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.