AFCS Interim Review Questions

I’ve just submitted my AFCS claim. I heard about the delays and the games they can play, so got all my meds docs myself, and other emails and evidence from my time in service. My bundle was 220 pages, going back to 2013 with the civvy GP noting I was waking myself up screaming.

I thought I had a decent case and might get a GIP. But after reading these threads I’m now shitting myself. It took me eight months to get my head around writing anything down to explain what happened to me. I’m not sure how much of a **** around and being dragged through BS by Vets UK I can take.

What sort of timeframes did you have once you’d submitted?
 
Hi,

I submitted my claim at the end of 2010, symptomatic from 08/09. It's still ongoing........unless your case is a "slam dunk" expect it to take a while.

Goodluck.
 
Hi,

I submitted my claim at the end of 2010, symptomatic from 08/09. It's still ongoing........unless your case is a "slam dunk" expect it to take a while.

Goodluck.
Bloody hell, that is a long time. Did you speak to your local MP?

I read all the regs, the Statutory Instrument, the annual science update things, and got evidence to back up everything I said in my narrative. I thought I’d made it as straightforward as possible, but in the back of my mind is the cynical “their job is to save the MoD money”.

Reading these threads it seems that view isn’t so cynical.

PS Good luck with the consent order; if you can face it, go back to tribunal. It doesn’t sound like they’ve given you any reason to trust that they’ve got your best interests at heart. I’d be suspicious AF that they’re trying to sell your short. What does the RBL say?
 
I hope it is unusual...........but they are the facts. In terms of "processing my claim", clearly they didn't take 11 years, few months to acknowledge it and reply, then the fun and games began.

You haven't detailed what your claim is for so it's not for me to speculate on the evidence you've collated and submitted.

But I can tell you if it's Table 3 Mental health, you can submit as much evidence as you like, but without diagnosis at consult level your case will go nowhere. Your unit MO's opinion counts for almost nothing, unless he or she happens to be a mental health practitioner at consult level.

Claims can take years, mental health claim are normally extremely complex and very subjective........proving your service caused can be very difficult in some cases.

I sincerely hope your case is trouble free and get resolved in a timely fashion............dealing with Vets UK in my experience has been anything but that.

Best of luck.
 
Bloody hell, that is a long time. Did you speak to your local MP?

I read all the regs, the Statutory Instrument, the annual science update things, and got evidence to back up everything I said in my narrative. I thought I’d made it as straightforward as possible, but in the back of my mind is the cynical “their job is to save the MoD money”.

Reading these threads it seems that view isn’t so cynical.

PS Good luck with the consent order; if you can face it, go back to tribunal. It doesn’t sound like they’ve given you any reason to trust that they’ve got your best interests at heart. I’d be suspicious AF that they’re trying to sell your short. What does the RBL say?
I know..............you couldn't make it up, lost track of who've I spoken to
 
I have submitted all of my evidence for my interim review, including a request to have my onset of symptoms date re-assessed inline with the new evidence. Once the paperwork has gone to the Medical Advisors for review and decision, how long roughly before you hear from them?
 
Just chucking my tuppence worth in here as I am going through the debacle that most are with Vets UK. I have been in treatment, continuously since 2016, and my mental health diagnosis has changed as treatment has progressed. Initially I was wrongly diagnosed with adjustment disorder, then ptsd and in 2019 I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD.A s mentioned above, all diagnosis must be by a consultant clinical psychiatrist or psychologist. This is essential for Vets UK to make an award. Secondly is establishing an onset date, this should be when you first presented to a a medical professional with symptamology. Veterans UK will dispute permancy until you have been in treatment for 5 years from the onset date, establishing that you have received best practice treatment of adequate duration is also essential as, yet again, Vets UK will argue that there is still a chance of recovery. Anything you do that is seen as a positive for your mental health outside of medical treatment will be used against you and it will be seen by vetereans Uk tht your social/occupational function is fine. When providing eveidence only provide evidence from medical experts; psychiatrists, psychologists, gp unfit for work notes, prescriptions etc. Personal statements mean nothing and veterans will misapropriate information you provide. A diary means holds no weight in term of standard of evidence.
You have to be proactive with evidence gathering. You need to be all over JSP 765. Read up on IMEG reviews in regards to how Veterans UK view mental health injuries.
I have went from level 13 to 12 to 10 over the course of 4 years.

Things that have worked to gain a few small wins against Veterans UK;

- Get that diagnosis/prognosis from a consultant.
-In consultant's report you have to get definitive statements, ask them, politley, that any ambiguity in their language will be used by veterans uk to say that there is a chance of recovery
-Keep a copy of all your prescriptions
-Get an occupational health report from someone specialising in mental health
-If you are in receipt of PIP, send their report too, if you aren't apply for PIP.
-Attend everything to help with your injury. Missing treatments will give Vet UK an upper hand when deciding if you have received adequate treatment.
-Prepare for a long fight with them, in almost all claims to do with mental health injuries, the award is made interim, which can last up to 4 years.
-Do not use the veterans welfare service to help with forms, they are part of veterans uk and, in my personal experience, inept to do the job.
-Even after you have sent your claim in, you can continue to send evidence to support your case.
- Be under no illusion the people deciding on your claim have no clue about mental health injuries but will interperate your consultant backed evidence, to your detriment.

Apologies for the negative tone. I have made several, niave, mistakes and do not want others to do the same.
 

commachio36

Clanker
Agree with all of the above, however, the point you make about attending all treatment as it will be used against you... whilst this is true, a lot of vets with PTSD, like myself have severe avoidance issues, and with the decline in help - long wait lists in majority of areas, lack of socialisation on top of the more recent Covid restrictions/lockdowns etc... this did not hinder my case as it was apart of my symptoms. Yes, they tried to use it against me, but it was like trying to hit a ball out of court in a walled room if you get me!

I was told that “You find the victim as you find them” in some instances this can actually help you, I was honest and it was apparent how much it had affected me. Becoming a hermit in my home, unable to attend the far distanced appointments ( pre covid).

I waited nearly 10 years and have just received my final award after tribunal. Level 12 interim, 10, tribunal level 6.
 
Agree with all of the above, however, the point you make about attending all treatment as it will be used against you... whilst this is true, a lot of vets with PTSD, like myself have severe avoidance issues, and with the decline in help - long wait lists in majority of areas, lack of socialisation on top of the more recent Covid restrictions/lockdowns etc... this did not hinder my case as it was apart of my symptoms. Yes, they tried to use it against me, but it was like trying to hit a ball out of court in a walled room if you get me!

I was told that “You find the victim as you find them” in some instances this can actually help you, I was honest and it was apparent how much it had affected me. Becoming a hermit in my home, unable to attend the far distanced appointments ( pre covid).

I waited nearly 10 years and have just received my final award after tribunal. Level 12 interim, 10, tribunal level 6.
I understand your avoidance points and a very valid point of waiting lists and access to treatment. I know attending treatment doesn't equate to recovering, but, as you are aware, Veterans UK will just use that against you.
I agree with the 100% honesty, but I believe, at points in the process, theres things Vet UK dont need to know.
10 years is a long time fighting. It is positive to hear that at your tribunal you were treated fairly and got the result you deserved!
Did you have representation at your tribunal and also did you go down the road of using solicitors?
I hope having one less stressor in your life is helping!
 
Mine sounds a lot like yourself RageTM. My GP told me I had some form of adjustment disorder initially and general anxiety disorder. Over time and a few years as things didn’t improve and I moved from therapist to therapist I was finally given a PTSD diagnosis in 2020 by a consultant psychologist. I have provided loads of evidence that my symptoms I presented with back since 2016 were in fact un-recognised PTSD, including evidence from the same psychologist that diagnosed me. I am just waiting for the medical advisor to review my case at the first interim stage. I am fully expecting a further interim period (level 13, probably moving to 12 currently) however if they accept all the reports and evidence I have provided then my onset date would potentially change to 2016 from 2019 which could enable me to me to move to level 10 at this review. Unlikely though but I am still hopeful.
 
Mine sounds a lot like yourself RageTM. My GP told me I had some form of adjustment disorder initially and general anxiety disorder. Over time and a few years as things didn’t improve and I moved from therapist to therapist I was finally given a PTSD diagnosis in 2020 by a consultant psychologist. I have provided loads of evidence that my symptoms I presented with back since 2016 were in fact un-recognised PTSD, including evidence from the same psychologist that diagnosed me. I am just waiting for the medical advisor to review my case at the first interim stage. I am fully expecting a further interim period (level 13, probably moving to 12 currently) however if they accept all the reports and evidence I have provided then my onset date would potentially change to 2016 from 2019 which could enable me to me to move to level 10 at this review. Unlikely though but I am still hopeful.
You're not wrong there, scary how similar. I was diagnosed in service with "adjustment disorder". I was more or less told to go see DCMH who were useless and uninterested. I had Vets UK accept a change in onset date from oct 2018 to Jan 2017, which as you said, helps you massively. Ive had 5 therapists, the fifth being on the ball, 2 psychiatrist, one military, useless, and the other who was civvy, who is on the ball.
What I have been doing when receiving anything from a medical is advisor is requesting a FOI for that medical advisors GMC number to check their credentials. At all times they do not appear on the specialist register, which means they themselves aren't at a consultant level, however it is a requirement that your diagnosis is, but some buckshee med grad is deciding your fate, hypocrisy at is best.Unrelated but a frustrating side note, a Medical advisors starting salary is £70000. This, I beleive, adds to your evidence when, more than likely, you go to a tribunal.
Being interim is the killer for me, no right to appeal anything. It seems that tribunal is the only way where things are fair.
Keep fighting the buggers until you get what you believe you deserve!
 
I feel a lot more hopeful hearing that you managed to get a reconsideration on you onset of symptoms date. I thought it was probably a dead avenue but maybe there is a small chance for me after all. Thanks for the hope, there isn’t much to be had in this process
 
Well after a long wait I finally received my interim review letter that (unsurprisingly) informed me that I would be remaining at level 13. The arguments by V-UK were completely illogical and proved to me that no matter what I had submitted, they were determined to keep me at that level. I then wrote a strongly worded letter requesting a tribunal. I line by line pulled every single point/argument they had made in their interim review apart - providing multiple pieces of evidence (that had already been submitted to them I must add) and nullifying any arguments they had attempted to make. They wrote back and told me that my case would not be going for a re-consideration and would now go straight to a Tribunal which is a huge relief. How long does it normally take from getting the letter to sitting in the tribunal? I have got so much evidence from the last 4 years and multiple diagnosis from consultant psychiatrists that I am almost looking forward to hearing what they want to say!
 
Well after a long wait I finally received my interim review letter that (unsurprisingly) informed me that I would be remaining at level 13. The arguments by V-UK were completely illogical and proved to me that no matter what I had submitted, they were determined to keep me at that level. I then wrote a strongly worded letter requesting a tribunal. I line by line pulled every single point/argument they had made in their interim review apart - providing multiple pieces of evidence (that had already been submitted to them I must add) and nullifying any arguments they had attempted to make. They wrote back and told me that my case would not be going for a re-consideration and would now go straight to a Tribunal which is a huge relief. How long does it normally take from getting the letter to sitting in the tribunal? I have got so much evidence from the last 4 years and multiple diagnosis from consultant psychiatrists that I am almost looking forward to hearing what they want to say!
I think tribunal is the best outcome. My interim award review is up in July 2022 and will only be surprised if I get the actual award I believe my injury deserves. In Scotland the court gives Veterans UK 6 months to provide their statement of case, all the evidence that they believe supports their decision. I'd read your Country's Penions appeal tribunal legislation and get your head around the legislation and procedure that should happen. I think you can get help from the British Legion now with representation at the tribunal.
Good luck and I hope all goes well and quickly.
 

Mosquito

Clanker
Well after a long wait I finally received my interim review letter that (unsurprisingly) informed me that I would be remaining at level 13. The arguments by V-UK were completely illogical and proved to me that no matter what I had submitted, they were determined to keep me at that level. I then wrote a strongly worded letter requesting a tribunal. I line by line pulled every single point/argument they had made in their interim review apart - providing multiple pieces of evidence (that had already been submitted to them I must add) and nullifying any arguments they had attempted to make. They wrote back and told me that my case would not be going for a re-consideration and would now go straight to a Tribunal which is a huge relief. How long does it normally take from getting the letter to sitting in the tribunal? I have got so much evidence from the last 4 years and multiple diagnosis from consultant psychiatrists that I am almost looking forward to hearing what they want to say!
The bad news is that in 2020/21 the average length of time from appeal request to tribunal decision was 22 months. The good news is that I think things have sped up a bit since then and you sound well prepared, which will save time for all concerned.

From personal experience, it has usually been four months from the point that the Tribunal service get in touch with me to tell me that they are ready to arrange my hearing until the hearing actually takes place.

If you want to see the full low-down on AFCS statistics for 2020/21 you can read its annual report: "Statistics on compensation recipients and new claims, awards and appeals made under the armed forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme". Page 8 shows you the appeal clearance times.
 

9.414

War Hero
RageTM - your assessment of the process is accurate and others should be more aware of the pitfalls. I regularly see people posting and saying that they have seen their GP regularly and there are lots of reports in the GP medical notes of the symptoms, yet they wonder why they get little progress. Like battle preparation - you sometimes have to look at it from the enemy position!

GP reports are all self-reported by the patient. Telling the GP you have a broken leg is a "report" of a broken leg not a diagnosis of it, if on examination the GP finds a break then it is a confirmed diagnosis, but if not it is noted that the original report is not accurate. The same with signs and symptoms of MH problems noted by the GP. Unless there is a ICD diagnosis by a Cons Psych in your med report you are not going to make much headway with the VA. If you go to a tribunal without a med report giving a confirmed ICD diagnosis code then you are not likely to succeed. Avoidance will not help your battle prep as you won't get a Cons Psych report that way, and you will lose the battle.

The tribunal are assessing whether the assessment made by the decision maker on the date of decision was correct on the information they had before them. A good report after that date may be very helpful to you, but not in relation to the decision under appeal.

Some claimants set out with a "PTSD or bust" attitude. Bear in mind that the diagnosis does not have to be PTSD (F43.1) to get the win. Adjustment Disorders are just as good, in fact any of the F43 series count as equals, and all of them get you the same claim if the duration of treatment etc persists past the relevant time durations. Picture them like bars on your GSM, you get the F43 GSM medal and different bars for different conditions. There is no separate PTSD Medal, it is just one of the campaign bars.
 

9.414

War Hero
Well after a long wait I finally received my interim review letter that (unsurprisingly) informed me that I would be remaining at level 13. The arguments by V-UK were completely illogical and proved to me that no matter what I had submitted, they were determined to keep me at that level. I then wrote a strongly worded letter requesting a tribunal. I line by line pulled every single point/argument they had made in their interim review apart - providing multiple pieces of evidence (that had already been submitted to them I must add) and nullifying any arguments they had attempted to make. They wrote back and told me that my case would not be going for a re-consideration and would now go straight to a Tribunal which is a huge relief. How long does it normally take from getting the letter to sitting in the tribunal? I have got so much evidence from the last 4 years and multiple diagnosis from consultant psychiatrists that I am almost looking forward to hearing what they want to say!
That is not exactly as would expect you to be told. Every case where there is an appeal lodged is normally reconsidered by a different decision maker. If there is a simple error then there is no point trundling all the way to an appeal. All those that proceed to appeal have therefore failed at the reconsideration stage too. That could be (and often is) because the medical evidence is lacking or just missing.

See my comment above. Do your reports contain an ICD code diagnosis in your Cons Psych reports, and do they pre-date the date of decision? The Statement of Case will set out the question for determination by the tribunal and will show the date of decision.

How long from notice to appeal depends on where you are but may be a year.
 
Slow killers, amen to that.........whole thing makes my teeth itch the evidence gathering, use and interpretation is laughable, I've never say I couldn't work, but certainly not at the level I used too. I get the sense Vets UK are offering me the Consent Order for two reasons, 1. avoid the next permanent tariff and 2. publically admit to making some monumental c##k ups with my case. I live in France, so you can imagine how comms have been.
Can you provide more detail on what a Consent order is ?
 
Vets UK, may offer a Consent Order as a means to end a claim without it going to a full blown Tribunal.

Vet's UK will offer you an award, if you accept it, then the Judge will deal with the case out of Chambers..........they will either "sign it off", or if they may refuse.

If they don't it goes to Tribunal.
 

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