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markieboy79
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« on: September 14, 2017, 01:09:42 PM »

Hi everyone, just registered for this site but have been lurking in the shaddows for a little while.

So today I got one of the letters from the DWP that i have been dreading. I went for a medical assessment just over a month ago and today I got a letter telling me I have to go and see someone at my local job centre. i can't use the phone, so several phone calls by my mum later and I'm told that I've been moved from the support group to the work group. I've now worked myself up into a total state and to say that I'm very angry right now would be an understatement.

I'm 38 years old and have had CFS since the age of 14 and if anything my condition has worsened over the last few years and not got better. I was attending my local CFS clinic until earlier this year but was discharged due to them not being able to help me any further, so as you can imagine I am more than a bit miffed to be told by the DWP that I might be fit for work in the future.
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agapanthus
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2017, 02:27:08 PM »

Hello Markieboy and welcome to the Forum.

I am really sorry to hear about the result of your ESA renewal. Are you going to go ahead with asking for a Reconsideration? Did the letter explain about your options there? Do you know that they will stop your money while you are going through that stage (although they do reinstate it if you need to go to a Tribunal for an appeal)? At least I think they will, although if you are in the Work Related Group they may pay you at the lower rate for that time (the whole system has changed so much I am not clear on this).

The system is very difficult now, and very bad decisions are being made all the time. Are you on DLA or PIP as well?

You will need to get some decent support. There are various groups online who will help with some good websites like Benefits and Work (you have to pay to join for the detailed info) and Action for ME has very good leaflets to help with doing the Reconsideration and the appeal. Also there is an excellent support and info group on Facebook called UK M.E. & Chronic Illness Benefits Advice Group. There is also Citizens Advice but not much else these days - there have been so many cut backs.

I can understand your anger but as I said, it's happening to so many people and I feel that ME patients are a soft target as you cannot supply the evidence, and there is still the pervading view in the UK that it's in the mind rather than the body.

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markieboy79
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2017, 04:08:37 PM »

Thanks for the reply and the useful links.

I will be asking for a reconsideration, but apparently I can't set the wheels in motion for that until I have the letter about their decision. All I received this morning was a letter giving me an appointment to see a work advisor at my local job centre.

Still angry about everything, but am feeling a bit better this afternoon after seeing my GP and him giving me his full support (already have a letter from him saying that I am in no condition to work). The support info you've mentioned has also helped lift my mood c017

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neptuno
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2017, 04:26:30 PM »

I thoroughly recommend the uk m.e. &chronic illness group. They have excellent guides to help you through the mandatory Reconsideration process.   It seems to be DWP mission to make it hard for claimants hoping that many will give up.  The help is out there Mark. You should ring and ask for a copy of the assessors report so you can challenge it point by point to show that you meet the support group criteria. Good Luck
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satmanbasil
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2017, 07:54:54 PM »

Hi

Sorry to hear the news but I think you have a much stronger case if you have been in support since 14yo.  Whilst at your CFS/ME clinic did you receive a letter of
test results of the Fukuda Diagnostic Criteria which they use to confirm if your a sufferer or not, it maybe worth checking with your doctor for this letter as they
will copy them in once your diagnosed.
Also you should try and contact the clinic who treated you and ask if the consultant could put something in writing regarding your condition to support your claim

best of luck
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markieboy79
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2017, 10:54:34 AM »

I've never received any test results, but I have got a letter from the CFS clinic from 2014 which details my condition and how it affects me, which  the DWP seem to have ignored.

Really appreciate the advice given here  c017
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neptuno
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2017, 01:14:13 PM »

You could ask to view your GP notes at the surgery. You are entitled to do so free of charge, then maybe select a couple of relevant letters to boost your professional evidence ?
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markieboy79
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2017, 11:15:42 AM »

So, just over 1 week and still waiting to receive a copy of my assessment report 38
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markieboy79
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2017, 11:09:02 AM »

After chasing them up midweek, I finally got the report through today.

After reading the report, I am left with little doubt that the person who assessed me has little to no knowledge of M.E \CFS. This is made abundantly clear with the report stating that I should be able to work within the next 12 months, without it having any kind of negative impact on my Illness.

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agapanthus
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2017, 11:26:00 AM »

I'm glad the report arrived OK anyway, that is something, even if the content leaves you wondering at their stupidity. You will need to pick through it point by point of course.

I remember you saying that you have a strong Dr's letter. When you write back re the reconsideration, and go over the report, it's worth quoting your Dr's letter in your own letter I think rather than just enclosing it, quoting specific points that strengthen your case.

One of the issues is whether they consider that you are fit enough for work related activity even if you are not fit enough for work, so it depends what your Dr has written on those points, as if he has only written that you are not fit enough for work then that doesn't really cover the Work Related Activity part which is supposed to be tailored to what you can manage.

You have to make out the case that being asked to attend for WRA could effecively put your health in danger - it depends what WRA consists of and that's the problem - the DW{ can argue that they will restrict it to things that you can manage, and that is what they try to do sometimes apparently at the appeal tribunal. If going out at all is a problem then I think you have a strong case. Anyway, think along those lines - have you found info online about WRA and the DWP at all? I know I did research it at one time, as I have seen some test cases.
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markieboy79
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2017, 11:38:06 AM »

I've done a quick search of WRA and DWP, but will certainly look a bit more in depth in WRA and DWP.

Due to mental health problems ( severe anxiety and depression) which have been caused by my ME\CFS I have trouble leaving the house and when I do, have to be accompanied by either my mum or Sister, especially when attending appointments or doing everyday things like shopping, so hopefully that will help my case.
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agapanthus
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2017, 03:06:43 PM »

I am sorry to hear that but yes, that should definitely be taken into account. In fact I seem to remember that you had a home assessment so they have already acknowledged that you have problems by agreeing to that (and no doubt your Dr supported that). That alone could be mentioned.

Really it is Regulations 29 and 35 that you need to look at and quote. The 2nd one means you would not be able to work because essentially doing so could be injurious to your health and the first one means that you are not able to do work related activity for the same reason. You do need to quote evidence, and if your GP supports you in this then that is helpful.
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markieboy79
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2017, 03:47:08 PM »

Thanks for the Info agapanthus, it's really appreciated.

Me and my mum ( who accompanied me to my assessment) have already found quite a few inconsistencies in the report, including the assessor contradicting herself.

As for regulations 29 and 35, I'm pretty sure that I already have evidence supplied by the CFS/M.E clinic stating that any activity is paid for later.
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agapanthus
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« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2017, 04:00:14 PM »

Oh apologies, you didn't have the assessment at home. I see that now. Mind you, the fact that you need someone to accompany you always would rule out Work Related Activity I would think unless it was at home.

Good that you have found inconsistencies in the report. There usually are things to highlight...Also good that you had a witness with your for the assessment as then there are 2 people who saw what happened there. Maybe your mum could write a page of evidence for you also to accompany your Reconsideration letter? In my time I have used friends, husband, therapist, Doctors, acupuncturist - really anyone who was willing! After all she knows you best. I write evidence for my son who has severe mental illness and has been through numerous assessments.
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markieboy79
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« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2017, 10:36:28 AM »

Got my reconsideration decision through today and they've decided to uphold the original decision to place me in the work related activity group.

very angry at the moment as I feel they have ignored not only my GPs letter but also the letter from the CFS clinic
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markieboy79
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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2018, 01:13:09 PM »

*Update*

I decided to appeal the mandatory reconsideration decision and just over 8 months later i had my Tribunal hearing yesterday, which i won.

Would like to thank everyone here for their great advice which helped a lot  clap  c017
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roger
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2018, 01:33:48 PM »

That's GREAT news, Mark -  clap clap clap clap clap  Smiley
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