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Shame on you Lewisham Council

Lewisham Council has centralised all benefits advice including citizens advice into one call centre. To make an appointment with any  you have to go through them. A couple of weeks ago I sent an email to one of them regarding my mandatory reconsideration to be put in the support group for ESA. They didn't respond or even look at it for a week and a half and it went back late. I have suffered with mental illness for over thirty years and because of it I dont suffer fools gladly. I did lose it on the phone and because of that I am now blocked from using any of their services and everyone else's as well. Discriminating against someone with documented mental health issues. Is this acceptable in todays society? Where do turn to? how is this supposed to help my mental health?

Replies

  • SeanRyanSeanRyan Member Posts: 66 Connected
    Being ignored by you lot does wonders for your mental health as well. Thanks for nothing scope wont be coming here again
  • AlexAlex Scope Posts: 1,325 Scope community team
    Sorry @SeanRyan, our Benefits Advisors are under huge demand at the moment and I'm sorry they've not been able to respond to this. 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering

    @SeanRyan

    I am so sorry for the delay in getting back to you, and also for the difficulties you are experiencing in accessing the services you need.

    I'm sure I won't be the first to tell you that unfortunately the provision for specialist benefits advice has been pretty much decimated over the past two governments, hence there are now waiting times for most services - I do not say this to excuse wait you experienced at your local council, but only to explain it.

    As regards now being excluded from the advice centre - you have two courses of action (1) ask to speak to a manager to be re-admitted/make a complaint (2) deal with the matter yourself.

    It sounds to me like you have already started on (2) as you state that your Mandatory Reconsideration has gone in late - so I presume this was done by you after you were excluded from the service? If so, I recommend going through the Citizens Advice web pages on reconsideration and appeals, which has loads of really useful and straightforward information:-

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/employment-and-support-allowance/while-youre-getting-esa/challenging-an-esa-decision/

    As regards (1) I think you make a legitimate point that your behaviour is a symptom of your illness, but as advisers we deal with a very great many mentally ill people and cannot accept abuse from them simply because of the poorly resourced conditions we find ourselves in - so if you do get re-admitted please bear this in mind.

    Hope this helps - if you are carrying on with the challenge yourself and would like some more specific pointers please let us know.

    Kind regards,

    Mary

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • SeanRyanSeanRyan Member Posts: 66 Connected
    Banned from using all services in Lewisham includes citizens advice.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    @SeanRyan First of all you need to make written complaint to Lewisham Council - write to the Chief Executive. If Lewisham Council won't lift the ban, you can appeal to the Local Government Ombudsman - lgo.org.uk
  • izaiza Member Posts: 471 Pioneering
    edited November 2017
    Hi @SeanRyan, please call or go personally straight to Local Law Centre. 
    They suppose to help you. 
  • SeanRyanSeanRyan Member Posts: 66 Connected
    I have just got a call from pip telling me because the form came back late I have to make a new claim. Is this right? As for complaining this is Lewisham they don't care. I am sick of it all and would be better off dead. Another one to add to the list. I cannot do this anymore. Waiting is killing me
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @SeanRyan I am sorry to hear you are still struggling, please know that you are a valued member of our community and you are not better off dead.

    If you don't feel you can keep yourself safe right now, seek immediate help.

    • go to any hospital A&E department (sometimes known as the emergency department)
    • call 999 and ask for an ambulance if you can't get to A&E
    • ask someone else to contact 999 for you or take you to A&E immediately

    If you need some support right now, but don't want to go to A&E, here are some other options for you to try:


    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    @SeanRyan

    You would have to complain to Lewisham first before you could go to the Local Government Ombudsman.  The Ombudsmen services can be very helpful.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi SeanRyan,

    If you fail to send a PIP form back by the deadline they can refuse your claim. You have the option of requesting a mandatory reconsideration, but this would only be a reconsideration into "good cause" for sending the form back late. If they accepted this, the case would be sent to a medical provider for a consultation before the decision is made. Unfortunately this will delay you getting a decision on your entitlement. You could also make a new claim, or you could dispute the first claim and make a new claim, just to try to protect your date of entitlement in case the first claim doesn't go your way.

    Lee
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
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