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Successful representations for client with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Legal Support Project and social security lawyers work hand in hand in successful ESA/DLA case

People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can experience great difficulties with benefit claims.

The Law Centre helped a client who has suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME for several years. His symptoms are both physical and mental/cognitive but evidence of his illness is gathered through observation or acceptance of his physical and mental/cognitive symptoms. His fatigue is very severe, unpredictable and results in delayed symptoms. 

This client has had to seek the help of the Law Centre at several stages of his benefit claims and we have previously represented him in two successful commissioner cases. Our latest involvement with this client involved three cases:

-          ESA

He had had a nil award of Employment and Support Allowance after a WCA assessment and the Commissioner had ordered that the case be remitted. We took up the case again and made representations with relevant GP notes and records attached.  The Department changed the decision days before the tribunal hearing and placed him in the support group for ESA during the fixed period within the scope of this case.

-          DLA

We represented him in two joined cases regarding the refusal of Disability Living Allowance awards, one remitted following a successful Commissioner case sending the case back for review. A tribunal hearing was held and a decision made awarding the high rate mobility component in both cases.

The client feels vindicated after years of trying to establish entitlement.  He received backdated ESA monies at the highest amount and backdated DLA money.  He now receives high rate mobility for DLA and ESA at the WRAC (work related activity component) level.

We have given him a supporting letter and copy of medical evidence to ask for reconsideration of his current award. This is important to the client as he now receives Contributions-based ESA.  Once welfare reform comes in and the 365 day rule for contributions based ESA, he will lose his ESA completely unless he is placed in the support group.  Time spent in the support group is ignored for this 365 day rule.

Representing this client involved partnership work between our Legal Support Project, which took on the routine work pro-bono, and our social security legal advice unit, which provided representation at complex hearings.

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