Sally B on 20 August 2020

Previously, I was in receipt of ESA. It was unilaterally stopped, following an assessment of my mental health by a physiotherapist! Usually, you receive something while you appeal the decision but I could not supply doctors' notes as my health records are not private - they belong the the secretary of state for health and it was astonishingly simple for my son's father to apply to the family court to release them to a forensic psychologist who had a field day! Thereafter, I resolved not to seek further treatment and add to those records. As I received nothing in the interim, I was forced to start an application for Universal Credit and when the ESA Tribunal finally found in my favour, I received a lump sum for the benefit that we had had to live without. But I was unable to go back on ESA. Despite the Tribunal telling the DWP to leave me alone for two years, they stopped my claim practically the day lockdown began and we have received nothing in almost 6 mths. I have appealed that decision. Meanwhile, three child maintenance Tribunals have found my son's father to be 'diverting' his income, overturning over a dozen inaccurate 'decisions' of the CSA/CMS. After attempting to take the DWP to Judicial Review and complaining bitterly to my MP and ministers, a senior manager actually came to my house two years ago to assure me that following the 3rd tribunal results, my son's father would NOT be able to change his assessment and would have to appeal to the Tribunal himself, in future. Nevertheless, there have already been three changes since that decision. And at the start of September they will reduce our income by a third. My son has an 80% bursary to attend a local private school (that the court required his father to pay for, previously) and I wasted over £1000 on legal advice when he refused to allow my son to take up the offer! I have a letter from a previous solicitor that states that in her opinion I am the victim of financial abuse.

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