Judge, Jury and Executioner?

The day I got back home from my hernia operation, I received a letter from the Tribunal Service.

Probably the best ‘dreaded brown envelope’ I’ve ever had.

Without my knowledge, a PIP Appeals Hearing had been held in my absence and to cut a long story short, I won the case. And so ends 11 months of diabolical stress.

This would not have happened without the support of Stuart and Marie Nixon, and my MP, Anna McMorrin.

A reader of my blog put me in touch with Anna and she took up my case, expediting it through the system.

However, I could not obtain crucial evidence from my MS nurse, as the DWP had told them it would be disregarded. I have since found out GP’s and MP’s themselves are also being told that their evidence will be similarly disregarded.

This goes completely against the DWP’s own published guidelines:

From the DWP’s own PIP guidance booklet

Sending in additional supporting evidence

We want to use the widest range of evidence when we assess PIP claims to
ensure awards are made correctly and claimants are paid promptly.
It is very important that claimants provide us with any relevant evidence or
information they already have that explains how their condition affects them.

Information that will help us to assess a PIP claim
Reports about the claimant from:
• specialist nurses
• community psychiatric nurses
• social workers
• occupational therapists
• GPs
• hospital doctors
• physiotherapists
• support worker

Not only that, the DWP has admitted that Capita PIP assessors do not need expertise in medical conditions they assess.

So let me get this straight. We cannot submit medical evidence from those who know us best. And then they send us an assessor who has no real knowledge of our condition.

I call this out as blatant discrimination. It’s a guaranteed no-win situation.

Although my case has been resolved, this does not end here.

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16 thoughts on “Judge, Jury and Executioner?

  1. Bev Gregory says:

    I’m so pleased that you got your deserved result from your appeal. Brilliant news.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you! Such a dreadful process – we have to ensure it stops. Watch this space, we’re going to keep pushing! X

  2. Archie says:

    Well done you. And thank goodness for a decent, hard working MP.

  3. nanette says:

    It was so wonderful to open the Western Mail this morning and see your photograph and read the excellent article.you have made history by alerting so many to the irregularity in the support of each persons claim .This will now I am sure be a reason for objecting especially when we know that the assessors had no idea of the effect of MS.
    Well done but what a period of anxiousness, this post will have helped many and full praise for an MP who listens and follows through.
    Trusting your recovery period is not too difficult.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hi Nanette!
      Thank you so much – so very lucky to have a lot of support, including you guys from the MS Society Council.
      Recuperation is taking a lot longer than I expected! But I’m so relieved to have had the operation 🙂 X

  4. Annie Bishop says:

    Well done Barbars

  5. Ann Jones says:

    Well done Barbara. For not only the hernia but your PIP too. You have had a trying year. Seen you shortly. Xxx

  6. Mary Olley says:

    That’s fantastic news! I’ve been following the painful twists and turns of your PIP process, being all too aware that I will receive the dreaded reassessment letter at some point.
    I’m concerned that an appeal took place without your knowledge, although it was bviously successful. Did you not have a right to appear, and what would your rights have been if it had been unsucessful?
    I’m also appalled that the DWP can explicitly disregard its own guidance on supporting evidence. I note you say it does not end here and would be interested to know where I could usefully voice my concerns. I have given up on my own MP who simply bats back his party’s line on these issues, and it’s just too exhausting wasting energy in that way.
    Anyway, all the best – I’m very impressed how you use your energy as productively as you do. I know it will take a lot of pacing/ balancing/ resting etc etc!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hi there!
      Thank you so much for following me!
      My MP campaigned to move my case from a tribunal judge to a district judge, so my case was held without me needing to appear as the evidence (in my mind) was compelling.
      But, yes, the fact that the DWP can disregard virtually all evidence from our professionals is nothing less than shocking. And I’m really sad to hear that your own MP is not being at all helpful.
      My MP is planning to raise this issue in Parliament and I’m keen to find out how to support her with this. There’s a party conference on at the moment, so when that has finished, hopefully I’ll have a chance to speak with here.
      Although my case has been settled, I’m not going to sit back. The fight most definitely continues!! X

  7. Catherine says:

    That’s great news Barbara. It’s a shame we have to fight for our benefits like this though isn’t it. I hope you are fully recovered from your operation. xx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      It truly is a broken system and it’s been a terrible process to have to go through. Where would I have been without you guys helping me through it?!
      I’m recovering well although I think I’m overdoing it a bit so have to calm down a bit,lol. I’m quite impatient! x

  8. Jonny says:

    I’ve just read your post….’Judge Jury Executioner ‘ it takes me back….to the anxiety etc. associated with a PIP assessment. Following their(DWP) decision, after my assessment
    NOT to award me enough points to ..basically afford…the standard of living I had under the DLA system it
    took me ask for an ‘enhanced reconsideration ‘ which only then permitted me to provide my medical history from both my GP and MS nurse….who were more than willing to provide written information about how MS affects me. So..to sum up…it ….PIP….was yet another hurdle to have to overcome…………

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I’m completely with you. My PIP dropped after my DLA reassessment and it was hard. I hope you got a positive outcome.
      I can’t quite believe all the stress is over, but it’s been a terrible 11 months and all for what? To re-prove I have MS!! The system is completely broken. X

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