Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum

To appeal or not to appeal?

That is the question.

I am tired. Utterly exhausted.

I first got the DLA to PIP forms back in October last year. We’ll soon be in July, and my Mandatory Reconsideration request was turned down, as expected. Over 80% are.

We’re talking almost ten months, to complete one ‘award’. And I’ll be reviewed again in three years.

After their initial assessment, I have been awarded the daily living needs, standard rate. In turn, this allows me to access the disability rates of both Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit.

If I go to an appeal, there is every chance that could be reduced, and I would lose that access to the other benefits. And then I would be facing homelessness. Despite working.

It’s a gamble, and a huge one.

There’s two ways of thinking. The first, outlined above: take what I’ve been given, live with it and wait to be reassessed in three years, when no doubt my MS will be worse and at the very least I’ll have a ‘proper’ mental health diagnosis. Which annoys me as I’ve been proactive by seeing a counsellor for years, yet to the DWP, it is meaningless.

The second way is to apply for an appeal and hope that the panel will understand the intrinsic and very complicated nature of MS.

The new 20 metre rule makes matters even more difficult. It used to be 50 metres and it’s a cause being championed by the MS Society right now.

I would invite anyone from the DWP to my house from around 2pm onwards, to witness my struggles. The evenings I don’t cook. The evenings I spend lying on the sofa. The evenings when the nerve pain is beyond comprehension, despite being on 600mg of nerve pain medication a day, the highest sanctioned for MS. Where to go from here?

For me, the sticking point is the lies. Fair play, if the assessor saw me on a ‘good day’, I could understand her comments, which have been faithfully regurgitated by the person looking in to my Mandatory Reconsideration (who hasn’t met me). She didn’t.

It galls, a government department, coming in to my house, sitting with me and a witness, then writing absolute lies – in fact, it is seriously messing with my mind. I was there. I know what happened.

So here I am, not knowing quite which way to go. Stay safe, yet insulted. Or fighting my corner, with every chance I could lose my house of the last 14 years.

I work. I’ve raised a teenager on my own since he was a baby and now he is in University. And I’m dealing with MS. I’ve not given up.

I think they actually want me to.

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20 thoughts on “Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum

  1. Donna Woodward Taylor says:

    Although this article is about Lyme, the symptoms and the sentiments are very similar. The system sucks. Sending you a big hug.

  2. Veronica Craven-Romain says:

    Damn girl, lies are lies, yes go for it, how can it be harder than anything you’ve already done? Do it, but remember the dates, you only have a limited time.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you πŸ™‚
      I’m just sick and tired of tribunals! One for being sacked from my previous job, for having MS, and the second for being refused a short taxi ride, because I have MS. Another tribunal?! x

  3. Sandy says:

    Just read on ‘Benefits & Work’ that PIP Appeal successes gone up to 71%! I’d say go for it but understand your worries on losing out on pathway to other benefits. Might be worth researching how often this happens (if stats available) to give you peace of mind.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      It’s a big decision.
      In my heart, I know I have a great case, but what could happen on the day? X

  4. John Cowburn says:

    Don’t give up! I’m sure I’ve read that legal appeals are much more likely to succeed than fail? If the appeal board are genuinely looking at all the facts, surely they must allow it? Do any of the UK MS Societies/Forums give advice on this?

  5. Spudnik says:

    A point of principle arose here. The assessor lied in his reports and I’m going to make them put things right. Apparently because I could hold his fingers I am able to manage my treatments without a hint of a fumble and with a song in my heart. It makes me glad that people can see flowers and butterflies when from another point of view, life is more than a bit shit. If I try to sort my pills every day it looks like one of those old bagatelle toys. Tablets everywhere, impossible to find as I can’t see properly. Impossible to pick up because despite my fabulous gripping skills I seem to fail at actually feeling. Anger at the lie pushed me on. Obviously I won’t try to tell you what to do, but for me the anger shoved me towards the appeal.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Brilliant comment! It’s bizarre the leaps these assessors make; you can hold your hand up, therefore you are able to cook, do your laundry, etc. Why don’t they realise is just isn’t that simple?! X

  6. Beth Nigro says:

    I read your posts about this horrible system and my heart hearts. It sounds absolutely barbaric. Being relatively newly diagnosed, I can’t fathom someone observing you and your abilities and judging you capable of doing more. We judge ourselves so harshly already for not being able enough! To have an “official” voice implying that you COULD do more if only you tried harder is the last thing you need when dealing with the quagmire that is this disease. I think about you all of the time! And I’m sending the most positive vibes ever. I wish there was more I could do! I’m so sorry you are forced to make impossible decisions like this.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you so much!
      It’s also that they tell us we can do stuff when we so obviously can’t. And then on the other hand, they tell us if we try harder, we can have any job we want, do anything we want. Hmm. So patently untrue in our society these days. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
      And making us go through this awful system is creating so much more stress and anxiety for us, it’s unreal. Britain is not a very welcome place to be, if you’re disabled. x

  7. Catherine says:

    I live in South Wales as well. I appealed and was successful so my advice would be to go for it. Good luck x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you for that! Today, I’m thinking, what’s the harm in going for it? I’m seeing my MS nurse in early July and they have always offered to support us in a tribunal πŸ™‚ Then I think, gah. The gamble!! X

  8. Annie says:

    I totally understand . Will likely be in the same boat when my MR is rejected !! Not sure I can face the tribunal thing.. so stressful to say the least … really tough decision for you 😳x

  9. Rachel says:

    I also live in South Wales and appealed and was successful. My tribunal panel consisted of a GP who knew his stuff on MS and a disabilities equipment Man (Can’t remember exactly his title) and a Judge. Tbh they were really nice. I was a blubbering wreck as the tribunal took place in a court room and I felt like a I was on trial! I would definitely appeal. I was awarded this for 3 years until 2019 tbh I’m dreading going through the whole thing again ☹ Appeal πŸ˜€ x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you for this! Bit scary to hear it was in a court room, but really glad you had a positive outcome πŸ™‚ I think I’ll definitely put the appeal in, as I only have until 1st July, then I’ll see how it goes from there πŸ™‚ X

  10. This is barbaric! I’m not in the same legal system you are and I can’t catch you if you fall, but even though my opinion is worthless I still think you should appeal, on principal. Could you try maybe to launch a GoFundMe campaign to collect money for legal representation?

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