Mary made contact with ScotsCare’s Advocate Gearóid after the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) decided she was fit for work and placed in the Work Related Activity Group. She needed the support of our Advocate to raise an appeal and help her prepare to attend her Employment Support Allowance (ESA) appeal hearing with the Tribunal Service.
Mary suffers from long term mental ill health along with chronic Arthritis resulting in reduced mobility. The Advocate helped Mary draft a tribunal submission, noting the main areas for contention in relation to the DWP decision. Dealing with such sensitive issues was not an easy task for Mary, as it brought on some strong emotions about her vulnerability and isolation.
In support of her case, the Advocate made contact with NHS professionals for supporting statements to back up Mary’s argument of being incapable of engaging in the Work Related Activity Group programme. The Advocate worked with Mary for over a year, during which time she continued to receive a reduced benefit rate and was expected to attend regular work related activities far from her home.
As you can imagine, the stress Mary felt during this time only further exasperated her mental and physical health conditions. Throughout, the Advocate continued to work closely with her, reassuring her about her case and making sure she knew she had the charity’s support. As time progressed, it was hard to keep Mary’s spirits up, as sometimes it felt like there was no end in sight for her appeal.
Throughout the process, the Advocate communicated with her GP about Mary’s mental instability and pleaded on Mary’s instruction that she be referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This was finally agreed upon and Mary was put on a waiting list for therapy.
When Mary’s initial appeal date came round, Mary, who was clearly anxious from all the stress, had to deal with the tribunal being adjourned, as the panel were not in receipt of the correct documents from DWP. Mary had to wait a further two months for her next tribunal date.
The result of her Tribunal saw Mary being deemed unfit for work and placed back in the Support Group component of ESA, as well a back payment for all the time she was in receipt of reduced payments.
If you have experienced similar issues to Mary, get in touch with a ScotsCare Advocate to see if we can support you too. Contact ScotsCare on 0800 652 2989 to speak with an Advocate or email us info@scotscare,com.