Hello to everyone I am new to group, will try and keep it as brief as poss but it is a bit of a saga! about me, 43 with 3 kids havent worked for last 8 years due to illness and my hubbie is now my carer, have scoliosis of spine, degenerative discs, pelvic seperation, rheumatoid arthritis affecting all joints apart from knees, high blood pressure, psoriais, treatment anti tnf therapy (enbrel) self inject weekly, methotrexate self inject weekly, amitriptyline, tramadol, morphine patches and co codamol for pain relief, ramipril for hugh blood pressure.
I had to give up my job when I developed RA 8 years ago and have been on IB and DLA ever since, I was migrated from IB to ESA last sept and after completing atos questionaiire was put in WRAG without a medical, I immediately appealed asking to be placed in support group and had letter shortly after saying no change and would be sent to tribunal, that was a year ago and only this week have I had my appeals bundle and letter from tribunal, I have sent tribunal letter back saying I want to attend in person even though the nearest centre is over an hour away from me!! and am awaiting tribunal date, so i now have to gather as much evidence as I can and I could really do with some help, I have no representation but did write to my MP yesterday so dont know if he will help. Studying the last medical report in my bundle the assessor stated that I had a significant disability and was not expected to be able to work within next 2 years however did not accept I should be in support group even though I meet the criteria by putting no in the walking, standing and reaching questions, I understand you only have to have one of those to qualify and I have atleast 3! backed up by letters from my consultant confirming my condition and medication, I also asked for exceptional circumstances to be used due to 1) side effects of pain medication make me very drowsy, sleepy and unable to react or concentrate properly leaving me and everyone else at risk, 2) I often fall due to weakness in legs so who would help me if I fell during work related interviews/activity bearing in mind none of the staff are allowed to pick you up or support you etc so again making me a risk to myself and others and lastly 3) methotrexate and anti tnf therapy both lower your immune system and I am classed as immunosuppressed therefore leaving me at risk of infection and even a common cold can cause serious complications (as I have sadly discovered!) so am advised to keep away from public places where possible, also if I do have an infection of any kind I have to stop the medication until I am better so that then affects my joint pain! So I would have thought that was a pretty good case but obviously they dont agree, so can anyone advise me on what to say in my evidence that might get through to them? or am I flogging a dead horse and should be grateful I am atleast still getting esa ?I have also been told on another forum that if I go to tribunal and I lose I could risk being found fit to work and lose all my benefits
thanks in advance and very best wishes to you all that are fighting !!