PIP, DLA and AA
If this is your first visit, check out the community guide. You will have to Join us or Sign in before you can post.

PIP Tribunal - Mental Health Grounds

DaveTheWaspDaveTheWasp Member Posts: 37 Courageous
Hi everyone!

Sorry in advance for the long post!

My wife suffers with borderline personality disorder, anxiety and depression as well as problems with back pain, and has been in receipt of enhanced daily living for 6 years, but following a recent face-to-face assessment she received 0 points across the board.

The consultation report seemed to contradict itself in places (for instance stating in one section that she has back pain when standing, and then in another section stating that she only has pain when walking), and also exaggerates how often she can get out of the house because of her anxiety (we said at the consultation that she aims to get out once a week but only manages about once a month, the report says that she goes out weekly).

The report seems to include most of the struggles she has with daily living, but then the points don't seem to take these into account.  The main reasons appear to be that there is low level of GP input (she doesn't need to see the GP as much as I left work to care for her), her medication has mostly stayed the same so is assumed to be effective (our GP has said that medication hasn't changed because the doses are pretty much as high as they can safely be), and that she isn't currently under the care of any mental health specialist (the GP has said that my wife has been through all the available treatment teams available unless she becomes an immediate danger to someone else or herself).  So mostly a lack of official evidence in support of our case.

I requested a Mandatory Reconsideration with a long letter emphasising all the elements that my wife struggles with and a fitness for work note from the GP stating that she needs a carer, but the claim was still declined.

I am going to be appealing to a tribunal and plan to represent her as the ordeal would be too much for her to handle, but my worry is that most of my evidence is anecdotal.  I have a letter from the GP confirming her diagnosis and medications, but nothing else official as she's not currently under the care of mental health specialists.

Has anyone had a similar tribunal case, or have any advice on what I can do to prove my wife's difficulties to a tribunal?

Any comments, ideas, or advice would really be appreciated.

Replies

  • givingupgivingup Member Posts: 161 Pioneering
    edited January 2020
    You need to phone your local citizens advice as they have people who can help and know other advice places and people who can represent your wife and are clued up for tribunal hearing. I'm waiting for my tribunal date , it takes a long time I'm afraid but hang on in there. Mental health, as I suffer the same as your wife, seems to be the big thing the government and asos or whatever there called don't understand!
  • Joanne_ScopeJoanne_Scope Scope helpline, Scope adviser Posts: 190 Pioneering
    Hi @DaveTheWasp

    I am sorry to hear that your wife is struggling with her PIP claim.

    I have attended tribunals with clients in a similar position to you and your wife and I appreciate it can  be difficult to find evidence when you are not attending appointments any more.

    Unfortunately only approx 15% of decisions are changed at the reconsideration stage. The tribunal hearing will be your opportunity to explain to an independent panel exactly how your wife's issues affect her daily life.

    Approximately 70% of appeals are successful and I have found that it is not all about the paper evidence. It is about how you answer their questions on the day. 

    There is some useful information on the Scope website about PIP appeals.



    Joanne 
    Scope
  • Fight4JusticeFight4Justice Member Posts: 63 Courageous
    @DaveTheWasp Don't worry about your evidence being anecdotal. All of mine was. I've had my PIP taken away twice after PIP reassessments with Atos (now known as Independent Assessment Services) and won it back both times at the tribunal. I also attended by myself both times.

    When you appeal to tribunal make sure you put down at least a couple real-life examples for each descriptor you're claiming for. Make sure to explain what goes wrong if your wife doesn't receive help with these tasks e.g. if you're claiming for Preparing Food, your wife might need help to prepare or cook a simple meal. When she tried to prepare meal X in the past, she cut herself, or cooked the food too long and filled the room with smoke. The point is your wife isn't able to do this task safely by herself. So basically, you give real-life examples for all the descriptors you're claiming for. Remember, you need at least 12 points total for the enhanced rate of daily living.

    I'm not sure which descriptors you're claiming for, but here are some following descriptors easy to score points for, that I find a lot of mental health based claimants overlook.

    Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition - if your wife needs prompting or reminding to take her medication. That's an easy 2pts right there.
    Washing and bathing - if she needs the help of a hand rail in the shower/bath, that's 2pts.
    Dressing and undressing - if because of her depression she needs to be motivated to get dressed and put on clean clothes in the morning. 2pts for that.
    Making budgeting decisions - if because of her depression she can't make complex budgeting decisions without your help. 2pts.

    So that's 8pts that can be scored easily for depression if the above applies to your circumstances. And there are still big descriptors like: Preparing Food that you can score 2 to 4 pts for depending on your situation. Engaging with other people face to face can score 4pts for if she needs support in social situations because of her anxiety. And also Communicating Verbally that can score perhaps 4pts for if she finds things like talking on the phone too stressful.

    But anyway, like I said at the beginning, make sure you give your own anecdotal real-life examples of why she needs help, and what goes wrong from a safety perspective if he doesn't receive the help. I find many people worry about the tribunal needlessly. As long as you go prepared and support your claims with real-life examples I believe they will find in your favour.

    Also, one last thing. If you feel like your award should be for a longer duration tahn you've currently been getting, you're allowed to ask for this in the appeal, and also at the tribunal itself (make sure you choose a face-to-face in person tribunal, they have much higher success rates than paper based tribunals). I used to receive 3yr awards for my enhanced daily living PIP and standard rate mobility (you've not mentioned anything about mobility, but if your wife can't get to new places by herself, because it would cause her too much stress, you could score 10pts for this, and received standard rate of mobility), with reassessments every 2yrs, as they usually reassess 1yr before the expiry date of your award. In my last appeal to the tribunal, I specifically asked for a longer award of 5yrs or more because my condition is unlikely to improve in the near future. And they increased the length of my award from the usual 3yrs to 5yrs.
  • DaveTheWaspDaveTheWasp Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    Thanks everyone for the support and advice, there are some great things here to help me build the strongest case I can. I have a meeting on 6th Feb with a local Benefits Advisor to discuss it, but I hate doing nothing and want to get as much information ready beforehand.

    Her medication is kept in a dosette box, but she still needs reminding to take them. Funny thing is that the dosette box was mentioned in the report as well as the fact that I remind her to take her meds, but she was still awarded 0. It's a similar case for quite a few descriptors, things are mentioned in the functional history and history of condition, that weren't used to make the decisions.

    She hadn't had mobility paid before, but I'm certain she qualifies for standard rate, as she will only travel to our GP unaccompanied (its a 2 minute taxi ride) I have to plan all journeys (with backup plans in advance) and accompany her everywhere else otherwise she wouldn't be able to go.

    I will definitely pull together specific examples of what happens when she doesn't have support with her daily activities.

    Thanks everyone again for the friendly welcome and really helpful advice! 
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @DaveTheWasp   Please can I suggest with any assessment, PIP or any such benefit situation tribunal you apply for mental health charities.

    https://www.richmondfellowship.org.uk.

    https://www.mind.org.uk.

    https://www.rethink.org.

    Used them for everything I need to know about benefits, will attend and speak up for you if you apply.

    One of the main aspects of any charity like this they are there to help be supportive and help your wife cope with her condition.

    They often intervene and assist in ongoing situations like this.

    If you contacted them get assessed and then see what happens. They will for example fill in any forms for you.

    Correct wording, put in a serious report you day to day activities how your wife is dealing with everything.

    Before any assessment go through a rehearsal ask the support worker any questions.

    Always good staff many like me and your wife also some mental health charities have all ladies staff plus support groups.

    Meet others like your wife.

    You mentioned do not wish to burden any one with your struggles in a previous post.

    I am an old fashioned proud gentleman and had to be acceptance, start listening, learning been educated.

    Acquire knowledge . One major rule about mental health and benefit situations is if you continue to say or deny the issues or perhaps do not wish to have any help you.

    I found it becomes an aura and sense of doom and dread.  Many staff from these mental health charities have sixth senses or know you maybe not interested or wish to help yourself or consider saying no.

    Say no they will insist that you may have to leave some one else get everything.

    I learnt that thirty plus years ago.

    The last support workers all lovely ladies me struggling to say the problems on a sofa the other end my support.

    Had and could not speak suggested write it down so I do all the time. Need help with this.

    Learnt to be listening another skill need to do any one with mental health.

    If they ever offered a solution or say to you this might work or help . Know what they doing.

    Most of my support my age group had and did have young ladies my qualifications from work and employment older than her.

    This has happened and I am sorry for you and your wife.

    There will be times that you feel like getting angry, annoyed and frustrated this the problems.

    Please consider that those like my self now middle Fifties ongoing benefits since first claim early Eighties. Worked done a lot ran a business and done lots then the trauma of applying benefits.

    Always a upstanding proud gentleman never asked for anything after addiction coped but then the ongoing treadmill of saying this to me on my own in any assessment.

    Fit to work another assessor might add eighteen months or two years later unfit, then we go around again.

    Sign on again training company did not wish to know who is going to employ a gent in his late Forties then even retrained.

    For the last ten years or more there are members of our Community like myself on this ongoing denial not acceptance and then back to acceptance and benefits continuous.

    End result contacted mental health charity.  At age of 52 got help and assistance and this may be the issues here but got everything to cope and deal with anything.

    DWP got letter from charity and a report.

    On long term benefits still be assesses every three years but have better understanding.

    By assessors who have no idea about mental health my conditions, addiction.

    As one remarked if I drink a lot become alcoholic like you, or why does some one like myself need a support worker.

    The support worker flew off the handle in front of assessor nothing like the wrath of two ladies . Support worker and assessor going head to head.

    I sat back watched the show.

    I got the required points and much more actually she a wonderful lady most of my support I have ladies.

    I just have to add there are so many clientele they have yet I am the one I mentioned or recognise or remember by them.

    Curious that as I know one several say to me wished had not been a clientele by the way a friend because learnt to help myself.

    One other on the subject the older support worker will help, look out for you and might recommend saw this course or this programme or scheme.

    Help your wife.  If in denial or not wishing to embrace will not probably do this.

    Lots of mental health charities have far reached effective in house advisors on anything.

    Richmond Fellowship huge organisation with many facets off shoots and more importantly connections to employment companies, service and health, welfare and much more.

    Often supported housing.  Asked me on first visit like my home.  I say no wished said yes my one regret as they had links to a housing association.

    All clientele and ex ones live on this estate.  Just a thought.

    Had moved five times or more had enough of being not welcomed in communities I resided in, victims of hate, mate crime.

    Hope that helps you to understand reasons I implore any one to contact Mental Health charities.

    I volunteer on here see good proud valued member get effected  by a system not helping any one.

    Yet we as Community Champions have walked a mile in your shoes.

    Have the knowledge expertise and qualifications.

    I am on here every day early spend a lot of my time and enjoy that helping members.

    Your wife and yourself are important as a members.

    Please what does upset me and get emotive when there is help out there and some insist not listening or not for me.

    As it becomes evident things are not going to get better.

    Please I hope this explains everything.

    I apologise long post.

    Pleasure to meet you.

    Please take care.

    @thespiceman




    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • SomebodyelseSomebodyelse Member Posts: 8 Listener
    I’d like to let you know your wife’s circumstances are almost identical to my own. 
    I was initially interviewed by Capita in 2017. I have had 2 tribunals, both adjourned, awaiting my 3rd. 
    The interview report read like a pack of lies to put it bluntly. My first tribunal wasn’t interested in any of the facts and focused on my getting more evidence from GP/consultant. As I have suffered with my disability since 1999 and had gone as far as I could regarding treatment, I too hadn’t the evidence required. I am on controlled drug medication, there was nothing stronger available. I had been told there was nothing else that could be done. I suffer with depression and anxiety for which I receive medication. 
    My last tribunal was October. I came with more evidence. Part of which was a new referral with a consultant. Unfortunately the Doctor on the panel wouldn’t alone to speak unless I was answering a list of prepared questions. The evidence I provided wasn’t looked at. I was asked why I get my medication fortnightly. I thought this an unusual question. I was then asked, was it because I couldn’t be trusted to take the recommended dose. The doctor on the panel wasn’t referring to my mental health, whether I could accidentally take the wrong dose, he was referring to addiction. 
    I obviously became upset and told him I had been prescribed controlled medication for over 20 years. I could be trusted, could he? I became very anxious and upset and the hearing was adjourned again! 
    I don’t think I can ever put myself through another situation like that again. My husband is my carer, he wasn’t allowed to speak even to prompt me. I walk with crutches and as I tried to leave the room I fell, banging my head and hip, I felt like I was in a nightmare. I am going to make a complaint regarding the behaviour of the GP on the panel. 
    I’m now in touch with Welfare Rights. They are building a case to help. I recommend you get in touch with your nearest branch. 
    People with long term disabilities usually have the least evidence. We have come to the end of the road for treatment and usually just pick up prescriptions. 
  • givingupgivingup Member Posts: 161 Pioneering
    Exactly, I am on medication and there's nothing more they can do, I see a counselor or therapist for severe depression and anxiety state, when I'm able,! 
  • DaveTheWaspDaveTheWasp Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    Thanks again for all of the support and advice.  I've approached a local charity that have Welfare Benefits Advisors and attend tribunals as representatives, but I'm not sure how familiar they are with mental health and benefits, so I will definitely look at the organisations you've mentioned @thespiceman, thank you.

    And thanks everyone for sharing experiences too, it helps to know that I'm not alone in this.
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @DaveTheWasp   Thank you for reply. Good to hear from you.

    Great to have Welfare Benefit Advisors.

    Thank you for sharing .

    I just do not want to see your wife miss out on some of the opportunities these charities can offer and assist you with.

    Please if you want to ask me any thing or even a chat please do.

    Always supportive.

    Best wishes.

    @thespiceman
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    edited January 2020
    Hello @Somebodyelse             @givingup

    Please can I thank you for being open and honest .

    I am sorry what you have been through.

    I am aware every one is different with their issues or mental health.

    I do think there is hope.

    I do also think it how you approach any mental health issues or anything you or coping with.

    I am not perfect not a saint. Not yet any way lol..

    Positivity and reassurance, confidence and trying to deal every day never ever easy.

    I understand that .  Been through a lot and coping with my addiction much more.

    I do not agree with any one ever saying no treatment no solutions life is over.

    Sorry why ?  I had thought that have continued drinking thought of suicide and ended it all.

    Something very close to my heart told continue will die. By Doctors.

    Had those thoughts those calls to professional help and learn to think and try my best to survive.

    Clean absent thirteen years.

    Understand it is every day for me.  Do know life has to go one and can I make achievements every day and every week. Small goals and aims.

    Be good to self changes do them, clear out of rubbish tat. Unwanted people who are drains or not helping. You need radiators not drains hate them people who drain you.

    New clothes haircut a new diet or regime or anything that heals you inside.

    I use my bible and it helps every day.

    I want to live shout it from the roof tops need to be strong need to have courage and faith.

    Hate negativity hate being stuck in a hole.

    Those crying times over.  Only thing now want to go on my journey have my baggage my heavy load in both hands stumble on to the path to fulfilment .

    Volunteering please can I ask any of you have done that.  Use your talents. Skill abilities to have and enjoy. Inspire others if the cup is running over help others.

    Helps self esteem.

    I have since on and off from 18 years old. 

    Now middle Fifties on here every day supporting you and being caring and kind.

    I recommend to any one do volunteering connected with your mental health as I did so many times.

    Adapting, changing meeting those like you .

    Realise a lot more to mental health.

    Alternative therapies, solutions, ideas and courses.

    All worth looking at.  Lifestyle courses all connected with mental health and looking at well being.

    One other got invited to volunteer in mental hospitals and hospices.  Changes your mind on mental health and illness.

    I am long term meds but use this with diet, nutrition learnt.

    Diet, nutrition is so important.  Please contact me for anything I can help and advise with.

    Qualifications, knowledge and experience and much more.

    My favourite sayings Success comes in cans not can not.

    Or if we put a stone or an obstacle in our path do we stand still or move around or over.

    Please hope this helps.

    Please as any benefit situations you have always some one to advise you or be supportive, I know this .

    Please if I can help further please ask me happy to be supportive.

    Please take care.

    @thespiceman


    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • SomebodyelseSomebodyelse Member Posts: 8 Listener
    it is very reassuring to know that we are not alone. @thespiceman  thank you for your message and insight. One always thinks when we are being forced to prove ourselves, throwing what little dignity we have left away in front of these panels of so called health professionals and so forth, that we are alone. We are not, you have reminded me of this fact. We have a right to our own self worth and we have a voice. 
  • givingupgivingup Member Posts: 161 Pioneering
    Yes , we're not alone, it does sometimes feel like it when fighting government madness
  • DaveTheWaspDaveTheWasp Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    It's been a whil , but I'm hoping someone might be able to give me a little bit of advice regarding evidence for this tribunal. I've managed to get copies of my wife's medical records going back 6 years , but there are approximately 60-70 pages of assessment reports, referrals and medication changes. 

    I'm not really sure on what to do with it all. I feel like this might be too much to submit to a tribunal, but I feel like there are parts of different reports that support different descriptors.

    Any ideas on how I'd go about preparing this for submission?

    Would it be acceptable to send the lot, but accompany with a written statement referring the panel to specific paragraphs in specific reports to support our arguments to save them having to try and read through it all?

    I'm wishing now that I'd have gathered all of this together for the PIP review, we may have avoided having to go down the MR/Tribunal path.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    60-70 pages of medical evidence is not needed and far too much. Most medical records aren’t relevant. I’d advise you to go through all of them again and choose which is the most relevant and send those but make 100% sure that there’s no contradictions. With evidence less is often more. 
    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.
  • DaveTheWaspDaveTheWasp Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    Thanks @poppy123456, I had a feeling that if I sent the lot, the important details might be missed due to the sheer volume of it.

    Thanks for the reminder to check for contradictions too. I'll go through all of this tomorrow.
  • anistyanisty Member Posts: 171 Pioneering
    Have you had a look at benefits and work forum @DaveTheWasp? You can look at the forum free of charge but they do some great guides to show exactly how to prepare for a tribunal for best chance of success.

    I think it costs about 20 quid to access ALL the guides they do. 


    (Hope ok to mention another forum on here. Apols if not. I think i saw it mentioned in another post somewhere so hoped it was ok)  
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 966 Disability Gamechanger
    @davethewasp - personally I'd read the 70 pages of evidence very carefully and decide exactly what it is 'evidence' of..

    If it doesn't say something about the different descriptors then I'd cut it out.

    Remember most doctors write diagnostic reports, proposed treatment plans  - they're not written to support future benefit claims.

    If you just send what's relevant then there's less chance that something will be missed..

    Good luck ...
  • DaveTheWaspDaveTheWasp Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    edited March 2020
    Thanks everyone, fortunately, there seems to be quite a few things relating to descriptors, for example, difficulty in socialising, difficulty getting out of the house unaccompanied, needing prompting for daily activities etc (although I'm unsure as to the weight of these as they are self - reported to the therapists, but at least they're in official reports, and are relatively consistent throughout the years).

    Sorry to be a pain, but my only other concern regarding the evidence is that the most recent reports are from 2016/2017 do you think it's likely that they'd still be considered relevant, considering her condition hasn't changed much since?

    Thanks again for advice so far, I really appreciate it.

    Oh, and by the way, I'll check out Benefits and Work, and I'll definitely strip out any reports that don't contain anything relevant to descriptors. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,009 Disability Gamechanger
    Feb 6th has come and gone. What happened with your meeting with a benefits adviser? You now seem to be back to representing yourself? Please read this before you go any further.

    https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/56379/representation-and-tribunal-hearings#latest

    Best advice above is from @cristobal. The best evidence is purely anecdotal. If you’re going to add medical evidence then you need to ask yourself what it’s evidence of as has been said. Is it evidence which takes you from not scoring specific points to doing so? Is it evidence which makes a point not made elsewhere or reinforces a point made elsewhere? In the latter instance I’d be looking to get one piece of reinforcement and stop there. Anything above 5 to 10 pages is overkill and, for example, 5 reports which essentially say the same thing are pointless. 

  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @DaveTheWasp   Please can I ask did you look at any of the links I supplied to you.?

    These ones.

    https://www.richmondfellowship.org.uk.

    https://www.mind.org.uk.

    https://www.rethink.org

    Worth contacting and getting support.

    Often can attend any tribunal.

    Would help you prepare help you with your issues and problems.

    Have in house advisors, contacts organisations can refer you to or be supportive with.

    Please take care.

    @thespiceman


    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • DaveTheWaspDaveTheWasp Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    Sorry it's been a while since the last update, things have been hectic, especially with having the children at home.

    I have just received a phone call from DWP offering Standard Rate Daily Activities and Standard Rate Mobility for my wife.  I know that we could probably get Enhanced Rate Daily Activities too if we went to appeal, but with the mobility added in, it would be minimal difference to what she was receiving before, and we get to leave the stress of appealing behind us (for now at least, I don't doubt that this will probably occur again at some point in the future too).  I've been advised that we should receive backpay overnight, and a letter by the end of the week confirming everything.

    Thank you all for all your help, patience, and advice, I don't think I would have kept pushing as hard had I been on my own.
  • givingupgivingup Member Posts: 161 Pioneering
    Great stuff, so pleased for you both. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,009 Disability Gamechanger
    And did they tell you that you continue to have appeal rights?

    You can accept the offer; get benefit into payment and then appeal anyway. 
  • DaveTheWaspDaveTheWasp Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    And did they tell you that you continue to have appeal rights?

    You can accept the offer; get benefit into payment and then appeal anyway. 
    Strangely enough, no, they didn't mention that.  Am I right in assuming that this would be a case of requesting a mandatory reconsideration of the new decision, and then opening a new appeal?  Either way, it's definitely something I'll go over with my wife and see if she wants to push for enhanced daily living.  It'd be far less stressful if we already have the benefit in payment.

    Thanks again Mike.
  • givingupgivingup Member Posts: 161 Pioneering
    You'll get a letter confirming your award, and on that it says about appealing
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,009 Disability Gamechanger
    And did they tell you that you continue to have appeal rights?

    You can accept the offer; get benefit into payment and then appeal anyway. 
    Strangely enough, no, they didn't mention that.  Am I right in assuming that this would be a case of requesting a mandatory reconsideration of the new decision, and then opening a new appeal?  Either way, it's definitely something I'll go over with my wife and see if she wants to push for enhanced daily living.  It'd be far less stressful if we already have the benefit in payment.

    Thanks again Mike.
    Nope, definitely no need for a further mandatory reconsideration. 
Sign in or join us to comment.