On Monday I attended a magistrates court, passed through a metal detector (for the first time), and had an ESA tribunal hearing. I am waiting for them to write me with the outcome. I guess it is the judge’s prerogative to deliberate and not make a decision there and then.
The tribunal is formal and yet informal – a judge and a doctor, not connected to the DWP (they were keen to make that clear), did their best to put me at ease, while seeking to hear the case professionally. At least I hope so; I have no idea what their personal feelings might be. Consequently it was impossible to gauge whether or not I might get a favourable outcome from their demeanour or conduct.
For the past three weeks, since receiving a date, I have been extremely on edge. Over the last week and particularly this past weekend that edge became increasingly sharp. Prior to receiving the date, and since the appeal was submitted (with the help of the CAB which I hope proves effective) in August, I have been dreading the post for that brown envelope from the tribunal service. Every day I’d hear the clunk of the letterbox and rush to see, as if dreading some reverse Santa Claus, what lay on the doormat.
This is what ESA is like. There is no sanity in this system because of the prevailing assumption that claimants are swinging the lead and so must be scrutinised endlessly. That the tribunal service has to get involved strikes me as fundamentally facile: can the DWP not allow patients and doctors to come to an agreement about the patient’s future? Isn’t that exactly the sales pitch made by this government to sell the PCT reforms noone voted for? Isn’t this the nanny state the Tories love to crow about?
So I presume a decision was made that same day, after I left. I presume it has been posted out to me (they said a few days, holidays notwithstanding). What that decision will be I do not know, but I certainly don’t want to have to sign on again.