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Mandatory reconsideration denied . Engaging with others face to face. Social support?

sunny101
sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
edited September 29 in PIP, DLA, and AA
  Hi,  
I was awarded the mobility component of pip at the standard rate, i was given 10 points for being unable to leave my house, resulting in being unable to plan or follow a journey,  however i was not awarded for the daily living component which i believe i am entitled to. I applied for a mandatory reconsideration, but was still unsuccessful in obtaining the daily living component . 

I suffer from extreme anxiety, gad, health anxiety, social anxiety and agoraphobia. my biggest problem is engaging with others face to face which i can not do with out experiencing overwhelming psychological distress , and has left me housebound.  There are a number of activities within the daily living component i believe i should have been awared points for, in particular i should have been awarded more points for the activity engaging with others face to face .I do also suffer with agoraphobia,  however it is not the reason i am housebound, i would still be able to leave the house alot more and go places if i had somone with me all times, but my extrme social anxiety prevents me from doing this . I was awared 4 points for engaging with others face to face, stating i needed social support from someone experienced in helping people engage socially, to be able to engage with others, however this is not the case, social support would make no difference. I would still be overwhelmed .I should have been awared 8 points for this activity. This is an activity i cannot even attempt no matter what support i get. I recieved occupational therapy for over a year between 2018 and 2019 inwhich my therapist would always try and get me to do various activities that would involve social interaction,  but i could not even attempt these activities  . I experience severe panic attacks and derealization when i attempts these activities. I did go into detail about this withing my original claim and mandatory reconsideration,  with a doctors letter supporting this. What kind of social support is the dwp referring to?  I dont understand how they came to the conclusion that social support will help me to engage with others. I recieved therapy for over a year, within my home, but it was not helping so i was referred back to my gp. My doctors have been well aware how severe my social anxiety is and have never said anything about social support, nor has any of the numerous mental health teams i have seen over the years.  So i am just a little confused as to what kind of social support the dwp are referring to?.

Can anyone clarify,  what dwp refers to in terms of social support . Social suport from family or professionals would make no difference,  so im not sure what dwp expect me to do about this. Do they want me to get social support? Which i know will not help, and my doctors are aware this will not help . So it will just be a waste of time for all involved as i wont be able to even attempt doing any activities involving social interaction  . Do occupational therapists class as social support?

Planning and following a journey familiar or unfamiliar is an activity i will be able to do more if i had a close family member with me at all times, if it wasnt for how severe my social anxiety is, resulting me being unable to make any journeys.  My social anxiety is my biggest problem and i cant even be around people without overwhelming distress let alone engage with them. 

I am awaiting the letter in regards to my mandatory reconsideration. Can i also request a statement of reasons? Or will this be included in the letter .

I hope this doesnt come across as being an angry rant agaisnt dwp lol . I understand my situation is confusing,  so just seeking some advice  .

Comments

  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,508 Disability Gamechanger
    Does not read as an angry rant at all. Far from it. 

    So, some questions and bear in mind that to some degree I am playing devil's advocate.

    You may have scored enough to get mobility 1 but which specific descriptor did you score on? There is a world of difference between needing prompting, planning, following and being unable to undertake a journey at all. If, for example, you were awarded on following it would not logically be the case that points for engagement would follow.  

    If you actually scored for being unable to undertake a journey at all then how did you see your OT and your GP? 

    Finally, when you say that social engagement causes overwhelming psych distress do you have any anecdotal examples of where that has actually happened or are you asserting that you can't engage; don't see family; don't see friends but have no examples of, for example, a panic attack?
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    Hi @mikehughescq

    Thank you for your reply . I recieved 10 points for being unable to plan or follow any journey due to overwhelming psychological distress . My anxiety problems have been going on for over 13 years . But became extreme in 2017

    I can only enage with my parents and brother , who i live with. And my 2 siblings when they visit. I have not seen anyone else in person for over 4 years other than mental health professionals who saw me at my home.  I havent seen my gp in person for over 3 years,  only rare telephone consultations. Back in 2018 i was able to see mental health teams in person at my home once a week, because it was bareable as  i felt they would understand and not judge why i act the way i do, so i was not overwhelmed . I could not see my therapists more than once a week as it would have been too much. Since this time when i was receiving once a week therapy ended in early 2019  my conditions have worsened and i do not believe i could even see mental health specialists in person now. The last time i had to enage with anyone was when lockdown restrictions eneded and the front door was unlocked and i was unaware and unexpected guests came in and i was in the living room and unable to get to my room without passing them, my mom was in the kitchen at the time. I immediately started to panic when i heard them walking in and got numerous symptoms , they came into the living room and started asking questions, like oh we havent seen u in so long etc and i immediately went into derealization,  which is the worse possible experience for me, alot worse than panic attacks , everything goes blurry ,people seem really close to me but ther voices seem really far away and i cant figure hear what they are saying etc and i feel like im in anothrr world and eveything around me isnt real , and time feel distorted like eveything happend a long time ago and i feel like im stuck in another dimension or something . I instantly had to leave when this happend and get to ny bedroom . Whenever i have to engage with others in person i either get severe panic attacks or go into derealization,  i find it so unsettling that i can't even attempt to be around other people in person, other than my parents or siblings. The reason i became housebound  back in 2017 was because of how severe my social anxiety is. Sorry i find it difficult to explain myself cleary  .
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    When it comes to engaging with others face to face, other than my parents or siblings ( not sure about metal health professionals anymore) i suffer from panic attacks or derealization,  and i am unable to function.  I cant understand how social support will benefit me.
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    Because of what happens to me during social interactions,  i cant even attempt to to these activities anymore. So i dont know how to put more examples . 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,508 Disability Gamechanger
    Quite frankly that’s 8 points for social engagement. So, off to appeal
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    Thank you @mikehughescq.
    Originally when i called the dwp about the mandatory reconsideration, i was told by a case manager that if I could get a letter from my gp or any mental health specialist, stating that i cant engage with other people without overwhelming psychological distress-that will be a major deciding factor . My gp said in a letter she agrees that a true reflection of my condition would have given me 8 points for the activity engaging with others face to face, due to overwhelming psychological distress,  but still i wasnt awarded 8 points. So how am i suppsed to get social support for enaging, when my doctors and mental health specialists already know that will not be helpful.I think the hcp and case manager decided that im housebound because of agoraphobia,  but infact i am housebound because i cant bare to be around other people and having to engage with them. So use this as the reason i dont engage with others face to face, when Infact if it wasnt for my severe social anxiety then i would be able to leave my house and make journeys more as long as i had a family member with me on all journeys  . 

    I have found a service on facebook called pipps, who help with appeals.  Do you know if they are a genuine company? 

    Thank u for ur help and advise. 
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    I would really struggle with an appeal, as i cant leave my house and get minimal support from family- who do not fully understand my conditions- so need to find some kind of representation. Could i possible call dwp and ask for the reasoning behind their decision, or will the mandatory reconsideration letter, explain this?
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,842 Disability Gamechanger
    For representation start here. https://advicelocal.uk/

  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    @poppy123456. Thank you poppy i will have a look. Do you know of any services that do not require in person consultations?  As it will be something i can not do. I can manage phone consultations, just nothing in person. Would u recommend starting by calling citizens advice? And do u know if i could ask the dwp for an explanation behind their reasoning for awarding me 4 points for engaging with others face to face and not 8?.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 3,039 Disability Gamechanger
    sunny101 said: Do you know of any services that do not require in person consultations?  As it will be something i can not do. I can manage phone consultations, just nothing in person. 
    Most advice agencies are still operating a primarily telephone based service rather than face to face appointments. Even in normal times would expect an agency to offer telephone advice if that was your preference. 
    sunny101 said: And do u know if i could ask the dwp for an explanation behind their reasoning for awarding me 4 points for engaging with others face to face and not 8?.
    The only ‘explanation’ you will get is the content of the decision letter.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    @calcotti. Thank you for your help. I am by no means blaming the dwp for this, because i understand my situation is atypical, and must be quite confusing to understand fully without prior complex mental health knowledge. I think i just need professional help for the appeal, which can help me explain things better and act on my behalf as i struggle to explain things when it matters.
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    What i type/ write sometimes comes across as being angry and going on a rant, but it not intented that way lol.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,842 Disability Gamechanger
    Even with representation for a Tribunal, you will still be expected to answer all the questions they have yourself. The majority of appeal hearings are still done via telephone.
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    @poppy123456. Thank u for the reply. that should be ok if its still done over the phone, but feel like i would need support throughout the process, as i am easily overwhelmed and get confused , i barely managed to do my original claim and mandatory reconsideration alone, i wont be able to handle all an apeal entails. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,842 Disability Gamechanger
    Citizens Advice don't often help with Tribunals and rarely represent now. You'll be better off looking at somewhere like Welfare Rights, use the link i posted above and drop it down to welfare benefits and put your postcode into it and then it will tell you what's local to you.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Connected
    @sunny101 Really sorry to read about your health problems, I can relate to a degree, I have a mixture of mental and physical health problems and when I panic or have an anxiety attack I disassociate, it's kind of like being in someone else's body when it happens. I struggle with people and only really talk to my son daily, but he lives with me. It's very isolating isn't it.

    I always get help with my forms etc. I used Welfare Rights the last time. It's definitely easier to have someone who can help/support you.

    I hope everything goes well.
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    Hi @Amathyst . Thank u for your kind words. It really is isolating,  especially when no one around you really understands, and makes you feel embarrassed  about it, when u try to explain , so you just stop trying to explain what your going through . Luckily i can still engage with my parents and siblings, but noone else without getting panic attacks, and more recently going into derealization,  which is horrifying,  i always think  i must have died, because time is distorted and somthing that just happend can feel like it was long ago and im stuck in some kind of limbo, as nothing seems real and eveything is hazy.

    Could u recommend any service i could use for help with my appeal  ? I am in the Birmingham area  . Is welfare rights an umbrella term for various organisations or are they an individual organisation? Sorry im not to familiar with the welfare system  .
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,842 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 29
    sunny101 said:

    Could u recommend any service i could use for help with my appeal  ? I am in the Birmingham area  . Is welfare rights an umbrella term for various organisations or are they an individual organisation? Sorry im not to familiar with the welfare system  .

    Welfare rights are an individual advice agency. Have you put your postcode into the link i posted above? Please do use that link and choose the topic "welfare benefits" Here's the link again. https://advicelocal.uk/ it will tell you exactly what's available local to you.

  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    @poppy123456. Thank you for all ur help and advise. I will do that now. 
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    Thanks @poppy123456. I think i will try one of the local welfare law clinics shown on advice local,  there does not seem to be many options for help with welfare tribunals within Birmingham, other than a few law clinics and citizens advice.  I was  unable to find welfare rights on there. On a different note, do you know if i can request a copy of the mandatory reconsideration i sent off, because stupidly i forgot to take a photos of it before sending it.
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    I was unable to make copies of my evidence,  but did take photos of all evidence sent, can these be used for appeal, or could i possibly ask for copies of all evidence sent to dwp for my claim
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,842 Disability Gamechanger
    Once you've requested the Tribunal you will eventually receive the "bundle" which will contain everything you've sent.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,508 Disability Gamechanger
    sunny101 said:
    Thank you @mikehughescq.
    Originally when i called the dwp about the mandatory reconsideration, i was told by a case manager that if I could get a letter from my gp or any mental health specialist, stating that i cant engage with other people without overwhelming psychological distress-that will be a major deciding factor . My gp said in a letter she agrees that a true reflection of my condition would have given me 8 points for the activity engaging with others face to face, due to overwhelming psychological distress,  but still i wasnt awarded 8 points. So how am i suppsed to get social support for enaging, when my doctors and mental health specialists already know that will not be helpful.I think the hcp and case manager decided that im housebound because of agoraphobia,  but infact i am housebound because i cant bare to be around other people and having to engage with them. So use this as the reason i dont engage with others face to face, when Infact if it wasnt for my severe social anxiety then i would be able to leave my house and make journeys more as long as i had a family member with me on all journeys  . 

    I have found a service on facebook called pipps, who help with appeals.  Do you know if they are a genuine company? 

    Thank u for ur help and advise. 
    Wouldn’t touch anything on Facebook with a barge pole to be honest. It’s the Wild West of advice.

    Anyway, the answer to the above point is that DWP have no advice giving role so you can pretty much ignore anything of this nature they tell you. The reality is that you are your own best evidence. Detailed anecdotal evidence of the type you have partly detailed in earlier posts will take you further than medical evidence most times.
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    edited September 30
    Thank you @mikehughescq. I will try to be more detailed with my anecdotal evidence for my appeal .
  • sunny101
    sunny101 Member Posts: 32 Listener
    edited September 30
    @poppy123456 thank u for all ur help.

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