Jean’s Story

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It was very stressful being told I was not eligible for UC and PIP, it made me angry and I wanted to challenge the decision to turn down my UC and PIP application and I went to a local service to help me do that. However, I was told they could help me and then told they couldn’t, I didn’t fully understand what I was being told nor did I fully understand the tribunal processes. My lack of understanding of what support I could have and not have added to my stress.

This made me feel very alone and defeated in my issue and struggled in fighting the UC & PIP decision on two separate tribunal appeals. This really made life difficult and added to our financial difficulties and our health issues.

I very much needed someone to attend my tribunal with me as I would not be able to understand any question I was asked nor would I have the confidence in knowing what to say in response to any question a judge would ask me.

After attending a tribunal hearing with Brian being the only to support me, I was told by the courts to get help with this appeal as I could not answer any of the questions put to me. I was extremely nervous and frightened to talk to people on the panel as I did not know what to say to them. It was at the point I reached out to STAMP. At the first call, they went all the way to help me and with their advocacy support my life has transformed.

Without Stamp’s help I would have found it impossible to achieve what I have done with the advocacy help they have provided me and my mental health would be worse off. When working with the team, they adapted their approach to meet my personal needs which made me I feel listened too and my worries were taken seriously. They helped me engage with services to find out what help I could access. This process added further stress to me and I found it really hard to understand what people were saying to me. As a consequence of my difficulty speaking and understanding people, I felt very angry and my mental health took a significant decline which caused my mood to fall so bad I contacted my GP and seek medication to help support me.

STAMP helped me understand things, pull information together, gather my medical evidence and support me to determine my needs. When I didn’t understand thing, they would take their time to explain things to me in a way I could understand them. I find it really hard to remember things and I do not have the confidence to tell professional what my struggles are. I was able to do this with STAMP’s help by building my trust in them and they gave me the patience and time I needed to trust my advocate.
My advocate spoke to other local organisation to ensure I had someone who could represent and present my case to the appeal panel at both tribunal hearings, while my advocate could be present during the tribunal to support me through it and help me keep calm and focused. This support delivered by STAMP proved to be invaluable to me and I won both tribunal hearing with decisions being overturned for UC and PIP. I was awarded a sum exceeding more than £25,000 due to backdated payments. Without STAMP’s help and the dedicated work from my advocates, I would not have been able to have this outcome, in fact I would be in a worse financial situation with my health and mental health failing me.

STAMP’s and the advocates have changed my life and enabled me to clear all of my debt, lifted all the weight on my shoulders and made me happy again.

Following the success of the tribunal’s my advocate helped me make a formal complaint about the local welfare service that I was dissatisfied with and how I was impacted by their interactions with me. My complaint was supported by my MP and together we obtained an apology from the said service whom made changes to their internal processes.

STAMP really do make a difference to people’s lives, without their advocacy help I would not have been able to fight the injustices against me.