IF YOU ARE WONDERING, YES MANDATORY RECONSIDERATION IS A FARCE

As the title says Mandatory Reconsideration is a farce and I have proved it so allow me to explain how I did this.

Mandatory Consideration the mini appeal to DWP that you have to do in order to exercise you right to an HMCTS Tribunal but in reality it is a useless layer of bureaucracy that causes needless additional stress anxiety and worry to many claimants.

Only about 16% of mandatory reconsiderations are successful at this stage but of those who go on to Tribunal that figure jumps to about 76% but lets not forget many more who could have won, but drop out at mandatory reconsideration and lose the will to fight the injustice further that is a dereliction of duty on the DWP.

So 17th August 2018 I was discharged from QA Hospital Portsmouth having undergone major surgery to remove my bladder, prostate and some lymph nodes it was a successful operation from a clinical point of view as I am now free of the big C and 2 further CT Scans has proved that remains the case, however recovery from such major surgery continues as fatigue remains a battle.

Now I was due migration from DLA which I was already getting due to SAH Stroke in April 1990 to PIP so rather than wait for that letter to come I phoned them up to report a change in condition something the DWP makes clear that always must be done.

So a claim for Personal Independence Payment was started in a way I was glad as it gave the opportunity to put my claim of DLA right that I had always believed was wrong from 2007 and thus get this claim for PIP put right with the right award and I was ready for that fight I knew was coming so had prepared myself very early on by reading and learning much research indeed.

Fast forward to March 2019 and I got that award of enhanced care but again no award for mobility which I was adamant given my level of disability I was entitled to so the Mandatory Reconsideration went in which I had already prepared on the basis of the PA4 Assessors report which was like many of there reports a pack of lies that did not relate and missed out much of what I said. A COMMON THEME

June 2019 I got the Mandatory Reconsideration Award Letter it was no change and I now suspect that MR Letter just sat on DWP Systems until it was time to send out a response and thus no due consideration given whatsoever that view was to be further enforced.

So not ready to give up yet I submit my Tribunal Form online it was I found an easy process that took no more than 10 minutes to do and my grounds of appeal was my Mandatory Reconsideration Letter that I had already sent to DWP no more no less as I knew I could send further evidence once the DWP had replied to my initial submission.

I was expecting a drawn out appeal to HMCTS with at least a year’s wait to get to a hearing so started preparing by reading case law and hansard as I was not just appealing the mobility component of PIP but the length of award too so I was ready to submit a full and detailed submission when the time came, naturally this was time consuming and draining due to my disabilities and in particular Executive Dysfunction a by product of SAH STROKE but understood the need to research so pushed myself in the mornings when my brain was best refreshed.

Now her comes the cracker that proved all my doubts about Mandatory Reconsiderations, I got a text from HMCTS saying that my Tribunal had been lapsed in my favour by DWP and thus case closed just three weeks after filing it online.

I was now on tender hooks wondering what had happened and what the word lapsed meant although grateful it was in my favour so grabbed myself a coffee and chilled until the DWP Letter dropped on my door mat.

That was not a long wait as it arrived the same day a few hours later, I had WON enhanced on Mobility, going from zero points to 12 points for moving around and reading further down it was ongoing for 10 years with a light touch review.

So what was the climb down all of a sudden in such a short space of time as I gave the Tribunal no more than the DWP already had and as I said my grounds of appeal was the MR Letter word for word?

My only conclusion is that the DWP did not give my evidence the due consideration it deserved and chose to rely too heavily on the PA4 report and knew with it going to Tribunal that evidence WILL BE GIVEN the due consideration that the DWP did NOT give and thus the DWP Appeals Case Manager decided it not worth fighting at Tribunal

So there you are MANDATORY RECONSIDERATION is a FARCE and its purpose is only to frustrate and stop a claim going to HMCTS Appeal and my advice is don’t stop at MR but fight all the way as you have that 76% chance of winning especially if you have the evidence to back you up.

Bureaucracy wastes money, money that could be spent on actually helping citizens

The United Kingdom has Gone Stark Raving Bonkers…

Yeah get that headline, The United Kingdom has gone Stark Raving Bonkers all for what exactly, some Wet Dream of “Get Brexit Done” as if it could be done in the timescales Johnson has wrongly given.

He bullshitted his way through this election campaign hiding from where ever he could and the British Public fell for it hook, line and sinker all in the name of rushing brexit through and creating errors and fuck ups as he goes and I only now see his hard brexit and crash out of the EU that will cause so much damage and the Northerners voted for that WTF..

The UK voted for more of the last 10 years, more austerity more homelessness, more children laying on hospital floors, more citizens dying when all they want is some care, more disabled citizens being punished for being disabled via a brutal welfare reform agenda, more citizens going hungry, more citizens worrying about debt because wages have not kept pace etc etc all for some fucking wet dream of ” Get Brexit Done”

We could have had a second vote, where leavers could have campaigned and still brought a leave vote and actually had a leader negotiating for a better deal that protects our rights and jobs and much more but no they want out ASAP they could have welcomed the investment the north would have got but no they just want to be out with very little thought of the consequences.

As I say again The United Kingdom soon to be “Little England” and a laughing stock to the world has gone Stark Raving Bonkers and I for one want out, Hello Scotland

Truth about the erosion of the NHS

I saw this tweet this morning and it prompted me to write about my own experience in August 2018.

The Tory Party will never come clean on the erosion of the NHS, why would they when it has been caused by them via The Health and Social Care Act 2012 the Legislation written to do exactly what is happening to OUR once great public service.

I have been witness to the poor service this young child has received too and no doubt there are many more like me who took it on the chin and did not complain at the time for fear of NHS Staff losing their jobs or being reprimanded when it is not there fault but all the fault of the Tory Party with the cuts to the NHS priming it ready for sell off.

I was in Hospital for 10 days in August 2018 for a Radical Cystectomy Operation to remove my bladder, Prostate and Lymph Nodes due to Bladder Cancer, Thanks to the NHS I remain Cancer Free however it did not go without problems caused by the Tory Party.

Such a major operation leaves the bowel inoperative temporarily paralyzed if you like and with the onset of bile sickness and thus you are nowhere near being discharged until the sickness stops, you are taking on nutrition and your bowels are working, this can take anything upto 2 weeks to happen.

My bowels started to work 6 days after the operation and it happens without feeling or control and thus needed many bed washes and bed changes, nothing I could do anything about because as I say my bowels exploded without feeling.

Now all was fine during the day as plenty of nursing staff on the wards with ward D7 having 36 beds but the issues arise at night time after 6pm when staffing level is reduced to just 3 nurses with just 2 tasked with patient care and for a Urology Ward this is not enough.

It took an age to get a night time response from the red call button and I could not move myself due to all the leads and tubes attached so needed a commode at the bedside but these were in short supply too and whilst I put the call out soon enough the response was not coming in time and thus lead to shitty beds it was not a comfortable experience I can tell you.

On one occasion I nurse came to do a bed change and then left without doing it due to getting a more important call and thus was left all night in a shitty bed the day nurses in the morning was not very pleased and asked if I wanted to make a complaint.

I refused as did not want the night time staff getting into trouble when they had been working there socks of for 12 hours indeed they did the best they could do given that there was 35 other patients too many with more serious health conditions than me.

It was not a nice experience at night time and shows why the NHS needs real investment in infrastructure, supplies and employees and I am not the only one who has had a bad experience as an inpatient but the real threat of its sell off is not the answer either as people like me will be priced out of an insurance based system as pricing like all insurances is risk based.

So when you go to the polling station this Thursday please think carefully on the health of yourself and your family as at some point in our lives we all need it and even a minor procedure can have big cost under a US Based system.

Letter to Frank Field on the issue of Due Consideration given to Mandatory Reconsideration.

Following on from my wordpress post here:

https://diaryofansahstrokesurvivor.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/well-that-came-right-out-of-the-blue/

I have written to Frank Field MP the Works and Pensions Committee chair hoping he will take action on the issue of due consideration not given to many Mandatory Reconsiderations as all it does is cause needless cost to HMCTS by forcing claimants into appeals in the hope they will back down and drop there rightful claims as well as needless stress, worry and anxiety to claimants

Thankfully although they tried this on me they quickly backed out of an appeal with HMCTS as by then they decided to give my Mandatory Reconsideration the due consideration it was due but it took me to lodge my appeal with HMCTS to get them to do this and I had given HMCTS no more information/evidence that I had already given to DWP, indeed my grounds for appeal was a copy and paste of the MR letter!

I had the tenacity and the will to challenge this all the way but that cannot be said of everyone due to illness and disability and thus the bureaucracy of this extra layer added to the appeal process is failing many as I read of many accounts of citizens who just cannot go that extra mile through HMCTS Appeal and thus lose out on an entitlement they was due and that is wrong and needed investigating

Letter within below link.

https://www.scribd.com/document/414199218/Frank-Field-Letter

Well that came right out of the blue! Zero Mobility Award to Enhanced Mobility Award in 3 weeks!

Some good news following on from this blog posting:

https://diaryofansahstrokesurvivor.wordpress.com/2019/05/24/dwp-catch-questions/

Well they did have the recording of my initial call to claim PIP and it was duly sent on a CD, however things change quickly very quickly in this instance.

At 10am on the 6th June 2019 I got a text from HMCTS saying my claim had been upheld and thus the appeal I had only submitted on the 20th May 2019 has been closed I was rightly on tender hooks as to what exactly had happened so off I went to make a strong coffee to take my mind off and await a DWP letter.

That DWP Letter came through my door before I had even finished that coffee at 10:30am I had won, the DWP had caved in under the weight of the evidence and did not want to go to hearing so was awarded enhanced on both care and mobility components, but not only that.

On further reading twice in fact before it sunk into my Stroke brain they had awarded it to me until 9th December 2028 10 years with the words:

ONGOING AWARD WITH A LIGHT TOUCH REVIEW IN 10 YEARS.

Now I am 56 years old so will be 66 years old by the time that review comes around but more than that I thought by the publicity I had read the 10yr light touch awards are for pensioners? that does not appear to be the case as I am I few years off retirement yet.

I am not complaining as it is finally the right award given my lifelong health conditions but in light of this, my advice to everyone who has a lifelong condition regardless of age should appeal the length of award at both Mandatory Reconsideration or HMCTS Appeal.

In my MR Letter I wrote the following:

Page 27 Award Period

The PA4 Report states: Based on the available evidence, I consider there to be no requirement to arrange a review of this claim as significant change is unlikely and furthermore, he has no ongoing treatments and no variable conditions, therefore his condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future therefore a further review is not needed

Given what had been assessed and written above I question why the need for a review in 3 years had been given on my award letter knowing that a review would be sent out in two years as my conditions are lifelong and not going to change for the better indeed that was the view of my DLA Award which was indefinite.

Given the statement issued by Sarah Newton the Disability Minister who said:

“We’ve listened to feedback from organisations and the public, and this common-sense change will ensure that the right protections are in place while minimising any unnecessary stress or bureaucracy.”

Furthermore, she said:

“new guidance had been issued to decision makers in August 2018 “to ensure those who are awarded the highest level of support whose needs are unlikely to improve or will deteriorate receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at the 10-year point.”

Given my health conditions that I have had for the past near 29 years and will continue until my life ends, I would say a light touch 10-year review is better served in my claim for Personal Independence Payment and not the 3-year award given. I now turn to the inaccuracies in the rest of the report as they should at least go on record as I have already been awarded 19 points for care and thus am not challenging the care component

It is those words that got me the 10yr ongoing award with a light touch review but it raises the question why did the DWP force me into submitting an appeal to HMCTS anyway when they could have done this at Mandatory Reconsideration as I submitted no more evidence and my grounds to appeal was the MR Letter I had sent to DWP and thus could only have been that which swung it in my favour, I had not even send my submission to Court as was awaiting the bundle of documents from DWP which they were relying on.

So in short from submitting my Appeal to HMCTS on 20th May 2019 to today just shy of 3 weeks I have gone from just enhanced care to full PIP award with enhanced mobility and a 10 yr ongoing award.

My job is done and the stress release has been amazing!

UPDATE:

Below I have now added the two important pages of the 11 page letter, they detail the enhanced award for both care and mobility but as I said above what is more important and of interest to many is not the enhanced award in itself but both the length of award and the words “light touch review” being that the Secretary of state for Works and Pensions said such an award was for pensioners initially making a claim for PIP and those already on PIP will be converted at a later date

I was 56 on the 4th June 2019 so some way of pensionable age so clearly that statement was wrong and also applies to those with lifelong health conditions that will struggle with mobility and daily living regardless of age.

20th May 2019 Submitted



DWP Catch Questions.

I have read the following blog by Alex Tiffin about the rise in claimants losing enhanced rate of Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and thus there mobility vehicles

https://universalcreditsuffer.com/2019/05/24/over-half-of-disabled-claimants-moved-to-pip-lose-high-rate-mobility/

It brought back a thought I had and of which I have submitted an FOI Request to DWP in the hope they have recorded the conversation.

Let me explain:

Back in August 2018 I was admitted to hospital for a Radical Cystectomy due to bladder cancer this triggered a new claim for PIP as new health conditions have to be reported to DWP so this I did on discharge from hospital, in hindsight maybe I should have left it a bit longer as due to heavy medication and healing process was not in the best frame of mind.

Anyway I made the call and after going through security questions the first thing I was asked was ” would you like me to inform motability operations of your claim for PIP” not in the best frame of mind I said yes and suffice to say no information was forthcoming and having gone through the medical assessment, the points awarded and how the assessor was leaning on mobility I am lead to believe that question was a catch question of which I fell for hook, line and sinker.

I scored 19 points for care needs well over the 12 needed for enhanced care component but ZERO for mobility despite the executive dysfunction and cancer fatigue I have overlapping on both care and mobility.

They have not read any of the evidence I supplied even at Mandatory Reconsideration they merely read the MR Letter bunged 4 points on for mobility and sent the refusal letter out that was it.

I have now submitted my appeal to HMCTS and will be submitting a submission soon as DWP respond, it has thus far been a complete farce and the PA4 Report? not worth the paper it is written on.

Overpayment of Carers Allowance to my Wife, But was it?

Today the National Audit Office (NAO) released a report called Investigation into overpayments of Carers Allowance, many mainstream media have picked it up from the NAOs Press Release and reported on it too but I would like to go further and report how this has impacted on my wife or should that in fact be a family as although it was her carers allowance it has impacted on the family unit.

My wife who I and many others see as the good lady as that is exactly what she was then and remains so now took on the responsibility of caring for her mum in the mid 1990’s, this responsibility got greater as the years past due her mum’s main condition of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

We would never dream of putting her/our mum in a care home that thought never entered our minds she was family and thus our responsibility to care for her, however we do understand why many families take that route as it is not easy when you have your own school children and jobs to hold onto as well but that we juggled.

So I was working full-time and my wife was working part-time in the evenings so that she could put in the 35 hours a week that the law says you must do to be entitled to claim Carers Allowance, it also and the reason why my wife went to work in the evenings gave her time to escape and be herself and not have to worry about her mum whilst I cared for her and had time with my two young sons in the evenings.

It was a system we had that worked well and most importantly kept mum at home where she wanted to be with her grandsons which she enjoyed the most as well as saving the Government an absolute fortune in care home fees which at the time we was glad to do.

I cannot tell you enough how important that bond our mum had with her grandsons was it was precious and special times they had together in her final years.

However as time went on her needs got greater and greater putting more and more pressure on my wife but she carried on despite it being a hectic life to lead her family of her mum her children and me was the most important and thus forever in the front of her mind it simply did not cross her mind to keep a check on her working hours so rigidly, she never thought she was doing anything wrong and in fact I’d say she was a saint.

But wrong she was according to the DWP even though she had much more important things on her mind, but sometimes she would go over her permitted hours by 15 minutes in a week, sometimes 30 minutes sometimes an hour but that was enough to lose all that weeks carers allowance.

The job she was in was a shop assistant mostly working the tills in the evening it was a customer depended job meaning someone always had to be on the tills but if someone was late she could not go home and had to stay on until till swap was done etc.

She did not want to leave and find another job as she enjoyed it meeting customers chatting to staff indeed it fitted well with her other responsibilities at home and although now our mum has since passed away over 20 years later she is still their doing that job but now a Duty Manager.

But the upshot is all that Carers Allowance rightly and fairly earned she had to pay it all back all £18,000 of it rounded so in the end it will have cost the Govt not only nothing in care home fees but nothing either in carers allowance and my wife, oh she has the punishment of seeing that attachment of earnings on her payslip every month long into the future as her thanks for saving the Govt a fortune.

My wife btw also get no letter or statement from the DWP to show how much she has paid back or has left to pay she is paying it via attachment of earnings each month but is totally in the dark as to when this will be over furthermore it was a good 10 years before they wrote to her for a compliance interview too why?

That I feel is very unfair in itself.