This is an important and urgent message from the Mental Health Resistance Network.
As you all know, members of the Mental Health Resistance Network have been working with a solicitor towards making a claim for a Judicial Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) which is the assessment used to determine whether we will be granted Employment Support Allowance or sent back to work (if there is any work to be found!). We are just focussing on people who claim on mental health grounds.
We are now at a critical stage in this process as we are very close to being able to make the claim for Judicial Review. However, before we can do this, it would help if we could find stories that will show the court what sort of problems the WCA causes. So we are looking for people who have been through the process and would be able to tell us about their experience. If people wish, we can present their cases anonymously when we use their evidence. Although it would be very good if people were prepared for us to give their names to the DWP so that the DWP could check their stories, it is not essential.
There are two types of experience that we are particularly interested in (in the solicitor’s words):
(i) Cases where a person claims ESA without producing any medical evidence and is refused benefit, but then wins on appeal when medical evidence is obtained.
(ii) Cases where a person claims ESA without producing any medical evidence, is refused benefit, does not appeal (perhaps because they can’t face it), and then bad things happen (for example they go into work and become ill, or have a problem, or can’t get work, or whatever). Ideally, the case is recognised down the line as a problem because a CAB or law centre makes a new application with medical evidence and benefit is awarded.
In other words:
1) you have you claimed and been turned down for ESA but were successful on appeal when you produced additional medical evidence
2) were you turned down for ESA and did not appeal but reapplied with medical evidence, and were successful.
You can send your stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can write to the solicitor whose address is below.
This affects us all so please pass on everyone you know who may be able to help. One last point, we need these stories urgently so if you can help, please contact us as quickly as possible.
Public Law Project
150 Caledonian Road
London N1 9RD
Tel: 0845 543 5944
Fax: 0845 345 9254