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MR for DLA in NI

deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
edited August 2020 in PIP, DLA and AA
I was hoping someone could give me some advice on doing an MR in Northern Ireland I have recieved the statement of reasons and wrote a letter arguing with the points and referring back to the evidence I supplied but I dont know if I can just send that letter along with a copy of the statement of reasons or do I need to send off a particular form as well. I tried checking online but just see conflicting advice...any help is appreciated 
Thank you

Replies

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

    I see from a previous thread that you were waiting for a Tribunal hearing for your childs DLA, is this the same DLA claim as that one? If so have you had the hearing? If you have then you won't be able to request the MR for that claim.

    You can only appeal that decision if there's an error in law.
    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.
  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    No I submitted a new claim because I found out that I had been incorrectly advised about not being able to and having to wait until after the tribunal. Their reasoning for turning down the new claim was pathetic if im honest....i sent in great pieces of evidence and explained my son is attending a special needs setting this coming school year....his statement of educational needs is now in place and I want to send it off as additional evidence also but I just don't know if I need a particular form to send off or if I can just send my letter with the statement of reasons 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    Oh dear, starting a new claim while waiting for the Tribunal wasn't the best idea. Using the same evidence you previously used continuously will likely see more refusals. It also affects the timescale of the award that can be given for the first claim, if the Tribunal is successful.
    .Or Just write a letter.

    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.
  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    The first application was filled in with "help" from another organisation and they didnt go into any detail at all and told me there was no point as they only have a certain amount of time to read the forms. There was no evidence at this time either so I'm expecting the tribunal to turn us down because I would if I were them. The new application, I done my research, used the cerebral guide, looked at the decision makers guide, explained in great detail the difficulties my child faces and how his care needs are more than a typical child of his age. I sent in supporting evidence, used key words and spent a week writing drafts of the answers before finally filling in the form. I just wanted to know if there was anything else I needed to send off with the MR or if my letter and additional evidence was enough  
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    The Tribunal won't refuse him because no evidence was sent with the claim pack. Anecdotal evidence will always be the best you can send.
    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.
  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    Sorry I dont understand what you mean?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    . Anecdotal evidence will always be the best you can send.
    In other words, real life examples.

    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.
  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    I had planned on cancelling the appeal if he was awarded as I dont need the stress of it all. I have 3 children 2 of which have problems that are completely different from each other, one is asd and developmentally delayed (this is who I've applied for) the other has problems with his foot and hips which require weekly hospital trips to a special clinic that is 70 miles away from our home. I am defeated if im honest so this MR is the last bit of fight I have left in me to be honest and I want to do it right 
  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    . Anecdotal evidence will always be the best you can send.
    In other words, real life examples.

    oh right I see, I mean i will try to make them understand his difficulties and the extra care he requires, our original date was 3rd of April and this was cancelled due to the current situation, im now waiting on a phone hearing but I decided to apply in June as its been over a year since the original application and I am struggling with replacing everything he has broken and replacing clothes hes chewed through, sensory items, another new bed and TV is needed as hes broken them again for the 3rd time...im really at my wits end and just dont know what to do anymore 
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,422

    Scope community team

    edited August 2020
    Hi @deebronny

    I am sorry you are going through such a challenging time applying for DLA.  It can be an exhausting process so no wonder you feel at your wits end.  I hope you are looking after yourself as well as you can throughout this.  

    I wondered if you had ever thought about applying for a charity grant to help replace some of the furniture? This link takes you to the National Autistic Society N.I. website who might be able to help with that https://www.autism.org.uk/services/ni.aspx  I know its not an ideal solution though and I have my fingers crossed for your DLA claim.  
    Online Community Co-ordinator

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  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    Hi @deebronny

    I am sorry you are going through such a challenging time applying for DLA.  It can be an exhausting process so no wonder you feel at your wits end.  I hope you are looking after yourself as well as you can throughout this.  

    I wondered if you had ever thought about applying for a charity grant to help replace some of the furniture? This link takes you to the National Autistic Society N.I. website who might be able to help with that https://www.autism.org.uk/services/ni.aspx  I know its not an ideal solution though and I have my fingers crossed for your DLA claim.  
    Thank you so much, i will definitely take a look at this. I'll keep you updated on the MR
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,006 Disability Gamechanger
    deebronny said:
    ... explained in great detail the difficulties my child faces and how his care needs are more than a typical child of his age. ...used key words 
    Two red flags for me right there. 

    1 - it’s not about explaining the needs. It’s about giving real world examples of the attention/supervision needed in connection with each bodily function. 

    2 - what are these “key words”? There’s no such thing and I find it genuinely worrying this kind of myth persists. If you don’t mind me asking who flagged up these words as key?
  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    @mikehughescq
    1. I did give real world examples how else would I be able to explain what he is like daily? When I say I wrote down everything in great detail, I mean every thing that I do for him that is more than a typical child of his age.
    2. With regards to key words, I mean words such as prompting, encouragement, unpredictability, overwhelmed etc instead of words or phrases such as, without me telling him, cant, wont, gets upset etc.
    For example instead of saying "he cant use a spoon without me telling him to" i wrote "he is unable to use a spoon without constant prompting and encouragement" 
    Although this may seem like a red flag to you, after looking into the actual dla decision makers guide and many others i have seen that it is important how you word things because you need them to understand that these are issues he struggles with due to lack of understanding and not something that he's choosing not to do because he doesn't want to.
    Hope that clears up what i meant.
    I only asked a simple question in regards to MR as I was unsure if a specific form was used and I wanted a little advice and support. I wasn't expecting to be ridiculed for how I filled in the form and the decision I made to reapply whilst waiting on tribunal. Now maybe it wasn't supposed to come across that way but that is how the majority of replies have made me feel.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,006 Disability Gamechanger
    No-one is “ridiculing” you. More trying to ensure that all the detail hasn’t been misdirected in the same way I would agree with @poppy123456 statement about the wisdom of a fresh claim. 

    The words are red flags to me because I work in welfare rights; have done so for a long time and know that by and large the replication of words used in the law or guidance isn’t of any specific benefit. The example you give is a really interesting one as, as written, it’s assertion and not evidence and if, and only if, it’s a reflection of the form completion then it suggests exactly why the award may not have been what you were aiming for. 

    So, whilst I agree with your rephrasing, it’s still an assertion i.e. it’s just “he can’t do x unless y”. What’s missing there is an example of specifically what happened the last time this occurred. When, where, his, why, who witnessed, what happened next. That level of detail. 

    The detailed examples are what makes the difference. Anyone can say “I fell x times last week”. Only 1 person can say “I fell x times last week. The most recent fall took place in the kitchen after breakfast when my left knee gave way as I turned to put my coffee on the worktop, My wife witnessed this. I fell onto my knee and onto the palms of my hands and had to use the stool and counter to get back up. This took around 3 minutes. My wife couldn’t help because she didn’t understand the movements I needed to make. I ripped the palms of both hands open” and so on. 

    You have assumed an awful lot about your new claim and your great evidence. If entitied we would all want your child to get DLA. I appreciate you posted for one thing but people here are sharp and helpful and if more than one person can spot issues then your choice is to hate on them or maybe pause and take on board. 


  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    I wasn't hating on anyone, I was expressing how I was feeling even if it was unintentional. I can not help the way I feel in the same way that you can not control how something you say may make someone feel. Im not trying to say that I know everything so I apologise if it has come across that way as it was not my intention.
    Honestly the amount of conflicting advice I have recieved from people who work in welfare rights has made me a little skeptical, for example here im being told anecdotal evidence is best, a different organisation is saying base it on his worst day (which I found out can be considered fraud), another says that its about explaining care needs etc. so you can see my frustration. I havent "assumed" anything I have stated that I cant understand the decision because of everything that was recorded and wrote in the form, including real life examples with evidence from medical professionals, education psychology and speech and language to back it all up. All I want is help but everywhere I turn it just seems that people like to tell me what I've done wrong instead of advising the me of the right things to do and so this makes me a little defensive. I apologise if I've come across as a hater or a know it all, I am just exhausted and don't know where to turn next.
  • atlas47atlas47 Member Posts: 118 Pioneering
    edited August 2020
    Hi @deebronny

    Have you tried speaking to Law Centre NI tel: 028 9024:4401, they have a good reputation in Welfare Rights circles.

    I find the more face to face advice you can get the better (though in these times it will by phone).

    Also check out YouTube for Law Centre NI videos on how Appeals, are conducted.

    Please let us know if we can assist further.

    Stay kind and be safe.

  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    atlas47 said:
    Hi @deebronny

    Have you tried speaking to Law Centre NI tel: 028 9024:4401, they have a good reputation in Welfare Rights circles.

    I find the more face to face advice you can get the better (though in these times it will by phone).

    Also check out YouTube for Law Centre NI videos on how Appeals, are conducted.

    Please let us know if we can assist further.

    Stay kind and be safe.

    I will check these out thank you. Just to clarify I think you guys here do a wonderful job and I am grateful that you have taken the time to reply to help. I'd hate for misinterpretation between me and other advisors to reflect how I truly feel about this community 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    It is very difficult to read someone's comment through a text message and can often be missread, which often happens here on the community.

    The advice you had about basing it on his worst day is the worst advice i've ever seen and no one should ever do that when filling out these forms.

    I know it's frustrating when a decision doesn't go in your favour but this is the 2nd time you've applied and the 2nd refusal. Maybe it's time to change how you present things because to continue the way you are will likely see many more refusals.

    The real life examples in exactly the way Mike advised is the absolute best advice you will ever receive, whether ever you go to get that advice. Medical evidence really isn't needed.
    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.
  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    edited August 2020
    It is very difficult to read someone's comment through a text message and can often be missread, which often happens here on the community.

    The advice you had about basing it on his worst day is the worst advice i've ever seen and no one should ever do that when filling out these forms.

    I know it's frustrating when a decision doesn't go in your favour but this is the 2nd time you've applied and the 2nd refusal. Maybe it's time to change how you present things because to continue the way you are will likely see many more refusals.

    The real life examples in exactly the way Mike advised is the absolute best advice you will ever receive, whether ever you go to get that advice. Medical evidence really isn't needed.
    I know, the first time I applied there was very little details put on the form as I was wrongly advised that I didn't need to write lots of explanations etc which I now know is incorrect. The reason  I am so disheartened with the 2nd application is because of the amount of effort I had put into it, including real life examples of how he is and what we have to do to protect and care for him as well as protecting our younger children from his outbursts. I was always under the impression that evidence to back up what was being said was essential. I have wrote out a diary over the last week to try and help with the MR and if its turned down again ill leave it for a while a reapply with a different approach. Thank you for understanding I wasnt trying to be difficult, im just a mum running on minimal sleep trying to do right by my children x
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome. Re-applying with another different approach isn't the answer because you'll be stuck this constant circle of reapplying.
    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.
  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    Then honestly I don't know what else I can do to make them see how his needs are significantly more than that of a child the same age
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,422

    Scope community team

    Take it one step at a time @deebronny and let's see what the outcome of the MR is  As you say you are a mum trying to do right by her children running on minimal sleep! That's not easy.  Be kind to yourself because you are doing a great job.  
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  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You're already waiting for the Tribunal for the first decision. Now you need to request the MR for the 2nd decision. MR success rate have increased from 17% to about 54% since Covid19 so there's a much better chance of the decisioin changing.
    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.
  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    @poppy123456 @Cher_Scope thank you both so much. I am going to ensure to include more real time examples of his behaviour and needs in the MR and I will come back to this thread and let you know the outcome as soon as I receive it. Thank you so much for all your advice, links posted etc. I'll be sure to take it all on board. @mikehughescq thank you to you as well for everything, I know it took me a minute to realise that you were infact just trying to help and it is appreciated. Sorry for the confusion earlier 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,954

    Scope community team

    Hello @deebronny. I can understand your exhaustion and exasperation at the process, it can be difficult at the best of times, let alone when you've been given poor or conflicting advice and are coping on little sleep. 

    deebronny said:
     All I want is help but everywhere I turn it just seems that people like to tell me what I've done wrong instead of advising the me of the right things to do and so this makes me a little defensive.
    I think what you've said here is very important and is good for us all to remember. It can be very disheartening to be told you've done something 'wrong' or 'incorrectly' without being offered a solution.  

    Hopefully you now have a better idea of what it is you need to do. The best of luck with your MR and please don't hesitate if there's anything we can do to support you with the further process.
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

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  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,006 Disability Gamechanger
    deebronny said:

    Honestly the amount of conflicting advice I have recieved from people who work in welfare rights has made me a little skeptical, for example here im being told anecdotal evidence is best, a different organisation is saying base it on his worst day (which I found out can be considered fraud), another says that its about explaining care needs etc. so you can see my frustration. I havent "assumed" anything I have stated that I cant understand the decision because of everything that was recorded and wrote in the form, including real life examples with evidence from medical professionals, education psychology and speech and language to back it all up. All I want is help but everywhere I turn it just seems that people like to tell me what I've done wrong instead of advising the me of the right things to do and so this makes me a little defensive. I apologise if I've come across as a hater or a know it all, I am just exhausted and don't know where to turn next.
    Okay so let’s start again and pick this apart as there’s some interesting stuff here of relevance to you and others.

    1 - the conflicting advice you’ve been given is absolutely the difference between good advice and terrible advice. You should be in no doubt that the advice to base a claim on the worst day is appalling, dangerous advice. There have been, to the best of my knowledge, 2 fraud prosecutions on the basis of this approach. 1 succeeded. It’s never been clear what happened on the other one. I’m afraid there’s a little piece of me that wants it to have succeeded. It’s one of those things that has gone around for years a bit  like the myth that HCPs get bonuses for taking you off benefit but it’s not just dangerous it’s also illogical. If you base a claim on a worst day then you’re literally arguing there’s no variation at all, which is clearly nonsense, but also it’s the variations which help you get DLA in particular. Behaviour which is predictable day in day out is hardly likely to give rise to a need for supervision in the way that unpredictable behaviour would. Celebrate and illustrate those variations. That’s a winning strategy.

    2 - there is no contradiction between explaining care needs and using anecdotal evidence. Why does someone need supervision to avoid them falling? The best way to explain that is to explain the unpredictable nature of the falls; give a detailed recent example of a fall and then explain how supervision could have prevented that incident. Essentially all part of the same thing. Similarly you’d explain why someone couldn’t dress or bathe by giving a real world example of an occasion when it went horribly wrong. You explain the need for care by using anecdotes. 

    3 - less is often more with disability benefits and you need to view your medical reports with a dispassionate eye and ask yourself whether they talked explicitly about your child; their bodily functions and have real world examples. Ed Psych reports for example often detail what ought to be happening but if you read them fully they’re often telling you how little input there is rather than how much. Medical reports which have phrases like “she tells me that” are never going to be given the full weight of medical evidence because, well, because they’re not. A report which repeats what the person has been told certainly adds credibility (it’s a medical professional committing to paper and essentially saying “well I believe her”) but that’s not the same as a report based on test results etc. It’s the equivalent of your mate next door who happens to be a social worker writing a supporting letter. 

    Duplication is also an issue. 10 reports saying “he has this and it means this“ are rarely more effective than 2 or 3. Authors every single piece of evidence used you need to ask yourself what specifically is the gap in the evidence it is plugging? If you can’t answer that then you probably didn’t need that report. 

    It may well be that you won’t understand the decision until you play devils advocate with it in this way.

    4 - I think a key phrase here is “everywhere I turn”. You sound like you’ve used an advice agency but then gone solo after your unhappiness with them and now your on an Internet forum full of mostly lay people. Having once survived for 5 years on 30 to 90 minutes sleep over night thanks to a poorly child I do appreciate the impact it can have on straight thinking so I’d suggest you need to step back and get yourself a different adviser that you’re happy with and not then seek advice from forums. Let them take the strain. Let them objectively look at the quality of your evidence and let them reconstruct the case. 

    I note your confidence in your evidence but looking on from the outside it really isn’t that obvious. Going to a non-mainstream school helps as does having a statement but none of those things are binding or game changers and submitting a statement without it first being viewed by a professional adviser is generally a bad idea. I’ve read numerous statements and EHCPs over the years and I rarely put them in as evidence as they often tell you more about what a school is prepared to do or pay for than the actual level of need. 

    5 - as has been saidM a second claim is problematic. There are lots of reasons for that but in future I’d focus in the fact that a poor claim pack can always be fixed without having time make a new claim (just write down what it ought to have said) and if a second claim fails you are amassing a history of failed claims with more and more evidence.which has been tainted by that failure. So, your great Ed Psych report wasn’t persuasive now. It gets harder to get weight attributed to it each time it’s linked to a failed claim and so on. 

    The one thing you just do with this claim now is pursue it to appeal and beyond if needs be. 

    I know this isn’t easy to read but the bottom line is that the claim failed because the evidence actually wasn’t good enough and the thing which jumps out at me is that the focus remains on all those people who contributed rather than on detailed anecdotal evidence. That needs fixing. 
  • deebronnydeebronny Member Posts: 31 Connected
    Hi all, just a quick update to let you all know, I've recieved the outcome of the MR today and my sons been awarded middle rate care up until just before his 5th birthday. Thanks for all the advice that was given (apologies again for becoming defensive about all, but I'm a sensitive soul) I'm so grateful that they seen he was entitled and that I can now get him all the little things he needs.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 3,235

    Scope community team

    Thanks for the update @deebronny, glad it was a positive outcome for you :) 
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  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Amazing news @deebronny
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