The day before an acquaintance I hadn’t seen for a while was telling me that his tribunal was successful. He has been placed into the support group for two years, which is a great result. I told him I was waiting to hear and that I could hear today, tomorrow the next few months. Turns out it was tomorrow; the next day I got my tribunal date through. I’m to be seen at the local magistrates court (apparently in one of the rooms within as the regular venue in Briustol is chock a block) on the 30th. To say that I am apprehensive is to put it midlly.
A few weeks before I made a last ditch attempt to persuade my GP to write a letter supporting the problems I have. All he needed to do was write confirming what I’d told the CAB in respect of the WCA descriptors. This is the only language the system, and thus the appeal, will understand. He said that he would, after, again, another episde of me having to explain to him how it all works. What I got back was not what I consider to be particularly helopful. He has taken it upon himself to briefly say that I have some problems, mildly confirming some of what the CAB wanted, but also to go off and express his own feelings about the whole thing. Unfortunately and quite surprisingly the CAB passed this on to the tribunal (as they do for all supporting evidence). They say they can try and counter the negative stuff that’s on the letter (such as the GP saying he thinks I can work!) by referring to the positive stuff. Either way it won’t matter; what’s done is done.
In short, I don’t think I have a cat in hell’s chance of winning, but you never know. I’m not looiking to get into the support group. All I can do, assuming I don’t completely lose my shit on the day and have a massive anxiety attack (or have to share a waiting room with people waiting to be seen my magistrates for stealing cars or dealing crack or something), is point to the evidence that’s there. I think, from what I have presented even if tangentially, that I do have problems and they do affect me. The real question is whether these problems are recognised by the ESA system and to what degree. This has been the problem all along: am I ESA or JSA? I think I’m somewhere in between, but to the ‘anti-scrounger’ elite that, I fear, is just an excuse.
Curiously my friend managed to pass without the CAB’s help (his problems are not the same as mine, though they are also ‘mentally based’). He’s in the support group, but only temporarily. This further proves how the system is flawed. The argument has been that the WRAG is for people who ‘can work at some point in the future’, according to the doctors, while the Support group is for those that can’t due to incurable and chronic conditions. If someone is put into the Support group on a time limited basis, such as my friend, then how is that different to the WRAG? I will try and argue that ESA is there to support people – even if they ‘can work’ (though I’m not confident about this as I suspect it will seem highly precocious).
Time will tell. I can’t say I’m keen to sign on again.