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Pip tribunal with social anxiety

johnsmith187johnsmith187 Member Posts: 55 Courageous
Hi guys, after some advice if you please..

Basically my wife applied for pip and got awarded 11 daily living and 10 mobility based on her physical conditions however she also suffers from severe anxiety,ocd and social phobia.  We MR'ed with no success and have just received her tribunal date. 
The problem is she is in an absolute mess with the stress, in her first interview she was crying pretty much the whole time but she did manage to answer a few questions however half way through she started having an attack and I had to finish answering for her. (Of course in the report they wrote no signs of anxiety lol)  
However the idea of talking to three people and the dreaded idea of a 'court hearing' is just too much for her and every time we practice she just goes straight into an attack.
The day we got the hearing date she had an episode in which we had to see the Dr who gave her some tranquilizers that thankfully calmed her down.
She only manages to leave the house 3-5 times a year and never without me so just getting out the door is a struggle.

I'm  just really worried she's not going to be able to attend on the day or if she does she won't be able to speak to them without having an attack or becoming hysterical. 

So has anyone got any similar experiences? If she can't go should i go instead? I am her representative in the case but will they see me alone? Should i just ask them to base it on the paperwork? Will that kill her chances?

The reasons they gave to not  award the points are; she's never had treatment for anxiety, she had no input from a health specialist and that she showed no signs of anxiety.   The evidence I provided was a letter from her Dr stating a formal diagnosis of severe anxiety, severe ocd and severe social phobia. That she's had the condition for over ten years and has been treated for the condition for over ten years and that 'her condition is so severe it directly effects her daily living and ability to complete tasks...'  I also submitted a detailed letter pointing out all the signs of anxiety my wife displayed at the interview. Along with any other  errors in the report.
So have we got a chance if its decided on a paperbase? Or should I just abandon all hope? 

It just seems ridiculous that my wife has to engage with strangers to prove she can't engage with stranger ...talk about an uphill struggle.

Anyway any advice would be much appreciated, thanks!

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    You won't be able to attend the hearing on her behalf, she will need to attend herself. She will need to answer the questions herself because they will want to hear it from her, how she's affects. They may ask you some questions at the end but this doesn't always happen.

    The evidence you should be sending should say how her conditions affect her ability to carry out daily activities against the PIP descriptors. Giving 2-3 examples of what happened the last time she tried to do that activity. They won't be interested in any signs of anxiety she showed at the assessment, or the errors in the report.

    She can ask for a paper based hearing but the success rate of these is as low as 8% maybe less. Compared to 70% if you appear in person.
    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.
  • johnsmith187johnsmith187 Member Posts: 55 Courageous
    Thanks for the advice, I did include in my letter the descriptors i believed she met (engaging with other people and following a route without distress) ,why I thought she met them and examples of what happens when she tries to complete these tasks. 

    I know the ideal situation would be that she answers the questions herself but I honestly don't see that happening, so if I can't help her I guess we are in for some uncomfortable silences. Oh well I guess we'll have to see on the day. 

    It's surprising that i shouldn't include errors on the report. For example they stated on the report has never received treatment and then gave that as why they didn't award points. So I provided evidence that she has received treatment. Should I not have done that then? Oops I thought I was suppose to prove she met the descriptors and challenge the reasons for not awarding the points. Will we get penalised for that?
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 587 Listener
    edited November 2018
    Sorry your wife is going through this :(




  • johnsmith187johnsmith187 Member Posts: 55 Courageous
    Thank you WF2k that's very sweet of you and so am I very much so. It's scary how easily they dismiss mental health when in reality it can effect someone's life so much.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 587 Listener
    edited November 2018
    I have severe anxiety (agoraphobia, maybe social anxiety), depression and FM so I do understand to a degree. My son comes everywhere with me (when I do go out). I also don't take meds or have any treatment for it anymore because none of it worked.

    I've had a couple of tribunals but for ESA, the tribunal panels I've had have been very nice, understanding and empathetic. I won both tribunals, I was in there for around 20 - 30 in total I think.

    Last year I received an ESA50 and more recently I received a PIP review, both of these have had a knock on effect to both my mental and physical health and I'm constantly worried and anxious.

    I really don't know what to suggest for your wife :(
  • johnsmith187johnsmith187 Member Posts: 55 Courageous
    Just knowing other people have come out the other side of an appeal helps and I have my fingers crossed for your next reviews. :) 

  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Glad to see you've had some support @johnsmith187, fingers crossed for you and your wife too. Please do keep us updated!
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 587 Listener
    Thank you @johnsmith187 :) I thought I'd replied.

    I hope your wife manages to go to the tribunal.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    Hi,

    You won't be able to attend the hearing on her behalf, she will need to attend herself. 


    Is that the case? One then wonders why, when my wife was ill in bed and unable to get to the Tribunal, I went in her place. The Tribunal didn't have any issues with that.

  • mattw84mattw84 Member Posts: 17 Connected
    You can ask the appeal to be held based on paperwork. However it best to attend in person I declined the option to appeal without attending. However my social worker did suggest the hearing held at a different venue or even my home address well worth speaking to the clerk for the tribunal to see what can be put in place if anything 

    the tribunal is not there to make your issues worse and there there will be options 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 587 Listener
    Ah yeah, it's so easy for people that don't understand to tell us to "do your part and get better", if only it was that easy.

    I'm again sorry that your wife had to go through this but I'm glad she managed to go to the tribunal and that she won, well done to her.
  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for updating us @johnsmith187, and congratulations! A big well done to both you and your wife for getting through it, and I really hope this the beginning of better days for you both. 
  • johnsmith187johnsmith187 Member Posts: 55 Courageous
    Thank you both, I've had a lot of help from this site so extremely grateful. And yes wf2k if only it were that easy to switch off mental health. Unfortunately reality is a lot harder.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,987 Disability Gamechanger
    It’s a pity nobody mentioned the option of a telephone or video hearing.
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    It’s a pity nobody mentioned the option of a telephone or video hearing.
    Most people don't know about these possibilities. Is it just a matter of asking or what justification would we need ?
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,987 Disability Gamechanger
    On the SSCS1 there is a box for specifying reasonable adjustments for starters. HMCTS ought to be proactive but they struggle with big words so often it’s best to ask. 
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks Mike
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    It’s a pity nobody mentioned the option of a telephone or video hearing.
    Most people don't know about these possibilities. Is it just a matter of asking or what justification would we need ?
    It's doubtful if the MOJ would want to advertise these options in any event. Those in the know are generally Welfare Rights staff.

    Much the same as being entitled in having someone with you during a face to face assessment, yet being told by the assessment centre staff that it is not necessary! 



  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,987 Disability Gamechanger
    Nonsense. We’re finding this offered to clients who have had no representation more than it is to those with, 
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    Nonsense. We’re finding this offered to clients who have had no representation more than it is to those with, 
    Maybe that is the case but you will have to know that it can be offered before you can ask for it.

    If it was that common then anybody that is stressed out with the worry about attending the hearing would be having telephone/skype hearings?


    Maybe claimants could cite the same if they are to go for a face to face assessment - would CAPITA or ATOS offer similar?
     
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,987 Disability Gamechanger
    To the best of my knowledge assessment providers do not provide the service. That’s not to say that they wouldn’t.

    I don’t see that you do necessarily need to know of alternatives befure you ask for them. People identify their own reasonable adjustments. This is just that.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    edited December 2018
    To the best of my knowledge assessment providers do not provide the service. That’s not to say that they wouldn’t.

    I don’t see that you do necessarily need to know of alternatives befure you ask for them. People identify their own reasonable adjustments. This is just that.
    That's good to know that the possibility of having an assessment over the phone or skype if someone is 'bricking it' with the thought of having to sit opposite a stranger.

    Of course you would identify your own problems but the fact is that the offer of a phone/skype hearing would have to come from the Tribunal. You cannot suggest such an alternative if you have never heard of it being available. For one I have never heard of these options until tonight from this website. 

    Isn't this the same as not knowing if there is a welfare benefit available for your given situation. You tell the Jobcentre+ that you are say disabled or being a pensioner who is short on income. Would the JC+ then recommend options and where/who to contact to get a claim form? I doubt it. You would have to know that the benefit exists in the first place to access a claim form.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,987 Disability Gamechanger
    Possibly why reading was invented. Plenty of information out there if people look.
  • TardisTardis Member Posts: 214 Pioneering
    edited December 2018
    @yadnad, you have been reading and posting on disability and benefits forums for at least 8 years.  You must have heard it all by now.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    Tardis said:
    @yadnad, you have been reading and posting on disability and benefits forums for at least 8 years.  You must have heard it all by now.
    8 years??? 
    Never mind - but please remember the rules on this site about making things personal.
  • TardisTardis Member Posts: 214 Pioneering
    Not at all!  Just surprised you have not heard of the possibility of a telephone hearing.  It would possibly be of use to you.
  • YadnadYadnad Posts: 2,856 Member
    edited December 2018
    Tardis said:
    Not at all!  Just surprised you have not heard of the possibility of a telephone hearing.  It would possibly be of use to you.
    Sorry but I have never heard that Tribunals can telephone you and deal with the appeal that way. From everything I have read and heard the two choices are in person at a venue (oral) or a paper appeal (on submissions and evidence only)

    Why would it be of use to me? I don't have an appeal involved.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,987 Disability Gamechanger
    A quick internet search on HMCTS, digital reform, pilot schemes etc. will illustrate how freely the information is available. 
  • lisabrazil80lisabrazil80 Member Posts: 94 Connected
    I've got my Pip appeal tomorrow for my mental health the only evidence I've got is the same as that lady a letter from my doctor I'm so worried it's making me sick I don't even want to go I'm shaking having panic attacks I can't sleep can anyone shed any light on tribunal Court appeal and as they want it for mental health please help I cannot sleep tonight my pills in the morning the 13th of December 2018
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,987 Disability Gamechanger
    Just seen.

    1) Concentrate wholly on what you were like on the date of claim.

    2) There are no “trick” questions. Tribunals are usually listed 20 minutes apart so, apart from the appeal papers, they need questions which cut across lots of functions. So the car question is brilliant because it indicates grip; mobility; dexterity; the ability to do something repeatedly; concentration and stamina. Instead of thinking negatively about such stuff think about what they’re getting at and your answers will be much better and more detailed. Similar questions include whether you’ve been on holiday recently. It feeds into mobility (getting across an airport); stamina; the ability to cope alone; the need for aids and appliances.

    3) There are no set rules or order for a hearing beyind the requirement that it must be seen to be fair. 

    4) Watch the judge’s pen. All three members may take notes but only the judge writes a record of proceedings. If you don’t want them to miss anything then remember that they can’t write as fast as you can speak, so watch their pen and slow down. Don’t worry about going too slow. They will tell you if you do.

    5) Never interrupt any tribunal member. It is perfectly okay to challenge them provided it’s not rude or aggressive. However, think about whether what you’re challenging them on is directly related to points. If it’s not then better to focus on points. This is especially important because loads of people second guess the demeanour of tribunal members as determining whether they are pro or against and it’s largely nonsense. An aggressive, challenging member may well just be a poor communicator and wholly on your side right up to the point you challenge them etc.

    6) Get yourself a representative and travel to the venue by whatever means makes you feel comfortable. It’s only ever an issue if you don’t explain what you did in full and if doing so contradicts your other evidence in some way for daily living and /or mobility.

    7) Same goes for clothes. You need to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. If you’re not relaxed then the likelihood of you presenting well are much reduced. Dressing down is not a good idea unless that all you can afford. A person who feels naked without make-up or a suit abd tie will similarly be over stressed if they try to pretend they’re in their comfort zone dressing down. 

    8) Other people’s tribunal experience can be valuable but it’s just that. Their experience. If they lost then it’s the tribunal to blame. If they win they everything they did is why they won and what you must do. The truth is usually very much in between.

    9) Know your case. What points are you going for and why. What’s your evidence? “The HCP was a liar” is neither evidence nor a winning strategy. Also, know the appeal papers. What’s where. 

    10) Do not be tempted to claim you’ve worsened since the date of claim. That’s a recipe for a failed appeal and an invitation to make another claim. Even if you have got worse always concentrate on your date of claim and what you were like then.


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