Be careful if you get advice from Citizens Advice, I was given completely wrong information from a benefit “specialist”.
As you know, all I get is PIP. I can’t get any other benefits.
Last week I got a letter dated just before Christmas which was my PIP review. It was extended until August 2022 but they sent a letter out early as they claimed they had a backlog, but they got through it as I got the decision many months earlier for some reason! Lost 8 months of PIP due to this very early decision!
My PIP was reviewed and I was given just another 3 years and the same amount of money.
I should get high rate mobility but I don’t.
They said they used a my initial pip result, a typical day and the ESA medical report.
I can’t get ESA but I had to apply still and do a medical assessment over the phone just to get national insurance credits as I can’t get the money for it due to NI credits.
If they had used a typical day then they would realise I can’t walk as I don’t move out of my chair or bed as I can’t! And as for the ESA medical assessment, well that was over the phone so that is useless.
They just deny any claim they can as they get paid to. There is lots of evidence of this if you search.
I can do a mandatory reconsideration (MR), but you need evidence for that! I have been disabled for many years, there is no evidence I have that I can’t walk over 20m other than I am housebound and never leave the house! Without evidence a MR is unlikely to change the result and I can’t do tribunal. I don’t have a wheelchair yet so I can’t make it there, let alone the extra strain on my health as talking is hard as it is let alone moving which drains my energy massively.
I asked Citizens Advice for help as they are supposed to be able to help. Their site said that people can lose money and get less after a mandatory reconsideration which would leave me with nothing so I can’t do that!
I have no evidence so apparently they aren’t likely to give me more on a MR without evidence. I could go to court but that is hellish and I am housebound and can’t talk for long so there is that too!
I couldn’t do court. I just wanted to do a mandatory reconsideration.
I called Citizens Advice and said from the start “my GP said if someone from Citizens Advice asks him to write a letter to PIP he will do”.
They referred me to someone who referred me to someone else. I waited and then the last person I was referred to in the benefits department, emailed me asking for my NI number. I was told that someone would explain why they need it before they ask. She didn’t do this, she just sent an email asking for it with no details.
I said “I can give you it if you need it, but I would rather not unless you need it. My doctor said he would write a letter for me to give on the MR if Citizens Advice, i.e if you ask.”
Jacqueline replied and said a complete lie which is dangerously wrong, plus ignored my request. Remember this was the 3rd person I was referred to who is a “benefit specialist” and is supposed to know everything about this.
She said “The Mandatory Reconsideration will not change the decision. It will only give you permission to progress onto the next stage of lodging an Appeal against the decision made by the DWP to go to a County Court Tribunal to ask for the decision to be looked at again.“
That is totally wrong and is an absolute lie! This is dangerous advice as it isn’t true!
I replied and said “That isn’t remotely true! People often get more after a MR so why did you say that as it isn’t correct? Can’t you ask my doctor to write a letter as he said he would if you asked“
She stopped replying when I replied back as I caught her in a lie.
I replied again to say why aren’t you replying and she replied back saying that she gave correct information (she didn’t) and that I am just confused as I read blogs and social media!
She said that I am the one at wrong as I asked why she wanted my NI number first as she didn’t say why when she first emailed. The previous person at Citizens Advice said that someone would ask me for it, but they would explain why first.
She just tries to make excuses to pass the blame as she won’t accept she has done wrong.
She said she won’t reply if I am going to challenge her advice. Remember the advice from Jacqueline was wrong!
I replied back and she then turned on out of office until 1st Feb. That is weeks after my MR is due!! She knew the date but I am sure she turned on out of office as she knows that she has been giving wrong information. Absolutely shocking!
I never expected such wrong information from Citizens Advice. Never in a million years!! Especially as she is so devious with the turning on out of office so she can’t see my emails but this also means she couldn’t have been there for me “in court” that she so much seemed to want to go to when she said that MR’s don’t work and you have to go to court! Absolute lies.
This information is so wrong that it will stop even more doing a MR as she makes out that MR never works which isn’t correct.
These are the people we go to as they are Citizens Advice, so how could they be wrong? Well I can tell you, they are very wrong some of the time!
So without evidence which I don’t have unless CA actually just asked my doctor for a letter, which is very unlikely and I don’t have time left due to Royal Mail delivering the letter very late as it missed about 2 weeks of the one month that I have to do a MR due to the late delivery.
Now I am thinking of not appealing even though I should!
I don’t get any other benefits, not a penny from elsewhere so I can’t lose my PIP which is a risk with any MR.
I doubt they would reduce it but they can and with zero evidence how do I prove I can’t walk far?? Unless you are newly diagnosed, then you don’t have letters. I have a permanent condition that will never go away so I don’t have letters!
I am housebound so I don’t go out so how do I prove that?!
Low rate isn’t enough to live on and just over £300 a month which is all I get, leaves me struggling to live.
I now either try to appeal with no evidence or I don’t bother.
I don’t have the health to do all this. I really don’t. I don’t want to risk my PIP so I might end up not appealing. This is exactly what they want too.
If I had the wheelchair I am crowdfunding, then I bet they wouldn’t have denied it. I bet I would have gotten the high rate mobility. Sadly I may never get the wheelchair at all, and it seems I will never get the high rate mobility that I should be getting.
Update 17th January
Citizens Advice replied on 17th January saying that she works for another company in the council, and I can call them for help or to lodge a complain…. I still had no help from Citizens Advice at all remember and now I have just a few days left before the MR month ends.
Remember Citizens Advice is who I went to and who referred me to her.
Then the manager of Jacqueline called who works for the council. This is after I emailed saying please don’t call as I struggle to talk for long. He was defending her constantly. Obviously friends. Referred to her as “Jacq” at one point.
Even though I emailed a full description with photos of the chat, he wanted me to explain it all.
He gaslighted me on the phone and also said “I am trying to work out why you are so het up about this”.
Are you kidding me?! She gave wrong advice and said she wouldn’t reply anymore if I question her advice! Think of all the people she gave wrong advice to. She must have said this to others too.
He constantly tried to get me to explain why I am annoyed with this. He couldn’t understand why I am annoyed!
I said at the beginning of the call and throughout “I can’t talk for long due to chronic fatigue” yet he didn’t acknowledge it and still wanted a long explanation verbally.
He basically couldn’t understand why I was annoyed! He didn’t like that she said that I can’t question her or she will stop replying but he was fine with her saying that an MR for PIP NEVER works which is wrong!
He spent ages trying to get me to explain why I was annoyed with that!
“Why are you so bothered about this one thing” he said “why is this so upsetting for you”. I was shocked at his reply!!
At the end of the call, still nothing done about Jacqueline, no letter to give to my GP and no help. Just some tips about doing a tribunal which I said I can’t do.
He also gave wrong advice too! He is the manager and said something wrong. I corrected him and I heard him typing away, searching if I was right. Later I said “She was wrong and won’t admit it. You were wrong not long ago too and you just searched to see if I was right didn’t you, just be honest” and he said “yes I admit that”.
That is all I wanted from her, to admit she is wrong and learn from it so to stop giving wrong advice. I just don’t want people being told wrong info. Disabled people getting told wrong info about money! If she had done what her manager did and admit it and learn from it, there would be no issue.
She just wouldn’t admit she was wrong.
So I probably can’t do an MR as no evidence and they didn’t write a letter to give to my GP! He even wanted me to explain why I wanted a letter even though I explained it in the email. He ignored the whole email and called instead and after I said I can’t talk long due to CFS, he carried on talking. Didn’t want me to just email him like I asked a few times if I could do.
I am amazed that the manager defended her profusely for a long time and didn’t take my complaint remotely seriously!
All I asked for was a letter to give to my GP as he said he would write a letter to PIP as evidence for me, IF they asked. They wouldn’t ask as the woman was a liar and a nasty piece of work.
Citizens advice should have offered to pass me to someone else, but instead they just ended it like that.
I would NEVER deal with them again unless I have to.
Now the MR will most likely never happen as I don’t have the evidence to do the MR. I tried so hard! For weeks! But with Royal Mail delivering it 3 weeks it late, I don’t have the time!
A simple letter is all I wanted sent to my GP as he said he would write a letter if they asked.
Now I never got the chance to do the MR as without any evidence there is no point as most MR’s fail if there is no new evidence and go to tribunal which I just can’t do.
Citizens Advice. The worst advice.
Update 18th January
Today I got an email from them saying they couldn’t write a letter anyway. So why did it take about 6 days, being passed to 3 people total and not one said they couldn’t do that. I took many days bedrest from speaking to them on the phone as I said I can’t speak easily without it affecting my health for a long time.
Not one person said they couldn’t do that. From the first person I spoke to, to the very last who was a “manager” not one told me that they couldn’t write a letter to my GP. That was the whole reason for me contacting them and I said that so many times!!
The absolute worst advice team in the UK. If you need advice, read the site but don’t speak to them! Go elsewhere if you want to speak to someone for advice.
Update 19th January
Today CA replied saying that I can’t complain to them about their service as I never spoke to them, only this third party council owned local advice company, which is wrong as you know. I contacted them via their site and have a CA reference number. So basically CA did no research at all about my complaint, just looked and saw I spoke about this Jacqueline person who works for the third party company.
I replied saying “you clearly haven’t done any research as you are incorrect. I came to you first and have a Citizens Advice reference. You referred me three times total. The last being to the third party advice centre. All the other contact was with you and from the start I said I only ever asked if you could write a letter to my GP asking for him to write a letter to PIP as evidence as he said he would. ALL the staff said yes and that a benefits specialist will do this.
Apparently they could have NEVER done this yet 3 people read my request, spoke to me on the phone about it (which left bedbound for days again) and no one said they couldn’t write a letter.
I wasted over a week for nothing. A week talking to you and not one person said they can’t do a letter. That is why I am complaining.”
They replied back to my reply a little later saying “As we explained in earlier emails to you, we do not provide advice from this inbox and therefore you did not speak to anyone from our team regarding writing a letter to your GP.”
I never said I emailed them. Not once. They didn’t read my reply or they skim read it….. Absolutely shocking! They skim read a reply to a complaint and replied with totally wrong information as I HAD told them from the start!
I said “I said from the start to the very first person why I was there”.
Update 20th January
Got a reply from Citizens Advice that said “We have asked them to contact you and help you write the letter”.
Me? They don’t read a thing I write at all! I said “I can’t write the letter, the GP said he would write a letter if YOU ask him. Not if I do, I already have and that is what he said. Now it is the 20th and I have 1 day left and no time to do the MR with evidence anymore.”
Took over a week to get to this point due to slow replies, wrong information, the never reading most of what I write and general poor customer service.
Seriously avoid Citizens Advice if you need benefit advice!! The absolute worst!!
I would never use them for anything important like benefit advice again. They just can’t be trusted.
My post is about benefit advice only as other areas they might be fine. This is just benefit advice.
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