Mandatory Reconsideration Advice
Hey, so, I'm leaving this as late as I possibly could since.. of course I have, executive dysfunction and all. I sort of glossed over a lot of what I deal with in the introduction post because I didn't know how much I should really go into or not. I'm autistic, have hEDS, use a wheelchair full time, deal with chronic pain and chronic fatigue (as a result of the hEDS).
My decision letter is dated 7 March so, since 7 April is a Sunday, I reckon today is the last day I can ask for the mandatory reconsideration. CAB told me that I can do it by a phone call, though I only see reference to writing in about it on the decision letter. CAB told me they just don't like to publicise the easier way, but I just thought I'd try and get some confirmation or something... plus some advice about what specifically to say.
I'm also not sure exactly what to say. WESTMARC prescribed me a wheelchair (Quickie Argon2 and Frog Legs suspension) and I told PIP about it when that happened. Had an assessment about 6 months later... got my decision letter on 21 March (so it took two weeks to arrive.. giving me only two weeks to get over my executive dysfunction instead of the month you're really meant to have).
This time I went into the assessment having crammed a bunch of advice from benefitsandwork such as about quantifying everything (like I realised the very small amount of walking I can do is less than 1% of a day, and their internal documents say to take anything as 50% or more as a need). I was highly comforted by reading (also in their internal document) that anyone using a wheelchair full time (and I use mine 99% of the time) is meant to automatically get 12 points mobility. I also argued that I need an aid (the chair) to do all the daily living tasks, since I genuinely can now do them with the chair where I couldn't before.
But they gave me 10 points mobility (they claim I can move around more than 20 metres.. I never stood up once in the appointment). They also didn't give me anything for planning and following a journey, even though I made it clear I can only follow directions but not plan them.
They also gave me 9 points for daily living (admittedly up from the 7 it was 2 years ago).
They gave me no points for managing my medication even though I use a daucet box and I know that's meant to give you points. Additionally, I made it clear that I need reminders or else I don't stay on top of it – when my phone broke and I couldn't afford a new one I kept missing my meds for weeks on end. I also made it clear how I need prompting to take my pain meds, I cannot just go "I am in pain, ergo I should have pain meds", I sit there for hours until a friend asks me if I've had pain meds.
They said I can communicate unaided even though I had to use multiple communication aids in the appointment.
They also completely ignored how my eating disorders make it so I cannot feed myself reliably or on time. I regularly waste food and spend multiple hours trying to work myself up to it. I know the nurse in the actual appointment wrote all that. But the decisionmaker decided it didn't count. I dunno. I need constant prompting about that, which I know you are meant to get points for. But they didn't give me those points.
They did admittedly believe me that I need to use the wheelchair and grab rails and so forth for the bathroom activities.
They awarded me no points for budgeting even though I cannot do any of that myself. I even get too anxious to check my bank balance without heavy prompting and nagging about it. I just coast through and try to avoid buying anything.
And lastly, they gave me no points for socialising, even though my autism diagnosis specifically mentions the difficulties I have with that, and I repeatedly stressed my anxiety and stress about how people behave unexpectedly around me (a trans woman who is obviously not straight from the way I dress, plus all of the wheelchair things). I stressed how I will stay indoors for weeks at a time purely out of anxiety for how people would act in public, especially since I've started getting people shouting random things at me on the street even more often since getting the wheelchair.
So they ended up coming back with only giving me standard rate mobility, instead of the high rate everything online indicated I should get for using the wheelchair. They also didn't increase me to high rate daily living, despite my calculations saying I should easily have qualified for having to use an aid for all the activities (not just the chair, but also things like long-handled spoons to reach from the position the chair puts me in), and needing heavy prompting/nagging for the things the wheelchair doesn't directly impact. I had already decided way before even having the assessment that they were likely to try and screw me around and that I would do whatever it took to get what I deserve.. but I'm still surprisingly upset by the fact that they've decided I don't really need the chair? I don't know.
I've seen (by forum lurking) that other people say to just.. have a good idea of what arguments you're making with regard to the mandatory reconsideration, and so forth. Given my past experience with them, they almost certainly did not contact my physiotherapist or the wheelchair clinic.. so I reckon my path is just to say that I do in fact need to use the wheelchair and that they've been negligent with their judgments? So I suppose what I'm really looking for is just encouragement or warning if I'm going exactly the wrong direction... of course I'm not giving yous much time at all to do so, I have been planning to make this post for weeks but... Executive dysfunction, as mentioned. It usually takes me weeks and weeks to get around to anything. Took me weeks just to actually open the decision letter (actually only did so just before writing this – though I knew what the award was even before the letter actually arrived, because a friend phoned them to ask on my behalf). And so on, and so forth.
I feel like this is getting pretty meandering so. I'll leave it for now. Obviously feel free to ask me further clarifications, or anything like that. And thanks very much in advance, too.