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Has anyone appealed re not receiving ESA and can tell me what it was like?

(30 Posts)
Kasparprinceofthieved Wed 05-Oct-16 04:09:09

Just that really ...

I've been receiving ESA due to being unable to work because of depression and anxiety. I failed my work capability assessment because I "can leave the house to pick up a prescription" and "prepare toast and microwave meals" for myself, therefore meaning I can look after myself and hold down a job confused

I also failed my mandatory reconsideration and have requested an appeal. It's coming up soon and I wondered if anyone had requested one and could tell me what to expect ... How many people are likely to be there, how long might it take, do they tell you immediately if you fail, what sort of questions are they likely to ask?

I'm so stressed by the whole thing, I can't sleep and I'm terrified about going to somewhere unfamiliar to talk to people I don't know, in a situation I can't prepare for or control ...


AnxiousCarer Wed 05-Oct-16 21:14:39

I can't answer your question but have had some really helpful advice about similar issues from people on "The mental health forum" you should be able to find it via google.

The answers I got were around careful wording of answers and thinking about your bad days.

amikatari Thu 06-Oct-16 07:03:13

Hi Kaspar, I've recently been through this myself. I think the best thing you can do is try and arrange for a welfare rights adviser from your local CAB or other free advice centre to represent you. Also try and get some medical evidence - you can write down the points you want the tribunal to consider and ask your GP to sign it to confirm that based on their knowledge of you, your condition does affect you this way. This is also something an advice worker can help with if you've got time to organise it before the hearing. The appeal panel consists of two 'judges', usually a doctor and a lawyer, there's a clerk taking notes, and then you, your representative if you have one, and if you can take a family member or friend this will help you with emotional support and also show the panel that you need the emotional support in order to cope in the situation, supporting your case. Best not to travel to the hearing alone, they will ask, and it could make them assume you're capable of doing so generally. The panel is independent, so they are not biased towards the DWP, but they can only make decisions based on the information you give them. So be open about your difficulties, don't put a brave face on - this can be difficult because we are socialised to try and be brave to show that we have the 'right' attitude, but it only backfires.
The website 'Benefits and Work' has some fab information about ESA appeals.
Good luck smile

Kasparprinceofthieved Thu 06-Oct-16 07:16:27

Thanks. The appeal is Monday, so not much time left.

My gp surgery don't provide letters for benefits and also I can't get an appointment until in over two weeks time.

I'm taking my bf with me.

I'm not good at on the spot stuff, I panic and say the wrong thing.

What sort of things did they ask?

Are they going to ask stupid questions like "tell me about yourself"?

I'm likely to just sit there and cry at the moment. I'm not coping at all right now.

Kasparprinceofthieved Thu 06-Oct-16 07:18:05

I don't think I can get to the citizens advice bureau in time ... I've got shopping being delivered this morning ... They're only open a few hours and not always for general enquiries. There's nowhere else that can help.

samk15 Thu 06-Oct-16 07:30:57

As pp said think about your absolute worst day, Do you always get dressed, shower, brush your teeth etc? May sound like random things but if you struggle to maintain these it can highlight the fact that you can't always function properly.

Kasparprinceofthieved Thu 06-Oct-16 07:46:09

Thanks. I don't do those things a lot of the time tbh unless I have to, I told them that at the work capability assessment, but it made no difference.

Kasparprinceofthieved Thu 06-Oct-16 08:26:27

I'm going to try and get to the citizens advice on Friday. What should I be asking them to do? Can they do anything?

AnxiousCarer Thu 06-Oct-16 16:57:06

To be honest if you do just go in sit and cry it is demonstrating how much you are struggling so dont try to stop yourself. If you are in too much of a state to answer properly and your bf has to step in again this is showing how difficult you find the situation.

Kasparprinceofthieved Thu 06-Oct-16 17:11:56

I guess .. I hadn't thought about it that way.

expatinscotland Thu 06-Oct-16 17:12:01

'To be honest if you do just go in sit and cry it is demonstrating how much you are struggling so dont try to stop yourself. If you are in too much of a state to answer properly and your bf has to step in again this is showing how difficult you find the situation.'

But wouldn't that be putting on a show and therefore dishonest? I'm sure they're wise to that, too.

expatinscotland Thu 06-Oct-16 17:13:57

They'll just say you were unable to respond, they won't just hand over the ESA. I think it'd be much more feasible to be factual and try to see a Welfare Rights Advisor.

Kasparprinceofthieved Thu 06-Oct-16 18:41:42

It wouldn't be dishonest .. If I'm sat there crying? I'm not planning on pretending, it's really stressful, and I cry most of the time right now sad It'll be a miracle if I don't cry sad

How do I find a welfare rights advisor at such short notice?

AnxiousCarer Thu 06-Oct-16 20:46:56

Its not dishonest to sit and cry and struggle to answer the questions if your in such a state of mental distress that that is what happens. I'm not suggesting faking it, just that trying to put a brave face on is not particularly helpful. It was a response to OP worrying that she wouldn't be able to hold ittogether and would just sit there and cry. And a lot of people with mental health problems will struggle to manage the assessment process which is why they are likely to need to take a carer with them to help.

Kasparprinceofthieved Thu 06-Oct-16 22:26:26

I don't want to fake anything. I just want them to acknowledge that what I've told them is true and just because I try to spend some time with my daughter watching a dvd for example doesn't mean I can concentrate and take it in and therefore work for someone every day, just because I can pick up a vital prescription doesn't mean I can drive or take public transport to work every day etc etc.

At the moment my mental health is so bad that I burst into tears at least once a day generally over nothing and wish someone would just shoot me so I don't have to go on feeling like this. That's why I think it's possible I might just sit and cry at the appeal, it's all too much.

Kasparprinceofthieved Thu 06-Oct-16 23:40:06

Amikatari, can you tell me how long it took, what sort of questions they asked, were they friendly and understanding or just harsh and businesslike, did you feel they were trying to catch you out like at the wca? ..

Kasparprinceofthieved Fri 07-Oct-16 11:31:39

I went to the citizens advice bureau, this morning, there is nothing they can do.

lazymum99 Sat 08-Oct-16 22:24:17

It is too late to get help at the CAB. Go with your boyfriend and just tell them the truth.
Look at the bundle of papers the DWP must have sent you and see where you can get the points from and concentrate on showing that this is where your difficulties are. If your boyfriend has to do stuff for you and accompany you to unfamiliar places then he can tell them.
If you find any changes to your routine or appointment times difficult to cope with, think of an example and how it makes you feel.
How does your condition affect your memory/concentration. Can you do the housework, get washed and dressed in the morning or does it just all become too much.
Medical reports are good but you have said you cannot get any. Have you been referred for counselling or seen a psychologist. All this strengthens your case.
Good Luck and if you become overwhelmed during the hearing and tearful do not try and cover this up. Be yourself.

Kasparprinceofthieved Sun 09-Oct-16 01:55:07

Thanks. I've been reading through the paperwork (84 pages!), but find it difficult to concentrate. I can't think of examples .. The stress has just become too much now, my brain is completely fried.

I'm now receiving counselling and seeing the primary care mental health team and have sent copies of the appointment letters to the tribunal as evidence.

I find it extremely difficult to concentrate. I stay in bed all day a lot of the time or don't get dressed or washed, just lying on the sofa. I don't cook, just eating easy stuff like biscuits. But I told them all this at the work capability assessment, it counts for nothing ...

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Sun 09-Oct-16 11:08:57

I really do not understsnd what using a microwave and making toast has to do with mental illness.
Good luck. X

AnchorDownDeepBreath Sun 09-Oct-16 11:13:19

Did you submit any medical evidence, other than appointment letters? That's what holds the sway - they go off the form too, but really judge based on what the medical professionals said. You mentioned that you couldn't get evidence from your GP. That might not matter if you had evidence from other mental health professionals but if you didn't, I'd really recommend getting some. It's horrible but it seems to be a very "prove it" benefit.

AnxiousCarer Sun 09-Oct-16 12:11:40

The fact that your cocentration is too poor to complete the form is in itself a good example. Can DP go through the form with you and help you to think of examples. It also sounds like you need prompting with everyday activities eg washing yourself, getting dressed and eating, threfore are unable to complete these things independantly. Again all these things would contribute to a PIP claim but not sure about ESA as my income is over the threshold for DH to claim this.

Kasparprinceofthieved Sun 09-Oct-16 14:09:40

Iliveina they think if you can feed yourself (whatever you eat) you can work confused

Anchor the only evidence I could get was appointment letters and an assessment report from the primary care mental health team. No one else will give me anything, not my counsellor or my GP. What am I supposed to do?! Everyone says get evidence ... it's not that easy"!!!

Anxious I know that, but how do I prove it to the tribunal? I was 100% honest at the work capability assessment, they just told me because I sit and try to have mother-daughter time with my teen daughter by watching a DVD (although I can't concentrate on it) and feed myself on toast and microwave meals that I'm able to work. I give up really, I'm too stressed to carry on with this and it seems hopeless. All I do is fight ... struggle ... I don't want to go on holiday, but widescreen TVs, I don't smoke or drink, I don't leave the house! I just want to feed and clothe my daughter, is that such a sin?!

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Sun 09-Oct-16 14:16:33

Hmmm. Makes me wonder whose head would roll. If heaven forbid you run amock in work, which could happen. All because youve been deemed fit for work, due to knowing how to work a microwave a toaster.
This system is a circus at times

Kasparprinceofthieved Sun 09-Oct-16 15:15:43

No one's, I imagine. People are committing suicide because their benefits are axed and nothing happens.

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