PIP, DLA and AA
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Engaging with Others - PIP Tribunal

brucie25brucie25 Member Posts: 9 Listener
edited October 2018 in PIP, DLA and AA
Hi all,

I have my pip tribunal coming soon and I am hoping to be awarded Daily Living which is really dependent on the scoring of 1 question - Engaging with others as up until now I have been awarded 6 points only for daily living (supervision for bathing and cooking). I am very anxious about the outcome obviously, especially after waiting a year.

I will be attending the tribunal with my partner who is also my carer because I have seizures at least twice a week and also severe social anxiety which means I mostly stay indoors and avoid going out unless absolutely necessary because the anxiety can directly bring on these seizures and during them I can become aggressive and do things like throw stuff, hit out, say weird stuff, walk about and open doors and even undress amongst many other actions. I am much better when with my partner but do still get anxious which is why I stay in mostly.

I have provided letters as evidence from my Counsellor, Neurologist, Neuropsychologist and Partner all saying the same thing about me suffering severe social anxiety when outside or when speaking to people I don't know and describing these aggressive states I get in during weekly seizures and my Neurologist after watching the videos my partner recorded even goes as far as saying in his letter I am obviously a danger to myself and potentially others. Also, my doctor held me during a seizure late last year in surgery and so I have included a letter he sent to my Neurologist asking to see me asap in my further evidence. My Neuropsychologist outlines in her letter I provided as further evidence everything I have mentioned above and also how I have injured my partner in the past during a seizure and how she has to keep at arms length and keep our daughter away when I am having one of them and how I stay mostly in my room as I get no warning of these seizures and feel safer there.

I would like to know if anyone can offer some advice and tell me if it is difficult to score on the question related to engaging with others for epilepsy and social anxiety which I think my appeal is dependent on? Also, is it likely at the tribunal that they will ask my partner questions regarding the seizures as I am unconcious during them and she is the person who has witnessed them for 12 years now and reports to my neurologist about them and records them for him, so I am hoping they will ask her about them rather than me if they want further information about them.

Thank you.

Replies

  • markyboymarkyboy Member Posts: 368 Pioneering
    They usually deal direct with you and your partner will have the opportunity to speak at the end 
    Try to keep composed if you do have difficulty engaging they will soon be aware of it try not to get aggressive or take your clothes off otherwise you could end up with the hearing being adjourned
  • brucie25brucie25 Member Posts: 9 Listener
    I do these actions like being aggressive and getting undressed whilst I am unconscious after convulsing I am told, I have no recollection of them. Did I not make that clear in my initial post? 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    You will have to answer all the questions yourself during your hearing. They sometimes ask the person that's with you if they want to add anything at the end but this doesn't always happen.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • brucie25brucie25 Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Thanks poppy123456, I'm just unsure how I can tell the tribunal anything/answer their questions because I go unconscious when the seizure starts and during the postcital stage (up to an hour after convulsing) which is why I am hoping the letters from specialists which go into some detail will be enough for them as the specialists know more than me having witnessed these seizures first hand or seen the video evidence. I'm also just looking to see if anyone has scored points for the question related to engaging with others due to risk of harm to self or others because of becoming aggressive during seizures, anyone know? 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hello brucie25

    I have a lot of clients in a similar situation to you.  They are diagnosed with epilepsy and are awarded 6 points (washing and dressing descriptors of PIP). It can be very difficult to be awarded the extra 2 points for an award of daily living.

    You detailed that you are anxious because:
    1. You are fearful that you may hurt yourself or others WHEN HAVING a seizure 
    2. You are worried that you MAY have a seizure and then hurt yourself or others.

    I hope I have summarised the above correctly.

    The descriptor you specifically mention is:

    9. Engaging with other people face to face.
    a. Can engage with other people unaided.  0 points.
    b. Needs prompting to be able to engage with other people.  2 points.
    c. Needs social support to be able to engage with other people.  4 points.
    d. Cannot engage with other people due to such engagement causing either –
    (i) overwhelming
    psychological distress to the claimant; or
    (ii) the claimant to exhibit behaviour which would result in a substantial risk of harm to the claimant or another person. 8 points.

    It is a difficult case as the harm is a result of the effects of a seizure rather than engaging with others.  But can stress trigger a seizure? If so do your letters of support make this clear, and also make it clear being around others is a stress trigger for you? It may also need to be made clear that you stay in your room alone not only because of the risks when having a seizure but also because this reduces your anxiety and overwhelming fear of what might happen if you were with others. Is this correct?

    Anxiety also appears ever present due to your worries about what may occur.  Do your letters of support specifically detail your anxiety or withdrawal from others due to your worry about what may happen, and do they detail how your partner helps you overcome this anxiety. 

    In addition I have some clients that have begun to choke when they have a seizure without warning (so no precautions can be taken) and are eating.  Is this an issue for you? as this then raises the issue of whether you need supervision when eating.

    Finally, from what you have detailed it appears that you have a strong case also for mobility-PIP.

    As detailed in a previous post, the tribunal will ask you questions directly but are likely to ask your partner questions on the effects of the seizure as you have no memory of this.

    Maria








    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • brucie25brucie25 Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Hi Maria

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. I understand the difficulty being awarded daily living for Epilepsy as the main condition. I do feel I have a strong case which is why I am going to the tribunal, especially on descriptor 9 (Engaging with others) and have also stated I only eat with my partner in case I go into a seizure. My understanding of the law regarding PIP and how my life is and the evidence I have provided makes me feel it should be 8 extra points at least but I am scared I am getting my hopes up for nothing and still have some weeks yet until my Tribunal.

    I did manage to get mobility at MR stage last year btw once the new law was announced regarding safety and because I provided a letter from my GP to my Neurologist about a seizure I just had in his arms. 

    My letter from my Counsellor states I have suffered from Social Anxiety since early adulthood and how he has witnessed many of my seizures himself during over 10 years of working with me.

    My Neuropsychologist also states I suffer from Social Anxiety around others as well as Anxiety from the fear of having a seizure and being aggressive around my 4 year old daughter and how I have injured my partner in the past during a seizure and how she has to keep at arms length during them and keep my daughter away which is why I spend most of my time in my bedroom.

    My Neurologist states I am a risk to myself and others during these episodes. My partner written a letter saying how I can be aggressive or child like after convulsing. All letters written in the last 18 months.

    I then have a letter from my GP to my Neurologist asking for an appointment asap because I came into surgery and whilst talking to the Receptionist I had a seizure. I stated in my letter of evidence referencing this seizure that it was because I was talking with somebody I didn't know which I try to avoid as much as possible  because of social anxiety and it being a direct trigger for seizures. This is how my life is, I can't talk with others without severe anxiety and avoid doing so (even going to family occasions) as this is when my ever present anxiety becomes too strong and I have a seizure which I feel humiliated about afterwards when my partner tells me what happened, this has happened on xmas day both times I have tried to spend it with my partners family for her benefit in the last 6 years, now I don't even bother trying to go anywhere around others unless I absolutely have to and usually become poorly when I do. 

    I would love to know if others also feel like I have a strong case or should I not get my hopes up?

    The thing is these seizures are mostly Non Epileptic Attacks (NEAD) as well as Epileptic which I am told is Psychological so I am now thinking that I should be awarded 8 points for overwhelming psychological distress when engaging with others if not for harm to myself or others. Do I have to argue this point myself or will the tribunal judge see this for themselves when looking at the evidence?

    Thank you for reading.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member

    As detailed in a previous post, the tribunal will ask you questions directly but are likely to ask your partner questions on the effects of the seizure as you have no memory of this.
    I was in a similar position. But first what would the Tribunal do if the claimant in this case went on their own and told the Tribunal that they have no knowledge or memory of what happened?

    In my similar case, I went to a Tribunal for my wife's AA claim. She could not attend as she was in bed at home having recently been discharged from hospital due to recovering from Pleurisy. I was unable to give some answers to their questions as to some of her needs as I simply didn't know. They continued with the appeal hearing. At best and now thinking back they should have adjourned the hearing so that my wife could attend. 
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