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The "joy" of fighting DWP decisions - advice needed please

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:30 pm
by Karou
Hi all,

I've been off work for nearly 2 years now because of Fibro and spine problems. I've been fighting ever since I became ill, even before getting ESA. First, I had to educate my employer about the form they had to give me after my entitlement forsick pay ran out in order to apply for ESA. (according to them there was no such thing) It took ages, between 2 to 3 months, before that went through.
Then it was ATOS telling me I was fit for work - I appealed. Again it took what felt like forever before they told me my appeal was accepted.

Then the long wait for a hearing date began with me being told over the phone that it can takemany months because they're very busy. It never arrived.

A couple of weeks ago, I've had a voicemail telling me I missed my appointment for the tribunal hearing to explain why I'm not fit for work. Tried ringing the given number many times but it was always busy. Then I received a letter from them telling me that the decision was made without me and my appeal was refused.
I wrote a letter, sent it registered and signed for, asking for the decision to be set aside.

Yesterday came the bad news from the localcouncil and the DWP : ESA ( assessment rate for nearly 2 years) and housing benefit suspended. Again.

When I phoned the HM Courts & Tribunals Service all I got was that my letter was received and is now with the judge and that it takes between 6 to 8 weeks to receive a reply, sometimes more if they're busy.

I've got a lot going on right now and this added stress isn't helping me at all, mentally or physically. I feel like I can't deal with this pressure on my own but can't afford to pay someone to help.
Now my biggest worry is how to pay my rent, bills and buy food because I've got no other income and I'm single. There's no chance I could ask a friend to lend me some money.

I don't know what to do, might be thrown out and with no food. I these places realise what the long waiting times do to people? I wonder if they'd care if someone ends up dead because of it. Guess not. :cry:

Does anyone know what I could do? Maybe to speed up the whole process?

Re: The "joy" of fighting DWP decisions - advice needed plea

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:54 pm
by Kyomii
Housing benefit goes off income and NOT if you receive benefits - since you have no income, contact housing benefit and get the suspension lifted (the suspension is just a process when benefits stop.).

It isn't up to your local council, simple fact is if you have no income, and no savings as such, you are legally entitled to housing benefit. (Extended payments when benefits stop are only at the discretion of your council if the reason your benefits have stopped is because you start work or earn more money or work more hours - this is not the case here.). So, providing you meet the normal criteria and you have zero income and less than 6 thousand in savings, you ARE entitled to housing benefit.

Call your local CAB and get an appointment there with a benefits specialist and get them to help you sort it if you get no joy.

You should be able to apply for hardship payments from the DWP but you really need to discuss your case with someone in the know. An even better option than the CAB is a welfare rights officer. See if one is available in your area (look up online) and get their assistance first and foremost.

Re: The "joy" of fighting DWP decisions - advice needed plea

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:00 pm
by helen.whittaker.125
I've contacted my local MP he is taking up my claim as ATOS stated throughout I'm disabled and need equipment and a career then refused it.
Today I'm having a good day so I only ache like I've got flu, but no these people don't seem to realise what this illness is like on an individual basis........ I can't see me ever finding an employer who will let me work when I can, go in late, leave early and have 5-10 days a month off for pain management, physio, hydro, consultant and councilling appointments ontop of working when I can. It only takes me 3 hours or so to get going in the morning, longer if I want a bath or shower to wash after night sweats as I have to wait for my partner to finish his morning shift to help me wash and dress.......
I'd love to have credit cards and family to help but I've no family with money and I'm in an Iva from using credit cards to get by the last 5 years.......
It's time that ATOS and the DWP actually accepted that fibromyalgia is as debilitating as we all say. Damn it makes me so angry and stressed.... Oh yea that's a trigger for a flair meaning I can't even make it to appointments, they've stuck us in a vicious circle

BB Helen xx

Re: The "joy" of fighting DWP decisions - advice needed plea

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:16 am
by zappa20
You can get your HB reinstated straight away due to having nil income, so contact your local council ASAP. think there is a form for nil income claims.

Did you not receive any paperwork from the Tribunal Services stating the date of your appeal or the bundle of documents they send when someone is making an appeal?

In these more complicated circumstances advice from CAB or another professional advisory service would probably be best. They can probably advise you on what to do and how long nd how these things take to resolve.

The only suggestion I can make is to start a new claim for ESA meantime if you are in a desperate situation. (as long as your claim is eligible for income based ESA and 6 months have passed from the time you received notice from the DWP you'd failed your assessment)

But it would mean that if you won the appeal when it's finally sorted out , the decision would only be effective from the time you first failed the assesment till the time your new claim started. Albeit you would still receive any backpayment money owed if you won the appeal. You would also need to probably endure another ATOS assessment and be on the lower rate again until your assessment decison was given.

If you'd attended the Tribual and failed to overturn the decision , starting a new claim would be your only option other than JSA .

Hope you get things sorted out.

Re: The "joy" of fighting DWP decisions - advice needed plea

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:50 pm
by Karou
Thank you so much for replying.

I've now sent a letter to the council and asked them to reconsider and continue payments. I've also explained what happened with my ESA and ( as suggested by the DWP) asked if there's anything they can do to help as I can't even buythe bare essentials now.

I've considered making a new claim but my friend told me she's gonna help me out because she doesn't want me to go through all this again if it can be avoided. So at least I know I'll have something to eat.

Now I'm hoping that it won't take them forever to reply...

Re: The "joy" of fighting DWP decisions - advice needed plea

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:27 am
by zappa20
If you put in a new claim form, it would take a few weeks to be sent an assessment form and with the huge backlogs could be several months before being asked to attend an another assessment. If you still felt as strongly about the stress and as long as your friend can still help you with money for food etc, you could simply cancel your claim and not attend the assessment. But it would at least give you some ESA assessment rate money in the meantime. So maybe worth considering. You can cancel an ESA claim at any time.