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Tribunal update

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Karawen
Karawen Community member Posts: 62 Courageous
I think I've won my appeal!  Had a call this morning saying that I was awarded on 10th Feb and they then ran through the usual payment questions, bank details, any issues getting a lump sum back payment etc.

I still have to wait for the letter with all of the detail but it sounds positive.  I was clear in what I was asking for at the tribunal and that I wanted an ongoing award and stated my reasons for the length of period.

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last year, especially @Username_removed who gave an incredibly detailed response on my previous post.

The day of the tribunal I was quite nervous but had all my notes, the bundle, everything I wanted to say if it wasn't covered.  The tribunal clerk called me 30 mins before but there were some technical issues (their end) with the video conference facility but they sorted it so that it could be done via telephone conference instead, started a bit later than planned but they kept me informed the whole time.

The tribunal itself was very relaxed.  The judge and panel were very welcoming and explained what would happen thoroughly.

There was a DWP rep who asked me a couple of questions at the end but I was able to answer fully and defend my application on any points he raised.  The judge even stepped in at one point to answer one of his questions that he kept asking but in different ways, as the answer was all within the bundle (that did make me feel quite smug I have to admit!).

It lasted just over an hour.  An email the following day said I'd receive their decision by Friday 16th Feb.

I felt positive after the call and a huge sense of relief that it was over, regardless of the outcome at that point.

I did lots of preparation and made sure I knew the bundle inside out and try to pre-empt any questions they might ask based on what I had already submitted.

Fingers crossed the letter details what I've asked for and thanks again 😊 


Comments

  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,561 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hello @Karawen thanks so much for sharing your update with us. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed for a positive outcome for you :)

    Alex
    Online Community Coordinator
    Scope

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  • Karawen
    Karawen Community member Posts: 62 Courageous
    edited February 2022
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    Well I've received my letter and my award is exactly what I was after, daily living at the enhanced rate for an indefinite period (which is I'm assuming for 10 years).

    You're absolutely right @Username_removed the key was the anecdotal evidence. 

    A quick note to say that yes, I was unrepresented but I do a lot of leading in meetings with heads of departments, directors and clinical leads so I'm quite a confident person generally.  Which to be honest is what drove me to take it to tribunal, I could see the inconsistencies from the DWP and it was so obvious from the HCP report that they knew nothing of my condition.  This infuriated and upset me, I felt as though despite being disabled, I'm not disabled enough!  But I also knew that I hadn't represented myself well enough in my PIP2.  

    This is a very long post but for anyone that is thinking of going to tribunal or has one coming up, this is my experience;

    The tribunal didn't focus at all on the HCP report.  

    At first, the Dr asked me a few questions (he had direct experience with my condition).  He asked about the physical impact on my condition, I described my range of movement and spoke about the muscle groups that are affected (I have a type of Muscular Dystrophy).  I was asked to talk about the types of physio exercises I do and how I'm supported to do them, how I use heat therapy as a way of managing pain and how exactly I'm supported in doing this.  I also described the medication I take, when and how it affects me.  It felt like a general chat, he was very easy to talk to and put me at ease.

    Then I spoke with a lady and I can't remember what capacity she was there as but was part of the panel (not DWP).  She wanted me to talk her through a day, from the moment I got up to going to bed.  So getting up, breakfast, work, physio, lunch etc... just a normal day.  I described how my condition varies so not all days are the same, pain and fatigue are always present, some days I can do things and others I can't.  Not as general a statement as that, I went into each activity in a lot of detail...

    She asked me to talk her through the PIP descriptors where I'd said I had difficulty in my PIP2 and MR.  Based on my responses, she asked one or two questions around those just to clarify anything else.

    Then the guy from DWP, who was very pleasant, asked about my medication, work and my car - which he was fixated on - he asked me to describe the type of journey I take.  I rarely drive but I can drive if my fatigue and pain levels aren't too bad.  He asked me about whether I had to inform the DVLA and my insurance about my condition, which I failed to see the relevance in a PIP application but I didn't vocalise my thoughts and answered yes and that it was a legal obligation to, but it doesn't affect me driving.  He also asked about work, another question that still baffles me, he asked whether me working from home was only because of the pandemic.  I explained that partially it was but there's an expectation that we will continue to work a day in the office and it's planned to increase to two days at some point but the rest from home.  My partner works on the same site as me so we car share so I don't drive to work anyway.  He then went on to say that as a civil servant he was expected to be in the office 40% of his working week and isn't that the same in the NHS?  To which I responded absolutely not!  I currently work a day a week I the office which is 20% of my working week however, my employer is very flexible and if I have something I need to finish I don't even need to go in that day.  He stopped asking questions at that point (I'm middle management NHS and work in finance so him quoting percentages at me possibly didn't have the effect he was after).

    The judge only spoke to introduce everyone initially and then when one member of the tribunal had finished, she'd introduce the next.  She also mentioned the parts of the descriptors that I wasn't claiming for, she said that as I was unrepresented, she wanted to be clear that they were mentioned for completeness.

    At the end she explained that myself and the DWP rep were to hang up and her and the panel would discuss and then make their decision.  I received an email the following day and that the letter was in the post.  The letter was dated the same day of the tribunal, DWP payment questions call was 3 days later.  I'm just waiting for the money now.

    It's been a long and stressful process and it's taken a toll on me mentally however, I knew I was entitled to this benefit and I probably should have claimed it years ago but had always heard horror stories. 

    If you know you're entitled then fight for it 💪🏼
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
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    Karawen, thanks for taking the time to post that which hopefully others will find useful.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Justcheckingin15
    Justcheckingin15 Community member Posts: 370 Pioneering
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    @Karawen, 'Super..Well done!'
  • Emshepp5
    Emshepp5 Community member Posts: 2 Listener
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    Well I’d have looked a complete **** had you written a lengthy post talking about how the tribunal focused on the HCP report so I’m relieved it went as I predicted. :)

    Have bookmarked this thread to link to in future. Lots of angry people on here absolutely obsessed with their HCP report and it does their health and their claim no good at all. I can tell people to put their report in a drawer or not ask for it in the first place but sometimes it needs a successful claimant to spell it out. So thank you.
    Hi, 

    really sorry if this is a daft question. When you say HCP report do you mean the dwp assessors report of your assessment with them or a HCP report submitted as "evidence" by your own HCPS involved in your care? 

    Im preparing for my tribunal and your comments and advice has drastically changed how i plan to approach it but i want to make sure im reading it correctly. 

    Thankyou in advance and again for your advice so far with others cases! 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,141 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2022
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    Emshepp5 said:
    Well I’d have looked a complete **** had you written a lengthy post talking about how the tribunal focused on the HCP report so I’m relieved it went as I predicted. :)

    Have bookmarked this thread to link to in future. Lots of angry people on here absolutely obsessed with their HCP report and it does their health and their claim no good at all. I can tell people to put their report in a drawer or not ask for it in the first place but sometimes it needs a successful claimant to spell it out. So thank you.
    Hi, 

    really sorry if this is a daft question. When you say HCP report do you mean the dwp assessors report of your assessment with them or a HCP report submitted as "evidence" by your own HCPS involved in your care? 

    Im preparing for my tribunal and your comments and advice has drastically changed how i plan to approach it but i want to make sure im reading it correctly. 

    Thankyou in advance and again for your advice so far with others cases! 

    The HCP report is what's written once you've had your assessment and is their opinion of everything you sent and what you said during the assessment. As Mike advises here, you shouldn't concentrate on that because doing so will not get you a PIP award.
    There's another thread here which is well worth reading. Please take note of Mike's advise in the thread about the real world incidents. https://forum.scope.org.uk/discussion/87932/pip-tribunal-representation/p1

    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • Karawen
    Karawen Community member Posts: 62 Courageous
    edited February 2022
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    Hi @Emshepp5, yes it's the assessors report as Poppy says.  HCP stands for Health Care Professional...

    During my tribunal, the assessor’s report wasn't even mentioned by anyone.  

    Focus on the real life examples for each descriptor you're claiming for, also maybe think about how you'd answer the question about a day in the life of you.  I wrote bullet points for this so I didn't miss anything out.  

    Also, just to add that my back payment was very quick.  Arrived in my account 9 days after my tribunal.

    Good luck for your tribunal 🍀
  • Emshepp5
    Emshepp5 Community member Posts: 2 Listener
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    @Karawen & @poppy12345 Thankyou very much for this. I did complete a diary for my mr hoping it would assist me in showing the day to day affect of things but the dm for my mr didnt reference it at all in their response and ignored it. I will right some info for each description i have applied for as being relevant to my condition and example of how theyve affected me. Sorry to ask another question but do i need to submit this to the courts prior to the date or am i able to just take this with me? again probably a daft question but i dont want to risk relying on accounts i have provided them prior if i need too. Thankyou again.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,141 Disability Gamechanger
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    Anything extra that you're sending needs to be with HMCTS before the hearing date. The hearing will most likely be by telephone.
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • MrJackT
    MrJackT Community member Posts: 129 Courageous
    edited February 2022
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    Hi @Karawen

    Well done on your tribunal!

    I submitted my appeal to the HMTCS yesterday and I got the email and text message straight away. It said the appeal actually would be lodged within 3 days and you will get a text when.

    I got the text about the appeal being lodged straight away after the first text message. 

    If you don’t mind me asking I have 1 or 2 questions. 

    1) When you submitted your appeal did the DWP actually respond within 28 days? 

    2) When you went to the tribunal did they talk about all the activities or did they just talk about the activities you were appealing against? 

    Thanks!
  • Karawen
    Karawen Community member Posts: 62 Courageous
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    Hi @MrJackT

    Of course I don't mind!

    In answer to Q1:
    DWP responded very quickly, within a week of me submitting my appeal.  I received a text from HMCTS before I received the DWP's response in the post containing the bundle.

    Answer to Q2:
    During the tribunal itself, I focused on the activities that I can't do.  I was asked about a day in the life of me so described from the moment I get up, to the moment I go to bed.  During this, I was able to talk about the activities and the difficulties I have doing them in detail.  I spoke about the variability of my ability to carry out each activity, any risk of harm if attempted and provided examples of times where I've suffered injury when I'd attempted.  

    I was asked by the doctor about my condition and how it affects me so I described my muscle weakness (I have a rare type of  Muscular Dystrophy), the muscle groups that are affected and how this limits my physical ability to carry out certain things.  He also asked me about my medication, what I take, how often etc.

    As I wasn't represented, the judge did say that she wanted to just cover off the other descriptors that I wasn't claiming against but this was literally her reading the questions and a yes/no/ no issues response.

    At the end, I was asked if there was anything I'd like to add.  I said that everything had been covered but that I believed I was entitled to daily living at enhanced rate on an ongoing basis and gave my reason for the length of award.

    The DWP guy was just asking random questions as far as I could tell.  He asked about my car, asked me to describe a journey I might take in the car.  Whether I'd notified DVLA of my condition (I responded that it was a legal requirement to), asked if I'd notified my insurance company.  About whether me working from home was only as a result of the pandemic.  Why some of the medication I'd mentioned wasn't on the printout from the GP evidence (I said I had no answer for that but referred to other pages within the bundle where they were mentioned).  

    Another thing to note is that the judge asked me to focus on how I was when the decision was made (last summer), not how I was on the day of the tribunal.

    Hope that helps 🙏🏼 
  • MrJackT
    MrJackT Community member Posts: 129 Courageous
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    Hi @Karawen

    Thank you for answering those questions, that has helped me understand the process a lot more clearer. 

    I have a similar issue to muscle weakness. My left shoulder has no muscle, so it is just bone. I also do not have as much muscle on my left side as to what I do on my right side. I also have an absent trapezius muscle. I am actually awaiting tests in regards to those ongoing issues. I recently saw the Neurologist and she did the tests for the muscle and I am awaiting an MRI to see which muscles around the scapula area and a bit further down that area are missing. As these muscles were missing the nerve conduction studies weren't fully complete as they couldn't test some nerves around that area because there was is no muscle. 

    Anyways, I explained in the Mandatory Reconsideration how this affected me on a daily basis etc and I was awarded points for those activities which I agree with. However I was not awarded any points for Engaging with other people face to face, reading and planning and following a journey. Those are the activities that I am appealing. I made it clear in the Mandatory Reconsideration how doing these activities or attempting these activities was very hard for me. 

    If you don't mind me asking again, how long was it until your tribunal after the DWP responded to the HMCTS?

    Thank you for sharing your answers!
  • Karawen
    Karawen Community member Posts: 62 Courageous
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    I can sympathise with the muscle weakness 😩...

    My timeline was:

    Appealed to HMCTS 25/10/21

    DWP responded 02/11/21

    Notification of tribunal by letter & email 19/01/22

    Tribunal 08/02/22

    Notification of decision 10/02/22

    Backpack received 17/02/22


  • Karawen
    Karawen Community member Posts: 62 Courageous
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    All areas are different though just to be clear but at least it gives you some idea of timescales.  I'm in S Wales
  • MrJackT
    MrJackT Community member Posts: 129 Courageous
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    Hey @Karawen

    Thank you for sharing that, that definitely does make things a lot more clearer. 

    I submitted the Mandatory Reconsideration in December and I got the decision letter recently, which I thought was quite quick. 

    Thanks again!
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,141 Disability Gamechanger
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    DWP don't always respond within the timescale so do be aware of that.
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
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