Benefit Tribunal — Scope | Disability forum

Benefit Tribunal

Nuala Watt
Nuala Watt Member Posts: 30 Listener
Dear All

I'm 28, have spastic diplegia and am registered partially sighted. I also have dyspraxia. I have been on DLA (high mobility and medium care) since I was 16. Last year I applied for ESA on the advice of a Welfare Rights Officer (I am a PhD student and so didn't think I would be eligible, but she disagreed. I went to an ATOS WCA and was awarded 0 medical points. I am appealing this decision as several statements in the medical report are untrue - i.e, it says my sight doesn't make it dfficult for me to get around (Social Work have just awarded me help with orientation because the opposite is true) and that I don't have difficulty recognising and getting away from danger (I understand that fire is dangerous, but this doesn't mean I can get away from it. The DWP's appeal papers have arrived and the medical report says 'the client has no significant functional impairments'. This doesn't make sense to me. I have multiple impairments, and I always will. I'm gathering medical reports - I got one from my OT which said 'Nuala has functional use of her left upper limb only' among other things, and I printed it out and showed it to my father because I was pleased and relieved. This situation feels mad - I shouldn't be happy about letters stating what I can't do. I very much hope that when I complete my PhD I will be able to get a job, although the number of jobs I can succesfully do is limited because of my multiple impairments, and any job would require support and adjustments. I'm scared of the benefit tribunal and I'm having difficulty processing the news that I don't have 'significant functional impairments' when my experience is that I do. This is not to say that I do not want to work, or that I am helpless - I'm not, but I do have a variety of impairments. I'm waiting for the date of the tribunal. Is anyone else going through this mad situation, and if so how do you cope? Also, is there any way we can let people know how wrong it is? I have cerebral palsy. I will always have cerebral palsy. Asserting otherwise is a colossal waste of everyone's time and energy, as well as making a tolerable situation unnecesssarily painful. Thanks Nuala


  • kingboy25
    kingboy25 Member Posts: 57 Listener
    Hi Nuala
    Have you checked out the Ouchtoo site. You will find plenty of people there who have personal experience of what you are going through.
    This site was started by members of BBC Ouch when they decided to close the site.
  • speedyinpain
    speedyinpain Member Posts: 52 Listener
    Hi Nuala,

    It is sadly not uncommon for ATOS WCA assessments to fail people incorrectly. I bought the disability rights handbook for the period of April 2012 - April 2013 I would recommend it.

    It has chapters on ESA, WCA and appeal tactics. You might be able to borrow a copy from the library or buy your own copy from Disability Rights UK

    The handbook makes a few things clear
    1) get your doctor, consultant, to comment on the practical and functional problems you have regarding each descriptor that is at issue in your appeal.
    2) where there is a dispute, what descriptors do they think should apply?
    3) is the assessment of your limitations consistent with their understanding of your condition?
    4) do any circumstances apply in which you can be treated as having limited capacity for work

    It's important that your evidence focuses on these things, not simply on what condition you have and the treatment you receive.

    If your condition has changed since the decision that you are appealing against was made, the tribunal cannot take this in to account.So make sure your evidence is about your condition as it was at the time of the decision.

    Hope this helps, and good luck

  • panther
    panther Member Posts: 251 Courageous
    Hi Nuala

    I had similar thing to you I wasn't called for a medical but when I got the ESA85A which is the medical report they write when they have just based it on the form. They hadn't taken into account any of my problems.

    I appealed the decision and in the end it went to tribunal like you I was really worried. Then I found this website they have really good guides on there for filling out your ESA form and also what to expect from a tribunal, what sort of extra evidence you can submit etc.

    It is the only place I found that could give me extra advice and answer the questions I had. To get full access to the guides you pay a subscription of


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