Well, i received my tribunal papers a few weeks ago, and today i have sent in my remaining evidence to the Tribunals Service. I have sent a letter from my GP and also a letter from the CFS/ME specialist, who i saw a couple of weeks ago.
The tribunal itself won’t be until the new year as they have a bit of a back log at the moment, so in one way it is nice not to have to think about it and to have plenty of time to get the evidence in etc. but at the same time i would just like it to be done with, whatever the outcome. This process began last Easter-time and it is now nearly Chistmas! I should be happy to think of all the back payment i will get, but as i doubt that i fit the narrow criteria, particularly for higher rate mobility, i don’t think i will be awarded that, however difficult my mobility problems are.
So anyway, the letters i have sent are the only really supportive evidence that i have, so let’s hope that they are detailed enough… both are quite brief so i will summarise the points made below:
I am writing in support of this patient’s appeal…
Her diagnosis is clearly CFS (ME) and there has been a steady deterioration in her symptoms since i last saw her with increasing headaches, neck pain, fatigue and marked reduction in her physical exercise capacity.
She has considerable problems on standing… and has been diagnosed with Positional Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome… gives very marked postural symptoms. This is part of autonomic dysfunction, which underlies CFS.
She is not able to undertake activities of daily living without significant help from her partner. Her physical activity is limited to 5-10 minutes maximum. She has become more significantly depressed because of her disability.
…her disability is severe and progressive and has not shown any significant improvement with previous therapeutic input along the lines suggested by the NICE guidelines…
After the letter he wrote for the insurance company i was a bit disappointed with this one as it was less detailed and specific about what i can and can’t do, and this one for DLA seems more important to me, but it is quite strongly worded so it may be ok.
The letter from my GP is not great, but it is better than the very briefly and incorrectly filled form she initially did. I had to go back and tell her is was not good enough – a bit nerve-wracking!
So now her new letter says i cannot cook a meal for myself, cannot walk more than 150m* without discomfort/rest, that my condition is severe and that i have a certain amount of energy to work with each day so any help that i get makes a big difference in my ability to manage my energy and condition.
*this was the distance used in my rejection letter as the reason i did not qualify for higher rate mobility, but it seems the actual distance they use to judge can be 30m, 50m or who knows what next week, so her saying this may work against me, as i cannot always leave the house to walk anywhere at all…
We will see how these letters affect my appeal, i hope they are detailed/strong enough and help to avoid me having to talk for ages at the appeal about the nitty gritty of what i can and can’t do as it is very difficult to be consistent when there are no definite answers with such a condition as this, and also to concentrate and talk for any length of time, especially under stress.
I will not be having any representation either… but hopefully a benefits adviser will be coming to help me prepare for it once i get the date through, which may help me feel better about it and know what to expect.
Anyway i am trying not to think about it right now and leave it til the new year when it will actually happen… i don’t think there is anything more i can do, just need to see how it goes on the day…