I will look into it at my end. I am counting on my rep to be able to talk on my behalf due to my anxiety. I would rather not go at all as im also agoraphobic 
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    Generally nowadays the tribunal will want to talk directly to the appellant even when the rep. is there. The rep. is there to direct the panel as to the level of award; address any omissions or mistakes and points of law. 

    If you want friends or family to say anything then you will need to be clear duty the clerk on the day that they’re coming in as witnesses rather than observers and it’s as well to clear it with HMCTS in advance too. Again, they can’t talk instead of you but they can add.

    I’ve just re-read your appeal letter and I’d say it falls into the usual trap of being strong on assertion but weak on anecdotal evidence. So, where you talk about things you can’t do or struggle to do you’ve given no real world examples. 

    If we take cooking as an example, you’ve asserted that you avoid doing things because of the fear of burning yourself but you give no real world example of having ever done so. So, a tribunal would look at that and conclude there’s no evidence to back up the assertion. Bathing - you talk about risking getting stuck in a bath but have no example of ever having come near that happening. Ditto dizziness. You can occasionally feel dizzy but you’ve no example of when it happened whilst showering. These are the things you’ll need examples of on the day.
  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    @mikehughescq good to know. What if you don’t seek medical help for example how do you back it up?
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    It’s the anecdotal stuff that hits home. As far as not seeking medical help is concerned it really depends on why. Many people with mental ill health are too poorly to engage even with their GP. That’s all that needs to be explained. On the other hand if you hate your GP or haven’t taken up a referral offer any reasonable decision maker would conclude you’re not really engaging.
  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    I understand 
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • lillybellelillybelle Member Posts: 458 Pioneering
    My assessor asked my why I didn’t go to the doctor or hospital with my many injuries.
    i told her- what’s the point in wasting hospital time with cuts and bruises 
    last time I got medical help was when I fractured my foot during a seizure.
      I hate going to hospitals unnecessarily 
  • justjennie84justjennie84 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi 

    Is i was wondering if there had been an outcome to this 
  • EllieStar1989EllieStar1989 Member Posts: 45 Connected
    I am still waiting 
  • justjennie84justjennie84 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thanks Ellie 

    My mum is in the same situation as yourself and has the same condition 

    I am currently putting together her statement and they are basically identical 

    We have out hearing on 22nd so i will let you know any details i think you might find useful  
  • EllieStar1989EllieStar1989 Member Posts: 45 Connected
    I applied for pip in January 2016. I was called up for a face to face assessment April 2016and I was paid June 2016. I was re assessed in October 2017. A few weeks after I was told I had 1 point and would no longer get pip. I put in an mr like and that was decided I still wasn’t Entitled I put in an appeal I am
    waiting on paper based appeal but yeah that’s like how long I have been waiting 
  • justjennie84justjennie84 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Sounds very similar to my mum, however my mum got 0 points pip even thought she had medical evidence. We appealed in May 2017 only just getting our date next week 
  • EllieStar1989EllieStar1989 Member Posts: 45 Connected
    Yes they take a long my assessor lie
  • Debs55Debs55 Member Posts: 18 Listener
    My MR for PIP dint change my award. I sent in extra medical evidence and a photo and prescription for a burn I got when trying to pour hot water. My evidence crossed in the post with their MR notice. I rang dwp to ask them to reconsider their reconsideration  They said they will look at it again. Should I just appeal now or do they ever change their MR notice? 
  • Debs55Debs55 Member Posts: 18 Listener
    Also how much detail is needed for the appeal statement? How many pages must it be? Do you have to go by the dwp page numbering or your own I'm confused about all of this it's so stressful.


  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    Although DWP won’t say so you can do as many reviews as you want but ultimately you’re statistically better off heading to appeal. 

    You don’t need much in the appeal itself. Narrow it down to 2 or 3 points e.g. the HCP report contains numerous inaccuracies (don’t bother listing them all - the 2 worst examples would do); a short list of those descriptors where nil has been scored and the evidence clearly shows some points should be scored; the fact that your health conditions are (for example) degenerative or lifelong. 

    You can flesh out the above once the appeal has been lodged and accepted and you’ve seen the appeal bundle. 
  • Debs55Debs55 Member Posts: 18 Listener
    Thanks for your advice. I will start thinking about how to do it. Would the summary statement just be a couple of pages? Focusing on how I meet the criteria? Cos in my MR it was about 5 pages long. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    Not even that. You should be able to fit it into the box on the SSCS1 form whether on paper or online. An appeal sets out nothing more than the idea that your appeal has more to it than “I think you’re wrong because you are”!

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/appeal-a-social-security-benefits-decision-form-sscs1
  • Debs55Debs55 Member Posts: 18 Listener
    OK. I better get thinking  Thanks 
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    OP were you successful or not? 
  • Debs55Debs55 Member Posts: 18 Listener
    They epheld original decision. 1 was 1 point short of enhanced care. Keo enhanced mobility. I sent in extra medical evidence which crossed in the post with their MR notice so I rang and asked them to look at it again. Don't know how that will turn out. 
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