Should I go to tribunal? Mental health and ESA — Scope | Disability forum

Should I go to tribunal? Mental health and ESA

System
System Posts: 636

Scope community team

This discussion was created from comments split from: Hi, my name is Suzie93!.

Comments

  • Suzie93
    Suzie93 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Hi Chloe and thank you for such a warm welcome.

    I live alone (with my wonderful Labrador, Sasha) and feel terribly alone in my ongoing fight with the DWP. 

    In a nutshell, I suffer with anxiety and depression and am on medication for both. In addition, I have a mental health worker who I see once a month. As is the case all over the country, mental health services are stretched to breaking point and I am limited to 12 sessions, of which only 3 remain. I am on a 1 year waiting list for one-to-one intensive counselling for historic sexual abuse too. 

    I have been awarded WRAG ESA, scoring 15 on mental functioning but nothing on physical disability, which is ironic since I was assessed and awarded the highest rate Mobility and Daily Living components for PIP! (I have severe arthritis in my right hip, thoracic, lumber and sacral spine.)

    My main issue is that my anxiety is so severe that I am unable to cope in social situations,crowds, buses, or even walking Sasha in case I bump into someone who wants a conversation. When I attend GP appointments, I become tachycardic (130 bpm is common) and my blood pressure is dangerously high. My GP says this is entirely down to anxiety and is very concerned that, being forced into the WRAG is going to put me under so much pressure that my mental and physical health are at risk. I have not been into the city centre for 3 years.

    In February of this year, I took an overdose together with huge quantities of alcohol and was admitted to A&E by paramedics. There were no beds available on the psychiatric wards and I was sent home on the same day.

    I asked for a Mandatory Reconsideration of the DWP's decision to put me into the WRAG, citing all of the above, with strongly worded letters of support both from my GP and my counsellor. I received their decision yesterday saying that 'your GP letter did not confirm if you will be unsuitable for all types of Work Related Activities' and that 'there is no psychosis medication prescribed due to inability to perform all types of WRA' - I fail to see how that is relevant! 

    It seems to me that there are very specific criteria they are looking for, with no ability to think outside of a tick box or use common sense. If my GP states I am so anxious that I cannot get into the city centre for my appointments, cannot use public transport (I don't drive) and that by forcing me to do so she is concerned that my mental health will worsen, why does that not mean anything?

    I was awarded 15 points on descriptors, 9 points on Coping with Social Situations and 6 on Coping with Change. My belief is that I should have scored 15 on both! They also dismissed my arguments with regard to Regulation 35, saying it does not apply in my case.

    So, I am now at a crossroads. Should I go to a tribunal with this? Am I strong enough mentally to fight them? Am I mentally strong enough to accede to their decision? I think I would be able to take it to the next level, with the right advice and someone who could support me at a tribunal. My counsellor has suggested I get in contact with DIAL who may be able to offer support. 

    Perhaps you could give me your thoughts on my situation and whether you feel it is worth pressing on or just going with the flow. Sorry I have written an essay here, but it just spills out after so much frustration!

    Very best regards

    Suzie
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Suzie93 and thank you for taking the time to reply to us.
    It sounds like you are going through a really hard time, but it is good to hear that your doctors and counsellors are on your side.
    I personally am not qualified to give advice on tribunals but the Scope website can be found here: https://www.scope.org.uk/support/disabled-people/benefits/appeals 
    If you have a look at this then you may have a better idea if it is something you would be able to do? Have you gone through mandatory reconsideration?
    Feel free to look round the community, we would love you to stick around!
    Scope

  • poppawotsy
    poppawotsy Member Posts: 11 Listener
    you must pursue your case as the decision maker's are full of **** in two separate appeals, I won both! Th ejudge/TRIBUAL are quite fair towards claimant's as many decision maker,s fail to consider some info and fail to disclose info, hoping people will just let it go, don't pursue it your entitled to your award! Fight for it! Good-Luck! Poppawotsy!
  • Suzie93
    Suzie93 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Hi Chloe and poppawotsy

    Chloe, if you read my post you will see that I have been through the Mandatory Reconsideration and they would not change their decision. I have also written down the reasons they gave, which are a nonsense! 

    Regarding your link, I have already read all of it and am familiar with the process of a tribunal and what it entails. My question really is not what I do next, but rather, have I got a good enough argument to take it to tribunal?
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Suzie93
    Apologies for that. I do understand what you are saying and it must be a really difficult decision! You do seem to have a strong case, I hope others in the community are able to support you with this decision :)
    If you did go ahead then we would all be with you every step of the way! 
    Scope

  • susan48
    susan48 Member Posts: 2,222 Disability Gamechanger
    @Suzie93, the tribunal process can have an adverse effect on your already fragile mental health. 

    I appealed my decision for PIP, I know yours is ESA but just the whole appeal process is draining.

    I would say if you can get support with the tribunal and feel you can get through it then yes do it.

    Its taken me months of severe anxiety and depression after my appeal to just start to feel a bit better.

    Its difficult to do this especially alone, your gp and mental health worker seem to be a great help and support but definitely take someone with you to the appeal 

    I hope this helps, even just a wee bit

  • poppawotsy
    poppawotsy Member Posts: 11 Listener
    Deffo go to tribunal as decision makers think you'll just drop it, also Judges I think are fed up with them not telling truth and also openly criticizing Judges decisions in case documents! Go for it! Appeal! Appeal! Appeal! Good-luck!
  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,799 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Suzie93,

    You are a member of our community and we appreciate you. If you are having thoughts of suicide, it is important that you discuss them with someone who is qualified to help. Please call the Samaritans on 116 123 (free) or email them at [email protected]. You might also benefit from reading MIND’s information on how you can help yourself.

    If you feel that you may be an immediate danger to yourself, please call 999 or go to your local hospital right away.

    You've had some great guidance from other community members here and I hope it helps you to come to a decision- you may also like to check out Scope's guidance and videos discussing the tribunal process:



    Wishing you all the best, and please do keep us updated!

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