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Now we have to go to appeal. So devastated and angry.

(25 Posts)
SilverDragonfly1 Fri 20-Mar-15 12:32:29

I hope it's okay to post this here as I am clinically depressed and really not sure how much longer I can cope. Right now, I just want some high dose tranquillisers.

My adult daughter, who has Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, has just been completely rejected for PIP both initially and on reconsideration. The 'reconsideration' was actually just a short rehash of the untruths, half truths and omissions of the assessor, who was apparently at a different interview from my daughter and myself. She claimed she used to be a CPN! Which makes me wonder now why someone who did have a job helping people has turned to one which notoriously actively tries not to help them... obviously she was not a particularly stellar nurse. At least her ex patients are well out of it.

I actually wasn't that worried before the assessment, as she was awarded the Support group of ESA until next year without even being called for an interview. She so obviously qualifies for both elements of PIP as well that I thought we had it under control.

I will have to do all the work around the appeal as she is completely incapable, as the psychotherapist she sees twice a week agrees. Unfortunately I am suffering from my own condition very badly at the moment, but can't let her know that- luckily, she doesn't live with us or that would be impossible. Right now I'm shaking and crying and genuinely feeling like the people involved in this decision are evil, however irrational that no doubt is. I would be over the moon to hear that they had lost their jobs and were living in bedsits with mental health problems that no one would acknowledge and most importantly that they KNEW exactly why that had happened.

Luckily was able to keep it together and sound cheerful and positive when I called to let her know (all her post comes here as she can't handle it). But now I am terrified we will go through all that stress of appealing and they will still say no, despite all the evidence, professional support and so on that proves her entitlement.

Think I am going to have to try and get some sleeping pills as insomnia already terrible. Why do these things always happen on Friday???

wfrances Fri 20-Mar-15 14:33:08

have you tried your local citizens advice ?

SilverDragonfly1 Fri 20-Mar-15 15:40:02

Fortunately, her psychotherapist is very supportive and is referring us to someone at mind to help with the appeal as well as providing further evidence himself. He is shocked and angry too. She's been having therapy twice a week for well over a year now, and he fully supports the application.

I needed to vent my anger somewhere but I do feel a bit better now. It's the helplessness that gets me every time- being at the mercy of people who not only don't care how ill my daughter is but are also being encouraged by their employers to refuse genuine claimants in the interests of providing some evidence for the government's fabricated statistics about false claims. This claim has already been pending for a year as they didn't give her an assessment date until February although the form went in in March 2014. We wouldn't even have known about the appointment if I hadn't rung up to ask, as they have been sending letters to random past addresses of hers. So she would have missed it and the whole claim thrown out! How am I supposed to deal with this mixture of incompetence and actual dishonesty?

If this is in the wrong place, feel free to move it mods, but please to somewhere else supportive. I'm normally a tough cookie, but I can't deal with the traditional mumsnet acerbity on this subject sad

TwosaCrowd Fri 20-Mar-15 18:54:45

I went to appeal (bipolar type 1) and got backdated medium rate care and low rate mobility. Next application I got high rate care and low mobility straight away.

SilverDragonfly1 Fri 20-Mar-15 19:06:02

That's great news Twos (no rhyme intended)! How long did it take roughly? I can't seem to find anything suggesting timescales, but I can't imagine it will be soon.

lazymum99 Sat 21-Mar-15 17:30:24

Mind will know what they are doing. ESA appeals are moving quickly - within a couple of months. PIP maybe slightly slower. You have to fill in an SSCS1 form within a month of reconsideration refusal. If you have good med evidence there is a possibility of decision being overturned without going yo a tribunal hearing. Look at how the points are given for care and mobility and check where she fits in these. For mental health issues I don't think you can get more than low rate on the mobility, high rate is where the person can't physically walk, Los rate for guidance and supervision when out and not being able to plan journeys etc. care points are for preparing meals, washing dressing....I can't remember them all. Once you've checked this ask the psychotherapist to confirm that she can't do these things and send evidence with the form.
Good luck!

SilverDragonfly1 Sat 21-Mar-15 19:32:49

Thanks. We can live with a few months, dreading it being a year or so. I do have a membership at the site with guides etc (don't know if we're allowed to post the name of it specifically) so have access to all the paperwork I need. Psychotherapist is doing a letter at the moment, which we will have on Thursday. I feel the main problem is going to be the assessor's assertion that DD behaved in ways she didn't and was able to do things she couldn't during the assessment, since it is our word against hers.

Will never do another one of those without it being recorded. For example, saying she could engage with assessor, when actually the woman had to prompt her explicitly (ie, saying 'I need you to engage with me, DD') throughout the interview to do so and so did I a couple of times. And saying she easily worked out a simple sum when it actually took her two minutes with multiple reiteration of the stages. And saying she reads newspapers, when actually she said she occasionally reads news articles on facebook (and those are all fluff about celebrities etc!). That's only a small sample of the errors.

lazymum99 Sat 21-Mar-15 20:03:13

If it does go as far as a tribunal hearing make sure your daughter goes, however difficult this is. Much better chance of winning if they can see how she is and acts. For instance if she can't Hollie what they're asking etc. the sscs1 should ask whether you want a paper or oral hearing. Do not choose paper or it will be decided simply on paperwork without experience of seeing your daughter

lazymum99 Sat 21-Mar-15 20:05:03

Hollie??? Follow

unweavedrainbow Sat 21-Mar-15 21:52:16

tbh i disagree with lazymum in terms of paper based hearing. with mental health conditions like bpd/eupd there is often a strong paper trail which can be submitted as evidence to a hearing- for example, psych reports, care plans, medication records, crisis plans, whether or not she is known to the police, admission records etc. A person can often appear more well in person than they do on paper. I have eupd (bpd) myself and look much much worse on paper (multiple suicide attempts, known to police, serious self harm risk etc) than i would ever do if you met me-in fact you might not even think i was ill.
i think there is other things that need exploring here too. BPD is very rarely just BPD, iyswim. Does she struggle with suicide attempts, self harm, eating disorders, dissociation? What about medication side affects? I'm very heavily medicated and struggle to function in the morning. All these things need to documented, referring to the relevant descriptor. Do you know what support group descriptor she met to be put in the support group for ESA? That is important. In terms of PIP, it seems in the assessment they were looking at irrelevant descriptors-i would argue that a BPD claim would involve the self care descriptors (cooking, eating, washing) as well as contact with others, rather than reading or writing. The only descriptor the sum is relevant for is budgeting-and then only loosely. PIP claims, sadly, involve a lot of jargon and specific language-who helped you fill the form out initially?

SilverDragonfly1 Sat 21-Mar-15 23:38:41

I don't want to go too deeply into her symptoms in public, unweaved, but yes, she has all of the paperwork and most of the symptoms you describe as well. Perhaps I could PM you at some point? I understand if you don't feel comfortable with that of course.

We didn't have any help filling in the form as our local MIND have one volunteer who does this and they were booked solid for weeks. If we'd known it was going to take a year anyway, I think we'd have waited though!

lazymum I am leaning towards attending, but will have to discuss this with DD and go with her wishes of course. I'm wondering if there may also be an option for me or someone else to act as her representative.

TwosaCrowd Sun 22-Mar-15 08:41:54

From initial application to tribunal I th it was well over a year. I ended up with over 5k back payment which paid for my wedding!

lazymum99 Sun 22-Mar-15 09:28:12

I have no specific experience of bpd pip/ESA applications so unweaved may have a point. It depends how obvious symptoms are when you meet your daughter.
You can go with as your daughters representative and you can speak about her condition. I dont know if Mind has the capacity to send representatives to the tribunal.
I can only say that statistics show that the oral tribunals have a higher rate of success than paper, but that does not take into account this specific condition.
Also sometimes reading the reports of some of the assessments I do wonder whether it's for the right person. It beggars belief what some say. I read one which put lack of eye contact down to cultural reasons when the person was so depressed they were virtually catatonic.
ATOS are not doing the assessments after April. I think it is moving to Maximus. Don't know what affect this will have

unweavedrainbow Sun 22-Mar-15 10:04:24

Sure, of course you can PM me. I have a lot of experience with BPD specific DLA/PIP claims (including my own) so I'd be happy to help. Just quickly, the ESA descriptor thing is important, as they are using ESA to inform PIP and vice versa-so don't be too surprised if she gets a letter of reassessment for her ESA, as her ESA and PIP don't match. sad however, there is much greater consideration for MH in the ESA descriptors, as well as that risk to self or others has to be taken into account (rule u2188), so you have solid grounds for support group there. Anyway, I'm happy to help in whatever way I can.

SilverDragonfly1 Sun 22-Mar-15 11:19:19

Thank you everyone. I appreciate this support more than I can say. I will PM you sometime soon unweaved, right now I've not slept much and my brain isn't really in gear at all!

pinkdonut Sun 22-Mar-15 11:32:58

I get DLA for my MH issues - high rate care and low rate mobility. I don't have BPD but a number of other serious MH diagnoses including a different personality disorder. I got turned down for my first application years ago so I recognise that feeling of anger.

I would say that the most important thing for me was getting that paper-based trail sorted - I applied for all my medical records under the Data Protection Act and there were lots of records and letters (which I'd never originally been copied into, plus some I had but had lost in the chaos of my home filing system blush). The Benefits and Work forum/website was also incredibly helpful for me. I was given an indefinite award straightaway at the last application after sending reams of paperwork and an incredibly detailed form, diaries, emails etc. I'm worried PIP will be a harder nut to crack but we aren't due to switch over for a couple of years in my area so I'm getting as much information as I can about the application process, and making sure I keep up all appointments and keep track of my medical letters and reports.

exWifebeginsat40 Sun 22-Mar-15 11:53:52

BPD and other diagnoses here. been in the support group for ESA since my breakdown and hospital admission a couple of years ago. i also have physical health problems. just been awarded higher rate care and low rate mobility PIP. i'm in an area with no mental health provision (just been put into special measures) but i have a Link Worker at the GP surgery who supported my claim.

one of the symptoms of my BPD is alcoholism. i'm currently sober, but put on my PIP application on every page that, should i relapse, i can't take care of myself at all. i dunno - it's horrible to put down on paper and look at how broken i am, but it was the best way to get the assessors to understand how fragile my mental health is. i didn't get called for an interview.

best of luck with your daughter's appeal.

unweavedrainbow Sun 22-Mar-15 12:03:07

in terms of interviews/assessments, there has been a concerted move in the DWP not to assess people with severe MH difficulties face to face, where there is both a strong paper trail and a significant chance that the interview could make the person worse. There has also been an improvement in MH assessments-all the forms I've done for people in the last year have been assessed as I would expect them to be. It is a case of using the "correct" language and providing a huge amount of detail, though. angry it shouldn't be this difficult...

eyebags63 Sun 22-Mar-15 16:10:58

Everything you say rings a bell.

DD1 applied for PIP and didn't get it, despite qualifying for support group ESA.

The report that came through was full of half-truths and outright lies. Some of the statements made by the 'nurse' directly contradicted all of the other medical and oral evidence. The reconsideration was completed within 2 weeks, how can they fairly review all the documentation and the decision in that time frame? The outcome was a rehash of the lies they told in the first instance.

It really is a scandal. They clearly hope people will be worn down by the system and give up with the appeal process. Of course many with MH issues will not cope with the tribunal process in person which further reduces the chances of success.

SilverDragonfly1 Sun 22-Mar-15 16:55:30

i can't take care of myself at all. i dunno - it's horrible to put down on paper and look at how broken i am, but it was the best way to get the assessors to understand how fragile my mental health is. i didn't get called for an interview.

Understand completely exWife. DD found the whole thing very dispiriting and demeaning. I think that was part of the problem in the interview, the assessor had already displayed dismissive and slightly contemptuous behaviour towards someone else in the waiting room who had come on the wrong day. DD felt driven to paint herself a bit better than she really is to combat that- for example, saying she read news articles (which was interpreted as reading the newspapers) and only explaining it was on FB when I prompted her to expand. So that could have been interpreted as her being coached, rather than an attempt to correct a wrong impression.

Will you be appealing eyebags?

SilverDragonfly1 Thu 21-May-15 13:36:42

Just got the appeal documents from DWP, who are still saying they're right in the teeth of all the additional evidence including a letter from my daughter's therapist. Their main argument is that the HCP was trained to do the assessment and so they continue to use the outcome against us.

However, we have made a formal complaint about the assessor. The time they allow themselves to answer has been and gone with no reply. I rang them just now and their systems are down. They admitted they have been down all week. How on earth is anything going to get sorted out, especially as this is a regular occurrence? I know it is, because half the time I call them the system is down.

And really, are this big faceless company going to just admit that their employee made up a load of bull in the report and is completely culpable? I'm willing to bet they will come back with a non-reply that slides out of it and a leaflet for some kind of ombudsman. Who in turn will back them up as it's ultimately our word against theirs.

I feel so tired and defeated. I've been on extra ADs since election day (tricyclics to go with my SSRIs) and I don't know how much longer I can keep fighting this injustice.

NotAJammyDodger Thu 21-May-15 14:13:29

OP I am really glad you have received some good advice.

Sorry, but TwosaCrowd's comment made me so made so angry, "From application to tribunal I th it was well over a year. I ended up with over 5k back payment which paid for my wedding!"

Lots of us struggle to make ends meet with serious MH issues. Sorry to hijack your thread but that comment made me sick.

SilverDragonfly1 Thu 21-May-15 16:09:26

I'm assuming she meant that it 'paid back' the amount they'd struggled to save over the period, not that they said 'great, back pay, now we can have a big extravagant wedding!' It's not that much to spend on a wedding nowadays (which is something I think ridiculous, but not my business really).

If (huge if) we win this, most of the back pay will go to pay deposit and as much advance rent as possible so that my daughter and her partner can get a 1 bed flat together as living with his family is not ideal for any of them. If she was getting the money now, she'd be saving for that on the basis that having privacy and space would help her mental health a great deal.

However, my worry is that the DWP are keeping to their original decision despite all evidence to the contrary because they claim that the HCP was trained and would have written an accurate report. In fact, this whole issue has come about because the report was largely false and full of omissions (actually, can something be full of something that, by definition, isn't there?). If Atos and the DWP continue to assert that the report is true, I don't see how we can win.

SilverDragonfly1 Fri 26-Jun-15 21:13:40

Today we finally got to appeal. My daughter had to undergo the entire assessment process over again in front of a judge, doctor, disability advisor and DWP rep (yes, we were the lucky 1 in 10 who's tribunal gets attended by one) as the Atos assessment was agreed to be worthless. Including by the rep, who said he wasn't going to argue the DWP side in this case, but would abide with the panel's decision.

We won. Standard care and mobility. Backdated from march '14 and until March '17.

The Atos complaint is now at level two, since they gave an unsatisfactory reply at the initial stage.

NotAJammyDodger Sat 27-Jun-15 12:49:08

Awesome, well done you for fighting it. As for ATOS, apparently is stands for 'don't give A TOSs'. wink

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